Friday, February 5, 2016

Quitting the fitness mlm scene



After 4.5 years of being signed up as a "Coach", I quit.  These are my reasons.  If you have found a way to authentically market yourself and have the training {aka certification} to give good advice then I wish you the best.  This is not for you.

I took this post down for awhile and this is the revisions.  Honestly, I was BULLIED into believing I didn't have the authority to share my own experience.  I have since realized that is just not true.  This is my testimony and my experience.  To be honest, I felt led to share this in a need to protect women and mom's from ever believing the lies that you have to live an extreme life designed by someone else or that your physical or mental self is not good enough.  This life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.  Please do not let an extremist tell you how to live and find fulfilment in life.  You alone are the captain of your ship.

So without further ado.

1.  Perfect will never exist.  It is hard to view the thousands of selfies with captions like "not perfect", "still so much work to do", "it's a journey" etc as anything more than a need to be validated rather than a desire to inspire.  I get it though.  Social media is a new outlet for expression and who doesn't want to have millions of people telling you good job, but it is hard to determine the heart's true desire from a selfie and a blurb about how everyone can get this supposed and imagined  "Imperfect", yet obviously desirable figure (are you confused yet?) just by spending x amount on the latest and greatest product.  It's not just the weird sales pitch though.  These are tiny "perfect" beings with self confidence issues.  If you aren't perfect looking like that then what must I look like to you????  I'm having confidence issues just thinking about it.  I actually have fat, like for real, not imagined. 

2. I was seeing more and more coaches offering advice they had no training in.   When did we suddenly decide to get our information from random strangers with zero credentials?  The idea behind coaching was to be an encourager of healthy habits not a know it all with zero training.  It is so easy to dole out advice, but at what point is it irresponsible?

3.  This is a business.  I have zero problem with that.  I just think that any business person should conduct themselves with integrity and always ask if this is how they would want to be treated.  When you are in business for yourself it is so easy to find ways to "cheat" the system.  Sometimes you win big that way.  I have seen it many times, but most times you end up the loser and by loser I mean your money.  I saw so many down line coaches oversold on what is "possible".  Sure, anything is possible.  I can find you a million quotes and memes on Pinterest to support that thought, but at the end of the day sales is not for everyone.  I hate to see people conned into believing that by signing up family members they would suddenly be successful.  Let's make a pact to leave family out of it.  Ok?  I mean I want them to be healthy, but if I love you I am going to sneak healthy treats into your life without making you pay me.  Like long walks on the beach?  Yep, me too.  Oh, that's not exercise is it?  Oops.  You still love me though.  Like pizza?  Yep, me too.  Betcha didn't notice all the veggies I pureed and snuck in the sauce.  Nope.  Can't taste it can you?  Looks like I gave you a nutrition freebie too.  I must really love you!  My point is that you will never be a success by attacking your friends and family.  Give your family an opportunity sure, but then leave it at that. 

4.  The sacrifice is too great.  My goal is to be a good wife and mom.  Truth is I was suffering and failing at both because I was spread to thin.  My guilt was all over the place.  I felt guilt if I worked out or worked on "my business".  I felt guilt if I spent time with my family.  Guilt is not worth the sacrifice.  I struggle with being a good wife and mom under even the best of circumstances.  Put me through added stress and I am fairly worthless.  

5.  It honestly felt like a cult. You know how many times I saw people in leadership roles tell their community of followers and down line to forget the people not on the same path?  That if they weren't willing to join you then they were not good enough to be around, like health and fitness are the only worthy goals in life.  Aw yes, being a good person is out, fitness perfectionist is in.  Got it!

6.  I lost my love for health and fitness completely.  The social media version of health has become a source for bullying.  We all know what works for us, but there is a huge difference between sharing what works for you and shoving it down people's throats.  Mostly I was tired of feeling inadequate because any dedication I have to my health and fitness is never at the appropriate level.  Let's examine the over used #noexcuses.  Am I the only one that realizes how much this reeks of bullying?  Go hard, give it your all, but stop putting people down for living life and being actual humans.  The only reason most people have any inclination to work on some kind of fitness goal is because society and these fitness "professionals" are telling them they are not good enough unless they subscribe to this mantra.  In the words of my 2 year old and 4 year old, this is ridiculous. 

7.  I joined hoping I would make friends with people that had the same goals as me and what I found was just another version of junior high except now there is money and prestige involved so the ego is large.  I wanted that elusive tribe of women I hear about in the mommy community.  Friendship is apparently only based on your amount of success and for the most part felt fake and forced.  I suppose that is life though. {sigh}

8.  The insane focus on being a stay at home mom.  I never intended to be a SAHM and I am not.  I work outside the home.  My kids go to daycare and they thrive there, but the constant PSA that SAHM is the way, the truth and the light was just too overwhelming.  I love that it works for you, but quit bullying me into believing my situation is not good enough, because it most certainly is good enough. Again, I don't want to be the person that makes you feel like you are not doing enough.  Being a mom is a super tough gig.  We don't need other mom's adding to the drama.

9.  I'm all for getting my family healthy but having my kids around while I workout is not safe.  I lift heavy.  I move fast.  My kids are young and they think mom is a jungle gym anytime I get down to their level.  The trend is to show pics of your kids in the background while you are working out or even them joining in because supposedly that makes you a good mom.  My kids don't need to watch me do a 30 minute workout.  They need to see me active.  They need to go on walks with me in nature.  We need to play at the jungle gym together.  We need to wrestle on the ground and chase each other in the backyard with spray guns.  We need to ride bikes together.  I never want them to feel self worth from a 30 minute workout.  I want them to feel loved and just plain alive.  I want them to have experiences and use movement in life to keep them healthy.  I don't want it to be a chore.  One day when they are older if they want to join me and add to what they are doing then great, but showing them at this age is a bit unsafe and unrealistic.  Aren't we over the perfect mom social media staged photos yet?

Mainly I just didn't feel safe or happy in that environment.  I removed my Coach and all the other coaches I followed from my Facebook account.  They were more of a distraction of perfection than a source of inspiration.  I hope that any affiliation you have with MLM fitness communities help meet your needs and fulfills you.

What has your experience been with the various fitness and health MLM's out there?  




5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I am sorry to hear that you did not have the best time..
    I can agree with everything you say! This is so true.
    Every single point.
    It is sad how people lie to themselves. I know I lied to myself for 6 months.
    I became super sick of off shakeology and even gained 20lbs but the whole time I was told that I was not "dedicated to my health"(even tho I was putting more effort into my "health" than before!)

    I see that others fall for this "game" for years.

    I also could not quite put my finger on why I didn't find the photos and posts inspirational... It was because the coach was body shaming her flaws herself therefore anyone else.
    I was feeling fat and ugly bc she would post before and after pics and talk about how gross her love handles and chubby face was and how happy she is now after losing the weight.
    I know it shouldn't have affected me but, I know that's precisely what it was for.
    Especially bc i wouldn't post my workouts or meals and she wanted to get "tough"
    How dumb of me!! But alas, I initially felt a lot of anger, now I feel sorry for her because she has been into it for several years even though she is not making any money.is there anyway you could talk to her?

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  2. I'm glad you stood your ground, and I'm sorry Shakeology had the opposite effect on you from what is promised. I think coaches forget how much power their words have and that tough isn't everyone's cup of tea. I am happy to talk to her. I can be contacted at rachelkingfitness@yahoo.com

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  3. I was a coach for 5 years. I can relate to EVERY.SINGLE.WORD you are saying here. I did have some success, not only in my weight loss but the business too... until I didn't. I got super sick from Shakeology. Every attempt I made at letting my coach and my friends who were coaches know what was going on was actually blamed on me. I knew I couldn't eat high carbs, yet, they'd get angry at me because some of the workouts and meal plans recommend higher carbs. So in 2015, I decided to pursue a certification as a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner. There i found out that I had a really bad infection, Shakeology was making it worse. I also had hormonal imbalances and guess what? High carbs were not recommended for me. And although I am a fitness competitor, I had not been able to use ANY of their products so I felt like I was being a BIG FAKE for promoting products that I just couldn't use (and wasn't interested in using either).

    Every single coach "friend' that I had made during my time as a "coach" turned their back on me once I told them I wasn't coming back. I feel burned out from MLM's too. I have found a great, more compassionate community in what I'm now doing. I'm SO sorry that you went through all of this.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you were able to find the correct diagnosis and treatment/nutrition plan despite this community. Same here on being burned out by mlm's. Passion and goals are great, but there is a fine line when a person's health is involved. Good luck in your new community and congratulations on getting certified. I'm sure that will help you and many others along the way.

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    2. I'm glad you were able to find the correct diagnosis and treatment/nutrition plan despite this community. Same here on being burned out by mlm's. Passion and goals are great, but there is a fine line when a person's health is involved. Good luck in your new community and congratulations on getting certified. I'm sure that will help you and many others along the way.

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