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Shakes for weight loss – do they work?

July 14, 2016

Throughout my fitness career, I’ve been lured into many attractive money making opportunities. Most of these companies sell products and the people selling the products are often referred to as “coaches”. The coaches often make money as they sell more products and recruit more people onto their fitness team. You probably already know some of the companies to which I am referring: Herbalife, Beachbody, Isagenix, etc. I’m not here to knock these companies (too much), as the products and coaches do seem to help people get into shape and give them the support that they need during their weight loss journey.

After checking out the opportunities, I knew that this wasn’t the path I wanted to take for my personal career. Selling products that I don’t truly believe in, or knowing there are much cheaper and much better (organic, non-gmo, no artificial anything) products on the market turned me off to anything that these companies could provide for their customers. What makes me sad and angry is that many of these fitness professionals know this but are willing to put their values aside to make a buck. This sets legitimate fitness industry professionals back, as many of these people are not really certified in any way and have just become coaches to cash in, supposedly.

Which I get, we all need to make money, but never at the expense of your reputation.

Now the real question stands: do shakes actually help one lose weight? That is just one of the supposed benefits of these shakes. Others include: appetite suppression, less cravings, more energy, better digestion, and an overall improved sense of well-being. Wow, that’s pretty impressive.

I understand that many people aren’t getting close to the nutrients they need on a daily basis with our modern diet, so sometimes drinking a fortified shake can help add many vitamins and minerals that they might not be getting from their food. Hence, the increased energy and craving suppression. Even a small positive change will elicit pretty dramatic increases in energy or overall well-being if you’re eating processed junk. Also, something else to consider is the placebo effect. However, as a true fitness professional, is this the way to teach people and your clients how to lose weight? Is this sustainable? Is spending $130 on a month supply of a magical shake even logical? I asked myself these questions as I was checking out these companies. And the answer, in my opinion, is most definitely no.

I don’t think drinking a shake or following a strict diet plan or even following a strict exercise program is the way to teach people how to live a better and healthier lifestyle. When I first started training, I followed this approach, but as I learned more and gained more personal experience, I realized this wasn’t the way I wanted to represent myself and my business. In most of the cases I’ve seen, diving in without working on the psychological/mental aspect of how and why the person got to that state in the first place usually fails. There is a reason why people are overweight, whether it’s emotional or they are just plain addicted to food (which is very real). So, how does a shake or a calorie restrictive diet plan help this in any way, shape, or form? Now don’t get me wrong, I understand there are extreme cases where someone might be in dire health and absolutely need to do something quick in order to save their life. That’s a different case. However, I don’t feel most people are in this category and most people can benefit from making gradual, sustainable changes that will stick in the long run. 

To sum it up, I think that shakes can have a place in one’s health and fitness program, but they should never replace whole foods. Spend your money on the best quality foods possible FIRST, and if there’s some cash left over after all is said and done, go ahead and indulge in a high quality, clean protein/energy shake to help you along with your weight loss journey. Never get brainwashed into thinking that a shake is better for your health than real food!



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