Body Moment

Fitness reviews and resources. Get the facts, not the hype.

Shakeology Alternative

Here’s a cheap and easy Shakeology alternative that won’t cost you the big bucks.

I’ll warn you, though – if you think it’s going to involve mixing up magical powders and crazy ingredients from far-flung corners of the world, you’re going to be disappointed.

For the sake of this article, I’ll stick to the Vanilla Shakeology. Let’s start with the basic information sheet on Shakeology below:



(Click on the image above to see the entire factsheet for Vanilla Shakeology.)

We can break down the nutritional information of Shakeology into three distinct categories:

  1. Basic composition
  2. Vitamin and minerals
  3. “Superfoods”

I’ll walk you through a breakdown of each category, and show you exactly how to replace the essential bits of each category with something that costs a lot less.

Basic composition

Take a look at the main section of the nutritional label. I’ll zoom in for you here:


The basic macronutrients of Shakeology are pretty essential: fats, sodium, carbohydrates, and protein. This is no different than any other whey protein mix out there on the market. I love the Gold Standard Whey protein powder from – here’s how the French Vanilla Creme version stacks up against Shakeology:

Shakeology Gold Standard
Calories 130 120
Saturated Fat 0g 0.5g
Unsaturated Fat 1g 0.5g
Cholesterol 5mg 30mg
Sodium 200mg 90mg
Total Carbs 14g 4g
Dietary Fiber 3g 0g
Sugars 7g 1g
Protein 16g 24g

The few differences with the Gold Standard whey are a few less calories, a tiny bit more fat, a bit more cholesterol (as this is a whey protein derivative and not mostly plant-based like Shakeology), a LOT less sodium, fewer carbs and sugar, less fiber, and a lot more protein.

The only thing I’d want to tweak here is the dietary fiber – and I can do that by adding just a few grams of finely ground psyllium. I simply grind it up really well with my mortar and pestle.

I don’t want to touch the sodium or the carbs, because I prefer to keep my sodium intake low, and I’ll get more than enough carbs in my regular diet.

**Click here to see my full review of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey!**

That takes care of basic macronutrients. But what about vitamins and mineral content?

Vitamins and Minerals

One thing Shakeology has that your standard whey powder doesn’t is a stack of essential vitamins and minerals; the only mineral detectable in whey isolate is calcium – around 80mg. But Shakeology doesn’t contain anything more than your average multi-vitamin.

Take a look at the chart below – I’ve compared the vitamins and minerals in Shakeology to my current favorite, Centrum for Men:

Shakeology Centrum Multi-vitamin
Vitamin A 500 IU 1000 IU
Beta-carotene 0* 1500 IU
Vitamin C 180 mg 180 mg
Vitamin D 200 IU 800 IU
Vitamin E 15 IU 40 IU
Vitamin K1 40 mcg 25 mcg
Vitamin B1 1.5 mg 4.2 mg
Vitamin B2 1.3 mg 4.6 mg
Vitamin B3 5 mg 16 mg
Vitamin B6 2 mg 5.5mg
Folic acid 200 mcg 0.4 mg
Vitamin B12 6 mcg 21.6 mcg
Biotin 90 mcg 54 mg
Pantothenic acid 5 mg 12.5 mg
Calcium 300 mg 300 mg
Iron 2 mg 6 mg
Phosphorus 250 mg 0**
Iodine 52 mcg 150 mg
Magnesium 80 mg 84 mg
Zinc 6 mg 11 mg
Copper 0.8 mg 0.9 mg
Manganese 2 mg 5.5 mg
Chromium 60 mcg 35 mcg
Molybdenum 30 mcg 0***

*Vitamin A and beta-carotene sometimes come bundled together in supplements. Your body can convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A.
**Calcium and phosphorous sometimes come bundled as dicalcium phosphate.
***Manganese, chromium and molybdenum sometimes come bundled as amino acid chelate.

If you run your eye down the list above, you’ll see that the multi-vitamin usually does far better than what’s contained in Shakeology. I’ll continue popping my daily multi-vitamin instead of paying for Shakeology.

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Here’s where I roll up my sleeves and dig deep for the truth.

Shakeology lists a huge number of “proprietary superfoods” on their nutritional information label. But do any of these so-called “superfoods” hold any weight in terms of benefit to your body?

I’ve compiled a list of the superfoods contained in Shakeology and I’ve added a few comments next to each one:

Superfood What research shows
Whey protein Protein. From milk.
Pea protein Protein. From peas. It's a vegan protein source.
Pea fiber Fiber. From peas. That's it. Go and eat some peas instead.
Maca root I have absolutely no idea why this is in here. They claim it's an 'adaptogen' which is an unproven fringe theory on the effect of these supplements on body health.
Chia These are high in omega-3's, but they're best consumed freshly milled, not pulverized into powder.
Flax Yay for flax! The problem with powdered flaxseed is that to get the benefits you need to grind it fresh from seed, or the oils in it will start to oxidate the longer they sit around. But it still works as bulk in the diet, which could help with appetite suppression.
Yacon root This hit the radar on the Dr. Oz show (koff) a little while ago as a possible weight-loss supplement. 'Nuff said.
Acerola cherry Beyond the Vitamin C content and antioxidant properties, there's not much to recommend this fruit – especially in extract form.
Camu-Camu High in Vitamin C and potentially has antioxidant properties which are still under review.
Pomegranate I love pomegranates (even though they stain everything they touch.) I'd suggest eating them as a fruit first; the jury is still out as to the benefits of the antioxidants contained in pomegranates.
Astragalus root Known to TCM adherents, there is limited research as to the health benefits.
Bilberry This little fruit may have some antioxidant properties but there's little to no research on its effectiveness.
Blueberry I love blueberries! But in fruit form, not ground up. Research is still ongoing as to the health benefits of blueberry extract.
Goji berry A ingredient in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) that has no solid findings in modern research.
Spinach I've never understood why anyone would put spinach in a smoothie or a shake. If you want increased intake of vitamins and minerals, eat more fresh foods.
Açai A source of antioxidants and polyphenols; the jury is still out as to whether polyphenols actually offer us any health benefits.
MSM Methylsulfonylmethane, in other words. There's a lot of unfounded claims as to the health benefits of dietary sulfur supplements.
Himalayan salt It's salt. There's a host of trace minerals in there as well, but it's still just salt.
Ashwagandha root Common in Ayurvedan healing, there are no modern scientific findings regarding benefit to humans.
Cordyceps Fungus that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, but there are no modern studies as to any of its purported health effects.
Protease Enzyme that helps convert proteins into amino acids.
Amlyase Enzyme that helps convert starches into sugars. Amylase is naturally present in your saliva!
Bromelain Enzyme used as a protein tenderizer.
Cellulase Enzyme that converts cellulose into beta-glucose to assist in digestion.
Lipase Enzyme that breaks down fat so it can be digested.
Papain Enzyme used as a protein tenderizer; possibly has some effect on digestion.
Lactase Enzyme commonly added to whey isolates to promote digestion in people who are sensitive to lactose.
Maitake mushroom Nothing conclusive yet on this fungus. They're looking into its effects on the immune system as well as its effects on blood sugar.
Reishi mushroom This one is interesting – there's actually some research on the cancer-fighting abilities of this 'shroom, as well as its effect on lowering blood pressure and controlling cholesterol and blood sugar.
Lactobacillus sporogenes Ah, probiotics. Also known as Bacillus coagulan, these may prove useful to decrease abdominal bloating in people living with IBS and may be responsible for increased resistance for certain viral respiratory tract infections.
Luo Han Guo Monkfruit. This has a history in traditional Chinese medicine, but other than being prized for its sweetening abilities, there's no modern research on this fruit.
Citrus bioflavanoids Just like the flavanoids in tea, chocolate or wine, there's not a lot of evidence that these have any noticeable effect on the human body.
Grape seed They're high in polyphenols but the jury is still out as to any possible health benefits. There are no studies of long-term tolerance to grape seed extract beyond 8 weeks. How long do you plan to drink Shakeology?
Green tea Ah, powedered green tea, a favorite of the health-food set. Do yourself a favour and just consume green tea as a leaf in your cup.
Tulsi Tulsi, or holy basil, has long been a standard ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. However, modern scientific studies on tulsi are extremely rare with little to no conclusions on potential health effects.
Rose hips High in lycopene and Vitamin C, but the benefits seem to end there. Eat a tomato or an orange instead.
Schisandra This fruit has long been a staple of traditional Eastern medicine but there is a serious lack of any scientific studies on the purported benefits of schisandra.
Cinnamon bark There are minimal studies on the health effects of cinnamon with mixed results. But I bet it makes this shake taste good!
Apple pectin Apple pectin is admittedly high in soluble fiber, but you'll get the same effect from eating apples…plus the other benefits of eating fresh fruit!
Ginkgo Ginkgo has been studied for years as a potential enhancer for memory and cognition; however, study results vary widely and it hasn't been ascertained if it has any effect on healthy individuals. It does have anti-oxidant properties, and there are a few promising studies on using ginkgo to improve blood flow throughout the body.
Moringa This isn't a bad food, although I can't find any evidence of it approaching superfood status. Moringa is being used to treat malnutrition in some areas of the world. The leaf is high in beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, Vitamin C and protein. Some compare it to spinach.
Wheat grass Ah, good old wheat grass. Although it sounds healthy, it really has no more nutritional content that regular old vegetables. The American Cancer Society reports that "available scientific evidence does not support the idea that wheatgrass or the wheatgrass diet can cure or prevent disease".
Oat grass Not much different from its cousin wheat grass (see above).
Barley grass Not much different from its cousins wheat grass and oat grass (see above).
Kamut grass Not much different from its cousins wheat grass, oat grass and barley grass (see above).
Amaranth seed This seed is high in protein and the amino acid lysine. However, Wikipedia reports that "Over 100 scientific studies suggest a somewhat conflicting picture on possible anti-nutritional and toxic factors in amaranth".
Chlorella A single-celled green algae that was once touted as a possible food supplement due to being high in protein, fat and carbohydrate. However it's difficult to mass-produce this algae and there are non-credible claims of it being useful in treating cancer, weight-loss and other maladies which the American Cancer Society has stated are not true.
Quinoa A great gluten-free source of all essential amino acids. However, I enjoy this cooked and on a plate – not crushed up in my shake.
Sacha inchi seed Also known as mountain peanut, the seed of this plant contains high amounts of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Spirulina Spirulina is common term for cyanobacteria of the Arthrospira family which photosynthesize energy and are a source of protein. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, at present there is insufficient scientific evidence to recommend spirulina supplementation for any human condition, and more research is needed to clarify its benefits, if any.

So what’s the bottom line on the “superfoods” contained in Shakeology?

My opinion is that NONE of these additives are useful in any form. I’ve never been convinced of the benefits of dessicating and pulverizing fresh foods, and the lack of research on these supplements is a short Google search away.

The Shakeology Recipe

So, here’s my own Shakeology recipe for those of you who have read this far. It has only three ingredients:

  1. Flavored instantized whey protein isolate
  2. A daily multivitamin
  3. A balanced clean-eating diet

Sorry. I know you were hoping for more than that.

Notes on Shakeology as a Meal Replacement

I’m not keen on the “meal replacement” approach of Shakeology either. It will help you lose weight, to be sure – but only if you don’t mix it up with these terrible Shakeology recipes that are pinned all over the interwebs.

Why? Here’s a simple recipe that doesn’t seem too bad at first glance:

  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

Any guesses as to how many calories are contained in this “diet” shake?

Over 500 calories.

When you’re on a 1400 calorie/day diet, that’s a significant chunk of your daily intake.

If you just mixed the Shakeology with water, you’d save 370 calories – and that’s what it takes to lose weight. Anecdotal evidence tells me that Shakeology and water tastes terrible – so I don’t blame people for searching for anything, ANYTHING to mix with this stuff to make it palatable.

I beg of you, peeps, if you want a protein shake then get some basic flavored powder and make a shake. But don’t rope yourself into paying over $1500 per year for this stuff. Save your money and buy a treadmill instead – that will get you into shape a lot faster.

If you’re looking for affordable protein powder, my one-stop shop is The Gold Standard Whey and Casein products are a great value and come in a bunch of great flavors, including Banana Cream, Double Rich Chocolate, and Tropical Punch! Click here to browse the great selection of protein powders at



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  1. Thanks for this review. My wife recently started some sort of exercise program that incorporates Shakeology but she isn’t excited about how expensive it is. I was about to break down the ingredients because I was pretty sure I could give her an alternative for MUCH less. I assumed this was essentially a protein shake with a bunch of vitamins and some other “twigs and berries” tossed in that probably don’t have much support in the literature.

    You said that none of the additives in Shakeology are useful in any form but I think that’s a bit strong. I agree that a balanced clean diet is the way to go but from the perspective of convenience I think it can be useful to add a few things to a standard protein shake (or take as regular supplements) to help support an active lifestyle.

    1. Flax seeds are a good source of fiber and Omega-3. Just buy whole seeds, store them properly and grind as needed to avoid degradation.

    2. Probiotics – beneficial for maintaining gut health. I realize we have these in our systems naturally but will some supplementation hurt? I think this might be a useful addition for my wife because she has celiac disease and can use all the help she can get with maintaining a calm digestive system.

    3. Green tea – of course making a cup of green tea will do the trick but is it any less effective if taken as a supplement in powder form or mixed into a shake for the sake of convenience?

    • Chris

      2014-06-26 at 1:37 pm

      Hey Joel! Thanks for stopping by.

      I love your comment on “twigs and berres” – that’s a pretty good description of what’s in there!

      Was I a bit strong on saying that none of the additives are useful? Well, I can’t debate that increased vitamin and mineral intake are helpful to most people. But I can debate the usefulness of (a) paying $50/lb for these vitamins and minerals, and (b) the “superfoods” in their dessicated state.

      Flax seeds – Yes, yes, yes. I love your suggestion of freshly ground flax seed to increase Omega-3 and fiber intake.

      Probiotics – I have not done a tremendous amount of research on the real benefit of live vs. tablet form probiotics, but I do know that most unbuffered probiotics won’t survive the trip through the stomach alone. Buffering them in a dairy product – i.e. like yogurt – or encapsulating them with a buffer layer increases their chance of surviving their trip to the gut. I don’t know if Shakeology uses buffered probiotics or not.

      Green tea extract – I’m torn on this one. I still am not convinced that the benefit of the polyphenols survives the dessication process. However, bodybuilding expert and researcher Jim Stoppani, PhD, whom I look up to very much, recommends them as a daily supplement. If you’re looking for a green tea extract to add to the protein shake, I might suggest a matcha powder which is essentially ground green tea leaves.

      Thanks again for your comments – public discussion and criticism of any claims, including my own, keeps people honest and keeps us focused on finding the true, proven benefits of any health supplements or techniques.


      • Is there a protein shake you would recommend to someone just getting started that has no idea what they’re doing? I need to lose 150 pounds. I’ve lost 15 so far by changing how I eat, and walking on my treadmill (have to start slow). I keep hearing about shakeology and i’m trying to find an alternative shake that’s more affordable (and after reading this I’m so glad I didn’t buy it). SO expensive! Hope to hear from you!


        • Chris

          2014-07-07 at 1:20 pm

          Hey Ashleigh! Thanks for stopping by.

          The mere fact that you’ve already lost 15 lbs means that you have at least some idea of what you’re doing! :) Keep up the good work!

          My recommendation for protein shakes is to start simple and start cheap. I’ve been doing this for a while and my protein shakes are still really, really basic – and now that my wife is dipping into my protein shake stash too, I have to be extra-conscious of the cost!

          Here’s a few pointers to help you on your journey:

          1. Protein shakes aren’t magic – and don’t believe anyone that tells you that consuming a specific food or beverage will burn fat. It’s not true. However, protein shakes are a great tool in your weight-loss arsenal for a few reasons: they are a low-carb, low-fat source of protein which you’ll need as you build muscle mass from your treadmill workouts. Since they’re very high in protein, they’ll leave you feeling fuller longer than you would if you drank a fruit smoothie or anything juiced.

          2. There are a lot of different proteins out there, so it’s easy to feel confused with all the options available to you. I’d suggest looking at two really basic and affordable protein powders first: whey and casein. Whey can be quickly digested and absorbed by the body, so it’s a good choice immediately after a workout when your body is craving nourishment. Casein, on the other hand, is more slowly absorbed by the body, so it’s a good choice if you want to use a protein shake as a meal replacement to cut down on total calories consumed. Casein digests more slowly so you may feel fuller longer. I find that whey mixes really easily and makes a nice smooth shake, while casein doesn’t mix quite as easily and makes a thicker shake. I also find casein has a slightly stronger taste.

          3. What to mix your protein powder with is really a personal preference. I find mixing with water leaves me with a bland, thin shake, so I mix it with unsweetened almond milk which is low in calories plus I don’t enjoy liquid cow’s milk all that much. My favourite mix is 1.5 cups of almond milk, one banana, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, and a few ice cubes. Blend that up and that’s my go-to breakfast shake right there. There’s a great starter list of protein shake recipes here that will get you started with various flavours of shakes. Just remember – it’s tough to out-run your fork, so be careful with the recipes that add extra calories in the form of sugar (chocolate syrup, honey) or fructose (fruit juices).

          4. Keep it affordable. I used to buy my protein powder from the bulk store here in town until I discovered that I could get it far, far cheaper online. My gym rat friends love the 100% Gold Standard Whey and 100% Gold Standard Casein from – and the best part is that it gets delivered right to your door. I love having the chocolate and vanilla flavours on-hand, as I’m a chocoholic and the vanilla flavours mix really well with fruit. Until you’re farther down the path of your wellness journey, don’t worry about other, more complicated shakes.

          If you don’t have a blender, then you’ll need a decent shaker cup to mix your shakes (unfortunately they won’t blend up a banana in your shake but they’re good in a pinch). They’re great when you’re on-the go at work or even when you don’t want to face washing out the blender AGAIN just to have a smoothie. Just remember to always mix us your shakes fresh – they’ll go skanky if you let them sit around, even in the fridge.

          Please check back in as your wellness journey progresses! I’d love to hear how it’s going!

          • Thanks for your informative review of shakeology. I had started T25 with beachbody where they then sold me shakeology. Even as a “discount” coach… shakeology was $95 a month plus a membership fee. It was ridiculous and I didn’t want to be a part of it. I was taking a look at the protein powder that you recommended… I am wondering if you know if they give any samples to try different flavors before you buy them?

          • Chris

            2014-08-14 at 10:39 am

            Hi Andrea!
            Unfortunately they don’t offer samples of the different flavors. (I wish I’d been able to try a sample before I ordered the Chocolate casein – I would have stuck with Vanilla!)
            They *do* offer 3-serving size packets in Vanilla Ice Cream, Double Rich Chocolate and Cinnamon Graham Cracker for a reasonable cost, so that’s a great way to try out a few flavors before you commit to a huge container. The taste ratings as shown on are pretty accurate. What sort of Shakeology flavors did you enjoy in the past? I can try to match up some whey flavors with your taste profile if you’d like!

    • Quick question what is s good multi-vitamin for women?

      • Chris

        2015-05-01 at 3:22 pm

        Hey Loretta!

        Quick answer – I highly recommend Opti-Women Multivitamins. My wife has used them for some time and they remain her favorite. High in Vitamin D, iron and B vitamins, they’re a great bet for your daily multi needs. Thanks!

  2. Hi,
    Thank you for this article. I found it very informative. I was sucked into the whole Shakeology thing a few months ago. After doing more research and reading more unbiased articles, I realized it was all hype. The shakes are ok tasting, but nothing worth over $5 a serving. They are all about trying to get you to “coach” and preach that you get a discount, but then you have to pay $16 a month for a website that doesn’t even work right. Don’t even get me started on that end of it. I like the idea of a shake meal replacement , but not for the price or hype they are selling it at.

    • Chris

      2014-07-22 at 11:06 am

      Hey Mel – thanks for stopping by!
      I have to say that Shakeology is a brilliant marketing scheme. Even as a coach with a discount, you’re still paying an astronomical amount of money for a basic protein shake in a bag with dubious “superfoods”. Beachbody realized some time ago that they weren’t going to make tons of money anymore selling DVDs in the digital age, so they had to move on to a consumable/renewable product they could market to their primarily female demographic. It’s incredibly smart marketing – but it’s gouging people unnecessarily.

      • Yes! These “coaches” are so pushy.. knowing they won’t make any money if they don’t get more people to sign up. I am so glad to find a good article about this. Every time I find an article it ends up being a coach and they of course have it all one sided to sound so good. I hope more people will start realizing it’s just a pyramid scheme.

  3. Hi!

    I really appreciated your through breackdown of the different parts of the shake. I did a 4 day Shakeology challenge and gained 2 lbs, really discouraged. I did do the Body by Vi shakes 6 mo ago and it tasted a lot better and I lost a few pounds. What are your thoughts on the Body by Vi shakes? Are the protein shakes you listed in another comment good for women too? Thank you for all your insight!! :)

    • Chris

      2014-07-25 at 3:07 pm

      Hey Kelly – thanks for stopping by!

      I haven’t tried the Vi shakes yet – but you’ve given me a perfect idea for the next product I should review! :)

      The great thing about the shakes mentioned in the comments here is that they don’t discriminate – they’re great for both men and women. In fact, there’s very little difference in protein requirement between the sexes except for total daily protein intake. (And if a woman is benching 250 lbs then she’s probably going to need more than me!)

      However, there is a difference between the sexes when it comes to shakes. TASTE. Seriously. Women have a more refined sense of taste and tend to gravitate towards the sweeter flavors, while men predominantly couldn’t care two hoots about what they drank. There are some NASTY workout supplements that I see guys drink all the time. I have even chugged a whole shake of UNFLAVORED whey just because there was nothing else available.

      This causes a problem in terms of total calories when it comes to shake recipes. If women aren’t into the chocolate flavored shakes, they tend to choose fruit-flavored or vanilla shakes and then add varying amounts of fruit and sweeteners like honey or agave, or calorie-dense things like peanut butter. This dramatically increases the calorie count of the shake.

      If you’re interested in writing down a few thoughts about your experience with Body by Vi, I’d love to publish it here! Let me know!

      • Hi
        Just wanted to add my two cents about any shakes from MLM companies.. you ned to be careful, because ultimately they are just worried about making money. I tried to get a sample from Body by Vi three times and all three times they said they were sending me one and never did. I am not expecting to really lose weight from drinking daily shake, but it’s convenient for me since I am not a breakfast eater. I am so skeptical of all these mlm companies now. I still would like to try the body by vi though.. I have seen them being sold on Amazon but not sure if it’s wise to buy from there or not? Is it just some random person selling it or a reliable company?

  4. Great article! I had a feeling Shakeology was over-hyped and you confirmed that, so thank you for saving me thousands of dollars.

    You mentioned that you don’t recommend protein shakes for meal replacement – do you use them at all, or recommend using them? Right now I drink one from EAS after I work out (not as a meal replacement), hoping for muscle recovery and building, but not even sure if that’s a good use or not!

    • Chris

      2014-08-05 at 7:01 am

      Hey Jen!

      I love to eat, so I just can’t get on board with having only a shake as a meal. However, I DO use protein shakes as SNACK replacements, and I definitely have a shake post-workout.
      When I workout in the morning I don’t feel like eating, but I don’t want to work out on an empty stomach. I’ll do up a quick shake pre-workout so that I don’t have to spend the next 45 minutes starving and light-headed, and I’ll have another shake after with bananas or avocado along with my usual breakfast of eggs and fruit.

      I’m a big fan of protein shakes for anyone wanting to build muscle. I find that when I consume protein shakes after a workout my muscles are a lot less sore (i.e. less DOMS) than when I was working out without using protein shakes.


  5. What a great post! Thank you!
    Recently, I’ve been following a Beachbody DVD, which I enjoy the workouts, but before, during and after is like a Shakeology infomercial. They almost had me convinced until I started looking for alternatives. I want a shake for a meal replacement because I don’t always have time, or last nights leftovers, for lunch at work. I’ll grab a smoothie but come dinner time I’m feeling ravenous and fighting the urge to grab whatever is in sight. I like what you said to Ashleigh about the Casein protein and how it helps you stay fuller longer. Is there something similar that’s more plant based? Not that I’m a vegitarian / vegan, just curious. Thanks again!

    • Chris

      2014-08-05 at 9:56 pm

      Hey Christina!

      Lately I’ve found that the entire WORKOUT is a Shakeology commercial – with the bags on shelves in the background and everyone in the video wears a Shakeology t-shirt! LOL!
      There are two main choices when it comes to vegan protein: soy-based protein, or pure plant-based protein. Soy-based protein powders come from soy, obviously, but soy doesn’t agree with some people’s digestive systems. The plant-based proteins usually come from peas, legumes or rice; however they don’t tend to be as filling (or as cheap!) as soy. Some people are concerned about the amount of soy in our modern diet but I don’t feel this has been proven yet in all the food research I’ve uncovered. If you want a more filling shake, you can always add fiber – my favorite is ground flax. A little gritty to drink but tastes good and helps fill you up a little longer.

      • Hahaha! I know this post is old but OMG yes, you are so right that the workout is a shakeology commercial. The blenders and flavours in the back and the t-shirt and a couple times during the workout “right after this would be a good time to drink your shakeology” and what I hear is “come with me, here try this koolaid”. :)

        • Chris

          2015-04-13 at 3:39 pm

          Hey Michelle! “Old” is a state of mind – this is actually one of the most popular posts on the site, even today! Life is so much better when you drink your own kool-aid, y’know? ;)

  6. hi, this is a very interesting article…i knew 6 months ago that i wasnt going to be suckered into buying shakeology as im in the u.k for one and i realised that if i drank a good protein based meal replacement with my own supplements (fish oils, matcha BCAA. and a good multi vit including magnesium) then i wouldnt go far wrong…in the U.K check out the proteinworks…meal replacement shakes, they taste absolutely delicious ..esp the chocolate machiatto and as they are a meal replacement and not just a protein shake..(though they are whey based) they are full of vitamins…i tip a few chia seeds into mine and have done this post workout for 6 months..

    • Chris

      2014-08-12 at 11:12 am

      Hey Ursula – thanks for the comments for our UK readers. You seem to have a great plan with the protein/meal replacement shakes and your supplement stack. Great work!

  7. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the write up. I’m ripping my way through P90X right now, and it seems to be working. I was about to delve into figuring out whether Shakeology was science or pseudoscience, and as I suspected (I’m a PhD molecular biologist) it’s the latter. Thanks for saving me the time.

    One thing though – you list protease as being an “enzyme that helps convert starches into sugars”. This is incorrect – proteases are a group of enzymes that convert proteins into amino acids. I suspect that this is just a cut and paste error, but it might be worth updating this otherwise flawless article. The whole concept of Beachbody feeling the need to add these enzymes to a shake when they are present in our saliva and secreted by our gastrointestinal tract is mind-boggling to me. If we didn’t have these enzymes, we couldn’t digest any food at all!

    Thanks again, Andrew

    • Chris

      2014-08-27 at 8:53 am

      Hi Andrew!
      I’ve corrected the article – thanks for catching this cut+paste error!

  8. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for confirming my suspicions. Very informative article.
    I have completed triathlons, P90X, Rushfit, Les Mills Combat, ‘some’ of Insanity and now P90X3 over the last 5 years. I undertook these excellent workout programs with different shakes/supplements combinations to determine pros/cons. I thought readers might be interested in my anecdotes. By the way, I am a celiac and lactose intolerant, so i have to go with vegan or whey protein isolate to avoid all the stomach problems.
    My regime was to workout in the morning, have a protein shake for breakfast, then eat sensibly for the rest of the day. I tracked my calories with myfitnesspal. Net calories (after deducting those used in the workout) was ~1600 cals. I lost 10lbs after 90 days, but put on muscle and cut fat. Happy with the results.

    Protein Shakes and experiences:

    1. GNC Whey Isolate Protein shake and Soy Milk (40g, 8oz soy milk) – no problems, apart from being hungry and tired. A lot.
    2. GNC Whey Isolate Protein shake and Soy Milk (40g, 8oz soy milk), 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter, 1 ground flax seed. Tasted way better, and the fats switched off my hunger until lunchtime. Still tired.
    3. GNC Whey Isolate Protein shake and Soy Milk (40g, 8oz soy milk), 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter, 1 ground flax seed. 1 scoop of Waxy Maize. Less hunger, more energy for workout the next day, trained harder, more fitness gains.
    4. Shakeology – Vegan Chocolate and Tropical Strawberry – plus 8oz soy milk. Chocolate tasted great, strawberry tasted fake and a bit gritty. Got an energy spike 30 minutes after drinking. Did not notice any loss of appetite, or increased weight loss or muscle gain. Much improved digestion and bowel movements.

    So, no real surprises here, but my personal experience taught me this:
    1 . My custom shake cost me $3.50. Shakeology was $5, or $6.50 if I supplemented the carbs and flax seeds to match my custom shake. My customised shake tasted just as good, and gave my body what I KNOW it really needed to help me get the best out of these workout programs.
    2. Adding good fats to my diet was the key to switching off sustained hunger pangs. Low fat diets caused me to eat more calories (usually carbs). A spoonful of peanut butter would bridge the ‘3pm crave for carbs’ and keep me satisfied until dinner.
    3. Low carb diets might be good in the long term to help you slowly shed fat, but used on a tough workout program like P90X, they left me tired and unable to workout hard. It also sapped morale being tired all the time and increased the likelihood of me failing to complete the program (i only failed to complete Insanity by the way).

    So, once my last few sachets of shakeology run out I’ll be back on the custom protein shake, and looking to identify and add the supplement in shakeology that helped out my digestive system.


    • Chris

      2014-09-02 at 10:33 am

      Holy cow, Nik! That is an amazing breakdown and analysis of your protein supplementation. Thank you SO much for this. I would like to hold this up as a shining example of how to use yourself as a proving ground for supplementation and its benefits. I wonder how your experience would have changed had you incorporated Casein into your workouts – it breaks down more slowly and it keeps me fuller longer. As well, I’m interested to see that you tried waxy maize in your shakes – I usually stick to dextrose as it breaks down a little faster than WMS and it’s hella cheap. Check out my Body Beast review to see what I put in my workout shakes. If you do determine the digestive supplement in Shakeology that helped you out, PLEASE come back and let me know. I’d love to publish your findings!

      • Thanks Chris. FYI, I used waxy maize because that’s what the guy in the healthfood store recommended. As you stated, further research since has confirmed that dextrose would have been just as good (and cheaper). Looking forward to something different as waxy maize spoiled the texture of the shake (unsurprisingly, it kinda tasted like finely ground cornmeal….). I am 1-2 weeks away from finishing my up my shakeology and will start experimenting with probiotics, and other ingredients from shakeology that could have contributed to my improved digestive system. Midway through P90X3, so for phase 3 I will be back on the custom shakes for the final stretch and will try casein too.

        • Chris

          2014-09-02 at 4:40 pm

          Sounds great, Nik. Looking forward to hearing your results!

          • Hi Chris,
            I’m glad I found this website. Thank you for the info on Shakeology.
            I’m wondering though, how much dextrose do you add to each serving instead of waxy maize to get the ideal effect?

          • Chris

            2015-03-23 at 12:26 pm

            Hey Emma! If you are looking to use this for meal replacement, don’t add any dextrose. If you’re using this as a post-workout shake for maximum recovery, shoot for around 50g of dextrose. This is about the same size as the scoop found in your protein powder. Thanks!

  9. I bought a sample pack of Shakeology (trial of four different flavors). I thought it tasted just okay, and it didn’t really help stave off cravings or increase my energy. Like so many others, I determined it wasn’t worth the price.

    I liked your post here and decided to try the ON Gold Standard Whey in Vanilla Ice Cream. It tastes very good, but the one thing that concerns me is its use of acesulfame potassium as a sweetener. I know there are contradictory reports as to its safety, and I’m wondering if my research might be dated and if you have something more recent to report.

    I think the way to go might be to buy the unsweetened powders and add fruit to sweeten the shakes.

    • Chris

      2014-09-10 at 10:02 am

      Nancy – I’ll point you to the well-respected supplement team at who have this to say about acesulfame-potassium:

      There are no studies that indicate any long-term health risks from drinking diet soda. Diet Soda (defined as calorie free carbonated beverages sweetened with aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium, or other non-caloric or minimally caloric sweeteners) is not harmful to health, well-being, or body composition.[1]
      There is no evidence that diet soda inhibits fat loss, or that it even spikes insulin levels to levels that would be detrimental to health.

      The full article can be found here if you’re interested. But if you wanted to eat as cleanly as you could, then I’d suggest that the NOW unflavored whey powders found here would be a great start. The ingredients list is as follows: “Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate (including ß-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, Immunoglobulins, and Glycomacro Peptides), and Soy Lecithin (<1%). Contains milk and soy.”

      Let me know how you make out!

      • Thank you! There is so much contradictory information out there! I think I will try what you recommended.

        • Chris

          2014-09-10 at 10:42 am

          Good luck! Remember that you’ll never go wrong sticking to pure natural whole foods. But there are a lot of additives and supplements that are equally safe – it just takes a lot of digging to find the truth.

  10. Thank you so much for this review! I am currently a beachbody coach (solely to get the discount on shakeology) and I’m pretty over it. I firmly believe you cannot replace a healthy balanced diet of PLANTS with a meal replacement shake. I love how you reminded me that grinding up all of these ingredients, especially things like chia where the fats will oxidize, actually rids the perceived benefits. I already make my shakeology smoothies into green veggie power smoothies so I really don’t even need the added “superfoods” since I eat more fruit and veggies than anyone I know. I am going to be “quitting” beachbody now and this article was the cherry. THANK YOU!

    • Chris

      2014-11-14 at 9:04 pm

      Katie – thanks so much for stopping by! Sometimes it takes a bit of distance to truly “see” what benefits a product offers – if any. If you’re a big eater of fruits and vegetables anyway, then you definitely don’t need minuscule amounts of them in powdered form. Good luck!

  11. Are there any benefits to mixing Whey and Casien to get the benefits of both?

    • Chris

      2014-11-17 at 3:56 pm

      Hey Kara!

      There is definitely a benefit to mixing whey and casein powders – I do it all the time. There are a lot of studies that purport to tell you that there are optimal times of the day (pre, during, and post-workout) for each type of protein you should consume – whey post-workout for a quick protein hit, casein in the evening to keep your muscles fed all night long, etc, etc. Most of these studies are designed for and performed on ultra-elite athletes, not the common fitness enthusiast like you and me.

      In reality, the important things is that you have a consistent intake of protein if you’re trying to build lean muscle and/or replace carb-based calories in your diet with calories from protein. I mix whey and casein in every shake I make for several reasons: I like the consistency that casein gives to my shake, casein makes me feel fuller for longer since it thickens in the stomach, and the whey protein is perfect for a post-workout hit of easy-to-digest whey. I find that casein alone slows down my digestion to an uncomfortable level, so I keep it balanced by combining the two.

      And consider this – milk is designed by Mother Nature and is roughly 1/4 whey and 3/4 casein. That’s gotta count for something!

  12. Chris,

    I loved your article and you confirmed my suspicion that Shakeology is an overpriced protein shake. I am lactose intolerant and don’t prefer to eat soy in my diet. Whey tends to give me tummy troubles (or at least the ones I have tried). Is there a protein mix (hemp or pea based) that has similar nutritional ingredients as the Gold Standard but will not cause tummy troubles for someone who is lactose intolerant?

    • Chris

      2014-11-21 at 11:08 am

      Hey Sarah!
      There are three products that I can recommend for those who don’t (or can’t) eat soy, casein and whey:

      Vega One: Vega is a fairly common brand; it takes up a lot of shelf space at my local grocery store. Vega One is based on several plant protein sources: Pea, SaviSeed (Sacha Inchi), Hemp, and Brown Rice to a grand total of 15g of protein per serving, which is less than other protein shakes. However, It also has a host of green additives (chlorella, broccoli, spinach and kale among other things) and added flax and chia. The chocolate flavor isn’t great, but I’ve heard the berry flavors are much, much better. Perhaps it’s the brown rice and “green” taste that just doesn’t work for me in the chocolate. This isn’t a straight protein shake by any means, as it introduces a lot of fiber into your diet via the flax and chia, so if you aren’t used to high levels of fiber in your diet then I’d start slowly with this product and make sure to take lots of water throughout the day. It will also leave you feeling fuller longer than a pure whey shake due to the plant protein and fiber content. Click here to check out current deals on Vega One.

      Vega Sport: Very similar to it’s sibling product above, this is more of a post-workout recovery shake. It ditches the extra fiber and hemp protein, but bumps the protein up to 25g per serving and swaps in Alfalfa protein for the hemp. I haven’t tried this one but people tell me the taste is not as great as the Vega One, but the chocolate is a bit better than the Berry or Vanilla flavors. I’d recommend this one if you’re after a protein punch and don’t want to stress your digestive system with extra fiber post-workout. As well, the price per serving between the Vega One and the Vega Sport is roughly the same, but you’re getting 67% more protein for the price in Vega Sport. Click here to check out current deals on Vega Sport.

      Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein: If you’re looking for a pure plant protein this is about the best you can do. Price per serving is a LOT less than either of the Vega products above. The downside is that it’s not a complete shake on it’s own – you basically get a container of unflavored hemp protein powder which tastes like, well, hemp. But if you’re a fan of making your own smoothies (with fruits, veggie juices, almond milk and other additions) then all you need to get 15g of protein in your shake is three simple tablespoons of the Nutivia Hemp. Plus you’re not limited to using this in a shake form; you can put it in whatever the heck you want. Bake it into protein bars; sprinkle it on your oatmeal, mix it in a fruit salad. Here are the latest deals on Nutivia Organic Hemp.

      A lot of whey protein powders have a lot of additives, such as maltodextrin which can be hard on tummies. Have you tried pure whey isolate before? I usually get it at our local bulk food store; it’s not cheap (I think about $15/lb) but it’s 90% pure whey isolate with soy lethicin. Like the Nutiva Hemp above, you’ll have to do the work to concoct a shake yourself, but it’s a close to pure whey as you can get. The product I buy notes it contains 1g of carbs which is the remaining lactose, so you might want to try a small bit of that to see if it’s the whey setting you off – or something else. Good luck!

  13. Thanks so much for your response. I have tried the Nutiviva Organic Hemp and liked it so-so. I’m going to check out the link for the Vega Sport. That looks like it fits my needs the best (lots of protein).

    Thanks again!

  14. I am not a big fan of using any meal replacement products, as I prefer to eat real foods with my family. However, I am in need of significant lifestyle changes for the betterment of my overall health – to include regular exercise and dietary updates.

    You dissected the Shakeology ingredients above, which made me wonder if perhaps you did the same for any other commercial meal replacement product. The other one I hear often about is Advocare. I have friends who have lost weight while using both products – the one using Shakeology is committed to daily exercise; the one who previously used Advocare states she did not exercise while using it but did lose 15 pounds. It’s hard to say what exactly was the key for both of them, since it is a dynamic of things, to be sure, but these are the anecdotes I have heard.

    Thank you for sharing any information you might have on Advocare vs. Shakeology vs. well, anything else. I tend to agree that a good multivitamin and eating real foods is likely the better (cheaper and healthier) way to go. In this vain, I have a Part 2 to my question: Do you have any information on Melaleuca vitamin products and how their claims stack up against “store-bought” vitamins? I am particularly interested in the Oligo multi-vitamins and the Omega-3’s listed on their website.

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Chris

      2014-12-04 at 1:28 pm

      Kymm – I’m digging through the research available to me to answer your questions – I assume your question is about the Advocare Meal Replacement shake. It seems to be a straightforward whey/casein shake, but with added amino acids which makes me doubt that it delivers a full 24g of dietary protein as promised on the label. It’s promoted as a meal replacement shake, but at 220 calories that’s a pretty skinny meal! :)
      I had a quick look at the Oligo Vitality series of vitamins and at first glance they don’t seem to be much different that other common vitamin supplements that you can buy retail. The Omega 3 product is fairly comparable to retail brands of Omega 3 supplements but does seem to contain higher than average amounts of DHA. If they are priced comparably then I’d say there wouldn’t be any harm in trying them, but I suspect they’re no more effective than any common retail supplement.

  15. Thank you for your brutally honest opinion on Shakeology. I was sucked into trying it a year ago because I kept reading how great people said it was. I found that it made me jittery and I had symptoms of low blood sugar after drinking it. My “coach” said I just needed to get used to it. Long story short, I never “got used to it” so I stopped after a few months of trying. I’m sure it works for some people, but it didn’t for me, and I have moved on to other products that fit my digestive conditions (not to mention pocketbook) better.

    • Chris

      2014-12-18 at 2:40 pm

      Hey Christy! Thanks for your comments. I agree, Shakeology works for a certain percentage of the population but not most others. Were you using it as a meal replacement shake when you noted the above symptoms of low blood sugar? Some people just can’t get by on liquid meals, and I’m one of them.

      • Chris

        I tried it once as a meal replacement and found myself starving after two hours so I decided a snack was a better idea. The symptoms were the same when I used a full scoop as recommended. They got better if I divided it in half and drank half a scoop a day, but why go through that if I can find the same results with another product that doesn’t yield the same effects and costs less? If I need the extra boost, I just make a smoothie with Garden of Life’s RAW Protein and that’s a great snack.

        I have come to realize that I don’t need a powder to be healthy, I just need to figure out how to keep eating healthy.

  16. So glad I found this!! Was almost about to get sucked into buying a 21 Day Fix challenge pack for $160 because I really wanted to try the Shakeology since I’d heard all the hype about it. I was like oh I need this to help me eat healthier. No! I just simply need to eat healthier!!! Thank you so much for this review and all these comments.

    • Chris

      2014-12-22 at 12:02 pm

      Hey Samantha – another one sees the light and joins the flock! Nice site you have – keep up the good work.

    • While I admit that I originally agreed with this post, that was before I had tried Shakeo for myself. After having tried it I do really like it. Not saying that I don’t agree with making it yourself but that it does make me feel good to drink it, and I do feel like I benefit from it.

      • Chris

        2015-02-27 at 11:17 am

        Hey Samantha – thanks for returning! If the price and the benefits are worth it to you, then I can’t tell you you’re wrong. Case in point – I enjoy $25 cigars and $15 martinis, while my friend Jim enjoys cheap cigars and homemade Red Lions to everything else. Shakeology is all about whether you want to pay the money for something that touts a lot of benefits that just haven’t been proven out. What flavor did you try?

  17. Hi there..I just found your site today as I was looking for an alternative to Shakeology. I’ve been using great vegan chocolate and have experienced so e positive effects. I’ve lost weight, curbed my craving for sugar and found myself wanting to eat less “junk” food. That being said, it’s expensive. I can’t keep spending 143.00 month. I have some specific dietary restrictions including low Vitamin K intake as well as I am lactose intolerant. I can’t do soy either so that leaves me with little choice. Any suggestions would be helpful. I don’t mind it as a meal replacement because that is what I used Shakeology for….it was my breakfast during the week since I am up and out of the house so early. I’m just looking for a less expensive alternative. Thanks.

    • Chris

      2015-01-05 at 12:50 pm

      Hey Jennifer!
      If you’re looking for vegan options, I’d give Vega One a try. It has a formula that’s remarkably similar to Shakeology, but for a lot less. The current pricing for the 30oz container comes to about $2.50 per serving, which still isn’t cheap – but it’s a far sight better than Shakeology! There’s another comment in this thread that talks at length about Vega One, check it out for details. This product has a lot of fiber to help you feel fuller, longer – which is ideal for a meal replacement shake. I’m hunting around to see if I can source it any cheaper – if I do, I’ll let everyone here know. Thanks!

  18. Hey Chris

    I’ve just started the insanity workout dvd’s, and am feeling very sore and have stiff muscles. I know a protein shake is the way to go and I’ve looked into maybe buying a results and recovery formula but are there any other drinks I can just quickly whip up as a recovery or pre drink to the workout? just need that quick recovery before the next workout.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • Chris

      2015-01-05 at 1:16 pm

      Hey Tim! Are you doing the Max 30, or the original Insanity series? Stiff muscles (or delayed onset muscle soreness) is a problem that most people face when starting a workout program – I still get it when I switch programs, because my muscles just aren’t used to the new moves of the new workout.

      Post-workout recovery products won’t necessarily help you with your sore muscles – ibuprofen, heat, and taking advantage of rest days are key – even take an extra rest day if you need to. I remember back when I started the You Are Your Own Gym workouts – my arms and shoulders were so sore it was almost impossible to wash my hair in the shower. I would suggest that you keep on with post-workout protein shakes with a carb component to speed muscle building and eventually get past that soreness.

      You can do it cheaply with a 1/2 banana, 1/2 c orange juice, and one cup of plain greek yogurt in your blender – this will deliver about 24g of protein and 25g of carbs which is bang-on for macronutrients for a post-workout shake. The issue is that this recipe isn’t very portable, so if you’re on the go then check out the product links above for instantized protein powder / dextrose and invest in a good shaker cup to mix your shakes on the go. Good luck!

  19. In regards to multi vitamins, I was discussing this with 3 different types of nurses, and they were mentioning that pill form, be it medication or vitamins, do not get absorbed into the body completely, where as liquid does. They went so far to say that you could let your skin absorb medication or even the multi vitamin, and get better results.

    I truly enjoyed your review. It was the only honest review, and fact based. Ever other review that I came across was people that were trying to get me to buy products from them. One can not honestly review something if they get a kick back.

    I did pick up a liquid multi vitamin at the local big company vitamin store. Luckily the product was about to expire in February, so I got it for $6 when it normally went for $30. Tastes pretty “health foodish”, sort of like cardboard, which matches that smell when you walk into a health food store, and has this odd orange tint that will change the color of your skin if you get it on you, but I am hoping that it will work better. Comparing it to One a Day, it had more of the same nutrients, and some additional nutrients. Maybe you you take your same awesome approach to different vitamins?

    • Chris

      2015-01-06 at 3:48 pm

      Hey Matthew!

      The bioavailability of vitamins is a rather obscure subject; the absorption of said vitamin depends so much on the state of the person taking it, what foods they are taking it with, the age of the person taking it, etc, etc, etc. There are a tremendous number of claims online that “liquid vitamins are 98% absorbed” as opposed to something like 10-30% of solid form vitamins. A lot of these claims point to the Physician’s Desk Reference as their source, but I actually own a copy of the 2014 edition of the PDR and I can’t find ANY reference to this statistic ANYWHERE in the book. If someone can point out where this piece of information lives in the PDR, I will be happy to eat my words…but I think I’m pretty safe.

      Frankly, I know fully well that most of the contents of my multivitamin don’t get absorbed – but that’s not so much the fault of the vitamin, but the way that nutrient absorption works. To be absorbed into your body, a vitamin has to make it to your small intestine. However, the stomach is a pretty hazardous environment and a lot of the vitamins are broken down before they can be absorbed. This is true no matter the delivery method – solid vitamins or liquid makes no difference. In fact, some of the water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C probably start to degrade in the liquid bottle itself as the vitamin is freely available in liquid form and can come into contact with oxygen quite easily – which starts to break it down.

      What DOES make a difference is the quality of the vitamin. There are some higher quality vitamins on the market that are enteric-coated or use other forms of excipients (i.e., the non-vitamin parts of your vitamin that holds it all together) so that more of the vitamin actually makes it to your small intestine, where – theoretically – you will absorb more of the vitamin. But this comes at a higher price – so unless you’re chronically deficient in a particular nutrient, I don’t think you really need to shell out for these nutraceuticals.

      Are vitamins absorbed through the skin? Yes, they are. Are they absorbed any better as compared to ingesting the vitamins? It depends – some experiments have shown that some vitamins are absorbed better through the skin, but this depends on (a) the pH of the person’s skin, (b) any foreign substances on the skin like lotions or soap residue, and (c) the solution in which the vitamin is dissolved. I don’t want orange spots on my skin – so I’m happy to pop my daily multi, C and D vitamins.

      Overall, I treat vitamins as insurance for a healthy diet – they are there to fill the occasional gap that might be missed in my daily eating plan. Thanks for your comments – let me know how the liquid vitamins work for you!

  20. This article is an exceptional find. After thoroughly reading the article and following comments, I not only retracted my decision to try shakeology, but I’ve resolved to approach any product from beach body with caution.
    I hate to bother with advice seeking rigmarole, but I’d appreciate some advice if you’d be willing to loan me your $0.02.
    I have lost over 120 lb and kept it off for over a decade (by eliminating a lot of sugar and processed foods, portion control and about 1.5 hours of moderate cardio 4-5 days/week), maintaining a lean frame and healthy BMI, as well as stabilized hormones and general wellness, etc; but of late I have regained 20 lbs (courtesy of nursing school stress). I’m getting back on the bandwagon with cardio workouts and clean eating to aide in losing the fat weight, I don’t plan to start weight training until I’ve lost that but will do some resistance/body weight training. It is proving to be quite the battle thus far, which is discouraging. Trying the old tricks mentioned above that once helped me lose the weight, doesn’t seem to be working as well as I remember. I’m also way too busy now for 1.5 hours of cardio, and busy also means skipped meals and missed nutrition needed for weight loss, so here I am searching for an “all in one” type of shake or drink mix.
    I have at home, a Bikini Ready protein shake, which hardly measures up to the contents I’m seeing in Vega One – so the container is collecting dust; as is the jar of Vitamineral Green: a super food supplement a gf who lost near 200 lb swore by. I can’t offer an honest opinion about its effectiveness because I’ve only drank it twice- it tastes like fresh cut grass was thrown into a blender. Any experience with the vitamineral green or other similar supplements?

    I have found that whey protein, be it in a shake or bar, leaves me feeling very tired, sometimes excessively so. I do like the idea of plant based proteins and looking at the vitamin and ingredient list of the Vega One you suggested, I like what I see. I just may give it a try.
    Any advice, I’d be grateful.

    • Chris

      2015-01-08 at 10:59 am

      Hey Chazz – don’t ever worry about “advice seeking rigamarole”…I love helping out my readers. That’s why I run this site!

      First, let me say this: I’m INCREDIBLY PROUD of you for the initial 120 lb loss and keeping it off. Bravo. You are an inspiration to us all.

      Let me let you in on a little secret – we’re getting old. With every decade that passes, our bodies just don’t work as efficiently as they did before. 20 years ago, I weighed 127 pounds, ate like a horse, and I would hop on my mountain bike and go for a 20km ride…just for fun. I haven’t tried that lately, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t maintain those levels of activity anymore.

      I have tried powdered greens off and on, but to be honest I suspect a lot of the benefit of the contents of a “green” powder supplement is lost through the dessication and grinding process. Plus I haven’t yet found a way to make them taste good. So I, as well, have an expensive bottle of green powder that tastes like grass taking up space on my shelf. Ah well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

      If whey leaves you tired, you might want to supplement with instantized casein powders, which thicken in the gut and take longer to digest; this means you feel fuller, longer and won’t leave you feeling hungry and tired. As I mentioned in another post, a lot of the time I mix casein and whey 1:1 in a shake and call it breakfast – it keeps me going for the next 3-4 hours without issue.

      Vega One has a lot of great plant-based protein, and it comes with a good amount of plant fiber as well to keep you feeling full. The Vega One is just a bit too skinny at 160 calories to function as a full meal replacement, but there’s no reason you couldn’t supplement it with some Vega Sport for increased protein and calories. There’s a 20% off promotion running right now on all Vega products – you might want to check it out.

      Good luck with your nursing career – and I wish you much success with those stubborn 20 lbs!

  21. While some of this information is very helpful for someone looking for an alternative, a lot of it is also very opinionated. Which it fine, but simply means that someone else may get different results. I am a Shakeology drinker and only mix it with water, not milk and still think it tastes amazing! Also, even if I did use milk for a 500 calorie shake… as a meal replacement, that’s a great breakfast! Also, the biggest difference for me with Shakeology and something else is how I FEEL which is (to me) the most important thing. Shakeology gives me energy, curbs my cravings and keeps me regular. I never feel bloated or hit that after-lunch/mid-day wall. In my experience, other protein shakes on the market don’t provide you with those benefits.

    • Chris

      2015-01-10 at 3:25 pm

      Laura, that’s exactly the reply that I’d expect from a Beachbody coach, which you are:
      It’s usually considered professional to disclose your affiliations before you hijack a thread on someone’s blog.

      • So commenting is now considered hijacking? I am a beachbody coach and that’s because the products have worked for me and I believe in them. I said nothing negative about the post, was just providing my opinion which is why there is a comment button available. :) Sorry you’re so defensive for whatever reason (you’re a miserable fuck maybe?”)

        • Chris

          2015-01-10 at 6:22 pm

          Hey Laura. Thanks for your comments. In the spirit of openness I’ve left this conversation as-is so representatives from Beachbody (who visit this site regularly) will be free to judge the professional calibre of the people who represent their brand. Cheers.

  22. Agreed, cheers!

  23. I am in the midst of a total change and refocus.
    I am lactose intolerant. I do however make my own smoothies, watching the sugars, mainly spinach, an apple, banana, cup of unsweetened almond milk, half cucumber and two celery stalks.
    I would like your advice on a powder additive that would add some bulk and protein, as my fiber is pretty much on point.
    I’ve had the GNC whey metabolic protein, vanilla flavor that I’ve added to my staple ingredients above. I used to use PB2 to change the flavor.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris

      2015-01-12 at 1:22 pm

      I’m glad to hear that you’re changing your life for the better – good luck with wherever it takes you.

      You’re looking for “bulk” – I’ll assume you mean muscle mass and not “insoluble fiber”, but correct me if I’m wrong.

      Here are my recommendations for a cost-efficient option, a premium option and a vegan option for protein powder additives:

      Cost-effective: A measured mixture of Optimum Nutrition whey and Optimum Nutrition casein powders. Since you like the PB2 flavor in your smoothies, I might suggest the Chocolate Peanut Butter casein mixed with either the Extreme Milk Chocolate Whey or the Coffee flavor (if you enjoy coffee – this gives a darker flavor to the shake). The bitter taste of the celery and cucumber might also lend themselves to the Strawberry, Strawberry Banana or Tropical Punch whey.

      Premium: The Pro-Jym Blended protein supplement comes to me very highly recommended by my co-author Jim; it’s a mixture of whey, casein and egg proteins to give you an all-round great mix of high-quality proteins. The flavor mix isn’t as extensive as the Optimum Nutrition line, but the Vanilla flavor is highly rated and not too sweet. Have you thought about using Almond Butter to flavor your shakes instead of the PB2?

      Vegan: If you’re really sensitive to the small amount of lactose in whey, you can’t go wrong with the Vega Sport Performance Protein; it gives you 25g of pea, sacha inchi, brown rice and alfalfa protein in one serving without adding too much fiber or carbohydrates to your smoothie. There’s a Berry flavor available that I think might work well in your smoothie, but there’s always the good old Vanilla as well.

      Good luck – and let me know how you make out!

  24. Thank you. In “bulk” I did mean insoluble fiber. To hold me over instead of breakfast. I’m not able to get myself trained as yet to have breakfast. Taking small steps and structuring my schedule. As well as I sometimes become nauseated by food as opposed to my smoothies which I sip and tend to do just fine. I don’t know if you’ve had others that experience this.

    • Chris

      2015-01-12 at 11:40 pm

      Aw, shoot, my apologies! Here’s what I have to offer for bulk:

      I have heard from several people who are nauseated by solid food, especially in the morning, and they can’t eat until much later in the morning. They rely on “instant breakfast” drinks to get them through – but you and I know you can do a lot better than using pre-packaged drinks.

      One of the best ways to get both bulk AND protein in your shakes is to add a raw plant-based protein, such as Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein. Three little tablespoons will give you 15g of protein along with a ton of insoluble fiber. It has a nutty taste (a little like chia) which would taste really good with the rest of your shake ingredients. It’s a little gritty like psyllium, but when I used psyllium in my smoothies I simply ground my psyllium finely with a mortar and pestle to make sure it blended with the rest of the smoothie texture; you might try the same with the hemp or use a coffee grinder to do a faster job.

      Speaking of chia, I recently switched to chia in my shakes and I really like its effects on my digestion; it’s less harsh than psyllium and tastes a heck of a lot better. You’ll get about 4g of insoluble fiber and 3g of protein per tbsp of chia; it’s not a ton of protein but it’s something – and I really love the taste.

      Good luck – and if you find another good source of fiber and protein, please come back and update me!

  25. Thank you for this post. I received a 2 week sample of Shakeology (chocolate) after ordering 21 Day Fix and I got to say, I enjoyed the taste (mixed only with water). But there is NO WAY I would continue to order at that price. Thank you so much for your honest review. I had to do a lot of digging before I could find anything that wasn’t posted by a coach!

    My whey protein, multi Vit and healthy diet will just have to do. And it will save me a lot of money in the end.

    • Chris

      2015-01-19 at 9:45 am

      Alicia – your whey protein, multi and healthy diet is a great foundation. Start simply, start inexpensively, and find out what works for you! Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Thank you for your article and dissection of Shakeology. Like others, it is difficult to find an honest breakdown of this product. I have actually purchased Shakeology and used it for several months. I usually use water and about 4oz of almond milk, along with a fruit and veggie. I do enjoy the taste of the chocolate and I have found that it can sometimes give me energy to do my workouts. That being said, it is outrageously expensive and I have purchased it on ebay to help with the cost. I think after this next bag, I will start looking into using other whey protein products. I actually did find something from Vitamin Shoppe, which I can tolerate. It is called Designer Whey and I drink the Gourmet Chocolate flavor. I don’t have any allergies, but I have a high sensitivity to fake sugars like aspartame and sucralose, and trying to find a protein powder without that stuff, is very difficult. I will most likely go back to DW and possibly try others if you have suggestions for any without fake sugar. Thanks for your informative post :)

    • Chris

      2015-01-21 at 12:27 pm

      Hey GKR! The Designer Whey looks like a really nice product – thanks for the tip! Check out Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Natural Whey (you’ll find it in the 2lb and 5lb sizes if you scroll down the right side of the page); it only contains whey ingredients, cocoa, fructose for the sweetener, lethicin to assist with the mixability of the powder, and other natural flavors (which is likely mostly vanilla). Depending on where you are in the world, you might find that the 100% Natural Whey is a bit cheaper than the Designer Whey. Below is the complete nutritional label: thanks for stopping by!
      Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey - Natural

  27. This is an awesome article and seems honest and genuine from at least 5 articles I read from the so called coaches or people aligned to a sell sell sell mentality.

    Thank you again for the great information and I particularly liked the centrium comparison.
    Keep up the good work and thank you again.

  28. THANK YOU! I’ve had the same experience as so many others. I couldn’t find ANYTHING that wasn’t written by a coach or trying to sell me their version of the product. This information was exactly what I was looking for.

    I’ll admit I’m a wishy-washy kind of fitness enthusiasts. I love the challenge of new workouts…but it peters out and I have to find something new.

    My biggest challenge is living on a full time student’s budget. How about throwing in some ideas for those that are on very strict budgets. In your opinion what’s the best quality for least cost? I have a monthly grocery budget of $100 for three people!

    • Chris

      2015-01-28 at 1:10 pm

      Hey Ali!

      A lot of people find that they have trouble sticking with a program – they simply get tired of it and they feel they need something new. There’s nothing wrong with that – I can’t do the same program for a month, let alone a year. That’s why I change things up every three weeks or so; I rework the order of my workouts, swap in some cardio, swap in a new weightbench exercise, do some bodyweight workouts when I feel I need it, find other ways to do the same workout movement using resistance bands, and generally keep things fresh. I review lots of programs because I TRY lots of programs. I liked the workouts in Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred – but I had to do the SAME workout TEN DAYS IN A ROW. Eventually I turned off the audio and played some music instead because I was sick of Jillian’s voice. :)

      If you’re trying to stay on a tight budget, then I would leave the supplements alone for the time being and focus on whole, protein-rich foods instead. Here’s why: I just looked at a random Safeway flyer, and chicken breasts, which are a great high-protein food are currently on for $2.99/lb. 4 oz of chicken breast will give you about 25g of protein for $0.75, along with other essential things like iron, magnesium and fat. You can also get 25g of protein from a whey-based powder for about $0.75, but you’ll be missing out on the other things that chicken gives you – and you’ll feel hungry sooner if all you ate was whey powder, as it’s absorbed really quickly. In the same flyer, I found canned black beans for $1.39 per can, which offer 21g of protein in 1/2 cup, along with 15g of fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin B6 and other goodness. So a wholesome, affordable meal can still support your protein needs for the day – you don’t necessarily need to supplement with protein powder. If you’re determined to add protein powder to your diet, check to see if you have a bulk food store nearby – sometimes you’ll find plain, unflavored whey powder there quite cheaply. It won’t be flavored, and it may not mix as well as other instantized powders, but you can blend it with juice, milk, or even try water, cocoa powder and a bit of sugar or honey to make a decent-tasting protein shake. I suspect you’re pretty creative, so hunt around for products like this to see what you can find.

      As for exercise programs on the cheap – I always recommend YouTube. There are tons and tons of programs there; Fitness Blender is great, and you’ll find a lot of older workout series like Jillian Michaels and Beachbody programs on there as well. There are also lots of videos on proper form, workout safety, and how to workout with little equipment using bodyweight exercises and things like furniture, walls, and backpacks to simulate weighted exercises. Good luck!

  29. What all natural shake would you recommend in replacement of Shakeology? I’m looking for something that offers everything Shakeology does, but is also all natural. That’s hard to do find on the market today. I breastfeed and my baby’s tummy is very sensitive, so I have to be careful with what I can take. So far, we LOVE shakeology, but just not sure how much longer we can afford it.

    • Chris

      2015-02-13 at 10:25 am

      Hey Kristin. Have you tried the Vega series? There’s Vega One which is a vegan-friendly fiber-filled shake much like Shakeology, as well as the Vega Sport series which is more of a post-workout shake. I got a sample of the Vega Sport chocolate flavor last week and quite enjoyed it – I’ll have a review of it here soon. I think it’s about half the price of Shakeology; there’s a promotion on for the next few days for Vega products, but if you miss the promotion, feel free to sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you deals on Vega products as I find them. Thanks!

  30. Thank you for this article! I’m actually rounding up the last few days of the 21 day fitness from Beachbody. I enjoyed the shake, but not the price. And I’ve actually been trying to research things comparable to something like shakeology.

    I browsed through the comments and looked on the internet (which half the time means I find articles that say shakeology is the best out there). I always drink it as a breakfast item, because I’m usually up and out the door to go to work, and don’t have time to sit down and cook a breakfast for myself.

    I’m sure you mentioned this before, but I honestly get overwhelmed with all the options out there and I don’t even know where to start, lol. So, as someone who wants to drink a shake like this for the morning but doesn’t wasn’t to spend the outrageous amount of money… who is also trying to lose weight, what do you recommend?

    Thank for the reply! And I apologize for the repeated question I’m sure that’s been asked a million times. :)

    • Chris

      2015-02-13 at 3:12 pm

      Hey Samantha! Here’s what I recommend for an affordable breakfast shake:

      1 scoop flavored instantized protein powder
      1 banana OR 1/2 avocado OR 1 cup applesauce OR 1/2 cup frozen fruit
      1 tsp chia OR flax
      1 cup milk or water

      Blend the heck out of it and enjoy. My wife does a shake for breakfast most mornings; here are her four favourite breakfast shakes:

      Fruity Chocolate Shake
      1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Chocolate 100% Whey
      1/2 cup frozen strawberries
      1/2 cup frozen frozen mango
      1 cup almond milk
      1 tbsp greek yogurt to thicken, if necessary

      Smooth Mango Shake
      1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla 100% Whey
      1/2 banana
      1/2 cup frozen mango
      1 cup almond milk
      1 tbsp greek yogurt to thicken, if necessary

      Avocado Banana Shake
      1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla or Chocolate 100% Whey
      1/2 banana
      1/2 avocado
      1 cup almond milk
      1 tbsp greek yogurt to thicken, if necessary

      Chocolate Cherry Shake
      1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Chocolate 100% Whey
      1/2 cup frozen cherries
      1 cup almond milk
      1 tbsp greek yogurt to thicken, if necessary

      It takes about 5 minutes to make this, and if she’s in a rush, she’ll take it to go. My favourite one is the chocolate cherry! :)

  31. Thanks for this article!
    I’m on my 3rd week of P90X3 (as well as running 1-3 miles 5 days a week.) I feel wonderful, but keep going back to whether I should just give in and spend the $ on Shakeology. At the onset of my fitness journey, I did some research into smoothie alternatives and came up with this recipe based on Shakeology’s list of ingredients (items closest to top) and my overall goals for my PERSONAL shake (my goals: post-workout protein, breakfast replacement (I’m not much of a breakfast person), nutrients and energy to help with wellness and weightloss, extra fiber as regularity can be an issue for me :)

    – 1/4 cup Whey Protein Isolate (BulkSupplements CLEAN Whey Protein Powder Isolate 90%) I chose this one specifically because it’s NOT flavored, no additives, just the protein powder
    – 1-2 tbsp Hemp Protein Powder (Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Hi Fiber) A green protein plus some added fiber to my diet
    – 1 tbsp Chia Seeds (Viva Labs Organic Chia Seeds: Raw and Non-GMO) seems to help me feel more full
    – 1 tbsp Ground Flax Seed (Barlean’s Organic Oils Forti-Flax Flaxseed) like the nutty flavor this adds, I store it in fridge
    – 1/2 banana
    – 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
    – 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

    Buying in bulk on Amazon, my smoothie costs ~$50/month.
    350 calories, 10g fat, 15g fiber, 32g carbs, 230mg sodium, 30g protein
    I use an emersion blender to mix-it-up :)

    Looking into a vitamin regiment (customized for what I need, may not be the same for everyone) has been so helpful, here’s what I take:
    – Daily Women’s Multi Vitamin
    – Fish Oil
    – Vitamin E (especially in winter to combat alligator skin)
    – B-12
    – B Complex
    – Iron (periodically as I tend to feel faint during exercise around that time of the month)
    – Probiotic (have a hard time remembering this one ’cause I keep it in fridge)
    – Calcium (with D)
    – Glucosamine & Condroitin

    I feel so much more confident about my morning smoothie routine after reading your article (an some of the threads/comments)!
    Thank you, and if you have any other recommendations on something I need to add that I might be missing out on, I’d love your suggestion! :)

    • Chris

      2015-02-13 at 3:37 pm

      Ginger: I think that’s an AWESOME stack – I couldn’t design one that’s much better. I think you have a big leg up on Shakeology here with the fresh fruit and chia/flax combination. Plus you have designed a great vitamin stack on your own, and kudos to recognizing the need for the B vitamins and the extra iron which important supplements for most women. I hope readers come across this recipe when designing their own Shakeology alternatives, because I think it’s a great one. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Caryn Carrigg

      2015-03-03 at 1:27 pm

      Wow, this is a really good alternative. Thank you for taking time to write it down.


    • Well hello, copy & paste! Thank you for being a commenter and being so detailed!!! Taking notes!!

  32. I have been searching for a replacement for Shakeology the past few months. I do love my Shakeology, but I am a full-time worker, college student, and I have just bought my own home finally. I am doing the 21 day fix, in which I love as well just to let you know! I see that the supplement you take to replace ones from shakeology is Centrum for Men. Well, I don’t think that I should be taking the men’s Centrum, as I am female (haha). Is the Women’s Centrum the same thing? Is there a different supplement for females that would do the same thing? Please, feel free to email me, as I will probably lose this website once our server gets cleaned out at the end of every week–this means I lose all favorites, history, etc.

    • Chris

      2015-02-13 at 2:04 pm

      Hey Cortney! Any multivitamin designed for women should work. Women’s multivitamins tend to have smaller amounts of the various vitamins as women, on average, have less body mass than men and theoretically need less of the vitamin in question – except for iron, which most premenopausal women don’t get enough of. But the increased iron (and sometimes calcium) is enough reason for a woman to stick to a woman’s multivitamin instead of using a men’s. I’m glad you love 21-Day Fix! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  33. I just wanted to let you know that after thoroughly reading this article along with its comments, you saved me a ton of money by not buying into this Shakeology hype. I was about 10 minutes away from ordering when I decided to do some last minute research. So glad I did. I just saved myself about $70.00 by heeding your suggestion to a fellow advocate, and purchasing the Vega product. It’s no extra lights and sparkles, and the price is right for a full time employee and super mom trying to achieve her fitness goals. So again, THANK YOU. Keep up the good work.

    • Chris

      2015-02-13 at 1:55 pm

      Chachy – thanks for the kind words! Which Vega product did you buy?

      • I bought the Vega One, berry flavored. I had it post plyo work out for breakfast this morning and it was very sustaining. The taste will be a little something to get used to but $54.00 tastes way better than $120.00. :)

  34. I am doing one of the Beachbody programs that came with a 30 day supply of the Shakeology. This is the first time I’ve ever used protein powder or anything like this. I was very disappointed (but maybe my wallet wasn’t) that I couldn’t STAND the taste of it as a shake. It was absolutely awful! I found a recipe that was called “Shakeo balls” where you mix peanut butter, honey, shakeology, and oats then roll them into little balls and put them in the fridge. The taste this way really doesn’t bother me, it’s actually pretty good. I’m a Special Education teacher and there is no way that I can afford to pay for Shakeology each month.. But i’m also kind of picky. I have chronic migraines which has led me to cut out as many preservatives as possible in my diet. I want something that has similar benefits as Shakeology, that can be made into these little protein balls or balls, and is much much more cost effective. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Chris

      2015-02-27 at 10:28 am

      Hey Danielle! I would suggest you give Vega One a try. It’s made without soy, dairy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners. I know a lot of people with sensitivities find it quite good. Good luck!

  35. I found your site while researching Shakeology alternatives. The first time I tried the shakes I didn’t see benefit in health or cost. I have however been using them this time for the last 6 months. My supply has one day left and I don’t get more for another week.

    I know different things work for different people. For me, I do one scoop with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup water, a scoop of peanut butter, a banana, chia and ice… This makes 2 shakers worth that I have for breakfast and lunch….I skip weekends. I have 2-3 small snacks and a sensible dinner.

    It works for me because 1- I get two meals out of it, 2- when I pack a normal lunch I know I don’t pack wisely (usually a sandwich with mayo, meat n cheese, then something salty and something sweet) I know it’s bad, I can’t help it! 3- I buy vitamins but never take them. Either they give me heartburn, or I just forget. 4- I don’t feel as bloated, 5- rarely sick, if I get a cold it’s brief- 6- I do feel better overall.

    Hate the price. I did sign on as a “coach” purely for discounts only, so my shakes are about $90 a bag and last almost 1.5 months…. Still hate the price. It really is a moneymaker for them.

    Now, I am using a fitbit and tracking calories (helps a ton) working out almost every day and trying to run too…. It’s not for everyone, and it don’t know how much longer I’ll drink it… But for now it’s keeping me in check.

    • Chris

      2015-03-03 at 10:22 am

      Wendy – I’m glad to hear it’s working for you, and you’re not alone in needing something salty and sweet! I need a chocolate fix during the day and a salty fix later at night. If you were looking at changing products down the road, come on back here for some good suggestions and links to find the best deals on Shakeology alternatives. Thanks!

  36. Thank you for posting this information. I am currently doing the 21 day fix through beach body. I thought it was ridiculous to pay $120 per month for a protein shake. Your comparison really helped confirm that it is definitely ridiculous. I plan on trying your recommendation. Thanks again!

    • Chris

      2015-03-03 at 10:18 am

      Hey Catherine – Thanks for your kind comments and I hope you enjoy the 21-Day Fix! Let me know what you end up using for a post-workout or meal replacement shake!

  37. Thanks so much for the breakdown! I am a teacher and researcher and really need to see the black and white objective facts. The vitamin list alone worked to reassure me that I had not made some dire mistake in deciding not to purchase the Shakeology. I did recently purchase one of the Beachbody workout programs through a coach but bypassed purchasing the Shakeology. The price tag was just something I knew I could not maintain. In my continued research, I saw an episode of Dr. Oz where he brought in an expert to examine and review the top protein/diet shakes. The Shakeology Greenberry flavor was flagged for high traces of lead which they (Shakeology reps) said “was naturally occurring lead not the harmful lead that can come from environmental elements.” Ummmm. . . . hmmmm. I am not a scientist but I am pretty sure lead is lead. I have since started using the Jay Robb Whey protein and after reading your overview, I will make sure to be consistent with my multi-vitamin, fish oil, balanced diet, and exercise. I am only two days into the Jay Robb.I just mix it with plain almond milk and some frozen berries. I am not looking for it to perform miracles, just do what I need it to do: help me get my daily protein to help me fuel and recover from my workouts and build muscle. Oh and do all that without extra sugar, calories, and filler ingredients! Thanks again!

    • Chris

      2015-03-03 at 10:29 am

      Hey KC! Thanks so much for all your kind comments! My goal is to help people understand that there are better options out there, and I can tell that word is getting out. Which workout program did you order? The Jay Robb powder is tasty, for sure, but I still find it pricier than the ON Gold Standard Whey. If you were ever interested in writing a review of the Jay Robb product, I’d love to post it here! Thanks!

      • I will definitely take a look at the Gold. I am starting with the Plyo and the 21 Day Fix. I hope it isnt as annoying as you mentioned in a another review! Lol. If it is I am working on creating a Fitness Blender playlist to supplement! The eating program makes great sense but I do not see my self having time to follow the containers exactly each and everyday though I will use them to help better inform my choices and create a good balance. I agree that some of the food grouping is strange and while some will call it cheating, I will adjust as needed. I will definitely review my thoughts on Jay Robb after this first round of the exercise program. I don’t have anything to compare it to as this is my first time incorporating a protein shake. All I can say right now is that it is very easy on the taste buds and serves to keep me satiated from about 7:30am to 10:30 or 11:00. I know that this will certainly change when I really get back into an exercise routine and my metabolism starts to improve. Thanks again. I am really glad I came across your blog!

  38. This is a great article first of all and just wanted to say thank you. I just had a couple of questions for you. I was one of those that was seriously debating shakeology to go alongside my endeavor of focus 25. I plan on getting that here in a couple of weeks. Not sure if you are familliar with it but do you still recommend following the diets that the beachbody products lay out? Second i just wanted to make sure i am clear on what you suggest as far as a shakeology replacement. You recommend whey protein in soy or almond milk to go alongside a multivitamin such as centrum which should technically have the same results as a shakeology shake. You actually use this as a breakfast replacement and a snake replacement correct? If i was to order the gold standard replacement protein you list how much do you think i need to get me by for a month? I do not mind a meal replacement drink because right now my diet is horrible, and i just end up skipping meals and stuffing myself when i get home from work. Anyway looking forward to your advice and again thank you for this website and your honest answers!!

    • Chris

      2015-03-11 at 4:17 pm

      Hey – thanks for the questions! I’ll try to answer them one at a time.

      Beachbody diets – yes, the diet plans that Beachbody lays out are solid, but I have some reservations about the trade-offs in some programs like 21-Day Fix. However, they are nutritionally solid and a good starting point for weight loss.

      Shakeology replacement – I use water in my shakes but some people like the rich flavor of added cow, soy, or almond milk. For a meal-replacement shake or a breakfast shake I recommend combining ON Casein along with ON Whey and some type of fruit like apple, avocado or banana to add some bulk and taste. Whey alone will be absorbed rapidly and leave you feeling hungry. If I am just going for a post-workout shake, I would do just water and whey.

      Month supply – 5lbs of ON Whey has between 68 and 74 servings, depending on the flavor. That’s enough for one shake every day for two months, using just one scoop per shake.

      Thanks for your kinds words! Hope to see you back here soon!

      • I want to make sure i understand what you are saying. Are you saying combine both whey and the casein protein shakes together for a meal replacement shake, or saying take the casein for the meal replacement, and the whey for post workout? And i plan on trying the focus 25 workouts. And thank you for the quick reply it is very much appreciated.

        • Chris

          2015-03-12 at 1:59 pm

          Hi again! Here’s my suggestion for a simple meal replacement shake:

          1 scoop casein
          1 piece of fruit
          1 cup milk, soymilk, almond milk, or water

          The casein is digested slowly, and along with the fruit, will keep you satisfied for longer than whey.

          Here’s my suggestion for a simple post-workout recovery shake:

          1 scoop whey
          1 scoop dextrose for carbs (omit this is you’re on a calorie restricted plan like 21-Day fix or similar)
          1 cup water, milk, soymilk or almond milk

          The whey is digested faster and creates a thinner post-workout shake that is easier to drink when you’re exhausted.

          If you want extra protein in your meal replacement shake, add a scoop of whey to the scoop of casein. I find too much casein causes me issues with my digestive system.

          Hope that helps!

          • Uh oh when you say issues with your digestive system with the cassein that kind of has me worried.

          • Chris

            2015-03-13 at 10:50 am

            Keep in mind that I have the same reaction when I drink lots of cow’s milk; so I think I’m just sensitive to large amounts of casein. I was out of whey once so I did two scoops of casein a day instead – ugh, I’ll never do that again! If you’re not overly sensitive to milk and drink it a lot (I don’t anymore) then I don’t think you’ll have any problems!

  39. Which Centrum are you comparing in your analysis? I looked at Centrum Men’s Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement available on Amazon and the numbers don’t seem to line up. Also, the link to the the multivitamins on doesn’t return any results.

    • Chris

      2015-03-11 at 4:20 pm

      Hey – I am using the Centrum Multivitamin available here in Canada. There are different mixtures of multivitamin depending on the country of origin. I’ve recently switched to ON Opti-Men Multivitamins and I like them a lot. I’ve corrected the link in the article – thanks for the tip!

  40. Hi! I like just about everyone else on here are looking for an alternative to Shakeology. I am starting the 21 day fix extreme this weekend and I really am looking for a meal replacement that will give me lots of energy and keep me full while helping to lose weight. I will also be starting a 21 day Daniel Fast until Easter so I will be making a huge change in my diet and will only be eating fruits and veggies and nuts (pretty much fasting) so I will really need an energy boost for my workouts. Also want a meal replacement to feel full and eat less. I like the idea that I can make my own shakes and based on your suggestions I think I would need to buy the GNC why Isolate Protein shake, and casin powder. What else do I need in my daily shake to provide energy? Also have you heard of Viva Labs Optimal Greens Super Foods ? It’s a powder, couldn’t I mix that in with the shake for vitamins? Thanks for your help!!

    • Chris

      2015-03-11 at 4:46 pm

      Hey Lorie! You can definitely mix the greens into your shake without issue. Your shake sounds good – except for the fact you’re buying it at GNC ;) – and I would add some sort of fruit to the shake with fiber, like banana, apple, or avocado to provide energy and fullness without adding too many calories. Good luck with your Daniel fast!

      • Chris, why would you not buy from GNC?
        Are these products more harmful or lacking in nutrients?

        • Chris

          2015-03-13 at 10:45 am

          Hey Brooke. There’s nothing harmful about GNC’s products – I just have never had a good experience there. The clerks I’ve dealt with are clearly not into a serious fitness lifestyle but dish supplement advice regardless WITHOUT knowing what I really need, push a lot of the products like fat burners and pre-workout which are not appropriate for all people, and upsell you on items and accessories that you just don’t need. If you have a GNC near you with a reputable staff, I say go for it. But I try to maintain a very clean, minimal supplement regimen and I really don’t like it when salespeople tell me I’m “not taking my supp stack seriously” and I need pre-workout or fat burners or extra BCAA’s or more fish oil when all I really want is just clean protein powder.

  41. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this post!!!
    I know exactly what you were referring to with the shake recipes being pinned all over. These coaches make it look/sound amazing, but in reality you are right– it’s costing you more calories. I am SO happy I found this article! Relieved is more like it ($$$).

    • Chris

      2015-03-13 at 10:48 am

      Brooke – I love that quote! “it’s costing you more calories”. I’m not trying to knock Beachbody, but I’m so frustrated with the constant pushing of Shakeology as the “healthiest meal of the day” – but only if you mix it with a whole bunch of stuff you’d eat regardless. Glad to have you on board!

  42. I loved your article! It has addressed all the questions I was asking myself when researching the alternatives for shakeology! I just received my 21 Day Fix kit and am excited (sort of) to be starting it, but in all honesty I just needed a starting point. I want to incorporate the shakes as a meal replacement for now, as I don’t eat breakfast at all, and I need to change this habit.
    My one concern is that I’m addicted to Dr. Pepper. Do you have any suggestions that will make kicking this habit a little less daunting?

    • Chris

      2015-03-23 at 12:55 pm

      Hey Rebecca! Kicking the soda habit is really, really hard – but not impossible. Soda is a really pleasing drink, as it stimulates the mouth physically with the bubbles along with the tastebuds, so it’s a physical as well as a mental habit. I usually suggest that a soda dependency should be dialled back slowly if you want to kick the habit for good – going cold turkey just makes you miss it all the more.

      If you drink multiple cans/bottles per day, try this to start:
      a) Don’t buy large mulit-serving bottles of pop; buy single-serve cans or bottles instead.
      b) Instead of drinking directly out of the can or bottle, put 1/2 to 3/4 of the bottle or can into a glass, then dump the rest down the drain. Yes, it may make you cry a little inside, but there’s a strong psychological aspect to finishing the can or bottle entirely – especially if you were raised not to “waste food” as I was. Once this is a habit, move to the smaller 100-calorie cans if you can find them and do the same – dump half and drink half.
      c) If you drink your soda cold, switch to warm soda; it tastes a lot different and may turn your taste buds off, making it easier to ditch entirely.
      d) Start substituting something “fun” instead of Dr. Pepper once in a while – Crystal Light, sparkling flavored water, something that is still a little exciting but calorie-free and as far from Dr. Pepper as you can manage.
      e) Stop ordering Dr. Pepper if you’re out at a restaurant; this will help you decouple the soda craving from the act of eating out.
      f) You don’t have to cut soda out of your life altogether – perhaps you want to have a glass once a week on a ‘cheat day’ or only when you’re on vacation at the beach. If you cut it out about 80% of the time, I’d say you’re doing well.

      Thanks – and good luck!

      • Just wanna add my .02. I kicked a soda habit. Agree with all Chris said. I also eventually switched from soda to drinking Izze, which is fruit juice and sparkling water. I still got the sweet taste and the bubbles. But then I switched to drinking just fruit juice and gave up the bubbles. Now I gave up the fruit juice and just drink water. Ice cold water. It was a progression and it took a while.

        • Chris

          2015-03-29 at 10:41 pm

          Melanie – thanks for sharing your experience! It truly *is* a progression – some habits take time and determination to break.

        • Thank you so much for your advice Chris and Melanie! I have started to do this and I know it will take time but I’m determined!!!!

    • I just kicked a soda habit too!! I was hooked on coke zero. I went cold turkey for a while but missed the fizz. Then my sister made me a Pellegrino with lime wedges over ice and i felt like it was the most refreshing thing ever! Now i’m buying Pellegrino at Costco by the case. :) BUT i haven’t had any pop in well over a month.

      • Chris

        2015-04-11 at 9:33 am

        Michelle – great job! Coke Zero is my go-to soda when I have one…which is about once a month. :) My current liquid treat is club soda with lime and mint. I call it “The Poor Man’s and Workout Fanatic’s Mojito”!

      • Thanks for the idea! I am down to just one of the small 90 calorie sodas at dinner but I REALLY miss them a lot!! I am definitely going to try the pelligrino. Thank you

  43. I have been reading your posts and I am liking what I am hearing. I did buy the 21 day fix and for me, it just isn’t feasible. I hate nuts, seeds, and beans for one. So, I don’t plan on actually following the diet but am going to try and eat a bit healthier. My problem is I don’t eat breakfast or lunch. I usually eat once a day, dinner. Sometimes I eat a snack after that also. I admit that what I eat isn’t healthy but I can fix that. There are foods that I can find to make my eating a little healthier. It seems my body is in starvation mode because of not eating right. I have tried to force myself to eat but it doesn’t work. My question is…what kind of shake can I use for breakfast and lunch? I am going to be working out with the videos I received from 21 day fix along with my treadmill. Do I need to drink a post-workout shake along with the other shakes? I am hoping to drop about 50 lbs. I gained a lot of weight due to side effects of medication. Also, I do take a multi-vitamin along with these shakes correct?


    • Chris

      2015-03-23 at 1:14 pm

      Hey Erin! If you hate nuts, seeds, berries and beans you’ll have a terrible time on the 21-Day Fix! :D

      Here’s my suggestion for an easy meal replacement shake:

      1 small banana, apple, or avocado
      1/2 scoop casein powder
      1 scoop whey powder
      1 cup milk, soymilk, almond milk or plain old water

      This will give you a shake in the range of 300-400 calories with fiber and casein to keep you full, carbs and whey protein to help fuel your day, and should go down pretty easy. I’d only suggest a max of two of these per day, since large amounts of casein and whey can be hard on some people’s digestive systems. I’d also suggest finding some other foods you *do* enjoy eating to help supplement you nutrition during breakfast and lunchtimes to help you become accustomed to eating whole foods outside of the evening hours.

      Good luck!

  44. Hey Chris. I appreciate your review. While Shakeology wasn’t really your cup of tea, I’ve struggled with autoimmune disease for most of my life, vitamin deficiencies, and adrenal fatigue. I have been prescribed numerous supplements by my doctors. Since starting Shakeology I have noticed drastic improvements and I generally feel better. My autoimmune disease is in almost full remission after drinking Shakeology religiously for just 3 months. So it’s hard for me to accept you saying that the additives etc add nothing of value. I’ve been able to discontinue almost all of my supplements that my doctor had me on and I actually spend less on medications and supplements now. Anywho, just thought I’d put my experience in. I’m not trying to knock your review, just thought you might want to hear another perspective! :)

    • And by the way- I totally agree with what you say about it not having any more vitamins and minerals that any regular vitamin can’t provide! My above comment was merely about the other “superfood” stuff in it that you didn’t seem to be too crazy about. I FEEL like they really do help my very own personal situation.

      • Chris

        2015-03-23 at 1:24 pm

        Laura – thanks! There’s no doubt that Shakeology is healthier than many foods we eat – I just wonder about the cost vs. purported benefits of the product.

    • Chris

      2015-03-23 at 1:21 pm

      Hey Laura – thanks for your comments. Generally when people notice a large change in their health, I have to ask – was this the *only* thing that changed in their life, such as adding Shakeology to the diet, and holding everything else constant? Or did it come in conjunction with other lifestyle changes, such as a change to a less-stressful job, resuming a steady workout schedule, removing potential trigger foods, a move to organic foods, eating less, or a change in the climate? I am excited to hear that you’ve experienced a major change in your health – truly, I am. I find that it is usually a combination of life changes that result in improved health – and that a particular treatment, food, or shake is really only a small part of the solution; yet, as humans, we like to take the one tangible, physical thing we can show to others (such as Shakeology) and hang all of our successes on it alone.

      • Chris, yes I completely agree! For me it was DEFINITELY a combination of changes. About a year and a half ago I noticed a huge difference when I found out what my food sensitivities and vitamin deficiencies were. Things dramatically improved once I started getting all of that under control. Then I started using Shakeology a few months ago and it was that one thing my body needed for that extra push.

        Anywho! While my opinion of Shakeology may differ slightly from yours (aside from the cost issue -eek!), I love the amount of information and research in this article. So thank you!

  45. I haven’t read all the comment here, but I just wanted to say it was so ironic reading this blog post. Good post. I did the same thing, made my own shake and added a multivitamin. I didn’t use a protein powder though, I used yogurt, avocado and few other things. Miracle of miracles, homemade shakeology without the price tag.

    • Chris

      2015-03-29 at 10:43 pm

      Miracle of miracles! :D Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, is high in protein and a great substitute for protein powder (and sometimes a lot tastier!) Thanks for sharing!

  46. Not exactly on the Shakeology topic… I just received the T25 package and like what i’ve see so far. I wondered though the following dichotomy.
    The promos include several referencing the idea of getting up 25 minutes earlier to do their workout BUT in the materials received, the recommendation is to eat high protein breakfast & dinner but a high carb lunch 2-3 hours before your workout. Which means they are suggesting doing the workout in the late afternoon. Your comments on this.

    • Chris

      2015-04-07 at 1:44 pm

      Hey Tom!

      The timing of macronutrients during the day does not matter so much as the total amount and proportion of macronutrients during your day. Consuming a high-carb lunch 2-3 hours before your workout theoretically will provide you with a bit more stored energy to power through your workout, but if you’re the type that can power through a workout regardless of what you eat then schedule your meals however you like. For instance, I usually do fasted cardio early in the morning; there are lots of theories on why this is good/bad for you but really it’s because I can’t stand hard cardio on a full stomach. I like a high protein breakfast and a high protein lunch, with more carbs in the evening since I usually lift weights later at night and don’t like feeling tired.

      Bottom line – structure your meals how you like, and schedule your workout when you’re most likely to succeed and stick to it. Fitness and weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, and the timing of meals and macros really doesn’t matter in the long run. Hope that helps!

  47. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I have been in the fence with buying shakeology for quite sometime. I am always getting Facebook events for it and it irritates me. I want to loose maybe 20 lbs and went online to search a cheaper alternative to a breakfast meal replacement… And I found you!! :) loved your article and comments!

    Would you suggest the whey or whey and casein shake? Do you have a good brand that’s fairly priced? Is it only sold online? Or in Stores?

    I am a mom of 4 toddlers and I am constantly trying to battle weight, time management, sleep deprivation, and insanity loll…. And grilled cheese crusts?!?! Jk

    I take daily vitamins and am hoping that what you suggest will Leo launch my foot in the right direction!

    I appreciate any links you send me and will give it a try! Thanks in advance.

    Ps- I love that you didn’t change that beach body laura comments lol – very telling!!! Hahahaha

  48. As a personal trainer, stating that people should eat a clean diet is all well and good and I do agree however, this is NOT going to happen for most people who are just starting out. I realize you are trying to sell a book here but let’s get real…this is all opinion-based and well, you know what they say about opinions. Can you give us some credentials please? MD, ND, DO, nutritionist, CPT?

    • Chris

      2015-04-26 at 3:07 pm

      Hey Evin.

      As a Beachbody coach, you should know that ALL of the Beachbody programs stress eating healthy and maintaining a clean diet. So is it your professional opinion as a Beachbody coach and Certified Personal Trainer, that the majority of your clients who are just starting out are not capable of maintaining a healthy diet? That saddens me. I would hope you have more faith in your clients than that.

      Plus, the books and all the information I give out on this site are absolutely free for all to enjoy. I love helping people out without reservation…that is why I do what I do. I get half a million visitors a year and I always reach out to help those I can through my materials, in the comments on the blog, or those who are brave enough to reach out via email…all without cost to them. I think people deserve that.

  49. Hey! I stumbled upon your website today after seein my mother in law get decent results from 21 df & shakeo after her 4th round started today….I am interested in the 21DF but I just can’t bring myself to pay that much for shakeo…what do you recommend to drink as sort of a similar thing, just a whey protein shake?

    • Chris

      2015-05-01 at 3:19 pm

      Hey Samantha!

      Here’s my current recommendation for a good basic post-workout shake:

      Basic Shake
      1/2 scoop Optimum Nutrition Chocolate 100% Whey
      1/2 scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla 100% Casein
      1 cup water
      130 calories total.

      If you want to use it as a meal replacement shake, add one banana or half an avocado or 1 cup applesauce, some ground flax or chia seed and use milk, soymilk, or almond milk as the base. Total calories will be about 300 – a good skinny meal replacement. Thanks for the question!

  50. Dear Chris,

    I cannot thank you enough for your site and gracious, caring and informational insight! I am heading toward my fifty second birthday and I know deep inside it’s time for me to concentrate on my health and fitness. I have a lot of weight to lose and I decided to stop being afraid to do something about it. Five years ago, where I was at weight wise, now looking back (ahem), the mountain seemed high but no where near as high as she has become now. I have made up my mind to change my life and over the past week I opted to try a low carb deal and for me, 6 days in, it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel great and I obsess all day over what to eat, when to eat etc. My brain has many other things to do than stress over food (I have done plenty of research on healthy fats, whole foods and have cut out processed foods for the past week and that is something I am going to do for all the days remaining in my life) but I am finding it is stressing me out (eating so much fat and protein without measuring, counting calories ) so much that I don’t feel motivated or optimistic that I can do it.

    I’ve been online searching and researching various choices for something else to try and my daughter (31, who just joined Beachbody as a coach a couple of months ago for the Shakeology discount) shared with me that if I didn’t or couldn’t stick with my current choice in trying to focus on my health/diet and I wanted to consider other options, that I should at least check out the Beachbody site and consider Shakeology. I have to say I read over and over the 21 day program but I couldn’t get past the cost of the Shakeology. It’s not that I don’t or can’t make the money to purchase it but I would so stress over it! I would much rather spend a chunk of that change once a month rewarding myself with a new pair of jeans, a dress, something pretty, for any weight or inches I lost in said month.

    With the big price attached to Shakeology, I too went searching all over the internet (like many people) for information about Shakeology and all I could find was one sided favoritism by coaches. Everything I read felt like I was reading commercial after commercial… sigh… and my spirits plummeted. So much so that at 3:00am my time this morning I was about to quit my search and just give up and be happy being a big person who has a big heart, a big personality, a big smile and a big thirst for life and loving people! No one has ever told me I needed to lose weight to be happier, prettier, or for any other reason other than if I desired to do so, not even my doctor. However something deep inside of me for me wants to give it an honest try, I just do not like having to scour the internet for weeks and days on end trying to find something that feels simple. Easy I am not looking for, I am willing to do the work. I just want something simple to implement in my life so it becomes a part of my life and I just got so oversold on Shaekology on the internet that I truly just wanted to give up. Then I clicked on your link…

    I was going to read JUST ONE MORE ARTICLE ON SHAKEOLOGY. And I thank the Universe and all the pieces of everything that is good, wonderful, bright, and joyous in the world that I did. You have given me enormous HOPE! You have motivated me (as well as others on here who have posted) to continue on my journey! I could not stop reading and have stayed up to read all of this blog (it’s now 6:54am), I’ve clicked on all the links you have shared (copied your protein powder recipes and the chocolate cherry sounds so blissful) and I have to say, I feel energized, I feel informed, I feel I have REAL LIFE choices that won’t break the bank and it all has given me a way to map my own way, easy and simple! And by the way, the way you respond to negativity, is brilliant and most of all very gracious.

    The kindness of your heart shines through your words and I – am a person who has never, ever, posted a comment or reply to any blog until now – am one of those souls out there that needed (I believe somehow guided!) to read your blog. I apologize for the lengthy reply yet I wanted to be sure that you would feel a smidgeon of the hope and gratefulness I am feeling. I am now armed with a lot of great information and instead of spending $160 for something I was feeling so stressed about, I can now make a list of foods, protein powders, vitamins etc. to get me on my way to being healthier. I have bookmarked your site and will return again to devour more information. Your writing style is very uplifting to me and I can’t wait to read more.

    Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! For sharing information :-)

    • Chris

      2015-05-01 at 3:47 pm

      Ava –

      Wow. I am near tears here. Thank you for being SO brave and sharing your story with the world. When I started this site, I never thought that I would touch the lives of SO many people. I LOVE hearing from people like you – the journey is not easy, but the burden is lifted just a little when we undertake the journey together.

      I’m so glad, and so proud, that you’ve decided to undertake a HUGE lifestyle change. It will be hard. It will hurt. You will want to give up. You may give up at points. But even when you’ve had a terrible day/week/month and know you’ve fallen hard off the wagon, it is the truly brave and strong person that stands back up and tries again. If I can only give you ONE piece of guidance, it would be to TRUST YOURSELF – there are a million different opinions as to how you should undertake your wellness journey. Pick the route that makes sense to you, and tweak as necessary. People will tell you “you’re doing it wrong” but unless you’ve chosen the 8000-Calorie Chocolate Cake Diet, I think you’ll do just fine.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I can’t express to you how happy it makes me to help others in this world – even strangers half a world away. I hope you’ll be around again.

    • Ava- well written!!!!!! I too have felt very motivated by this blog site!!! I enjoy reading the positive spin that Chris puts on even the largest negativity!! Can anyone on this blog speak to success with the whey and casein protein shakes as a meal replacement? I think Shakeology breaks down to $4 per shake. What is the cost breakdown for this whey/casein shake.

    • Gwenn K-Reed

      2015-05-01 at 4:40 pm


      What a great post! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and love for this post. I applaud it as well and look forward to the posts that come to my email! I wish you much success in your journey!

  51. Nice man thank you! Add me to your list to send info out please. Saved me a ton of money and the fact of not wasting money on a scam.

  52. Love your post!!! It just saved me 140$/mth!! I have a quick question, if you don’t mind…I’ve already reached my weight goal, i’m even below…and I really want to build some muscles!! I’m very small now with my weight loss (1m65 and 108 pounds) and would like to grow some muscles…. would protein shakes be the answer? And do I need a special kind… casein/whey/vegan? Thank you so much!!

    • Chris

      2015-05-14 at 11:37 am

      Hey Andrea! Great job on the weight loss!

      Here’s a good rule of thumb to go by when it comes to building muscle: “Muscles grow when stressed, then rested, in the presence of proper nutrition.” That means (a) perform bodyweight or freeweight exercises that stress your muscles to failure, (b) give the various muscle groups at least a day to recover, and (c) maintain a clean, protein-rich diet to help your body build muscle tissue. You don’t need a particular kind of protein source to build muscle mass; meat protein is a great source, but sometimes you want something that’s a little more convenient. That’s where the protein powders come into play.

      It doesn’t really matter what kind of protein powder you use to make a shake; I advocate for inexpensive, clean protein powders to keep your protein levels up, like the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey and Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein powders my wife and I use on a regular basis. They don’t have a lot of extra things like sugars, caffeine, or other unnecessary ingredients. They’re both good protein sources; the whey is digested faster which is great to assist muscle growth immediately after exercise, but will leave you feeling hungry shortly thereafter. The casein is digested more slowly, so will leave you feeling fuller for longer, but it’s not absorbed for muscle growth at as fast a rate as the whey. I like a mixture of the two; about 2:1 of whey:casein (one scoop of whey and one half scoop of casein).

      If I had to choose a vegan protein powder source, I’d go for the Vega Sport line of vegan protein powders; they dissolve well, aren’t bad-tasting, and they are fully derived from plant protein sources.

      If you are willing to spend just a little bit more, and you care about the purity of the products you’re using, I would truly recommend Pro JYM from JYM Supplement Science; this is a mixture of whey, casein, egg and other milk proteins. It’s a complete mix of fast, medium and slow-digesting proteins that feed your muscles continually. My good friend Jim posted a great review of it here; have a look and let me know what you think!

      Tell me – what kind of muscle-building program are you thinking of? Body Beast? Or something non-Beachbody related? I have a lot of recommendations for you in that area, if you’re interested!

  53. Hi,

    I am new to the 21 day fix and keep seeing ads for Shakology. My question is. . what is what is the cost comparison from whey and casin powder to shakeology? If I were to buy the Gold Standard, like you suggested above, does it really help you “loose” weight? Thanks!

    • Chris

      2015-05-26 at 4:17 pm

      Hey Jodi!

      Here’s a breakdown based on the current prices of Whey, Casein and Shakeology from and

      Shakeology: $129.95, 30-day supply

      Gold Standard Optimum Whey: $29.99, 28-day supply
      Gold Standard Optimum Casein: $35.27, 28-day supply

      So even if you had one full scoop of the whey AND one full scoop of the casein in a shake (approx 250 calories and quite tasty and filling), that would equal $65.26, still HALF the price of shakeology – and you’re getting twice the protein that you would in one scoop of shakeology. I’ve only quoted you the two-pound shipments of Optimum 100% Whey and Casein, but you can save even more if you buy the larger sizes (5 lbs for the whey and 4lbs for the casein).

      Even if you wanted to go all out and try one of the newest and purest shakes on the market, Pro JYM, you can get a 2lb shipment of this complete protein shake (23-day supply) for $32.56, and a 4-lb shipment (46 days worth) for $55.06. Far, far less than you can get Shakeology for!

      As for weight loss – that’s a function of your diet. If you drink Shakeology and eat crap, you won’t lose anything. Follow the 21-Day Fix eating plan, incorporate protein shakes instead of Shakeology to save on cost, and you’ll see the weight come off.

      Thanks for the question – let me know which way you choose to go with the protein shakes!

      • I posted a question last week but I didn’t see a reply. Forgive me if this is a duplicate.
        Progress report. I’m down 23 lbs since 1/5/15. I was having a reduced sugar smoothie (insulin resistance) up until about 6 weeks ago when my aerobic exercise instructor insisted that I eat raw fruit and veggies and leave the blender alone. My weight was spiking at that time and when I stopped the smoothies, the scale started to move in the downward direction.
        Here’s the issues,
        1. I need to increase my fiber intake.
        2. I hit a plateau and I need to re-engage my metabolism. I’ve been the same weight , give or take a few pounds (up and down) for the past month. I’ve added workouts and have tried eating at three hour intervals.
        Having this Insulin resistance has proven to be an uphill battle. I can drink water, eat lean protein and green veggies, little to no sodium and very little sugar, and yet, the weight just piles on.
        Someone suggested I try the herbalife products, but I’m trying to stick to the basics.
        Do you have any suggestions. I apologize for writing a book.

        • Chris

          2015-05-28 at 3:34 pm

          Hey Sel!

          Good job on the weight loss! That’s something to be proud of.

          A number of people I know who have signs of insulin resistance find they’ve broken through plateaus by logging their carbohydrate intake and finding a “sweet spot” where they are maintaining a minimal carb intake (mostly from fruits, legumes and vegetables) while incorporating more fat to offset the caloric loss of the regular carbohydrates. Do you incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your routines, or is it mostly cardio-based moves? Weight-bearing exercises that build muscle really help boost the fat-burning ability of your body in a low-carb state. As well, if you’re getting most of your carbs from fruits, legumes and veggies, you’re probably getting enough fiber.

          A few questions for you:

          1. What was in your smoothies? I wonder if the weight gain was directly tied to those, or something else.
          2. What does your dietary breakdown look like at the moment? Do you know approximately what your carb/protein/fat ratio is for your current diet?
          3. I wonder if the weight hanging on is due to fluid retention. Are you on any medications or aware of any nutritional deficiencies that might cause you to retain more fluid than normal?

          • Good afternoon Chris,
            Thanks for getting back to me.
            Heres my book…my smoothies are usually 2 handfuls of super greens, a small banana, 1cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup sometimes 2 cups of water, one apple, sometimes I substitute with a pear or a cup of frozen blueberries, 1tsp of PB2 as I need some creamier texture. That’s been my staple since she told me to do away with the whey and then before being told all together to ditch the smoothies.
            My diet, largest meal being lunch, consists mainly of baked salmon or chicken thighs, one per meal Or sauteed chicken cutlet with peppers and onions, seasoned basically the same, fresh herbs and spices very little season salt, a pinch at best. I use Lemons, onions and garlic while in the oven or pan in all my food, and garlic chili sauce on the side at mealtime. I measure everything. The garlic sauce is zero calories, 95mg sodium in a tsp.
            About every other day I have a chobani 100 yogurt with 1tbs of Chia seeds 60 cal and 4G fat added from the chia. The other days I have1 piece of fresh fruit for my snack. I drink plain, unsweetened seltzer water throughout the day.
            I usually prep my meals every Sunday. So I make baked sweet potato, a few vegetable medleys like zucchini, carrots, steamed spinach and string beans.
            I have steel cut oats for breakfast. With a mug of plain hot water.
            I don’t know the relations/ratios to my foods as you asked.
            I’m not on any medications. I purchased some Metamucil because even with all the leafy greens and the fresh fruit. I’m still not getting enough fiber. Mobility is supposed to increase Motility if you get my drift. Not in my case at all. But it’s five pills per serving and they recommend you go up to 3 servings. I can hardly stomach five of these pills in one day as is.
            Thanks for your assistance

          • Chris

            2015-06-11 at 9:48 am

            Hey Sel –

            Do you have an approximate idea of the amount of calories you’re consuming on a daily basis? From the sounds of things, I don’t think you’re consuming a lot of food – which might be contributing to the ‘mobility’ issues. Can you give me an approximate idea of a typical breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack routine?

          • Good Morning Chris,
            Typical day
            I have about 1+ 1/2 cup of steel cut oatmeal in the am, with a cup of hot water with lemon.
            Lunch is my biggest meal. Usually a lean protein, chicken breast or fish baked or broiled, on a bed of fresh super greens mixture, with steamed veggies (string beans, broccoli, asparagus) about two cups of veggies. With plain seltzer water usually 16oz.
            Dinner I have some more veggies and water, no chicken or fish.
            All my food is cooked with garlic, onions, lemon juice, and bell peppers. I use fresh herbs and very little salt. Literally a pinch. And I like the chilli garlic sauce it keeps me from craving salad dressing.
            For my snack, around 10am and530 pm. I will usually have one fruit, apple or orange, sometimes with a polly’o part skim, string cheese stick or I might have the Chobani 100 Greek yogurt.
            At one point I thought I wasn’t eating enough. I started doing a food log and now I’m not so sure. The above represents what I’ve had this week. Other than plain seltzer water I don’t eat after 530-6pm.

          • Chris

            2015-06-16 at 11:46 am


            It’s my opinion that you’re not eating enough. If I add up everything you ate in the typical day above, here’s what I get:

            Steel-cut oats: 155 cal
            Chicken Breast: 280 cal
            2 cup veggies: 60 cal
            Cheese string: 70 cal
            Yogurt: 100 cal
            Fruit: 50 cal

            Total: == 715 calories.

            To put that in perspective, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN)’s 2001 report on Human Energy Requirements notes that the minimum daily caloric intake for a 100-lb woman between the ages of 30-60 with a sedentary lifestyle is 1750 calories; the more you weigh, or the more active you are, that amount of calories goes up. I believe the World Health Organization sets the bar at 1200 calories daily to maintain proper health. Your diet is almost 500 calories below that level.

            Although there’s lots of goodness in veggies, you need a mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for your body’s metabolism to function properly. I would suspect some of your plateau effect is due to (a) retaining water due to the long-term calorie reduction you’ve been on, and (b) a reduced metabolism due to the minimal caloric intake.

            I strongly recommend that you talk to a nutritionist or your doctor about a healthy calorie target for your body type and your goals. But trying to get by on 700 calories a day, long-term, isn’t doing anything but forcing your body to break down muscle and organ tissue to fuel your metabolism.

  54. Chris,
    I recently ordered 21 day fix but I did not order Shakeology for a a couple of reasons, first the expense, second there were ingredients that I was not comfortable using because I am still breastfeeding, and third I have devised my own protein shake that I like fairly well. My question is should I modify my shake ingredients to fit with 21 day fix and how does a homemade shake work with the container system? The beachbody coach I work with is knows only Shakeology. My ingredients are as follows:

    1/3 cup of pure whey isolate (no other additives from the bulk bin of the health food store)
    1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    1 tbs ground flax
    1/2 frozen banana
    1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    sprinkle of cinnamon

    all that adds to about 260 calories and 25 g protein
    I also do a multi vitamin, D3, biotin, and b12 and probiotic

    • Chris

      2015-05-27 at 9:38 pm

      Hey JJ!

      I’m thrilled to see that you’ve designed your own protein shake to fit your own needs!

      You know what? I wouldn’t change a thing about your shake. If you want to be super-strict about fitting with the 21-Day fix, just subtract the 1/2 banana and 1 cup of almond milk from your daily allotment using the container system. Otherwise, keep on with the shake. I calculate it to be about 220 calories (130 protein + 40 almond milk + 50 banana) but your numbers aren’t that far off from mine. The vitamin stack looks good as well – I’m glad to see that extra D3 and B12 in there.

      Good luck with your 21-Day Fix goals!

  55. Hi Chris,
    I just started the 21 day fix and i too wanted to purchase the shakeology. I did a lot of research and found that the Gold Standard Whey had the best reviews. I purchased it two days ago from Amazon and got it yesterday. The double Chocolate tastes just like the shakeology. I am not a big fan of textures so its hard for me to make a shake that taste good. I was wondering if you feel like this one has a lot of calories.
    I cup of Double Rich Chocolate
    1/2 cup 2% milk
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    1 tsp honey
    1 tbs natural peanut butter.
    Couple of cubes of ice and i mix it in my blender.
    Also, I don’t work out in the morning because i have to be at work by 4 am but i work out after i get home. I want to drink my shakes in the morning to keep me fuller longer but i’m not sure if that is a good idea and wanted to know if i should just drink them after i work out only.
    Thanks for your advice.
    P.S… great tip on the multi vitamin for woman. They sent me their vitamins, which i will finish but then i will purchase the ones that you suggested.

    • Chris

      2015-06-04 at 9:56 am

      Hey Nina!

      I don’t think it has too many calories – I suspect you meant a “scoop” when you said “1 cup” of the double-rich chocolate. And truthfully, for regular people like us, you can drink your shake any time of the day or night – it doesn’t strictly have to be post-workout. So take your shake whenever you feel it most benefits YOU.

      Thanks for stopping by! Good luck!

  56. How does amazing grass/amazing meal compare to shakeology and vega one?

    • Chris

      2015-06-11 at 10:04 am

      Hey Carolyn!

      Amazing Meal is a really great soy-free plant-based protein source; in terms of ingredients, protein deliver and nutritional information, it’s pretty much on par with Vega One. And from the prices that I checked today, Amazing Meal is actually cheaper than Vega One. Like all plant-based protein powders, Amazing Meal has a “hemp-y/green-y” taste that takes a bit of getting used to, but I don’t see anything wrong with the product. Have you tried it? How do you find it?

  57. This really does seem like an unbiased review :) . I’m looking for a shake that all my family including my kids can drink. I’m currently doing the 21 day fix and drinking shakeology. But I am not willing to spend hundreds on it. What do you recommend that will also be safe for my children? Thank you

    • Chris

      2015-06-11 at 10:29 am

      Hey Nicole!

      Generally speaking, kids don’t need extra protein or shakes in their diet. Even the pickiest of eaters (like my 6-year-old, who for YEARS has turned up her nose at everything from beef to chicken to fish to chicken nuggets) will still get enough nutrition in their daily diet that they don’t need to supplement. Calories consumed in a drink form don’t have the same satiety effect that solid food does; it’s easy for kids to overdo it with shakes and consume calories that aren’t needed for basic growth and development, and end up stored as fat.

      However, I trust in your skills as a parent to do what’s best for your kids. If you do want to make shakes for your kids, I would suggest a fruit or vegetable-based smoothie that has about a half-serving of a really clean protein powder with no added BCAAs, energy boosters, carbohydrates or other fillers. I suggest Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey and Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein – both are really clean powders that I use on a daily basis. Start slowly, and make sure your kids don’t show signs of tummy upset or gastrointestinal distress – younger kids won’t need as much.

      Good luck!

  58. Thanks for your review – it’s so hard to find Shakeology reviews written by people who are not Beachbody coaches. I’m sure more of them do really believe in the product, but there’s definitely a bias since it makes up a lot of their income. Anyway, I usually use Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and coconut or almond milk in my smoothies. Sometimes I’ll add peanut butter or almond butter as well. Is there an advantage to using a protein powder instead of the yogurt?


    • Chris

      2015-07-02 at 10:53 am

      Hey Sara!

      There’s no definite advantage to protein powder over yogurt – the only real difference is in the price per gram of the protein. I get about 24g of protein in a scoop of powder and it costs me about 75¢. I haven’t done the math but I suspect yogurt is more expensive when you’re just looking at the protein alone – but the beneficial bacteria, calcium and fat are also good components in the yogurt. As well, I like the protein powder for it’s simplicity and portability – I just use water as a base, throw in some whey and casein and mix it up in a shaker cup. A quick 20-second shake – no blender required. Thanks for your kind comments!

  59. Chris
    OMG AMAZING post…and your comments to the “coaches” on here had me and my son ROLLING!! ;) We just started the 21 day fix together. I’m a single parent, and have weight issues for 20 years…my son is 20. ;) Sooooo have about 30 lbs to lose, he has about 60lbs to lose. We are loving the eating plan and loving/hating the workouts :D I too am like everyone here, hoping to find TRUE things that help; so after all your amazing research and caring enough to SHARE FOR FREE…we are going to the health food store tomorrow to see about protein powders. For me, a breakfast option is what im most interested in, and for him it may be an after work out thing. Thank you again for all your kind words and thoughts and painstaking work to put this whole thing together! This page is now ‘favorited’ and we will be back!
    Thank you again..and have a great weekend!!

    • Chris

      2015-07-15 at 12:44 pm

      Lisa – thanks so much for your kind words! I wish you and your son the best of luck with your journey. The products I feature on this blog are great for pre or post-workout, or as a meal replacement. If you find a great product that works for you, come back here and share it with the rest of us!

  60. What is also needed to be said about shakeology is that we have no idea how much of these “superfoods” are actually in the Shakeology. To be sure many of those ingredients have some beneficial aspects to them. But with one or two scoops how much of the 20+ “superfoods” are you actually getting? For Flax and Chia seeds you need a good tablespoon or more a day to get any benefits from it. Probiotics are best taken from live cultures aka items that need to be refrigerated.

    It’s pretty clear what they do, they take every health food buzz word and pack it in trace amounts into a shake, jack the price up and sell people on it who have little sense of nutrition.

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