Please note: I am not affiliated with, sponsored by, nor do I sell BeachBody or any of it’s products. This is my unbiased review based off of my personal experience with the workouts and Shakeology supplement.
Well, you guys, I’ve officially completed my monthly challenge for April: to complete an entire BeachBody workout program.
Since BeachBody is such a large, well-known company where most who use it become coaches and sell their products, I decided to do a full, comprehensive review of it as someone who is not a coach, does not sell it, and has no affiliation or “loyalty” to the company. Unbiased, if you will. So without further ado, here are my thoughts, experiences and results from utilizing BeachBody and Shakeology for a whole month.
For those who might be unfamiliar with it, BeachBody is a multi-level-marketing fitness and nutrition company with a large variety of very well known programs to include 21 Day Fix, P90x, and Piyo… just to name a few. They have a pretty consistent release of new workout programs and modified, updated, or extreme versions of existing ones. Each program comes with a nutrition guide that covers portions, calorie count recommendations based off of height and weight, and healthy foods to stick to. If you subscribe to BeachBody on Demand, all of that comes virtually with each program. The main attractant and what is claimed to be the essential piece with BeachBody, however, is their nutritional supplement shake called “Shakeology” (I’ll be going into more detail about my experience with it in a minute). From what I’ve been told, the shakes and supplements are where the “coaches” (company reps) make the majority of their commission as well as through getting more people to sign up under them, then encouraging those coaches on their team to build their own team and so on, thus creating the well known pyramid shape. So now that you have a little background, lets get into the details of my experience.
So my background with BeachBody actually extends to early last year when I attempted another program. In January 2019 I purchased the Transform:20 program with Shaun T. It was a new program they were releasing and a friend of mine and I both wanted to put an emphasis on fitness and decided to become workout buddies. Within 4 weeks of this intense, advanced level workout, I became bedridden from such intense pain brought on by fibro flare ups. I had been following the nutrition plan almost exactly and rarely modified in the workouts (aka- I didn’t know how to pace myself). The reason I was not technically successful with T:20 was because I had not laid the proper ground work by conditioning myself. With fibromyalgia, unfortunately, if you don’t carefully prepare for each step of your fitness journey by taking it painfully slow then you end up having major set backs like I did. And then you literally have to start all over at ground 0 once your symptoms have subsided. While I didn’t lose weight and was set back quite a bit physically, I don’t consider that experience completely unsuccessful. I learned so much about pacing myself in workouts like how to push myself to get results but not so much that have a flare up. I also learned a lot about BeachBody and the different programs and enjoyed the BOD subscription. My goal is to be able to work my conditioning up and complete the T:20 program within the next year. I absolutely loved the workouts with it and definitely want to give it a true fair shot!
For this new attempt at taking full advantage of BB, I selected 21 Day Fix. I was heavily leaning towards the Piyo program because it was low impact, but after going back and forth with my coach, I decided on 21DF since it was more geared towards weight loss and and making it a lifestyle/ habit to workout and eat properly.
Considering I already subscribed to BOD, I didn’t purchase all the program materials and just ordered the strawberry Shakeology. Since I had a flavor variety pack when I did T:20, I knew I would enjoy that flavor more than another for a whole month since the variety pack was unavailable.
Even though I didn’t have the portion containers, I stayed very portion conscious. I basically stuck to the Instant Loss eating and nutrition concept since I know that it specifically caters to my MTHFR mutation but added in the Shakeology shake as a breakfast replacement. In all reality, they very closely resemble each other. The key difference is that Instant Loss is more focused on not having to count and track everything but instead use your hands as portion guides and emphasizing your veggie/ raw food consumption while 21 Day Fix is a lot more structured and focuses on calorie counting and of course the portion containers. Because I knew I was doing really well with my portions and making the right choices, I didn’t feel the need for the 21DF eating plan specifically.
To be honest, I was basically already doing it just minus the containers. I do know several people who have used them and it has changed their life. The portion containers really helped them visualize their food in a whole new way and also helped them see what a truly healthy eating plan looks like. So if you are considering 21DF and struggling with proper nutrition and/ or portions, I would highly recommend it.
Something worth mentioning along this line is that BeachBody also has a nutrition program called the 2B Mindset , and while I haven’t personally gone through it, I’ve heard great things about how it addresses emotional eating and changing your mentality towards food. If that’s something you think you need, it’s definitely worth looking into.
A big question here: did I have “cheat days”? And the answer is yes. The main thing though is that a cheat day looks a lot different for me now but mainly because I cut out gluten, refined sugars, and anything with folic acid (which is in just about anything pre-made or processed). I also don’t drink soda, diet soda, or really anything except for coffee, water and hot teas plus that weekend cocktail we all love so much. I made that transition about 8 months ago. I had about 6 days total throughout this month where I cheated. Easter was one of those days and I had a peep. On my cheat days, I still replaced my breakfast with the Shakeology shake, and basically didn’t eat a whole lot apart from my cheat meal. The biggest reason I consider them cheat days is because I didn’t focus on my veggie consumption, my water intake was way too low, I didn’t workout, and, as long as I didn’t eat gluten, I would disregard portions and eat other things like too much potato, fats from dairy, or starches/ carbs. Taking gluten out of the equation has certainly changed what my cheat days end up being. They are actually still quite healthy and often healthier than what I considered a “healthy day” last year. One of my cheat meals was a takeout steak dinner Isaac and I got for a date night in. Another one was a lettuce wrapped Hardee’s burger because I was starving and running errands (but I skipped the fries). One day, I had a Mango Loco Monster energy drink and there was a day or two I had a couple mimosas as apposed to my usual cocktail choice of Cabernet Sauvignon, Bubbly and vodka, or a Truly. So yes- I had off days and honestly didn’t even feel bad about them. I still have a life to live, a husband I like to enjoy a date meal with, and the mental well being that comes from making the choices best for me any my own body. I’m in this for the long haul so expecting someone to be on point all the time is unrealistic. Just make sure that 90% of the time your choices are deliberate.. and healthy.
In summation on the nutrition side- I think BeachBody has a really awesome approach to a balanced diet and it’s undeniable that their methods have helped a lot of people. I think that some require a very rigid and structured approach like the portion fix containers and others who are able to self moderate are able to just make good choices. As long as your body is being properly nourished, both approaches are perfectly fine and feasible. People simply have to be honest with themselves and admit when they need more structure and accountability.
As far as the workout program goes, here is what I did and didn’t like about it.
– I absolutely loved the “real time” style. I definitely felt like I was in a class with other people and for this insane extrovert, it was very refreshing and encouraging. I felt like the people were real and it was nice to see insanely fit people struggling and pushing themselves just as hard as I was pushing myself… but they just obviously looked way better doing it. I felt like I was working out with friends to an extent because everyone talked, interacted, cracked jokes and motivated each other throughout the workouts. Autumn (the leader) did a great job keeping you engaged and motivated without being cheesy and annoying or patronizing.
– This point is two fold… I loved that they had someone closer to my size and capability doing the modified moves. I thought it was great to see her realistically fight through a workout and it was also super cool to see how she improved through her workouts the same as I did. Like how at the beginning of the program, she couldn’t do a lot of the bouncy/ rebound moves but towards the end, even though she could technically stay in the modified move, she pushed herself and was able to do the bouncy stuff. I progressed at the same pace so it was kinda like “we’re buddies for life now, Kat. I feel ya, boo!” The flip side is that there were 8 total people in the group and only one of them who had weight to lose so it felt like they put in a “token large person” who was the only one modifying. Now granted- seeing all the others so in shape was a good motivator but it felt like an imbalance where there was the one extreme and nothing in between. Not really a deal breaker or anything. Just a thought from someone that is part of their main “target market”.
– I loved that every day was a different workout. One day would be full body cardio, another Pilates, there were lower fix days and upper fix days, a cardio with weights day, and a yoga day and several of those days included a 10 minute bonus ab workout… of which I only did like half of them. Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody. Oh wait. I’m telling everybody on this blog so go ahead and spread the word. I skipped out on some ab days. The variety in workouts definitely kept it interesting. For someone who likes variety and gets bored with the same exact routine every day, know this- you won’t get bored! I’ve noticed that’s a common thread with all the BB programs too so you won’t get bored with any of them really.
– Once again, this point is both a pro and a con. At no point this month did I feel like I like I was ever rested. I feel like it was for this reason: You had to workout every. single. day. (Yes they have yoga labeled as a “rest/ recovery day” but seriously. Yoga for someone who isn’t flexible or balanced is far from restful.) The main reason they have you working out every day in this specific program is the concept that it takes 21 days to form a habit so if you workout and get used to setting that time aside every day for working out, you will make it a priority moving forward. Like I said about nutrition, some people need that intense structure for sure (I know in that past I certainly have) especially those that have struggled with finding time in their routine. The downside for me was that Sunday is family day and also on Isaac’s other day off, we get up and quickly going to do something that is typically active (like super long bike rides) so adding or trying to fit a workout in was well neigh impossible with all the craziness. Some days I didn’t worry about it and other days I was super intense about making it happen. While I see the point in every day workouts, I think there’s something to be said for taking a rest day for your body and to not obsess. Stay active and keep moving. Don’t just sit around doing nothing. But intensely working out every single day with no rest days has actually been proven to be unhealthy in the long run for your body and especially your mind because it can make one obsessive and addicted instead of balanced. Now not all of the BB programs are every day. A lot of them actually incorporate rest days and I thinks it’s really important that the fitness coaches and communities set an example of a healthy rest day and how and when to take them appropriately. I feel like our society needs more examples of normal, every day, healthy living with realistic moderation and not every day obsession with working out and micro counting/ tracking every single calorie. That mentality is what leads a lot people to failing and also keeps those, who really want to change, incredibly discouraged and lost. Please, I ask all you coaches and health passionate people- teach moderation and a realistic lifestyle for the average person not obsessive and hard core.
To put a lid on the workout topic I will say that while I had very, very minor qualms, overall, I absolutely loved 95% of the workout program and routine. Because of my previous, short term experience with T:20, I had very little reservations and went into it knowing I already liked BB programs in general. I felt accomplished at the end of all my workouts, (except yoga… can you tell I hate yoga yet?), and I feel more empowered and capable due to the mental/ emotional support and encouragement in the videos themselves and the results I’ve experienced with my body.
So lets dig into the main character here- Shakeology. This nutritional shake, often referred to as “Shakeo” in the BB community, can be utilized as a full meal replacement shake, nutritional supplement, and just as a snack. They claim it’s more nutrient dense than other meal replacement shakes and that the quality of ingredients is unparalleled. It is also claimed to be essential for achieving the best results in any program.
Flavor: I really liked that the flavors are all super yummy. The chocolate is incredibly rich and will definitely give you a sweet tooth fix. Vanilla tastes a lot like a cake batter and is a great base to add other things to for a vast variety of flavor options. The strawberry will give you that fruity vibe you’re sure to love and is fantastic when paired with fresh fruits like pineapple, blueberries, more strawberries, etc. I also got a limited edition flavor of Pumpkin Spice which did my classic white girl soul some good! They are all undeniably delicious and you don’t get that usual “protein shake” taste with them.
Making It: On the package, they recommend mixing it with water or a type of milk (2% cow, almond, cashew, soy, etc.) and ice then blended in a blender. I have a nutri bullet so that is what I blended it with. My liquid of choice was unsweetened, vanilla flavored almond milk. I often forwent the ice and just blended the almond milk with the shake mix and drank it within 30 minutes, per the package recommendation. Strawberry is the flavor I chose this time around and I would often plop in a spoonful of natural peanut butter, a banana, or some other kind of fresh fruit like I listed above. I often did the fruit for a little variety but the peanut butter I would add in when I knew I needed a little something extra to sustain me through the morning until lunch time.
The Texture: The texture when mixed in a shaker bottle has a grainy-ness to it. It’s odd because it isn’t really an unpleasant grainy but still, it isn’t smooth like you’d typically prefer out of a shake. Mixing it in the blender (or nutri bullet as I did) definitely fixed that problem. It was super smooth and the bullet made it frothy. Adding extra stuff to it reduced the frothiness quite a bit though. If you don’t like frothy, stick with a shaker bottle, if you like smooth go with a blender, if you like smooth and not frothy, throw some extra stuff in there.
Did it Help? To be perfectly honest, I only have a partial opinion on this at the moment. I don’t notice a specific difference nutritionally from the shake. I think any time you replace a solid meal with a liquid one, you are bound to have results in your weight and it does help give your organs a chance to digest and process nutrients without working overtime to break down solid food. I don’t feel like Shakeology itself can’t be replaced with a good multivitamin or other nutritional supplements/ foods but it does require a larger variety of items to get all the nutrients the shake claims to have from it’s different ingredietns. That being said, I haven’t done BB workouts without the shake before so I will have to go without the shake for a month to see if it makes a difference. I ended up being gifted another month’s worth of Shakeology so I will continue to use it until it’s gone. Once I’ve used it all, and gone a month without it, I will update below to let you know if it actually does make a difference with either my weight loss, nutrition, or general feeling of well-being.
I hate to end this section with a question mark but I want to be completely honest and fair about this product.
The Cost: So the pricing to me is just plain off. A month’s supply of Shakeology is $130. (You can get either 25% off on just about everything on their website if you sign up as a coach but the coach fee is $16 per month so if you aren’t selling it, or buying a ton of their other supplements or programs, it doesn’t make that much sense to pay the coach fee for the discount.) Without getting incredibly nit-picky, I’ll just say this. The shakes are really good in a lot of ways. But if you look at the website, it doesn’t take long to see that there are programs, that include the shake, that cost just as much or very slightly more than the shake itself, so I feel like if they can sell a program and the shake for about the same price as the shake, maybe they should consider making the monthly cost of the shake a little cheaper for those of us who just like the product. Obviously this is where they promote “just sign up as a coach and then you can make a little extra money while you’re at it”. So basically implying the shake is expensive but if you *really* like it and price is the problem, there is a solution. So if you don’t sign up, you’re basically saying you don’t actually like the product because if you did you’d find a way to keep buying it by signing up as a coach. I get it- it’s still a MLM company and people need to make money but when the pricing is inconsistent it puts my flags up. It also preys upon people like me who are simply desperate to find a healthy solution that they’ll just shut up and pay. PLEASE NOTE– I am *not* saying that people who sell BB or the company itself is sleazy or ill intentioned. I’m just being honest about how I feel about the pricing of this specific product. If the shake was more like $80 per month, I’d be more likely to keep it on hand and use it as a basic consumer. But until I can afford the luxury of $130 per month for a supplement, it isn’t something I can justify making monthly payments on.
The Challenge Group & My Coaching Experience
As I mentioned in my original April challenge post, I joined an April BB fitness group spearheaded by my coach, David Atkins and his wife, Kristen. They run these groups monthly so I jumped in on the April one (duh, Emily). In the group, they posted some recipes, daily challenges for either mental, physical, or emotional well being and kept the focus on the members daily documenting in the comments of the daily post how you rated your workout, nutrition, and mood on a scale of 1-5. They encouraged workout and Shakeology selfies which I thought was cool because it’s helped me build confidence and a sense of self-acceptance (new concept for me). Their goal is to create accountability and give you a sense of community. Here’s what I did and didn’t love about it:
– One of the fun ways they made the group lively and fun was having a spirit week where we dressed up differently each day. Unfortunately, not very many people participated but I certainly had fun with it.
-My absolute favorite activity/ challenge put into the group was the “Chopped” challenge where we had to utilize chicken, beans, a condiment, and cheese to create something on our own. I very quickly formulated a southwest style chicken salad with black beans, mayo, salsa, salt and pepper, shredded fiesta blend cheese, and of course chicken. It was super delicious and I actually made sure I have those ingredients on hand to make it again. It was something I probably would have never tried without the challenge and it was super awesome to get creative. Definitely a hit for me and I might just keep challenging myself more like that with random ingredients.
-I loved that they [David and Kristen] were both involved in the group and the daily posts were geared towards engaging people in different ways. That being said, it wasn’t really much of a discussion group. Maybe this specific batch of peeps I was part of wasn’t very chatty/ interactive. People would “like” someone’s comment on the main post for the day (out of over 40 members I don’t think I had more than 7 reactions or 4 comments on any of my contributions) and there would be an occasional comment but not a whole lot of actual interacting or engagement. My mentality and expectation towards an accountability/ challenge group is that there’s more interaction than the style of this group allowed. Because no one was allowed to post outside of what David posted (comments only) as the post of the day, it kinda felt more like a class room and we reported to a teacher with an occasional nod from our classmates. Now, I completely understand that they want the group to remain organized and didn’t want a whole bunch of chaos happening and the main, daily posts by David get lost. However, the post of the day can always be pinned to the top so it doesn’t get missed plus the group is supposedly kept small specifically to give the close-knit community vibe and I think not feeling the freedom to say “hey- I need lunch ideas!” or “share a before and after pic for encouragement” took away the community aspect for me. Yes- you can totally post that in the comments, but comments get so lost when there are 48 people commenting and replying to other’s comments, so it doesn’t take long for a quick question to get lost or ignored completely. I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge that my expectations may have been misplaced but given the words to describe the group to me, I don’t feel like it met the definition of them. This isn’t a negative thing, it’s just different than I anticipated.
– This might seem like a trivial detail but I think it’s worth mentioning. They did a particularly good job with the aesthetics of the group posts. As someone who appreciates the little details in everything from crafts, to fashion, to art, to social media, I thoroughly enjoyed how they formatted the posts, designed their featured graphics, and especially the proper use of punctuation and grammar. Because it was so professionally done, it made me more encouraged and confident in their opinion, the content they posted, and I anticipated what they would post next. Never underestimate taking the time to make something “look pretty”. You might think it’s trivial or a waste of time, but the fact is that you won’t find one person on earth who won’t go for what’s more visually appealing. The visually appealing elicits feelings of curiosity, excitement, awe, contentment, happiness, and all the good things so never neglect striving for that. I thought David and Kristen did a great job with that so props, guys!
– My coach experience with David (and his wife, Kristen, on occasion) was fantastic. I truly felt like David wanted me to succeed for myself and not just to make a success story out of me. He checked in with me routinely and I always felt like he was genuinely interested in my progress, thoughts, and struggles that he could help with. He gave the term “coach” it’s full justice. He gave recommendations when appropriate, gave me opportunities to ask any questions at all, and I had no doubt he was there if I needed him through any of it. He was a great cheerleader and super encouraging. I felt like he saw my struggle and understood how hard this has been for me to conquer and make happen, given my multitude of physical complications. I look forward to staying in touch with and following both David and Kristen beyond this challenge group. They are both very genuine people and you can tell they care about making people healthy and successful.
There isn’t really a whole lot of beating around the bush with this one… I mean “before and after” is “before and after”, right? So here we go…
I lost 4.4 pounds and a total of 12″
I can tell that the inflammation in my body is way down! My face has thinned out for sure and my legs have started toning. My waistline is less lumpy and my butt is getting a bit of a lift. Something to note is that I was doing the workouts and making sure I went for a minimum of a 2 mile walk every day. I stayed active outside of the workouts by ensuring I averaged over 10K steps per day. I didn’t just do the workouts and follow the eating plan which I think was important. BUT! The workouts were definitely essential for me to tone and achieve the results above.
Will I Continue?
The answer to that is a resounding yes! I will definitely be continuing to utilize my BOD subscription and workout with BB. I love the way the programs are layed out, I love that they can all be done right in my house with very little to no equipment, and I feel like their workouts are just a slight notch above the rest when it comes to quality of production and content.
Like I said above, I might not be continuing the shakes beyond my current stash but I think they’re great and will enjoy the supply I have left.
Beyond what I’ve already accomplished in the last few months, I feel like the BB workouts have made me feel more confident in myself, more empowered to continue, and excited enough to accomplish even more.
My next program will be their Barre Blend that was JUST released. One of my cousins introduced me to barre workouts years ago and I loved it so much. Combining barre and BB sounds like a match made in Heaven to me so I absolutely can’t wait to start. If anyone wants to be virtual BarreBlend buddies come May 4th, hit me up! It’s Monday through Friday and looks amazing! (I still don’t sell it and am not a coach so it’d be purely for buddying up.)
The Finishing Touches
Closing thoughts: I definitely would not consider BeachBody a “sheme” or a racket because they do truly promote a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, reasonable activity level, and making it a lifestyle not a “diet”. While I personally don’t feel like the shakes are essential to be successful with healthy living, if you can afford them, they are quite delicious, taste very high quality and undeniably nutrition packed. The workouts, I feel like, are a step above the rest of most virtual “living room” workouts and especially if you use BOD because it’s all laid out super comprehensively.
A question I keep being asked by a few people that aren’t coaches is “will I become a coach?” and the answer for now is “no”. As I told a few people, my goal through this blog and people observing my journey is to encourage people and make it a ministry to help others, not just with their physical health and eating properly, but more especially with mental and emotional well-being. I would never want someone to find out I’m a BB coach and then feel like I was only reaching out or engaging with them for the purpose of selling something or promoting my career. I know a lot of awesome people who do sell BB (and sell for other MLM companies for that matter) and they are very genuine and sweet people. But selling BB does not fit into my own personal goals, vision, or purpose for what I’m doing right now. Part of me also has this sense that this is *my* story, not a story for BB to use for marketing or even for me to use to “sell myself”. Everything I’ve been through and worked so hard to accomplish and be where I am today is very personal and key to what drives me and I don’t want that to get drowned out and lost by the focus becoming a business.
I hope you found all of this informative and helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I encourage you to read all of the post before commenting with questions or comments. If there is something I didn’t address, please feel free to comment below, DM me through Instagram (username emily.helvin), or get in touch through Facebook. I absolutely love hearing from you!
Stay active, stay healthy, stay driven! Hugs all around!