[Elle:] The members of the Anti-MLM Coalition joined together to expose the truth and lies in the multi-level marketing (MLM) industry. As well as a number of anti-MLM allies, we also recognise the work of those who have been tirelessly spreading the word on their chosen MLMs of interest, often long before our group was formed.
We created this website with the aim of being a useful resource page for all things anti-MLM. We’re united in a common mission, with a variety of specialities and knowledge.
If you’re not familiar with this scheme, you may have heard it referred to in the same breath as “Shakeology” and “the INSANITY workout.” I’ll give you a very brief overview (with credit to the Beachbody Wiki entry).
Founded in 1998 by Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon in Santa Monica (CA), Beachbody LLC is a United States-based seller of weight-loss products, and muscle-building home-exercise fitness videos. The company predominantly uses e-commerce and direct response infomercials to distribute its products. Their direct-selling channel, Team Beachbody, uses the MLM model via their independent distributors (referred to by the firm as “coaches”), to sell products directly to people in their community. .
Today, Daikeler serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Beachbody LLC, with Congdon serving as President and Chief Marketing Officer.
Other notable members of the Beachbody Executive Team include Jeff Hill, the Division President of Network Sales. Hill has “18 years of experience in the Direct Selling industry,” according to the company’s website, including time as Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Tahitian Noni International (now known as Morinda, Inc.), President of Shaklee International, Inc. and as Senior Vice President of Sales for Melaleuca, Inc.
Hill co-leads the Team Beachbody division with Michael Neimand, Division President of Network Marketing. The company website states that Neimand has “20 years of experience as an executive in the Direct Selling industry,” including “a number of senior management positions” at Herbalife.
According to the country selector on their website, Beachbody currently operates in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Beachbody’s product range includes workout routines, fitness plans, DVDs, accessories and nutritional supplements. According to their website, their bestsellers include the INSANITY® workout, Shakeology® shakes, Daily Sunshine smoothies and something they call the Core De Force™ (an intense workout that incorporates boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai).
To get started as a Beachbody Coach, you’ll need to part with $39.95 USD / £39.95 GBP / $49.95 CAN to obtain the ‘Digital Business Starter Kit’. After initial set-up, you’ll also be given the opportunity to buy a ‘Challenge Pack’, an “all-in-one bundle of fitness, nutrition, and support.” The website states, “we’ll even waive your initial $39.95 fee when you buy one!“
Challenge Packs vary in price, around $140 to $265 USD for assorted workout DVDs, shakes, coaching etc. That equates to around £140 to £265 GBP, or around $164 to $349 CAN (at the time of going to press).
After 30 days, Coaches will “automatically be billed” $15.95 USD / £15.95 GBP / $17.95 CAN per month to the payment card they provided at sign-up, in order to “continue your Coach business.”
The ‘Digital Business Starter Kit‘ will provide the coaches with:
- a ‘Digital Coach Welcome Book’ which also grants a “discount coupon to [..] the most inspiring coach event of the year!” (known as ‘Coach Summit’)
- ‘Coaching Tools’ to “support your ongoing success” – aka a personalised website portal for placing orders.
- “support from the Team Beachbody community“
Beachbody ‘Coaches’ can make earnings from two potential revenue streams: from direct selling to customers, and of course, from a commission based on sales made by their recruited downlines. They will receive 25% commission on retail sales. Ethan Vanderbuilt elaborates more on the Beachbody compensation plan in his article linked further down.
Like with most MLMs, Beachbody ‘Coaches’ sell the products through a party plan, pop-up stalls, craft fairs, or online using private ‘VIP groups’ that they have set up on Facebook. Due to the nature of the MLM, the workouts and supplements are also known to be promoted by ‘Coaches’ who also happen to work in gyms and leisure centres.
From personal experience, I (Elle Beau) remember seeing the famous INSANITY® workout being promoted at my local gym, before I even knew what MLM was. The personal trainer promoting it had even paid for special customised banners.
“Because anyone can sign up online to be a coach,” writes Michelle Ruiz for Cosmopolitan, “some licensed nutritionists express concern about uncertified people signing into Facebook and dispensing health advice at random.”
From “This Cultish Workout Is All Over Your Social Media Feeds — But Is It Legit?“
Where can I learn more about Beachbody?
From the Coalition’s perspective, we frequently get requests for information on this particular MLM. Some followers have told us that they actually enjoy the workouts, but hate the fact it is MLM, has (obviously) overinflated prices, and that so-called supplements and shakes are thrown into the mix.
Sadly, we haven’t had any guest writer come forward to share their experiences of this MLM, yet. However, amongst the plethora of positive pro-Beachbody articles, there is still plenty of counter-information out there. We have detailed some notable places for you to check out, from our anti-MLM allies.
Connect with Ethan Vanderbuilt
The Internet’s Most Trusted Scam Buster, long-established Ethan speaks out because scams hurt people. Through his informative website, he offers his opinions on various companies and operations.
“In my opinion, Team Beachbody offers coaches that are not qualified to coach,” says Vanderbuilt. “It would seem their coaches are really MLM sales people.”
Key articles and discussions include:
In his typical style, Vanderbuilt assesses why he believes Beachbody is a scam, including a look at the products, compensation plan and Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints.
Former ‘Coach’ Kathy speaks to Vanderbuilt about her two attempts at building a Beachbody business. A fitness centre owner and accredited gym instructor, Kathy was hooked and in the best shape of her life. However, after a year and a half, things changed. Friends started cancelling purchases, people started hiding her posts on Facebook (someone kindly told her this), and started dropping off her business lists.
There is a huge wealth of information on his site, and we highly recommend it as a comprehensive anti-MLM resource point.
Connect with Lazy Man and Money
Lazy Man (you can call him ‘Brian‘) has been blogging since 2006, describing a personal journal where he explores “how I can save money and make more money.” In 2008, he expanded into becoming a consumer advocate for expanding MLM awareness. He says that this interest arose “after being introduced to MonaVie.”
Key articles and discussions include:
In this immensely detailed article, Brian deconstructs Beachbody’s Income Disclosure Statement, conducts a profit analysis and talks churn rate. There’s also a bonus prize of the angry pro-MLMers in the comments.
“Get the hell away from Beachbody’s Shakeology and its ‘business opportunity.’ You are wasting your time and money,” warns Brian. “Every piece of information seems to show it is an illegal pyramid scheme according to the FTC’s guidelines. A former Beachbody Coach also gives good details into the pyramid scheme nature of the company […] There’s no reason to be a Coach to get a discount as you can get the Shakeology discount price on eBay without paying coaching fees.”
‘Tired Dave‘ is the pseudonym of a long-suffering husband of a Team Beachbody ‘Coach’ – he used Facebook as a way of venting his frustrations, and despair.
Though Dave tried to inject some humour into his Facebook posts, behind the sarcasm you can detect a sense of hopelessness. Around July 2018, certain individuals decided to track down who Dave’s wife is, and troll her. This led to Dave being blocked from viewing his spouse’s Facebook posts. His Facebook account has since been removed.
Over time, he has shared typical MLM seller tactics with us all, including pretending that the MLM paid for things such as their children’s clothes, and bills, when it actually went on a credit card.
The transcript of this text reads: “Today’s post from the international superstar fitness coach: ” With my commish (you quit talking full sentences as a coach) I paid for shoes for the kids” (I paid for those). “I paid the cell phone bill” (I paid that). “I paid for emergency car expense” (I paid that), “I paid for sports trip for my kids” (I put that all on my credit card). Lies. All lies. And it degrades the one actually killing himself working to pay all those things while 100 dollars a week is earned in exchange for 30 hours of Facebook and selfie time that’s humiliating to her family. #totalmlmlielife”
He also describes his wife’s enthusiastic attempts to dupe him into a family holiday to Mexico so she could attend a Beachbody convention, and misses out on vital family time in order to “work her business.”
The transcript of this text reads: “Well it has been quite a week with the international superstar and super coach. There have been several episodes of sub-psychotic and psychotic rages. This was most definitely prompted by her lack off attendance at the Mexico cultvention. After years of asking for so much as a simple weekend away together and being told it “was not a priority” or did not interest her, didn’t sound fun, etc., she enthusiastically begged me to go on a Mexican vacation a month or two ago. I thought it was so odd, and I asked with how the intensiveness of the children’s activities and travels, and work schedules, we could do such a thing, there was an admission that it was a [Beachbody] trip and we could go really cheap due to her super mega status. It’s funny how when your spouse can’t even be honest about the nature of the trip, and the fact that a [Beachbody] trip is the only time you are good enough to travel with (undoubtedly to pay for it all), that travel just doesn’t sound as good.
There’s a new tactic to superstar coach and business tycoon’s manipulation as well. If I object to anything, share a concern about anything, have a contrary opinion or feeling, don’t want to pay for something, I’m being “abusive” and “not supportive” by not magically granting (enthusiastically) every whim and request and have been asked to write down my list of wrongs/errors with her and turn it in to her for a potential apology acceptance.
And yesterday. Yesterday was a special day. It was beautiful out. We (my children and I) spent the day outside riding bikes and toys, playing t-ball, etc. No coach. She couldn’t be found. At all. She was later found taking no less than 4 swimsuit selfies in one day (over 40 years old, mind you) and bragging on [Facebook] about how she’s an amazing mom while glued to [Facebook].
Life with a superstar fitness coach. It ain’t easy. But hey, at least that 8k made last year makes up for it. Ugh.“
Dave may not have all the answers, but he gives a frank, honest account of what its like to be the partner of a serial MLMer.
If you find yourself relating to Dave’s position, you may be interested in our following advice articles:
- How to Help Someone in an MLM
- Someone you know in an MLM? Having doubts?
- MLMers – People who care about you are worried
- MLM – Expectation vs Reality.
- Why Network Marketing is a Bad Thing
Other Useful Beachbody Resources
- “This Cultish Workout Is All Over Your Social Media Feeds — But Is It Legit?” by Michelle Ruiz for Cosmopolitan
- “My Thoughts on Beachbody” by Tara for Sweat Like a Pig
- “Why I’m No Longer a Beachbody Coach” by Courtney for Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life