You’ve seen it all over Facebook and Instagram — your friends who were once known for their ability to shotgun beers and down a pizza in one sitting are now fitness gurus. How did they get their washboard abs and buff arms, you ask? There’s a good chance they joined Beachbody, a fitness and nutrition program that includes home workouts, “Shakeology” protein drinks, and motivation from coaches.
So, is joining your Beachbody-loving friends on a quest for better health worth it? Here are the facts you need to consider before you dive into the program.
1. Your friends have a money incentive
Have you noticed your Beachbody friends are posting more on Facebook now than ever before? This isn’t just because they’re proud of their progress — as a coach, they’re basically the owner of their own small business. If they can sell you Beachbody’s products, they make commission. And if they can build their own “team” of coaches, they make even more.
We will say this — those who participate in Beachbody generally do it because they love it. But getting a healthy paycheck from all their advertising is also a perk we’re sure they enjoy.
2. You don’t have to be certified in nutrition to be a coach
As Marcus Ochoa, a Beachbody coach, explains, “Coach is just another word for distributor.” Don’t join the program and expect all of the Beachbody coaches to be trained in nutrition or personal training. In fact, the only direction you’ll really be getting is from pre-made videos you’re essentially buying access to.
And to top it all off, Ochoa also notes you don’t even have to complete the Beachbody program to become a coach and sell their products. That’s right — your biggest cheerleader might have never even touched the program at all.
3. The shakes could be damaging
If you want to fully immerse yourself in Beachbody culture, they highly encourage you try out Shakeology, a protein shake that’s “designed to deliver the nutrients you need to help you lose weight,” among other promises. Mindy Haar, Ph.D., tells Cosmopolitan there are some unknown ingredients lurking in these shakes, though. They contain flax, cacao, and spirulina, and health professionals aren’t sure how much of these ingredients it’s safe to consume daily.
Just because Shakeology products are loaded with superfoods doesn’t mean they’re magic for your body.
4. They promote cleanses, which have been debunked
Feeling like you need to assault your body with a strict 21-day detox regimen for the small fee of $200? Don’t worry — Beachbody has you covered with the Ultimate Reset. This program involves “detoxifying” the body with a “gentle colon cleanse,” a vegan diet, and supplements.
First of all, your body doesn’t require a special diet to detox — it does that naturally already. And cleanses by and large don’t work for long-term weight loss — you need to learn healthy habits that are doable all year round, not just for 21 days.
5. You don’t need all of the supplements they’re giving you
The Beachbody program loves to sell you supplements to aid in your weight loss journey. As if Shakeology and the Ultimate Reset weren’t enough, they even have an entire line of performance products they recommend for gym recovery and lean muscle build.
Here’s the thing, though — people who are just doing a workout tape don’t need a “hydrating” powder, as water will work just as well. And as for the “Recover” supplement for after your workout, a healthy, protein-filled snack will do the trick. An hour-long sweat session isn’t the same as a marathon, so you really don’t need these.
6. They’re selling you an unnecessary number of products
If you were to purchase every Beachbody product currently on the market, you’d be spending your entire paycheck. Not only can you buy the shakes, the cleanses (there’s more than one, unfortunately) and the workout supplements monthly, but you’re also encouraged to purchase the workout DVDs and the color-coded containers for keeping track of your food.
If you’re going forth with the program, be choosy about what you get. Your coach might tell you to try it all, but remember — they make a profit if you make your purchases through them.
7. And they’ll try to get you to buy things for your kids, too
If you thought Beachbody was just targeting you, think again — they even have products for your kids! Daily Sunshine, a three-in-one smoothie, is designed so kids get the nutrients they may be missing from their diet. This is a good idea in theory, especially if a child in your life is always reaching for junk food. But in reality, you really don’t need this — especially for $130 per 30-serving container. Teach your child healthy lifestyle habits from the get-go, and don’t bother with this product.