Introduction to Beachbody MLM Compensation Plan Review
Welcome to my Beachbody review. If this is your first time visiting Notebook Crazy, let me give you some background information on what we do here. Like most of you, I have been burned a few times by multilevel marketing (MLM) companies, so now I am on a quest to review as many MLM companies as I can so that you don’t have to find out the truth about them the hard way.
Much like Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra, the health and fitness industry and the MLM industry are close kin. There are plenty of health and fitness products out there that are not sold through an MLM business model, and there are MLM companies that deal in products that do not claim to make you healthier and more physically fit. (You don’t have to look hard to find MLM companies that sell cosmetics or even really boring things like long-distance calling plans and search engine optimization assistance.) But there are so many MLM companies out there that make their bread and butter off of nutritional supplements, that every time my quest to offer a comprehensive list of MLM opportunities and I come across another nutraceutical one, I cringe a little bit.
First, a little bit of background. Nutraceuticals are not really my thing, to put it mildly. In fact, I am a confirmed couch potato. On the other hand, the other Brad, my partner in running the Notebook Crazy site, is the kind of fitness fiend that keeps nutraceutical MLMs in business. He loves switching up his workout routine just to see what will happen. Nutritional supplements make up at least a quarter of his diet, and the closest he has come to a potato in over a decade is being friends with a couch potato like me. When we go to Oktoberfest, the other Brad only eats Wurst and radishes (beer is not a carb, in the other Brad’s opinion), while the pretzels and the potato salad are my main reason for going to Oktoberfest at all. (OK. It is kind of fun to have an excuse to wear Lederhosen.)
This winter, the other Brad and I have a bet going. I bet him that I will run a certain number of miles on his treadmill by spring, and if I lose, I have to buy him as much diet Vernors as is reasonable and proper for him to make me buy. I have to admit that getting more exercise than I had been getting really does make me feel healthier. But I will never be a fitness fiend. The other term of our agreement is that, if I win this bet, the other Brad has to buy me a bunch of garlic knots at Oley’s Pizza. I am kind of enjoying getting into better shape, but I can tell you know that I will never be the kind of person who works out so hard that I have to eat protein bars instead of food just to be able to keep doing it.
But Beachbody is a little bit different from your average MLM company hocking overpriced multivitamins. If you are the kind of person the other Brad is likely to meet at the gym, many aspects of Beachbody’s product line and business plan will be familiar to you, the meal replacement shakes, the workout routines, the restricted diet. If you are like me, however, you see Beachbody as just another MLM company that has added a twist to the nutraceutical theme. One could argue that emphasizing the importance of diet and exercise is more honest than simply attaching a lot of empty promises to nutritional supplements. But let’s see how well Beachbody’s promises really hold up. Onward to our Beachbody review.
Beachbody: The Company and Its Products
You may have heard of Beachbody even if you have never heard of MLM. It advertises its workout DVDs and nutritional supplements through infomercials. If you have ever suffered an episode of insomnia in a place with no Wifi, making it impractical to watch videos on your phone, and therefore you had no choice but to turn on the TV, you were probably greeted by one of two infomercials advertising Beachbody products: P90X featuring Tony Horton and Insanity featuring Shaun T. P90X and the workout videos related to it are more than just DVDs. P90X is a 90-day cross-training program that has you do different exercises on different days. It is also recommended that you follow a certain diet during the program. Similarly, Insanity is a 60-day program of intense exercises; it is intended for people who are already very physically fit and looking for an additional challenge. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows or get in shape knows that the Beachbody workout videos are just attaching to the placebo receptors in your brain the way that Flavon Max’s pomegranate red vitamin powder, Agel’s vitamin gel, CieAura’s hologram thingies, and the notorious Amega AM Wand do. The real reason that you are getting in shape is because you have been exercising every day for 90 days and you have been much more careful about what you eat than before. It doesn’t really make a difference whether you are following along with Beachbody workout videos or just running in place while watching Saved by the Bell reruns; the important thing is that you have interrupted your couch potato routine and are doing something.
One of the fun things about MLM is that you get to work toward cool titles, like Diamond Director and Diamond Ambassador. With Beachbody, you get a cool title the minute you pay for the privilege of getting on your friends’ bad sides with your constant requests for money. As soon as you sign up to sell products and recruit more sellers, you become a Beachbody coach. If you want to choose an MLM company, and you are choosing based on which one will give you the most impressive sounding title from the get-go, then your decision is already made. But what does it mean to be a Beachbody coach? Does it automatically qualify you to work as a personal trainer? I hope not. That sounds dangerous. That is like 16-year-old me safely returning my dad’s car after a round trip drive to the Pink Floyd planetarium show and immediately going off to teach driver’s ed. The idea of people paying a nominal fee and then getting to work as unlicensed personal trainers is scary for so many reasons, beyond just the obvious danger of untrained personal trainers giving well-intentioned but incorrect advice that leads to people not getting into good shape or getting injured. Given how much MLM companies try to recruit people with the “Are you tired of being a penniless, powerless loser? Join our MLM and be as rich as a Petsuchos!” line, it could expose sides of people’s nature that I don’t think I want to see. I don’t think I want to find out what it feels like to make someone work out until they puke. For so many reasons.
Of course, once you get right down to it, Beachbody coaches do not actually train people. They really are a lot like MLM reps for other companies. Most of their effort goes into selling a meal replacement shake called Shakeology. The difference between Shakeology and other meal replacement shakes is that Shakeology only has 140 calories per serving. This fact has generated one of two responses from the numerous Beachbody reviewers who have voiced their opinions. One response is that, of course, you will lose weight if you only eat 140 calories for lunch. That is even less than drinking a Starbucks coffee for lunch. The other response is that anyone who knows anything about fitness knows that you should mix it with other healthy ingredients like almond butter and bananas, but if that is the case, why not just buy any of the other nutritional supplement powders that cost so much less than Shakeology?
The Beachbody Compensation Plan
When I first started looking for information about the Beachbody compensation plan, two of the search terms that Google suggested were “I hate Beachbody” and “I hate Beachbody coaches”, so I knew I was in for a treat. It seems that, when you sign up as a Beachbody coach, you try to get other people to buy Shakeology and other Beachbody products. Sure, you can sell the videos, but that isn’t going to increase your sales volume that much. One purchase of P90X will keep your customer busy for three months. It’s the nutritional supplements and meal replacement shakes that your customers can order on autoship. Another of the most frequent Beachbody complaints is that it is notoriously difficult to cancel your autoshipped order of Beachbody supplements. One commenter on a forum said that the only way to stop the Beachbody merchandise from being shipped to him was to close his bank account and open a new one at a different bank, and even then, Beachbody still emails him every month and says that they tried to charge his card, but it was declined.
Beachbody coaches tend to be very active on social media. Some bloggers who used to be Beachbody coaches said that one of the things that made them want to quit was that they found themselves posting Beachbody related messages on Facebook that sounded like they were written by spam bots and not by bloggers, human beings who write for fun and take pride in their craft. Another complaint that a lot of Beachbody customers have is that many of them get incessant emails and social media messages pressuring them to join the team of one or another Beachbody coach. Many former coaches complained about feeling pressured to send these messages. Beachbody coaches don’t really coach people into getting fit; they just sell them products.
As with any MLM company, the Beachbody compensation plan includes several different ways that Beachbody coaches can make money. They earn between 15 and 25 percent commission on product sales, as well as a 40 percent commission on membership renewals. Then there are bonuses for recruiting downline sellers. The MLM leadership ranks at Beachbody are Emerald, Ruby, Diamond, Star Diamond, 2 Star Diamond, and all the way up to 15 Star Diamond. Once you reach the 2 Star Diamond rank, you are eligible for a share of one of the bonus pools. There are other bonus pools reserved for ranks even higher than 2 Star Diamond.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Encourages people to exercise regularly and change their diet does sound more honest than telling them that they can achieve health and wellness by smelling cilantro oil or by sticking a hologram sticker on their arm.
- While there are lots of MLM companies out there that sell meal replacement shakes, Beachbody is the only MLM company I know of that sells workout videos.
- People who are trying to fit diet and exercise into their busy and financially strapped lives do not need overpriced meal replacement shakes, and they know this. If they don’t have the time and money to go to the gym, they can follow along with workout videos on YouTube, and they do.
- Furthermore, people who are already serious athletes already cross train, and they already follow a strict diet and take their favorite supplements. They won’t be fooled by your Beachbody sales pitch.
- The diets that Beachbody recommends are too strict for all but the most experienced and dedicated fitness fiends. If someone is trying to get in shape, snatching a carrot out of his hand because it has too many carbs is not helpful.
I am not trying to knock fitness, and some people, including my business partner the other Brad, really find bodybuilding a fulfilling way to spend their time. If people want to do it, however, they will either price shop and find the least costly option, or they will spare no expense and get a real personal trainer. Beachbody, like almost every other MLM out there, underestimates the intelligence of consumers.
If you want to give me some encouragement about my fitness bet with the other Brad, give me a call. While I have you on the line, I will give you some advice about how to make money through MLM. Everybody wins.