We’re betting that at some point in your life you either purchased P90X®, the Insanity® workout, 10-Minute Abs®, Turbo Jam®, or one of the other programs offered by Team BeachBody®. Perhaps, somewhere in your past you even considered their supplements, including their Shakeology® protein drink. If so, you are going to enjoy this review. If you’ve never heard of TeamBeachBody®, their multiple exercise and fitness programs, or their supplements, you’re still going to enjoy this review, as we introduce you to one of the slickest marketing engines in the fitness and nutrition space.
Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon co-founded team BeachBody® in 1998 in Santa Monica, CA. To quote current CEO Carl Daikeler, the company is the “creator of the nation’s most popular fitness and weight-loss solutions.” Since its inception, the company has continuously expanded and pivoted to meet the changing needs of the industry:
- Fitness videos
- Diet guidelines
- Peer support system
- Team of 350,000 Team BeachBody® coaches
- Streaming service
- BeachBody® on-demand app
Beachbody’s trainers have become some of the world’s most recognized names in health and wellness, including Shaun T, Autumn Calabrese, Joel Freeman, and Jericho McMatthews. In 2018, the company’s annual revenues exceeded $800 million. We told you this is a potent marketing driven enterprise.
In this article, we’ll review the company’s Shakeology® Superfood Shake. Since its introduction in 2005, the company has sold more than twenty-five million bags. We’ll discuss the product’s formulation and its key ingredients. Much like the company’s marketing efforts and website, the product has undergone significant changes and improvements since its introduction, adapting to changing consumer desires and demands. In fact, on the site, the company states of Shakeology®, “The Shake that Evolves with You!”
We’ll discuss the product’s features and benefits and investigate to determine if the product is meeting its marketing claims. We’ll inform you where you can find the product, review the cost-value relationship, and always provide you our rating in terms of effectiveness and value.
What is Total Shakeology® Superfood?
Shakeology® is a nutritional supplement, in powdered form, positioned as a superfood protein shake. The ingredients include both whey and plant-based proteins – delivering a complete amino acid profile, superfruits and antioxidants, digestive enzymes, fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics. The product also includes adaptogens, super greens, phytonutrients, and vitamins and minerals.
The company states their intention was never to make an average shake. Instead, they believe they have produced the most potent shake available with the best ingredients. The product contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives, and is available in dairy free form. Each batch of Shakeology® (including ingredients and final product) goes through over 1,900 tests to ensure quality standards are met.
The Shakeology® formulation is one of the most comprehensive we have observed. In the plant-based varieties, protein represents 16 grams or about 42% of the total serving. In the whey products, 17 grams of protein represents about 35% of a serving. This compares to a traditional protein shake where 80% – 85% or more of a serving is from protein.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the precise breakdown of the other ingredients as BeachBody uses a proprietary blend. The product is not positioned as a diet shake; however, the on-site marketing features multiple success stories, all emphasizing weight loss as a primary benefit.
Shakeology® Key Ingredients
Shakeology® Superfood has far more ingredients than any shake we have reviewed to date. Depending upon your preference for dairy versus plant-based, the total number of ingredients can reach nearly forty different components. It is also important to note that every flavor is blended slightly differently. We’ll not review all forty ingredients; rather, we’ll discuss the major components and their intended benefits:
- Proteins, Dairy – whey protein isolate to help build/maintain lean muscle and help with satiety. In isolation, an isolate is typically a fast-digesting protein source used for post-workout. In combination with plant-based proteins, this will slow digestion, making the shake viable at any time of day
- Proteins, Plant-Based – pea, flax, quinoa, and rice to deliver a complete amino acid profile with all nine essential amino acids
- Superfruits and Antioxidants – a blend of ten different berries, think bilberry and goji berries, and, other antioxidants such as camu camu and rose hips to aid in combatting free radical damage
- Adaptogens – Astragalus, ashwagandha and various mushrooms, used for centuries to aid in stress reduction
- Supergreens and Phytonutrients – spinach, kale, chlorella, and cinnamon and match green tea for health and vitality
- Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes – a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics. Designed to help with nutrient absorption, regularity, and healthy digestion
- Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K2; mineral profile calcium, sodium, iron, and potassium for energy, metabolism, and immune function
Shakeology® is a relatively large serving size, as much as forty grams in some flavors. With the protein component only representing 35% – 42% of the total serving that leaves a good bit of space for the “other” components. We only wish we could identify the exact amounts of those components to better determine their effectiveness.
Shakeology® Recommended Dosage
The company recommends taking one serving per day, ranging from 36 grams to 40 grams, with 8 – 12 ounces of water, almond milk, rice milk, juice, or your favorite beverage. The company also offers blogs and recipe ideas for alternative uses of the powder, such as brownies, puddings, and pies.
Benefits of Shakeology®
Although not positioned as a diet shake, some of the primary benefits of Shakeology® are to reduce hunger allowing you to eat less, as much as 180 fewer calories per day based on their clinical studies. Other Shakeology® benefits include:
- Lean muscle support
- Digestive health
- Provides healthy energy
- Improves gut health
- Satisfies cravings
- Fights free radicals
- Better response to stress
- Helps you to feel better
- Tastes great
How Does Shakeology® Perform – the Claims versus the Reality
We reviewed Shakeology® when it was first introduced and determined it was most likely not as good as other protein shakes on the market. However, as the company says this is, “The Shake that Evolves with You.” We consider the evolution of Shakeology® to be a game-changer.
We would like to see the protein content just a bit higher, closer to twenty grams per serving. However, the addition of fiber, pre and probiotics, adaptogens, super greens, and vitamins and minerals are sufficient to convince us this is a very viable alternative to the standard protein shake. We have no doubt the product performs, particularly in combination with some of BeachBody’s exercise programs, and a healthy diet.
The company’s testimonials on the site, in their ads, and their videos are truly impressive. We’ll reiterate once again; this is a marketing machine.
Potential Side Effects of Shakeology®
With the number of ingredients in Shakeology®, there is the potential for an adverse side effect. The most frequently reported side effects to include:
- Diarrhea, gas, and bloating
- Dizziness and headaches
These side effects may be due to lactose intolerance or the sheer number of ingredients in Shakeology®, which results in your body going into a bit of shock. We recommend you start with a half scoop initially and titrate up your dosage as your body adapts.
We also recommend consulting with your health care provider before taking any new supplement, to ensure this product doesn’t interfere with any other medications or supplements you may be taking.
BeachBody® illustrates their pride in formulation, packaging, ingredients, and go to market strategies in their pricing. There are thirty servings per bag and prices tend to fluctuate a bit by flavor and formulation:
Chocolate Whey – $124.95
Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Greenberry, and Café Latte Plant Based – $129.95
Vanilla, Strawberry, and Cafe Latte Whey – $129.95
Pumpkin Spice Plant-Based – a seasonal flavor available in 14 packets versus 30 is $74.95
A base price per serving is $4.33 for everything except Chocolate Whey.
Best Places to Buy Shakeology®
Shakeology is only available through the company website or a Beachbody Coach. The product is not available on Amazon, on other websites, or in traditional brick and mortar stores.
Although the price per serving of Shakeology® is expensive, we believe the ingredient profile, taste, and effectiveness make this one to try. Attempting to replicate the formulation with a protein shake and greens will still leave gaps versus the BeachBody® formulation, and if you’re buying quality products, the savings would be negligible.
If, for whatever reason, you are not satisfied with the product BeachBody® does offer a thirty-day money-back guarantee.