Do you guys remember seeing infomercials for Shaun T's Hip Hop Abs when you were home sick in grade school? I do. Have you seen advertisements or heard friends talking about P90X or Insanity? I have. And still, the first time I consciously became aware of the Beachbody empire was when I listened to Danielle Natoni's conversation with Steph Gadreau as part of the Women's Strength Summit this winter. Danielle is a Beachbody coach (she goes by Fit and Funky) and when I started following her on Instagram and seeing a) what great shape she's in, and b) how she works out (for real) in her living room, right next to her couch, I started to get curious about Beachbody. There's a running joke on Danielle's page about how unimpressed her cat is with her workouts, because there she is with no equipment (besides maybe some medium-sized hand weights) arm's length from her living room furniture. If you didn't catch it already, Beachbody is the company that puts out home workout DVDs (and meal plans, and supplements to go with them) that have stayed insanely popular over the years--probably because they keep releasing great new ones, but also because they consistently put out programs that help people get and stay in great shape by working out in their own homes.
And THEN I started seeing a college friend posting about fitness and getting healthy on Facebook, and I learned that she had started coaching for Beachbody. Actually, a sorority sister of ours started coaching two years ago and has built a huge network of health-minded people through coaching. So, I ordered a program from my friend and joined a "challenge group" of people who are also doing a program, over a 3-week period, to keep in touch about how things are going, lend accountability, and share tips and encouragement. I loved the challenge group, because it gave me a community that I realized I've really been missing--I loved team sports when I was in school, and I really enjoy how keeping in touch with others about my health and fitness pushes me to do more. I'm always more likely to show up a workout if my friends will be there, or if someone else will know if I miss it. Plus, it brightens my day to see how others are succeeding.
But, I didn't really fully commit to the challenge, in two ways: first, I did some of the workouts that I bought (PiYo, which is a combo of pilates and yoga and general body-weight fitness moves) but not on the schedule they recommend, and really just sprinkled between my regular workouts. I also didn't follow any specific meal plan, and I didn't order the Shakeology.
Shakeology is Beachbody's meal replacement/protein shake, and it's been my biggest hangup about the company from the start. I've done my research, and most reviews agree that Shakeology has higher quality ingredients than other protein shakes on the market, but I'm just not really a meal-replacement person in general (real food, please) and Shakeo is the only part of Beachbody that felt really pyramid-scheme-y to me. But I didn't try it, so it's really not fair to judge it. And, I felt like I had really figured out how to eat well for my body, and was resistant to commit to anything that made me measure or eat a specific prescribed anything. That stresses me out.
But I really did like the challenge group. I worked out more that month because I had a place to track my workouts where my coach would see them. I got constant updates from other women in my challenge group posting great healthy meal or snack ideas, sweaty selfies with a quick summary of their workout (inspiring me to get mine done, too), and when I posted in the challenge group myself I got support and encouragement back from new friends.
Last week Beachbody coaches flooded Nashville for their annual summit, and I learned something else about the company--a bunch of the health and fitness people I've started following on Instagram are Beachbody coaches and I didn't even know it. Seeing their photos and posts about the coach summit made me think again about Beachbody, and decide that I'd like to try another challenge group and really commit to it. I ordered 21 Day Fix Extreme (another of their really popular programs) and a bag of Shakeology, and decided I would give it a month to follow the workouts, and the meal plan, and drink the Shakeo and see what I think. Because what really calls to me about this company is the community--everyone I've encountered through Beachbody so far is so positive, and so excited about improving their health and fitness and helping others do the same, and I LOVE that. So I want to get the experience of being all in, and see how it goes. Plus, the 21 Day Fix workouts are only 30 minutes, and even with the "extreme" version (which is just harder workouts than the original 21 Day Fix) I think I should be able to fit in my training runs and stick mostly to the 21DF schedule.
So, I'm excited to try something new with my workouts and super curious to see how I like Shakeology (ready to hate it, but hoping to love it). And I feel energized and excited, and I've learned to run towards things that give me that feeling. Stay tuned!