Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Tag: beachbody

How effective is Shakeology?

As soon as I watched this video at Beachbody's Coach Summit 2014, my eyebrow was raised. This video, or should I say "trial", just reeked of marketing to me. Now for anyone who follows me or has been on my website, you should know that I am a Team Beachbody Coach. I have been since October 2012. Not only that, but I have been an avid Shakeology user for close to 2 years now, and have even had my wife on it for the past few months.

So, before some of you decide to get mad about what I have to say about this video, realize that I am an objective person. I always have been, I always will be, as is my wife. We are both what you would consider "scientists," although my wife definitely takes that title more than I do. I have my B.Sc. in Biochemistry along with my CSCS certification. My wife has her Ph.D in Molecular Genetics. Naturally, whenever a health or fitness-related science "study" piques my/our interest, I always present it to my wife so that we can have a good old fashioned science debate at the ol' Robbins' house...I know, we're lively!

Anyways, so why do we take Shakeology? Well, I started taking it because I couldn't find any worthwhile studies relating to whether or not it worked. Since starting, I have found that I really enjoy taking it. Although not everyone is a fan of the taste, I love the chocolate Shakeology, and consider it my daily "treat." There is a good dose of protein in each shake (more when I mix it with milk). I love the pre and pro biotics in it, especially in the past 6 months or so. I have had a few bouts of strep throat where I have needed to use antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, even those good ones in your intestines, but I have found that I have had absolutely no problems while drinking my shakes. I enjoy using them as a meal replacement (breakfast). I honestly do feel like I get an energy boost from drinking them (which is handy when you have young kids in your house!).

My wife has been taking the Shakeology for a few months now since our second son was born. She too enjoys using it as a meal replacement (breakfast) because it keeps her feeling full until lunch. She has been consistently losing weight. She likes the taste of the shakes. She also finds that she gets a boost in energy from them. And like me, her tummy has been happy like mine!

So...even though we both drink Shakeology, why the problem with the video? Well, let's break things down. Check out the video for yourself first:

Ok, let's dive right in. Beachbody went and hired Medicus Research to conduct their clinical trial. Clinical trials can be effective, but oftentimes, results or findings can be biased based on the sponsor paying for the trial. In this case, Beachbody themselves hired this company to conduct this study. I believe that this increases the chance of bias or conflict of interest.

Not only that, but I can't seem to find any publication or summary of the trial that was conducted (if anyone can find something, please let me know). It would be nice to read the breakdown and procedure of the trial rather than just getting a quick summary in a 3-minute video that spits out numbers so that we can examine exactly what is taking place in this study.

Instead, I would like to see a peer reviewed study on Shakeology. For those of you who are unaware, peer review is effective because other equally qualified individuals can examine and critique a study, and decide whether or not the results support the conclusions.

Anyways, back to the video:

0:33 - 50 individuals were selected through a "rigorous selection process." 50 participants in this study is a decent sample size, although it voids some validity of the study due to the findings (will explain later). Here is a prime case of wishing there was some sort of publication for this study. If the participants of the study were rigorously selected, it would be nice to know what the criteria were for those selected. Were they smokers? Were they overweight? Were they obese? Were they on medication? Do they exercise? There are far too many variables here to list.

On top of that, effective scientific studies have what's known as "control" participants. In other words, you need a group of participants who don't take Shakeology at all, and study them in the same way for the 90 days to see what their health changes are (if any). You can then compare the Shakeology users to the control participants to prove/disprove Shakeology's health claims.

0:54 - All participants were required to drink Shakeology for breakfast and lunch for 90 days. No other diet or exercise changes were required. Ok, but Beachbody markets Shakeology as a 1-shake-a-day health supplement. Not only that, but results from this study could be skewed based on what the participants ate besides just their shakes. For example, what if they ate ice cream for dinner, with a side of bacon, and topped off with a litre of cola? Or what if they didn't eat anything else at all? Again, it would be nice to have a publication in order to understand the parameters of this study.

Also, I think most people would agree that healthy living requires a two-tiered approach with both diet and exercise being equally important in maintaining a healthy weight and living a healthy lifestyle. I don't understand why exercise was not included in this study, after all, Beachbody is a company that markets and sells both nutritional supplements and fitness programs (good ones too!).

I am not sure if the trial organizers wanted to prevent "muddied waters" by just focusing on Shakeology, but I think that if a pretty standard, moderate exercise program could add to the findings.

1:27 - Okay, here is where things start to get interesting. Fact time! Facts are good right? Well, not if you actually take the time to think about what is being presented to us. First of all, let's take a look at the weight loss stats.

So the weight loss stats aren't too bad, but things get more interesting later, especially when we look at the cholesterol stats. So what this graph is telling us is that the average weight loss among the 50 participants is 9.3 lbs. However, the "high" weight loss was 24 lbs. If you remember back to math class, you know that the average is calculated by summing all of the results, and dividing by the number of participants. In this case, we would add up the weight lost (or gained) from all 50 participants, and divide by 50.

There are a couple different scenarios as to how we came to a 9.3 lbs. average weight loss. First of all, a "high" value of 24 can really pull an average in that particular direction. So, either:

  1. Majority of the weight loss was in the couple pounds lost range, and the 24 lbs. lost "pulled" the average lower. In this case, the 24 lbs. lost could be considered the "outlier" or anomaly, and therefore becomes less significant because most of the data points fell within a similar range.
  2. On the other hand, there may have been lots of data points between the average and the high, possibly with weight loss values of 12, 13, 14, 15, etc. However, to balance that out and maintain a 9.3 lbs. average, that means that there would have to be a slew of data points "north" of the average, and some potentially even on the weight gained side of the study.

How can an "outlier" data point be insignificant? Well, if you were to conduct a trial, and say, 95% of your participants got very similar results. In this case, let's just assume around a couple pounds weight loss in a 90 day study. However, you then have 1 person in the group that has a 24 pound weight loss. From a scientific standpoint, you could then hypothesize that something was quite different for that one participant. Maybe they starved themselves outside of drinking Shakeology. Maybe they exercised every day. Maybe they completely overhauled their diet since they knew they were taking part in a trial. All of the above are fine scenarios (except for the starving themselves) except for the fact that in a trial such as this, you goal is to try and eliminate all factors that may skew results, unless of course you are looking for specific results.

Once again, it would be interesting to see the published study to see all of the data points and where how all of the participants fared along with their diets, daily lifestyles, etc. rather than just the highlights for marketing purposes.

1:52 - Think of all of the points I presented above regarding the weight loss data points and consider them for the data presented for the reduction in cholesterol. Again, the average reduction in Total Cholesterol is 7% (will get to that later), and the high data point is a 50% reduction. That is a wide data spread, also raising eyebrows to where all of the data points fall. Just by staring at this graph, it is entirely possible for one to assume or believe that participants in the study actually raised their cholesterol. How you say? Again, if the average is 7%, and the high is 50%, then there has to be data points that balance out the average, making it possible for some participants to be on the gain side of the equation.

A couple other pieces of information that I would like to know about this study.

  1. What were the participants numbers coming into this trial? We already know that they were selected chosen through a rigorous selection process, does this mean that they all had total cholesterol levels of 240+, making them prime for lowering their cholesterol? Also consider this: if a participant with total cholesterol levels at 260, placing them in the "high risk" category for heart disease loses the average in this study (7%), they still fall within the "high risk" category.

  2. Also, you may have heard that there are two main types of cholesterol. Your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol as well as your HDL, or "good" cholesterol. All this study told us is that participants Total cholesterol fell by an average of 7%. Many studies have shown that having higher LDL isn't necessarily a bad thing, assuming your HDL is also high. So, I would like to think that my HDL wasn't falling from taking Shakeology either. This trial needs further clarification.

2:21 - More data, same as above. Quite a high data spread. Once again, I actually personally think that Shakeology would be extremely beneficial in regulating blood sugar. The protein found in the shakes alone helps stabilize blood sugar. Unfortunately, the data from this study is just presented poorly.

Final Thoughts

So what does this mean for this clinical trial? Again, I know Shakeology helps people lose weight. I have seen many examples of it, including my wife. I believe it may even be possible for Shakeology to lower blood sugar over an extended period of time as well as lower cholesterol, assuming the participant also exercises and consumes a well-balanced diet beyond their Shakeology.

There are absolutely no magic pills to make you healthy in this world. Go back and read that again. A healthy lifestyle is achieved by exercising regularly, eating a sensible diet most of the time, not smoking, not drinking too much, and maintaining a healthy weight - which is usually accomplished by following the previous actions.

Shakeology can be a tool to help you get there. As I said before, both my wife and I use it, and feel that it helps improve our health in a positive way. Having said that, I don't believe that I can just not exercise or eat whatever I want and think that Shakeology will just magically make everything better (as this trial somehow is implying).

I think this is yet another example of looking into something beyond just reading a headline, or watching a 3 minute video and spouting off about how great Shakeology is. I have already seen countless Beachbody Coaches pumping this video saying, "See, see, Shakeology works, its proven!"

I will say it again, I pride myself in trying to stay as objective as possible and do my best not to sound like a pitchy salesperson. I think there are far too many individuals in the fitness world acting as a salesperson sharing or telling you information that they clearly have no idea what they're talking about.

Do I think Shakeology is a good product. Honestly, I do. But I don't think this video does anything to prove that case. In fact, I feel bad that it will actually "cheapen" the feeling towards it for many who may have been on the fence in the first place.

If you have been considering it, give it a shot. Purchase a bag, take it for 30 days and see how you feel. If you want to take things even further, do the full enchilada and have your doc run blood work for you before you begin and run your own trial. Along with taking Shakeology, however, make sure you exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet beyond just your shakes.


As I start to prepare and get ready for my Body Beast/P90X3 hybrid, I feel now is a great time to get to some "preparation work" in order to maximize my progress as well as reduce my risk of injury.

I have stated that I do not wish to start my hybrid until my second son is born and the craziness surrounding a new baby dies down a bit. Because of this, I think this is a perfect time to get back to a shoulder "pre-hab" program that I came across a while ago.

Steve Edwards and I at Beachbody Coach Summit 2013

This "workout," created by Beachbody's Steve Edwards, is designed to strengthen and improve the overall stability of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is involved in so many actions, but also runs a much higher risk of injury. I have used this program in the past with great success, and have even used it with some of my personal training clients with great success as well.

I will be using this shoulder pre-hab every 2-3 days (along with some core work) for the next week or two until I finally start my Beast/X3 hybrid.

If you have had shoulder issues in the past or wish to prevent them in the future, I can't recommend this program enough!

P90X3 Isometrix Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

As Tony mentions, Isometrix is all about taking the toughest sequences from Yoga, and putting them in this routine. Absolutely zero impact, as the goal of this routine is to keep your body as still and motion-free as possible while engaging your stabilization muscles throughout your body.

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P90X3 Accelerator Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Accelerator is a no-equipment cardio routine that plays around with varying speeds. Get ready to shred up your core with a number of planks, along with fast-moving, total-body cardiovascular exercises. This is one very enjoyable routine!

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P90X3 Dynamix Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Welcome to the "recovery" routine from P90X3. This routine goes well beyond what we usually consider to be a "stretch" or "recovery" routine and is now one of my favourite recovery routines I have ever done!

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P90X3 The Warrior Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

This routine follows Tony's standard "UCML" pattern (Upper, Cardio, Middle, Lower). It was designed to be done by the military personnel that Tony visits at various stations across the globe. What's great about this routine, is that you get a tremendous sweat, muscle burn, and workout with no equipment besides your body and mother earth!

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P90X3 CVX Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

CVX is a cardio resistance routine. In this routine, you will be jumping, lunging, twisting, and squatting, all with a weight in your hand. Choose your weight wisely, because if you choose too light, you may not get as much of a burn. Choose too heavy and you won't make it to the end!

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Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everyone

Welcome to 2014! Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you all behaved yourselves last night.

With a New Year, comes yet another chance to reflect on where you currently stand, and where you are headed. This is true, not only for our careers and our education, but our health and lifestyles as well.

It is no secret that this is a popular time of year for people to make resolutions to improve their overall health. Luckily for all of you, being a part of this team, and this company (Beachbody), we have a lot of resources at your disposal to not only set goals for yourself, but to get the motivation and support to get there.

Beyond being a Beachbody Coach, I want to remind all of you that I am also a personal trainer, who has helped men and women of all ages reach their goals time and time again. I enjoy helping people lead healthier lifestyles and give them the tools to reach their goals, so please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions/comments/concerns you may have.

This week's topics of interest:

1. Both the P90X3 and Focus T25 Challenge Packs are on sale during the month of January. Both are $180 (over $90 in savings). Links should be live tomorrow (January 2nd). E-mail me if you are interested in either one. Challenge Packs offer tremendous value, not to mention getting Shakeology into your diet to start the year off right!

2. Speaking of Shakeology. There are 3 supplements that I take, that if someone asks me my go-to supplements, these are the 3. Creatine, Whey Protein, and Shakeology. That is what I base my entire diet around. Shakeology is my "insurance plan" for those days when I may not have gotten all of my fruits and vegetable servings in, I know it is backing me up. Remember that Shakeology comes with a "Bottom of the bag guarantee," so even if you aren't a fan, or don't feel as though it made any difference in your life during your 30 servings, you can return it for a full refund! How many products back up their reputation like that? Do yourself a favour and give Shakeology a shot. Start the year off with just 1 bag. Give it an honest try for 30 days, with regular exercise, and let me know how you feel after you're done. Make sure to order on "Home Direct" to get free shipping, you can cancel at ANY time, no penalties.

3. I just finished my 2nd week of P90X3, you can check out my progress video here.

4. I have completed my complete in-depth written reviews for P90X3 Total Synergistics and P90X3 Agility X.

5. If any of you have been thinking about becoming a Beachbody Coach and helping others, trust me when I tell you that NOW is the time to do it. This time of year, is of course, the busiest time of year for people to make and aim for goals that they set for themselves. As a Beachbody Coach, you have the opportunity to help others by providing them with solutions to problems faced by so many. Join our team and get plugged into my January 6th Coach Basics Training.

This week's blogs:

How effective is P90X3?
P90X3 Total Synergistics Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review
P90X3 Agility X Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

From the blog archive (forgot to post these last week):

Tough Mudder Tactics: Funky Monkey
Body Beast and Athleticism
Tough Mudder Tactics: Electric Eel
Resistance Training 7 Step Approach - Step 1: Needs Analysis
Tough Mudder Tactics: Log Jammin'
Resistance Training 7 Step Approach - Step 2: Exercise Selection
Tough Mudder Tactics: Hold Your Wood
Resistance Training 7 Step Approach - Step 3: Training Frequency
Tough Mudder Tactics: Everest

And 2 favors that I ask:

1) If you like the hard work I put into writing my blogs and videos, PLEASE help me out by sharing them.  Click the share links below them and share them on FB, Twitter, etc.  It really helps me get more exposure and grow our team!

2) Also, as always, remember that the way I benefit from being your coach is that I earn a commission from any Beachbody products that you purchase, as long as you buy them through my site, tylerrobbinsfitness.com. It helps with the amount of time I spend answering all your questions, writing my blogs, filming my videos, and helping you out. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Everyone have a great week!

Tyler Robbins
Independent Team Beachbody Coach
2014 Challenge Group - Team Fitness for Life


P90X3 Agility X Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Welcome to Agility X, P90X3's athleticism routine. In this routine, you will encounter a number of very athletic movements through agility sequences, balance coordination, and plyometric exercises.

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Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everybody

Well, we are less than a week away from the release of P90X3!!! I hope you are all as excited about this as I am. Lots of information coming out about the program these past few days, and I have been doing my best to collect all of the information into one spot for you all to learn all there is to know about the program. So, without further ado, here are this week's topics of interest:

1. All the latest information about P90X3

2. If you're interested in P90X3, make sure you join my P90X3 Challenge Group. It is a great way to stay motivated and accountable as you make your way through the program with a group of us!

3. My next 60-Day Coach Training Academy starts on Monday January 6th. If you are at all interested in Coaching, I am willing to arrange a video chat discussion with you to discuss the opportunity. Keep in mind that anyone who purchases a Challenge Pack has the option to upgrade to Coach status for free ($39.95 sign-up fee is waived), so if you are interested in the P90X3 Challenge Pack when it goes on sale on the 10th, this would be a great opportunity to sign up as a Coach and hit the ground running with your business!

This week's blogs:

My next 3 weeks of training
P90X University: Shoulders and Arms

From the blog archive:

10 Great Health and Fitness Tips
Tough Mudder Tactics: Cliff Hanger
How to lose weight video
Tough Mudder Tactics: Hangin' Tough
What does it mean to be "fit?"

And 2 favors that I ask:

1) If you like the hard work I put into writing my blogs and videos, PLEASE help me out by sharing them.  Click the share links below them and share them on FB, Twitter, etc.  It really helps me get more exposure and grow our team!

2) Also, as always, remember that the way I benefit from being your coach is that I earn a commission from any Beachbody products that you purchase, as long as you buy them through my site, tylerrobbinsfitness.com. It helps with the amount of time I spend answering all your questions, writing my blogs, filming my videos, and helping you out. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Everyone have a great week!

Tyler Robbins
Independent Team Beachbody Coach
2013 Challenge Group - Team Fitness for Life


Beachbody's Body Beast Build: Legs Modifications

In case you missed it, I have started another round of Body Beast.​ This time around, I am utilizing my brand-new squat rack, Olympic bar, and weight plates. The extra fitness toys will allow me to alter some of the workouts a bit to not only take advantage of different exercises, but it will also allow me to up the ante, so to speak, with various exercises.

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Beachbody's Body Beast Build: Chest/Tris Modifications

In case you missed it, I have started another round of Body Beast.​ This time around, I am utilizing my brand-new squat rack, Olympic bar, and weight plates. The extra fitness toys will allow me to alter some of the workouts a bit to not only take advantage of different exercises, but it will also allow me to up the ante, so to speak, with various exercises.

Read More