Advocare, Zija, Vemma, Visalus…MLM Overload!

Maybe I’m reading too much Michael Pollan “In Defense of Food.”

Or maybe I’m tired of telling people to just eat real food and put down the junk.

Or maybe I don’t understand how much time it takes to prepare foods if you’re a busy housewife or a working parent of 6 or a traveling businessman business person.

Folks, how long does it take for you to realize that there is no magic pill out there?  What happened to hard work, getting your ass out of bed to go for a run (or walk) around the block, waking up a little earlier to make some food, taking the TIME to research where your food comes from?  It seems like no one wants to EAT FOOD anymore, maybe because they associate food with weight gain or something BAD or a CHEAT meal.   So they’re DRINKING it in the form of shakes and powders with the hopes that they will lose weight!

Naive me, I thought Fad Diets went out of style years ago…with the word fad. (I think it’s “Trend” now).  I’m hip to the lingo.

So the fad diets are still around except the approach has changed.  At least that’s what I’m noticing.

Nowadays, supplements are now being sold directly through people you know.  Your friends and family members.  Maybe a co-worker or a Facebook friend of a friend.  It’s a much more subtle approach.  After all, your friend would never steer you wrong!

Pretty clever marketing if you ask me.  Real people using their real results to sell you the same product.  Everyone wins!

That’s how I define these Multi-Level Marketing companies.  (Notice I didn’t say schemes, trying to remain unbiased here.)

Let’s take a look at some of the popular ones:

We have Advocare which seems to rely on Personal Training Studios and Personal Trainers themselves to sell this product.  That is definitely who they are targeting because I myself got an email from them asking to sell it at our studio plus I’ve seen their logo at a number of gyms that I’ve been to.

ZijaNext is Zija which has gotten ahold of this Moringa plant that has a ton of nutrients in it.  They sell mostly drinks.  Their motto is Drink Life In and they tout that people can be super healthy drinking their mixes and taking their vitamins.  They also have a skin care line.

VemmaVemma is a nutrition company that makes shakes, energy drinks and energy shots and a cleanse…the list goes on.  Here’s what it says on their website under Vemma Bod-e Program: Vemma Bod•ē™ is a healthy weight loss solution featuring results-oriented products to help you achieve your weight management goal, without sacrificing wellness.* With first-of-its-kind ingredient blends, Vemma Bod•ē helps curb your appetite, increase your energy and restore your body with nutritional support.* See for yourself how Bod•ē can help you shed those hard-to-lose pounds.*†  

See all those asterisks?  When you scroll all the way down to the page, it says “To be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and daily exercise.”

Well, at least their honest.

Body by ViLastly we have Visalus but mostly everyone else knows them by Body By Vi. They have shakes and all kinds of kits as you can see.

If you haven’t heard of any of these products, consider yourself to be living under a rock.

And can I please join you under that rock?

Before users or sellers of these products get all upset,  note that I’m not about to bash a series of products that I haven’t tried.  I’ve heard absolutely wonderful things about them. I know people who swear by them.  Awesome. Good for you!

But what I am more concerned about is why you would take such a product?  What convinced you that this was the solution for you?  What about the long-term effects.  How long do people who take these shakes/energy drinks plan on using them for?  When does it end?   Do you feel the results you’ve gotten have been because you’re literally drinking the Kool-Aid or is it because maybe you decided to start eating better and working out once you actually started the program and it’s one big coincidence?  How do you feel after taking these products?  Do you feel energy from all that caffeine that’s pumped into them?

Okay that last question was a little dig, I admit.

I have noticed one way to entice people to try their product is with a Challenge, like a  “90 Day Challenge” or “24 Day Challenge.”

Hmmm…something shady here.  Why are we given a time frame now? What’s the rush? Oh right I forgot, everyone’s in a hurry to lose water weight.

I work in the fitness industry so why wouldn’t I want my clients to take these products to lose weight? And I could make a profit from it? Sounds tempting…After all, I could definitely use the extra money.

So what’s the catch?

Well as I mentioned above, they are all MLM  Companies.  No big deal right?  But what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear MLM?  I posed this question on Twitter and got the following responses:

“Scam.”  “Pyramid Scheme.”  “Ponzi Scheme.”  “Amway…Scam.”

All negative responses with the exception of  one “Not all MLM companies are created equal.”  That was from someone who worked with a few.   But the overwhelming negative viewpoint of it continues to baffle me.  Upon further research, it’s obvious these companies are  making money.  They all seem to have the same video montages online that you can watch of how they started, the CEO walking thru the warehouse, the executives around the large table thinking of new ideas, the conferences where everyone gets all pumped up to get out there and sell their butts off with the hopes of perhaps earning a free BMW or Mercedes if you’re a top seller.

Something else these companies have in common is a celebrity endorsement/testimonial.

Evander Holyfield for Zija

 

Chris Powell (That Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition trainer) for Vemma Bod-e Shakes

Hulk Hogan for Visalus

 Drew Brees for Advocare

That’s interesting… They all have something in common besides being completely wealthy that I just can’t put my finger on…oh right, THEY’RE ALREADY IN SHAPE AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN SHAPE!  Drew Brees? The man is an NFL Quarterback!  Hulk Hogan may have struggled after he retired…maybe?? I think Chris Powell may have been an overweight kid so I won’t comment on that but he is a trainer.

Hey wait….I’m also a trainer!  Does that mean I wouldn’t jump at the chance to endorse a product that promised great results?  Even un-paid like Drew does?  Well, I suppose it would depend.  If it’s a product that helps you achieve great results in the gym, like a protein powder that I have taken and seen firsthand the effects…I think I would consider it.  But a weight-loss product?  And one that promises a free car for the top seller?

You have the right to call me a sell-out if that ever happens.  But let’s be real, it never would.

I’d rather make a DVD and slap my face on that showing people how to workout.  But that’s too simple and unoriginal.

And common sense doesn’t sell.

Here’s my advice opinion to anyone looking to lose weight:

Whole, natural food, some supplements like a multi-vitamin and probiotic and fish oil and daily activity is the probably a good start to being healthy.  The key words are WHOLE, NATURAL FOOD.   You should probably learn how to cook if you don’t already know.  That is also a big secret people tend to forget about.  Consistently do this and you should see some changes.

Here’s a better 24/30/90 Day Challenge for you:  Cook all your food.  The only rule is you can’t use a microwave.  You have to use a stove/oven/steamer/blender etc..  The microwave can only be used for re-heating leftovers. Work out if you want.  But you don’t have to.  Do that for a period of time and see if you still need those shakes/drinks.

Oh my gosh, I think I just gave everyone reading this the secret to losing weight!

And for free?!  Shoot, where’s my endorsement?

-Michelle

  • So what’s your take?  Have you been approached by a friend to take any of these products?  
  • Have you found success by selling them/ taking them? 
  • Can I have a ride in your Mercedes? 😉

 

20 thoughts on “Advocare, Zija, Vemma, Visalus…MLM Overload!

  1. Girl, I love your blog.

    You are no-nonsense, and that is something I appreciate. Seriously. You rock, sister, don’t let anyone ever convince you otherwise–not that I imagine anyone would have that ability, but just in case you fall into a period of self-doubt like most of us humans do on occasion.

    Eat less (or, really, more of the *right* foods), move more. These things are tired and true, but they’re SO HARD!!!!ZOMG! Not really, but that’s the prevailing attitude among people who want quick fix weight loss solutions such as these.

    I’m sure you’re a kickass personal trainer. Good for you for not falling into the traps of selling these things. I would have a hard time putting my trust into a trainer that did, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

  2. I just wanted to reply to your question as to why anybody would want to take these products. I have lost 50 lbs with Advocare over the past 10 months. Yes, they have meal replacement shakes. Yes, they have bars. Yes, they have carb blockers. None of these products, however, have made their way into my body. What I have learned from Advocare is how to eat clean and minimize the processed food that makes its way into my diet. I have gained a tremendous amount of energy from eating healthy and along with that burst of energy has come motivation to exercise. Advocare may not be right for everybody, but I know it has helped me and my family get on track to lead long, healthy lives. I am a physical therapist, I have always known what I was “supposed” to do to lose weight, but I would often get very frustrated and give up. Advocare is the only system that has taught me how to change my relationship with food and eat for health rather than for pure pleasure/boredom/etc. I feel very confident in the products they produce because of the world-renowned sci-med board that develops the products as well as their voluntary participation in 3rd party testing for banned substances, Informed Choice. Yes, Drew Brees is the national spokesman and therefore paid, there are also hundreds of other UNPAID endorsers that are elite athletes. These products aren’t just for weight loss…there is a huge line of products that cover most peoples needs. Off my soapbox now….good luck to you in your future. I do hope that you continue to have an open mind and present things without bias after doing your due diligence. People look to you to be the expert and it would be irresponsible of you to share misinformation about any product/company/etc. Keep up the good work.

  3. hi Michelle,

    thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I wish my sibilings will understand the long term concerns on the effects on their body having to lose 30kgs within 3 months when they tried out a MLM 3months weight loss program, causing them about $3000/pax..! they wanted me to try it out too but I refused. we even ended up in an argument. why? because I don’t feel safe. is it medically proven? what’s in the bottle? in my country, there’s even real life reports on people having organs failure after eating MLM health products. i’m a avid partaker of health supplements but those are for building up your well-being, not quick fixs. Also, I make sure that I get these from reputable retail stores specialising in making such products at least for a few decades. these help us know where the sources are. No matter what business one is in, it’s my conviction that one should sell with a conscience, especially products to be consumed. i’ve friends in MLM & ever visited 1 such company. how much do you think is their profit margins to ‘feed’ the paramid down the line..? from their big houses, big cars, luxury bags, club memberships… etc; one will know it’s all about business. it’s all about making money. That’s why they get all the fit looking celebs to endorse on their products, to gain public’s confidence. Again, this’ part of business strategy, to make as much sales (aka: money) as possible before any new products take over. For the readers out there, please view this matter diplomatically. please be kind to your body. how do you think your body can take it having to lose 10s of kg within just 3mths..?! you may look on the outside, but does it come with a price that you gotta pay with shorter lifespan or organs failure…? Please hear me right, I do believe there are good products but it should be coupled with your doc’s advise on what’s good & tailored made for you. Don’t just consume it without seeking professional advice. how can there ever be 1 product fits all? we are all different. I’ve a friend who gotten good & healthy weight lost via a doc’s diet program yet without having to eat these products. She learns to eat well & exercise well. this is the way to go for overall well-being. i’m learning to do that gradually too. it’s all about taking the efforts & making a choice. Not everything can be instant. Otherwise, there’s no need for fitness centres nor promoting healthy lifestyle by taking time to exercise. All of us wants the best for our body. I wish one day such MLM health products will require clinical tests by law before permission to sell. these will put many hearts at ease. do not be blinded by quick results. be kind to your body

  4. Loved your blog post here! I have been looking this stuff up all morning because I have dueling facebook friends selling Advocare and body by vi and was curious to see some reviews as to which people think is better. I did the advocare 24 day challenge a few months ago through a neighbor who had good results, and one thing that I did like about it is you do eat REAL whole foods and take a good omega 3, probiotics, and fiber, and vitamins. I did lose 11lbs. and felt great! But I must say that I did for a quick weight loss for the holidays, you know like when women go on a bootcamp diet before a wedding. I am definitely a ‘fad diet’ skeptic though. One thing I hate about it is the pushy sales pitches! I have fb friends who sell the visalus products and yes, they are those people that got a free car! So pushy and annoying (is that mean?) They even got my Grandmother doing it against my advice to her because they have her believing this will lower her BP? Losing weight will lower your blood pressure, but it just annoys the hell out of me that these people who are basically morons when it comes to real nutrition are pushing this stuff as if they are some authority on the subject! Who the hell wants to drink 2 shakes a day for meals? I heard of that once long ago, it was called Slimfast. So they talk up slim fast, add a few designer ingredients, jack up the price, and get some pushy sales people, AND link it to your bank account? No thanks.

    • Yes I have several times. Not interested in anything like that. I don’t fault anyone for promoting or trying it but I don’t need it. Plus I made a promise on here and to myself that I wouldn’t use anything like that to get ready for the competition so I’m sticking to that. It doesn’t matter anyways because I’m getting everything I need through food. It’s actually a freeing experience knowing I don’t have to rely on anything like that to see results whereas maybe a year ago I might have tried it and relied on it as a crutch. I find I that I’m cooking so much more these days…plus I have a Vitamix and it’s almost sacrilegious in my opinion to put anything in there that’s already a shake,. ha! That thing was meant to BLEND and pulverize! I should post an “Ode to My Vitamix” someday on here, I love it that much! 🙂

  5. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! My issue is not with the products themselves, I’m young and dont have the money to be spending on these products anyway. My issue is the mentality of the MLM “business owners.” The attitude that the only way to be healthy or successful is through their products. That all other forms of work or lifestyle are mediocre at best. It totally consumes the members involved, otherwise they won’t be successful. They sell this “live free” way of life but in order to truly be successful they have to work around the clock everyday in order to achieve their car or whatever it may be. Somewhat off the topic of nutrition, sorry, but thank you, thank you, thank you for your article!

  6. Interesting post. My personal testimony is that I saw a friend have a big change in his weight, energy level and overall health. He told me he was doing the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge. There was no elimination of food groups or starvation diets. My wife & I decided to try it; although we were both skeptical but since my friend had results, we trusted him. After 3 days I had a noticeable change in my energy level and I didn’t have to veg out on the couch after work. My wife felt so much better she became more active as well. My 19 and 15 year-old daughters also wanted to do what mom & dad were doing. The best thing for us was that we were doing it as a family. Was it expensive? Some would say yes but what kind of price do you put on your health. The fact that my entire family was engaged and this was something that we could all do together because we could eat REAL food was certainly worth it. We started watching less TV, eating together, etc., etc. After 24 days my wife lost 15 pounds. I lost 19 pounds and we felt better than we did when we were 20 (we are in our mid-40’s). When people started asking what we were doing, we shared our story and the products. Because it is a direct sales company, products can only be purchased through distributors. We saw value in the products; not to mention the company has been around for 20 years and MOST (I did not say all) of the distributors are not pushy and aren’t after the cars, houses, boats, etc. They are about changing lives, helping people break free from the bondage of debt and change the course of history for families. We’ve had people in their teens up to their 70’s get a new lease on life because they are taught how to eat again. The supplementation provides a kickstart and fills the gaps for those that aren’t as disciplined to always juice or cook real food or eat raw. Like someone said earlier, AdvoCare is not for everyone. In one way or another, we can provide help for everyone that has a desire to help themselves. We want to be recognized for what we offer and give to people. Not for what we can horde or amass. Changing lives is our cause and building champions is our purpose. It’s okay if you say no to AdvoCare. But choose to do something for your health , for your family and for your future. Michelle, may you have much success. Although I don’t know you personally, I am rooting for you in your competition. I admire your discipline, tenacity and courage. Be blessed!
    -Greg

  7. I know this is an old post, but I had a couple of questions. What do you these of these products as just the supplements? Not the energy or weight loss things, but as a multivitamin. I’ve recently developed a condition called costochondritis (rib pain), and some chronic lyme disease and I’ve read some saying these products helped them. I eat a good diet, with lots of produce, but I do feel some things are lacking, since we are on a limited budget and I can’t eat all of the nutrients I need, because I honestly can’t eat that much. I’ve read lots about most vitamins aren’t well absorbed (pill form) and many contains unhealthy ingredients like gmos. I really want something to be absorbed well and be actually good for me. Thanks!

  8. Hey thanks! I’ve been trying to find info that’s not biased about Zija. I had a friend that’s doing it and has the free Mercedes and making a couple bucks. He has had incredible weight loss and claims to feel better then ever. I got some of the products as samples, but not enough to form a solid opinion about it. I have, however checked out the Moringa plants nutritional and antioxidants and I’m very impressed with the claims there. I have taken the Vitamin shops Moringa pills and felt improvements in health and focus, but not weight loss. But I wasn’t drinking the Zija drink mix all day, and the pills, and the tea. I keep getting interested in doing/marketing the Zija system but then the mlm hype and the $300-500 a month per person cost to do it makes me back off again. I get pills at a retail shop for $14.99, not $90 like Zija. The biggest problem I have is,,, if its so good why isn’t it in the stores? Why the mlm? I looked for unbiased info last night and ended up getting a free mlm marketing program from some dud that the feds are or were after for shady stuff. What a pain in the ass. Ok, I’m done rambling. Thanks for putting you opinion out there.

  9. You would never endorse a product if it was marketed through an MLM? On one hand you say no to all the shakes and pills, then on the other hand you say eat healthy and take multivitamins and fish oils? I agree with eating healthy and you likely know a more than I do about nutritional cooking so I won’t challenge you there. However, I have seen many people getting great results from getting their nutrition through products like the ones sold through MLM companies despite the unusual marketing style. There are a lot of people who do not know how to cook real food. They could take the time to learn how to cook if they wanted to, but most people live very busy lives. It is much easier to get proper daily nutrition through a super-food supplement at least initially. I do recommend that people do their due diligence and don’t get caught up with the promises of making tons of money or winning a new car. If the product works it will show. I’ve used products from one of the companies listed above for a little over a year. For the first time in my life, I have lost weight that did not come back to find me again. The product works for weight loss and energy! But unfortunately, I still don’t have a Mercedes… LOL!

  10. I’ve tried several Direct Sales….. er….. MLM Companies. Here’s my final verdict: They are a whole lot of people working really hard so a few people can make a whole lot or money.

  11. I have been involved with an organization mentioned above for a little over a year now and i was wondering what your take would be on people who did cook their own food and i mean people who ate very healthy yet medical conditions, aches and pains etc got worse even when eating “real food”. Is it a coincidence that once people started consuming a supplement to help them get what the body really needs everday they felt better, were able to not have to take prescription meds and the pains went away? It doesn’t matter how well you feel or if you are in tremendous shape it is a proven fact that we don’t get key nutrients from food today even if you grow it yourself. I respect your opinion as a PT but i will look at the facts and continue to consume the supplement that has help so many worldwide for over 5,000 years..

    • Thanks for the comment although I think we are on agreement on this. I agree we don’t get key nutrients from food alone, we NEED to take vitamins. Which is why the only vitamins I take I give credit for keeping me flu-free for over 5 years now. I take ones from Thorne Research which are tablets, not capsules. And they aren’t one-a-days. You take them multiple times a day. (3 in the morning and 3 in the evening) and they obviously differ as to their content for the morning and evening (more vitamin B in the AM, etc). So yeah, ummm I think we agree! 🙂 I’m against any MLM company that promotes a product that gives false claims like Zija (Or whatever it was called) claims to cure cancer. And that’s not an exaggeration, the “Saleswoman” who spoke to me face to face said it cured cancer. Right away, I classified her as not a credible source of information and therefore, that brand was ruined for me from the start. The rest never did that, but the public opinion hasn’t changed: majority of folks hear names like Herbalife and Advocate and unfortunately, the first reaction is “Scam.” I’m with you, I will continue to eat my real food with some processed foods mixed in there. And as I said, if one of these scams works for someone, that’s great! It’s just never going to be anything I will ever ever ever ever ever (did I say ever) promote or endorse.

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