It’s been a bit of an odd stretch here at Parrot Central. For quite some time I was always being the snarky voice telling you about the latest Beachbody offerings. Sure, I throw other fitness program reviews in here, but the numbers don’t lie…the vast majority really tune in for whatever workout rolls off the Big B assembly line.
In many ways, Beachbody’s success has been a form of trickle-down economics to yours truly. When they fail to come out with a blockbuster, fewer people read reviews despite my Lamborghini payment being due. This made me pause to think, just what the heck is going on over there lately? You probably want to know too, so lets snuggle up like mating waterfowl to see what’s the deal.
Post Tony Era
I’m not convinced Tony Horton is permanently finished with Beachbody, but his absence is absolutely stinging. There’s been a lot, and do I ever mean a LOT, of speculation as to why the split. No question, the main reason was health. In 2017, Tony got hit with a wicked case of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which if I read correctly, is an Andromeda-Strain level of shingles. You just don’t have a bowl of chicken soup and walk something like that off, so naturally he had to take time off to recover.
And of course, creative differences. Only Tony knows what happened in the boardroom. Suffice to say, if one looks at the recent offerings at BB, I can see why Tony would have differing opinions on the company’s direction. This felt exasperated with the release of “The Next Level”, which really should have been done so under BB’s banner. It was a hit waiting to happen. Instead it was released by some two-bit, cosmic consciousnesses, coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs company. Getting access to the Ark of the Covenant is easier than whatever hurdles one must jump to obtain this.
Again, I don’t want to make stuff up and accuse anybody of something they have neither done nor said. But stepping back and looking at things as a whole, it does paint a consistent picture.
Same Old Same Old
The truly last decent workout to come out of BB was LIIFT 4. But even then, it wasn’t revolutionary or anything. Mostly we’ve been getting little more than cardio/body weight exercises. Transform 20 was whatever ideas for T25 were left over plus a dorky stepper. Morning Meltdown and Obsession are cardio panic-attacks with just enough weight to make one sore. I’d be remiss if I did not admit that a lot of times I shut the screen off and jump on the treadmill. Jacking the incline up and listening to some good music for 20 minutes can be a more pleasant experience. In the end, the same results minus the canned music and monthly bill.
It’s not like everyone in the BB boardroom is wearing togas and having Roman orgies while the company burns to the ground ( hmmmm…or are they? ). There are indeed new ideas forming, but I’m a little hesitant as to their long-term success. The upcoming 6 Weeks of The Work has what appears to be a good fitness approach, but the workout also has the same explicit language tag that an old 2-Live-Crew CD has. Whether it will turn out to be a good idea to mix a fitness trainer with similar vocabulary to an Eddie Murphy stand-up remains to be seen. All I know is that Sister Marcela and her bar of soap probably won’t approve.
The company has also moved almost exclusively to streaming content. Sure, you can still buy DVD’s of older material if you still have a functioning player. But if want anything new-ish, you better break out the KY Jelly and fork over that monthly subscription fee. The downside is that once you cancel, you can kiss all your videos goodbye. It’s freaking brilliant from an income perspective. Even software companies are following the same path of pay-as-you-go. I guess drug pushers had the right idea all along.
Of course, this is also going to drop-kick the income potential for the apocalyptic army of Beachbody coaches. With no DVD’s to sell, they’re going to be pushing that Shakeology hard. Speaking of which…
MLM Supplements Company
It wasn’t the prospectors who made money during the gold-rush, but rather the people selling the pans and equipment. Every workout is another opportunity to sell ridiculously overpriced supplements. I don’t know how much it takes to make a bucket of Shakeology, but the markup must be greater than a friggin’ iPhone. And really, that’s true for ANY multi-level marketing product. Nothing you can buy through that kind of outlet is going to be better or even cheaper than what you could easily purchase elsewhere. This holds especially true for vitamins.
The MLM recruitment pitch is always the same, roll out success stories and appeal to emotion. Then these bastards flood the darn internet with 5-star reviews for the products they push, while proving the Mother Ship with MILLIONS of dollars in coach-fees. I’m not sure if I’m more pissed that I didn’t think of it.
Where from Here?
That’s the big question isn’t it? Does Beachbody keep cranking out uninspired workouts to keep their MLM vitamin business afloat? Is there enough good content in their library to justify an ongoing credit-card bill? It’s bringing in cash, but these are short-term solutions. What needs to happen is that somehow, workouts need to get back to the basics with trainers who carry a broad-appeal charisma. And it’s possible this will need to be done without Tony, the guy on whose back the company gained recognition. No question, the next five years are going to be interesting, and may well determine the destiny of the company.