Shakeology Review

A guest post from 12 Star Diamond and founding coach, Traci Morrow When Shakeology was added to our exclusive Beachbody Coach store, it made a lot of sense to me: the idea of a meal replaced with a shake that in effect, filled in the large gaps of my present diet’s nutrition. An unhealthy accumulation of days – even years – stacked up where my body wasn’t getting what I was needing and I felt it. Tired, feeling run down from my busy life, and out of time to prepare what I thought I needed – or did I even know what that was? Fruits that don’t taste all that great anymore because they’re pulled from the trees or vines too early for mass crops, vegetables that came from a frozen bag and devoid of flavor as well. I’m a terrible pill taker, so my multivitamin consumption was more hit than miss. A shake that “acted like a salad but tasted like a dessert” is what it said, and as a protein shake consumer, I was game.

Shakeology turned out to be far more than I knew to hope for. A complete system: two workouts (30 and 50 minutes), a month of recipes for both flavors, and a meal plan (through the Club) for how to incorporate the shake into my day? This wasn’t just a meal replacement shake that was going to require me to figure out how to incorporate it into my day – this was a lifestyle shift and one I desperately needed if I wanted to LIVE healthy. I love being able to speak from personal experience of how the Shakeology system has helped me regain energy, and have everyone I love on it! My 70+ year old parents, my 86 year old father in law, my siblings, my teenagers, and my 6 & 7 year olds love it too. All ages, both genders; experiencing health in a shake and a lifestyle shift that helps “End the Trend” of obesity, fast food diets, and highly processed foods that harm our generation..starting with us. ☺ If you’d like to try Shakeology for free, ask for a free sample and I’ll be happy to send you one!

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Shakeology: 3 Ways for $3

4 flavors


Sometimes when I tell people the cost of Shakeology, they respond with surprise.  They are used to seeing whey drinks at their local big box store that are fortified with vitamins and minerals and then pumped with about 200 calories via dextrose or high fructose corn syrup so they can be shelved and then sold for $34.99.

I do not try to explain that one bag of Shakeology has all the superfoods (and then about 60 more) that you have ever heard of in your life, all packed into one bag in a live, raw, whole food formula.  I do not share that Shakeology costs $650 LESS than what you would pay for its ingredients individually at your local supplement shop (so not kidding). I simply say,  Hey: I am on the lowest of low budgets. I get it.  Here is how Shakeology ‘works for me 3 ways for about $3’:

1. It’s my multi-vitamin. For the ladies out there, under the guidance of your doc you might feel you need to add a Cal-Mag supplement (I don’t because I get these in the rest of my diet, but I digress).  But, besides this you’re generally good to go. Men, you too! (And, I say GENERALLY here, not because I am clueless, but because you might have some tropical disease we’ve never heard of and need more vitamin K or something, and then try to sue me because your case is one in a billion. So, please don’t try to sue me: you’ll see that I really AM on that tight budget! 🙂 ).

In all seriousness, though, when it comes to supplements, let’s here and now make a resolution.  Altogether: no more buying, ingesting, shelving-but-not-taking pill-form vitamins!  Let’s get our nutrients from whole food sources our bodies can use, starting with Shakeology.  The first reason is on account of your pee.  Yep, you read right.  One thing everyone notices, even if only the brave mention it, is that you never see Shakeology in the potty when you go #1. That’s because its vitamins and minerals are whole-food based, not fortified, and are highly bioavailable. In short, your body uses, instead of eliminates them. That means no bright yellow B-complex vitamins in ye old toilet.  No literal flushing of your money down the drain.  Good news, yes? (You should be feeling better already that you’re not going to buy something that your body refuses to absorb. Keep reading!).

2. It’s my recovery drink. Yep, if you are doing hard cardio for 30-60 min (and you are, right because you want to live past 59, RIGHT?), you need a recovery drink.  It should have a carb to protein ratio within the 2:1 to 4:1 range. Why? LOTS of science going on with this, but briefly: right after we exercise our bodies need a modest amount of protein for tissue resynthesis (muscle rebuilding) and a goodly amount of sugars (fast and slow) for glycogen (sugar energy) restoration. Sounds complicated, but bottom line: you want to cut down on fatigue and muscle soreness? Do a recovery drink within the 30 min post-workout window.

Happily, Shakeology is an exceptional recovery drink. It has just enough protein to piggyback onto the sugars as they absorb into the system, no fat (the bod does not process fat very well right after exertion) and its normally-low glycemic load can be tweaked by adding by adding fruit juice and fruit. In fact, bonus: recovery time is the ONLY time I (and I suggest YOU) drink fruit juice, which is definitively high-gylcemic and usually not optimal for good health.  So having juice is a treat in the first place and then putting it in your  Shakeology after you work hard is not only a delicious experience, but a health boon.  It not only TASTES good but FEELS great going down and gets right to WORK where your body needs it.

3. It’s my snack or a meal. I drink Shakeology as I get ready for the day, right after working out. My daily nutrition usually consists of three small meals and two snacks, so Shakeology generally fits in as a snack. But for me it is (and this may be an unofficial #4 reason) also a mental life-line after teaching hard classes or doing, for example, T25 on top of everything ELSE I do. I sometimes use it as a ‘carrot’ in front of me to get through workouts and classes, etc:” I GET to have a Shakeology when this is over! Yay!”

A couple of hours after my Shakeology I’ll have a mid-morning omelet, if I can, or a high-protein something or other with lots of veggies for my official breakfast. And with that my day is off to a fantastic, healthy, not-sore, cravings-free start.

So, it went by in a flash.  Did you see what I just did? I mapped out how I hit three IMPORTANT daily nutrition points in 1 easy shake and for about $3: a multi-vitamin, a super-duper healthy snack and a recovery drink. Now, go price a breakfast bar, a multivitamin, a carton of chocolate milk and a sugary sports drink and then tell me that you can get them all for $3 and for about 250-300 pristine-clean calories. It simply can’t be done–I’ve tried it.  Oh, you might be able to come close–say $5, which isn’t close. It’s almost double, I’m being kind here–but the nutrient profile of what you’d buy would be so differentiated from that of one Shakeology as to make you gasp.  And you’d miss out on the huge cart-load of superfoods in Shakeology that have been carefully sourced and provided for you, even if you have less than a clue as to how they work, what they exactly are and where you might find them. (You COULD find out, though, if you want, just go here and surf around a bit).

Hey this next part is thrown in free of charge (which is funny, you see, because you are not actually paying for this post).  In case you were wondering the reason many bars and sugary drinks and even cartons of milk are cheap-ish to buy, it’s that they tend to be loaded with chemicals, preservatives and heavensknowswhatelse in order to give them max shelf life, mass appeal and quick turnover rates.  They are engineered to SELL not HEAL. The whole POINT of Shakeology is to NOURISH and RESTORE the human body, whether that body sits at a desk all day long or sets world records in sprinting).  This is why comparing Shakeology and all the above snacky foods is really quite silly.  It’s like comparing apples to road apples, really (and if you’re not sure what those are, go ask a farmer).

The bottom line is, not how CAN you afford to drink Shakeology, but how can you NOT?  If you eat more than boxed powdery cheese ‘pasta’ and worm-like dehydrated sodium-ramen, you can.  I know.  I’m (presently) as low budget as they come and I drink my Shakeology DAILY.  I simply build my daily nutrition starting with Shakeology as the foundation.  It’s the first item in my food budget.  This is exactly what and where Shakeology should be.

Cheers to health!

Body Beast: Week One


I said in my first BODY BEAST post that I only planned on doing 3 or 4 posts on the program, just enough to introduce it and recap each 30 day block. But during the first week of the program it has became obvious that I am going to have to make adjustments if I am going to successfully complete the program.  And so I’m writing a post about it.

The problem–and solution–I’ve experienced this last week has to do with the program-specific supplements; namely I prior to starting BEAST I had opted to go without them.  This decision was not on account of my not wanting to try them, but rather due to my pocket book being a bit pinched.  I figured I had my Shakeology and my Energy and Endurance (E & E) pre-workout drink and I’d be good to go.

Boy was I wrong! My first week of the BEAST workouts have found me so sore and tight as to be almost hobbled. Three days into the week I  decided to try the supps and see if they will make a difference.  I ordered M.A.X Creatine, Super Suma and another month’s supply of E & E.  The creatine is for muscle recovery and to increase muscle load capacity (cranking out a couple more reps on each move).  The E & E is pre-workout drink that gives a nice, clean burst of energy at the beginning of the workout.  The Super Suma is an adaptogen herb that increases stamina, aids in muscle recovery and builds muscle tissue.

When the supps came–which took a few days but felt like an eternity–I started in on my new protocol: E & E  about 10 minutes before each workout; after each workout,  a recovery drink of 4:1 carbs to protein ratio using Shakeology, 4 ounces of fresh juice, 4 ounces of frozen fruit; 1 capsule Super Suma, 1 scoop M.A.X Creatine.

After having been on the new protocol for even 2 days the difference is incredible.  Prior to trying the new supps, I eally could not imagine doing 90 days of BEAST, or any program for that matter, with the level of muscle soreness I was experiencing. It was brutal.  Happily the addition of the creatine and suma root have helped me recovery within the 24-hour window and jump in to each successive workout with 100% energy. I’m still sore the day after each workout, but it is a doable, workable sore, rather than a cry-for-mommy throw-up kind of sore.  You get the idea.

So lesson #1 learned: follow instructions! If at all possible take the supplements recommended because they are recommended to a reason.

That’s all for now.  I will post again at day 30 or sooner if I have anything interesting to report!

Body Beast: Program Overview

BODY BEAST.  The title says it all, or at least a LOT.  This workout is 90 days of pure passion and power designed to beast up any body.  Sound interesting? I think so too! Here is my inaugural post on the workout, the first of four installments. My plan is to introduce the workout, explain which supplements I will be using and give initial impressions.  Then, as the program progresses, I will check in here and give updates, share experiences and hopefully add value to anyone who is looking to start a strength-building program like Body Beast.

What I know from the outset is that the program is hard core.  I knew that the second I saw the preview video and it is one of the main reasons I wanted to try it.  I am always up for a challenge, I love trying new Beachbody programs (it was released this summer) and I have some experience doing weight training.  When I was a college basketball player I lifted weights as part of my training.  My coach saw how much I enjoyed it and that I was an ‘easy gainer’ and suggested I might want to compete professionally.  I didn’t want to do that but now, 20 years later, I’d like to see what I can achieve with a lifting program using proven natural supplements and a top-notch strength training program–as a 42 year old.

So, what does it mean that Body Beast is a strength-training program.  Well, simply that is is fundamentally a mass-gaining, get-ripped program rather than a conditioning or sports performance one.  This means the emphasis is on lifting weights, a lot of them, and many times or reps.

Is there any cardio at all? Yeah, there is some cardio in the program, with the amount of cardio depending on which  of the subprograms you are doing. The Lean Beast schedule has more cardio and is designed for people who want to get ripped but also lose some fat.  Huge Beast is for the person who is simply looking to gain mass.

Either way the program has a LOT less cardio than virtually any other Beachbody program.  So if you are coming off Insanity or Turbo Fire and looking for more of the same, you have not come to the right place.  This is not to say, again, that there is no cardio or that the cardio in the program is not hard (it is).  Hey, with the name Beast Cardio (what the primary cardio workout is called and which you do about once a week in the first two phases), how could it be EASY, right?

Speaking of phases, there are three main training blocks in this program.  Each is 30 days and has a (not surprisingly) unique emphasis. The Build Phase works on opposing muscle groups together (for example back and biceps or triceps and chest) and focuses on simply gaining strength and building muscle.  This phase has participants eating 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat.

The second block, Bulk Phase, mercilessly hones in on particular muscle groups and increases variety and intensity of the training sets so  those muscles get completely maxed out once a week.  For example on back day the back–and only the back–is worked from a variety of angles and using what creator Sagi Kalev calls Dynamic Set Progression.  In Dynamic Sets, you might use one weight and do 4 sets of 5 reps in a row with only a short break in between each set.  Or you may do Progressive Sets where you start with a low weight and high reps, go to a medium weight with medium reps and go up to heavy weight and few reps.  Then you work your way back down again–after only a short pause in the middle.  There are also Drop Sets which have you finishing a 3-set progression by taking no rest and fitting in a fourth set of a lighter weight and only 8 reps.

Sagi’s method is intense. It is not for the delicate person who needs gentle encouragement and a quiet workout environment.  Sagi is constantly hooting, hollering and goading you to do your best, give it 100% and never quit (“I want a 10, not an 8, 7 or 6–I want a ten from you right now!”).  He rewards you with kudos at the end of every set (“You’re a winner, a champion.  Champions don’t quit!”) while adding to the frat-like fun environment with exclamations of “Whatever it takes!” and other Sagi trademark phrases.

It’s all in good fun and meant to psych everyone up for the hard work.  It’s important to keep that in mind or else, as I’ve heard from a few friends, you might come away feeling like Sagi is a typical gym rat or muscle-man meat head.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The program is designed to help each person build their body to their best ability.  The motivation is a part of the magic.  Without it, you’d simply feel like you are all alone in a weight room watching huge, intimidating-looking dudes work out.  What the benefit–or fun-in that?

Lest you women especially get scared off by what I just said, some good news.  My 63-year old mom is game for doing the Beast with me.  She has previewed the dvds and is all-in.  Far from thinking Sagi is a meat-head, she giggles in amusement when he yells: ‘that was badASS’ after a particularly hard set.

You might be wondering what the program requires in terms of gear and supplements.  There is a wide range of all-natural supplements that come with this program–from a whey ‘base shake’ to a mass-buildingpowdered root called ‘suma’ to the amino acid creatine which is designed to increase mass as well as help aid in muscle recovery.

As of now I won’t be taking any of those.  This may be foolish and I may change our minds (if so, I’ll let you know).  It is not that I am against using natural supplements (and let it be clear that the supplements that accompany Body Beast are 100% natural.  Sagi is famous for using ONLY natural supplements).  It’s simply that at the time I ordered the Beast I decided not to spring for the extra $85 or so that the supps cost.  Instead,  I am going to see if a simple protocol, only a pre-workout drink of Energy and Endurance plus Shakeology as a recovery drink, will work for me.  I’m very open to changing my mind and will let you know how things go.

A few words about my goals with this program before I close.  As a person who is looking to constantly improve my own fitness within the context of real life, and as a Beachbody coach who is constantly looking for ways to inspire and coach others, I have some big goals associated with Body Beast.  First, I want to hit the program hard for the full 90 days and see what I can achieve.  Toward that end I will be tracking my progress in photos and plan to send my final results in to [email protected]  Second, I sense by the way this program was marketed and cast, the creators were not anticipating that women would be drawn to it.  The music is hard-core, the promo vid is in-your-face and all the players are men.  I’m betting, however, that many women WILL actually enjoy the workouts.  Many are looking to build strength and even mass, and would appreciate a woman’s first-hand review of the program, I think.  Third, I want to be on the infomercial that will surely be shot sometime in the next months.  What a hoot that would be!

That’s all for now.  I’ll check in after the first 30 days and give you a progress report.  Beast up!










Ultimate Reset, Day 20

Like I said in yesterday’s post, my Ultimate Reset journey is quickly winding down.  I must say that I am not too sorry.  Don’t get me wrong.  The process, while challenging at times, has been WELL worth the effort.  My health has improved and even I, a certified fitness nutrition counselor, have learned a lot.  But I am growing a bit hungry and less-than energetic on this final push to the finish line.  I long to incorporate more legumes and nuts into my diet (week 2 modified) and get back to normal workouts.  That said, the food today was tasty and I did stick to the program closely.  Here’s what happened.

The day started out well with lots of hydration, my supplement protocol and a morning yoga class.  I am taking advantage of going to yoga as much as I can right now because I have an unlimited month of it at my local studio starting last Friday, and because yoga is allowed on the Reset as a restorative workout.

Today’s class, titled Foundation of Iyengar Yoga, focused on learning the postures and how to breath through them.  You yogis out there will understand the title of the class better than I, but suffice it to say it was enjoyable and quite relaxing.  When it was over I was quite ready for some nutrition and a recovery drink.

Back at the ranch I  mixed up my favorite Tropical Strawberry Shakeology making sure to blend in just a little real coconut fat for texture and flavor, and my frozen mixed berry blend for the extra fast carbs I needed to pair with the shake’s vegan protein for maximum muscle repair and rejuvenation.  Yum.  (As a side note: if you haven’t checked Shakeology out, you gotta get some! You just can’t find a better multi-purpose shake–meal, multi and recovery drink–anywhere else in the world for any price, let alone about $3.50.)

I had a lot of running around to do in the morning and by the time I got back home I was about 30 minutes past my target lunch time, not to mention the time I try to take my mid-morning supplements (at least 30 minutes prior to eating lunch.).  Fortunately, I wasn’t famished (again, Shakeology makes that possible) and I also still needed to chop up the fixin’s for my lunch salad.  That took about 25 minutes, which was just about enough time to let my supplements do their thing.

Lunch was very interesting–refreshing, actually: Jicama-Avocado Salad served over a massive bowl of greens.  I looked at the recipe, eyeballed the spice and herb profile and then went to work.  The thing with this dish (and with many others in the program, honestly) is that the exact directions of the dish differ somewhat from what the picture looks like.  Having worked in print publications before I understand the dynamic: the chefs who come up with the recipe are not the food stylist/photoprapher/graphics people producing the print material for the program.  Disparities pop up.  Makes sense, right?

In the case of Jicama-Avocado Salad, the photo in the book shows the jicama chunked up in 3/4-inch squares while the recipe calls for it to be grated.  If you know the texture and taste of jicama you kow the texture is of that of a Japanese pear or a crisp apple, and the taste is something akin to a raw russet potato.  It’s watery and refreshing–to a point.  The lesson: I should have followed the recipe better and grated the jicama.  The “chunkiness” of the chunks were a bit overpowering, even though I followed a lesson I learned in Mexico 20 years ago and made sure I put plenty of lime juice and cayenne pepper on the jicama to give it flavor.

The dish was still good, especially because I tossed everything including the greens in a huge stainless steel mixing bowl prior to plating.  This ensured the flavors were well-incorporated throughout the dish, making every bite as tasty as possible (thank you, Food Network for showing me that trick years ago!).

The day went on with lots of work activity.  I must say that I felt pretty good, but like I said in the introduction, I am starting to feel like it is a good thing that the all-veggie and fruit menu is going to end tomorrow.  I have burned enough fat now that my body is crying out for more energy in my food, not just that which is stored as fat cells in my bod. The creators of the program were wise not to make this a 30-day program say, just because that might have fit nicely into a month format.  The three phases and 21-days are plenty to develop new habits, get results and start back into week 2 eating.  I can’t wait.

Dinner was to be Asian Stir-Fry, braised greens and (optionally) brown rice or quinoa.  Since I’m not doing the grain option this week at all (except what’s in my Shakeology), I opted for a huge bowl of stir-fry with baby spinach tossed in home-made light vinaigrette.  Like a lot of other Reset people I’ve talked to, I don’t enjoy the braised greens at all.  I do, however, love me a good spinach salad and I figure raw spinach is nutritionally superior to cooked anyway.  Salad it was.


So thus concludes day 20.  I look forward to taking my measurements and final results photo tomorrow.  I’ll make sure to let you know how this whole thing turns out.  Thanks for reading!

Ultimate Reset, Day 19

Time is closing in fast on my Ultimate Reset adventure! Since I have talked on and on about my own experience, I thought it might be helpful for you to hear feedback from some other Reset challengers.  Here goes (unedited):

“I think my photo says it ALL: today I fit into the wedding dress I wore 45 years ago.  At least 6″ lost over my entire body! Yippee!” ~Linda B

“I noticed beautiful clarity in my eye; it sparkles.  I have been sleeping well and long, I cooked/chopped many different foods and except for tempeh and collard greens, liked them all very, very much. I have lost 12 pounds and feel overall ‘lighter’. I am really looking forward to an egg salad sandwich (on Ezekiel bread) in the distant future, and cottage cheese. It was an extremely worthwhile experience and I appreciate all your support, Kelli.  It was difficult at times and I sometimes felt all I did all day was chop and cook – but I know I have developed some good habits, i.e. this morning when I got up the first thing I did was get a glass a water and take the supplements. Would I recommend the program – MOST DEFINITELY. Thank you.” ~Jeanne B

“I lost 13lbs, 2 ½ or 3 inches off my waist and years and years of mental emotional baggage. It’s awesome.” ~Garrison B

“The first thing I’d say is do it. And the second thing I’d say is that the Ultimate Reset is an amazing life changing experience.” ~Patricia K

“I lost those love handles I used to have.” ~Eric K

“Twenty one-day Ultimate Reset complete! 5.6 lbs lost, down 1 jean size! Oh darn, have to go shopping.” ~Kim F

“Thanks for letting me in on your Ultimate Reset Challenge Group! The Reset gave me more energy and made me feel less bogged down! I feel amazing! I lost 14 pounds and one dress size just on the Reset.  Definitely going to do this again in the future!.” ~Lindsay A

Were all the reviews of the Reset glowing? No.  Most were positive, but I did have a friend who had to quit because she has liver and kidney troubles and the Reset did not agree with her body (she noted that she should have checked with her doctor prior to starting).  Another friend had some results, is going to to continue with the Alkalinze but did not lose as much weight as she had hoped.

The Reset is no elixir or miracle cure.  It’s a natural, whole-foods and whole-person approach to reclaiming one’s health, vitality and balance.  It takes some work, focus and even soul-searching (what else do you have to do when the cravings hit?).  But like all things in life of value and purpose, the Reset is well worth the time and effort you put into it.  If you do it right it will change the way you look at what, how and when you feed your body.  That’s why I heartily recommend the Reset to anyone who is serious, focused and willing to do the program as designed for the full 3 weeks.

Come back tomorrow for another recap and then it’s final results.  Thanks for reading!