The Biggest Scam in the Fitness Industry

By: Kyle Hunt

I typically don’t like to spend time criticizing other people or other companies. I feel it is a waste of time and energy. However, my primary goal is to help people improve their lives. That’s why I’m in this industry.

So when I see something that is unethical and potentially hurting others, I’m going to address it. That is the case when it comes to multilevel marketing supplement/nutrition companies.

Now, before I get started I want to make it noted that if by chance you are involved in one of these companies and didn’t know any better to begin with, that’s okay. With that being said, meaning well and doing well are two different things. If you are involved with a company like this, I would get out immediately.

Multilevel Marketing Scam

There is so much to criticize with these companies that it is hard for me to pick a place to start!

Before we even get into the health/nutrition aspects, let’s first look at them from a business standpoint.

If you are unfamiliar with the term “Multilevel Marketing “, it is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for the sales they generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople they recruit. It is also known as a pyramid scheme.

For example, if I am selling a product and I sign you up to sell it too, I would reap a percentage of your sales commissions. Then your goal would be to sign other people up and then get a percentage of their commissions. It turns into a lot of signing people up to sell but not many people buying it as strictly a consumer.

Basically multilevel marketing is a legal scam.

Any company that survives based on a multilevel marketing platform is a red flag. Legitimate companies do not need to use this style of marketing to sell product.

From a re-seller stand point the company always tries to make it seem like you will make a lot of money from selling their product. In reality, you will find it extremely hard to make back your initial investment and in most cases end up losing money!

The problem is these companies typically are backed and promoted by doctors, believe it or not. Doctors use their credentials to make people believe they have their best interest at heart. However, any doctor that promotes these companies is either extremely incompetent, or just looking to make a quick buck. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the time it is the latter.

Here is a six minute video on how to spot a pyramid / multilevel marketing schemes.

The Products

The shady marketing doesn’t bother me as much as the products and nutrition system does.

Throughout this article I am going to group the companies I am talking about together for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t want to name any specifically. Two, there are so many out there I don’t want to limit it to just the ones I can list. However, being that I’m not singling out any specific brand, realize that the specific practices will differ slightly between companies. However, the main points will be the same across the the category.

This is typically how it works. The products are marketed as being a revolutionary way to lose weight. There will probably be video testimonials with people explaining how taking the supplement changed their lives.

But it’s not just ONE supplement. It’s a multitude of products that you are supposed to take every day for 30–90 days.

These “special” products are nothing more than overpriced supplements you could get for half the price at any online supplement retailer.

The systems are set up for you to replace your daily meals with their “meal replacement” drinks. Depending on which brand you bought into, you may be able to eat one normal meal per day.

When all is said and done you end up on an extremely low calorie (around 500) a day diet for the duration of the program.

It doesn’t matter if you weigh 100lbs or 300lbs, you are given the same meal plan complete with your daily supplement routine.

Let that sink in…500 calories a day. My five month old baby consumes more than 500 calories per day.

No Long Term Benefits

Can you lose weight with these programs? Yes, of course you can. The real question is, how long will you keep it off?

Losing weight is nothing more than a basic math formula. In order to lose weight you must be in a negative caloric balance. I don’t care who you are, if you are only consuming 500 calories a day you are going to be losing weight. I think that is the point. It’s a fool proof plan for people to be in a calorie deficit. But at what expense?

Typically when dieting you want to consume as many calories as possible while still losing the desired amount of weight. This is important for a couple reasons. One, it makes the dieting process more maintainable. It is a lot easier to diet on 2500 calories a day then it is 500. Two, it preserves muscle tissue and proper metabolic function.

Without going beyond the scope of this article, extremely low calorie diets like this cause a few problems.

A 500 calorie diet combined with consuming 2–3 meal replacement shakes per day is not sustainable long term. Everyone thinks we as a society have a weight loss problem because a good majority of people are over weight. The reality is this — it’s not a weight loss problem as much as it is a weight regain problem.

People go on the latest fad diet and actually lose weight successfully. However, once the diet ends they gain all the weight back…plus 10%. In order to lose weight and keep it off, there needs to be a lifestyle change. People need to adopt better lifestyle habits — eating better, exercising more, etc.

Another major issue with extremely low calorie dieting is the metabolic effect. The human metabolism has a great ability to adapt to under feeding. In the days of early humans this was a vital trait for survival.

When you diet on very low calories you obviously lose weight. With any weight loss comes a down regulation of metabolic function due to a number of different factors. Due to the extreme nature of these low calorie diets, the down regulation of metabolic function is greater than what it would be during a more moderate calorie deficit.

When it comes time to get off from the plan and go back to eating “normally” your body is in an ideal state to regain the weight.

Low calorie diets set people up to fail long term despite short term weight loss.

Do You Need to Cleanse?

Another aspect of these companies I want to address deals with cleansing or detoxing. Normally these terms are used to get you to invest more money into the program.

They say you need to “cleanse” or “detox” before starting and by cleansing you can lose a lot of fat while simultaneously improving nutrient absorption and overall gastrointestinal health in a short period of time.

Let’s get one thing straight, cleansing is bullshit. Your liver and kidney will do all the detoxing you need. That is why you have them.

These cleansing products are nothing more than a mixture of fiber and laxatives. Anything extra that you expel after taking these products is due to the products themselves, not anything accumulated on the intestinal wall.

Bottom Line

Like I said in the beginning, I am in this business to help people. After years of seeing people get fooled by these style of companies I finally decided to say something about it.

Believe it or not, I have been contacted by representatives of pretty much every one of these companies to become a reseller at some point. They can make a convincing argument but at the end of the day I don’t think it is ethical practice.

If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. The best way to lose weight is always going to be a combination of a small caloric restricted diet and exercise. There are no magic diets or supplements to take that will deliver lasting results.

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