Advocare 24-Day Challenge Review {From a Non-Distributor}

Miscellaneous

So I did my first ever Advocare 24-Day Challenge January 11, 2016 to February 3, 2016.

This was my first experience with Advocare. I grew interested after seeing a few friends posts about it on social media. (Hence – they did their job right to “hook me” since Advocare is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company and the main avenue for selling the products is the distributor’s online/social presence. (You’ve probably noticed a few of your friends selling products online too – i.e. Advocare, Arbonne, Beachbody, even Mary Kay Cosmetics.) I’m not new to the health and fitness industry and I work in marketing myself, so I grew curious how the business worked as well as if the products actually worked. {See how I prepped for the Challenge here.}

advocare-good-yesSo I finally signed up after going back and forth over if I really wanted to drop the cash on this. Advocare is not cheap and I did feel a stab of buyers remorse when the package came in the mail and I realized I had just dropped $190 on it! BUT I wanted to give Advocare an honest shot, so I made sure to start the Challenge with a good attitude and being open to the program.

I was assigned a “coach” and we had a 30 minute phone call the Saturday before the Challenge started to discuss my goals. At first I really didn’t know what my goals were. Like I said before I’m not new to health and fitness. I’m a marathoner and triathlete and I’ve been a competitive athlete all my life. Yes I had some extra winter weight to shake off, but I wasn’t looking to drop 50lbs either. (I love my muscles!) I settled with dropping 10lbs as my magic “goal” number. So I had an initial conversation with my coach and she was thoughtful and nice, but I felt like I really didn’t get a chance to chime in at all during our phone conversation, which was supposed to be about my goals and what I was looking for. She talked almost the entire phone call and even managed to plug in a few sale pitches as to what other products I could buy from her. (And I openly said I was not dropping any more money on Advocare until after I tested the products I currently had!) Being in marketing and communications and having a journalism background, I found it kind of untrustworthy that my coach would so quickly drop sale pitches on me. No rapport had been developed yet and we only talked for 30 minutes, yet here I was fighting off more sale pitches. It was just a little over the top, but like I said I wanted to give Advocare a fair shot so I kept a positive attitude despite a weird initial start.

advocare-1The Eating

For me the eating part of the Challenge wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, I told one of my friends that it was basically the easiest Challenge I had ever done! When I’m in peak training I tend to eat very similar. It really is all about clean eating and getting whole foods in your body, which is a theory I can totally get behind and back up. (Kudos to Advocare on that!)

The Supplements

The supplements were decent. I will say that Advocare Spark is everything and then some that everyone raves about. It is awesome! I have cut out my coffee addiction and even ordered more! It’s the perfect treat after an early morning workout and I look forward to it when I climb out of bed in the morning. Of all the Advocare supplements, Spark is legit.  

With the Advocare Challenge you get a Metabolic Nutrition System (MNS) (the three types are: 3, C or E). I chose 3 since I wanted a good combination of everything. Basically it’s just a variety of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and fat burners. If you bought everything separately it would be less expensive, but I am someone who does pay for convenience, so I liked how they bundled everything up and it was in an easy to take and remember packet. I was surprised to see how fast my skin cleared up too while taking the products and cleaning up my diet. You can’t fake results like that. I also felt like I was “de-bloating” and overall I felt very good. (However I will say that you could probably get the same results with a general clean up of your diet and adding in supplements, which doesn’t necessarily have to be Advocare, BUT I am not dissing anything because I did feel good, which was the whole point.)

sparkSo I sailed through the majority of my Challenge feeling good. My coach checked in with me fairly regularly, although I never got the feeling that she really knew that much about me and I’m not sure if I actually trusted her since she tried selling me products so quickly off the bat. Also she brought up buying more products AGAIN via text messages, which of course annoyed me all over again. (PSA – This is a lesson I would hope any MLM distributor learns at some point! You must build the relationship first! You must develop rapport and sell yourself and your lifestyle first before you start plugging in the products to your clients. If you drop the sales pitch too soon it will back fire and your customer will go running for the door because they can tell you are just trying to push the products! I’m not saying that Advocare products even need to be pushed – in general my opinion of them is actually very high, but this is an important selling lesson that I would hope any distributor from any MLM company understands.)

A Weird Issue

So with about five days left in my Challenge, I started feeling terrible abdominal side pain in the early morning and late at night. I knew this familiar pain though. About two summers ago I went to the ER for this exact same pain and was told by my physician that I had “kidney gravel”, AKA very small kidney stones. I began to do research on the exact supplements I was taking with Advocare and pinpointed that the calcium pill in the MNS pack I was taking was most likely contributing to my “kidney gravel”. My coach checked in with me and I explained what I had been feeling. I explained my research and symptoms in a long, knowledgeable text message and expected to have a decent conversation about it since it was an “issue” I was having. Her response back to me came about 2 hours later and simply said “Yes stop taking that pill then.” That was it!? Not other words of advice or similar experiences or any sort of knowledge or contribution to what I had just explained?! I was a little disappointed and again felt like my coach didn’t really care that much, nor had the time or want to converse with me.

So I carried on and since I am so stubborn I finished out the 24 days with taking my calcium pills and fighting through a few days of weird stomach pain…and sure enough as soon as the Challenge ended my pain stopped! (Has anyone else had this issue?) In my research I found a few forums that talked about it, but nothing really concrete. I totally get that every person is different and all of our bodies respond differently to supplements, but I was a little disappointed by this side effect, especially because I was feeling so good up until about day 19.

Overall Thoughts

Despite the one negative side effect I had with the MNS supplements and not quite gelling with my coach (who, BY THE WAY, I still think is a badass athlete and a fitness inspiration and maybe just not the right fit for “coaching” me), I still did have a good experience with Advocare.

There were a few things that were so-so, but in general I liked the supplements and I can get behind the “clean eating” theory of the Challenge. In total I lost 8 lbs on the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, which is fine by me!

I actually ended up ordering more Spark and I also ordered another MNS packet – without extra calcium pills 🙂 I am exited to see how that works. I felt really good while taking the supplements and I want to continue that.

In general I think Advocare has the potential to really work for some people and for it to be a stepping stone or “guide” for others. For me, it got me back on track after the holiday season and inspired me (which I actually think should have been my goal from the start). I’m not sure if I’ll do an actual 24-Day Challenge again, but if I continue liking the products I can see myself ordering them from time to time.

My advice for anyone who is contemplating doing the Challenge is try it. Go in with a good attitude and try to be open to the experience and your “coach” or team. I think some people are better at coaching then others so don’t be afraid to speak up when things are going wrong or you’re uncomfortable.

The only thing is – don’t forget that Advocare is a MLM company and the general goal of it is to get you to purchase more products. BUT at the same time don’t get so wrapped up in that, that you can’t honestly try and test the products with an unbiased opinion. It’s a slippery slope, but if you are curious just like I was then I would recommend giving it a try to see if it’s right for you. If it’s not for you then you were right all along and can go ahead and silently “block” all your MLM friends on social media 🙂

CHEERS!

Work-Hard-Now

Advocare “Clean Phase” Review

Miscellaneous

So today is day 11 on my 24-Day-Advocare Challenge. (Read about my prep for the challenge here.)

This morning I was down 5lbs, BUT (and this is totally TMI) I attribute a lot of the weightloss to using the bathroom right before I weighed myself. Am I the only one who thinks like this? I don’t know, but I wasn’t too mad I guess.

THE FOOD

The first half of the challenge has been (for the most part) relatively easy. Sure there were times I still wanted to eat ice cream or popcorn at night, but I stuck it out without giving into cravings. Honestly I really do believe in the overall principle of the challenge. It teaches wholesome, balanced eating and I’ve never “gone hungry”. In fact, sometimes the alarm has gone off on my cell phone and I realize it’s time for another snack and I’m like “ugh!”, so that’s definitely a pro of this challenge.

The challenge stresses the important of planning and meal prepping, which is a concept that is not new to me. I’ve been doing it for basically two years so it was easy for me to jump on board. You seriously have to plan out every single meal and snack and also consciously be aware of your water intake. My husband has been super supportive of the challenge and has really helped me with meal prepping and also with cooking healthy, challenge approved dinners. In fact, he’s cooked dinner every night this week and all I’ve done is put up a list on the fridge of what we are having which nights! (He really is Mr. Perfect!)

Zucchini noodles & homemade pesto sauce

Zucchini noodles & homemade pesto sauce

A few things on my meal plan: Spaghetti squash. Zucchini noodles. Shrimp stir fry. Chicken wraps. Avocado toast. Rice cakes with peanut butter. Veggies and hummus. Cajun shrimp salad. Salmon. Stuffed peppers…this list goes on and on. You just have to be really conscious of what and when you are eating. If you are someone who tends to just “wing it” I’m not sure that this challenge would be for you.

spaghetti squash - delicious!

Spaghetti squash – delicious!

THE PRODUCTS

So far I’ve really like the Advocare products. Spark really is as amazing as everyone raves it is. I keep thinking that Advocare really knew what they were doing when they created it and incorporated it into the challenge. Since you cut out coffee and add in Spark, it still gives you something to drink in the mornings and with a little bit of caffeine so you’re not dying. I really do look forward to it every morning.

The other Advocare products have been good as well. I’ve lost 5lbs so far, but the difference in how I feel is also just as great. I don’t feel bloated and I wake up feeling better. Honestly I think if I cleaned up my diet by myself I’d probably have similar results, but it actually has been pretty fun to incorporate the supplements into my routine. It mixes it up and it’s new to me so that definitely helps.

There are a few other Advocare products that my “coach” has suggested to me. Honestly I know they are trying to sell the products to make money, so I’m not totally sure if I will buy them (pretty pricey), but I will think about it because so far so good. I’m excited to try the products in the second part of the challenge (the “max” phase) to see if I like them!

supps

Supplements all separated and organized for each day of the week, which was super helpful

TRAINING / WORKING OUT

I’ve been killing it at the gym. This morning I did P90X plyometrics and honestly I can feel the soreness in my thighs as I sit here writing this. I’ve also incorporated: stair-mill workouts, HIIT, rowing, sprints, regular distance running, cardio kickboxing and weights/circuit training. I’ve been working out in the mornings at my work fitness center and because I feel so good and energetic when I wake up – I’ve been having amazing workouts and look forward to it. I hope this motivation and “fun” never goes away!

Morning circuit training

Morning circuit training

OVERALL REVIEW (FOR THE “CLEAN” PHASE)

SO my overall review of the Challenge is very good:

  • I like what you get to eat (it doesn’t suck and I’m not hungry).
  • Training has been fun because I generally feel better.
  • Supplements/products are fun to incorporate and seem to be having a good effect on me.
  • “Coaching” has been constructive and helpful.
  • Access to a private Facebook group has been super motivating and also very helpful.

I was asked to think about my goals for the Challenge and at first I couldn’t think of any besides “lose weight”. I’ve taken the time to think more detailed about it and here’s what I’ve got:

advocare-goalsMore to come after Day 24!

Prepping To Go “All In” With Advocare

Miscellaneous

I mentioned a few days ago that I had officially signed up for my first ever Advocare 24-Day Challenge. The theme for this challenge is “All In”. It starts Monday, January 11 and runs until Wednesday, Feb 4.

First off – let me just tell you how out of character this is for me. I’ve never been a fan of self-disturbing companies. I think MOST of it is a scam. Let me also back that up by saying that for some distributors, it’s not a scam. I know that some people do make six figures off selling these products, however those people are few and far between. So here’s a quick fist bump to those that make it work. But for the other percent that just harass me on social media to buy your products and take up my newsfeed…no thanks.

Anyways, when I told my husband that I had signed up for the Advocare 24-Day Challenge he said to me “Who are you?” Right?! That’s how out of character this is to me. I’ve been an athlete all my life. I’ve gained and lost 25 pounds more times than I’d like to admit. (I’ve also lost those pounds the hard way – through simple diet and exercise.) I’ve ran marathons. I’ve played sports. Hell I’m going to be training for a half Ironman Triathlon in a few weeks! I get how fitness works and I’m pretty knowledgeable with being healthy and fit. I know there is no “quick fix miracle” when it comes to getting fit and losing weight. So when my husband asked me why I was signing up for this I didn’t really have a good answer.

I guess the truth is that I’m curious. I’m curious to see if it works. For the past few years I’ve judged these products silently from the sideline and now at this point in my fitness journey, I’m curious to see what all the buzz is about. I’m also scared (because I work in marketing) that this is all a giant marketing campaign to make me buy the products.

I told my friend:

“I’m not looking for a quick fix. I know I will have to work hard, but if these products actually really do work then I will be a believer. And if they don’t then I will have been right and now I know.”

My supplements came in the mail a few days ago and I had a serious moment of guilt. Did I really spend all that money on these products? But I reminded myself of my mission – to honestly find out if the products work or not. I also got access to a closed Facebook group, which I will admit I was a little hesitant to join, but once I started reading it I was glad I did. It’s a good outlet for comments and questions about the Challenge and I know it will be helpful later on down the road. I was also surprised to find that my “coach” contacted me and asked to set up a phone call to talk about my Challenge. That was something I wasn’t expecting.

advocare-setupI’ve followed my coach on Instagram for about two years now and honestly I’m not really sure what suddenly clicked and made me want to try the products. Out of all the distributors I know and am connected with, she is one that I trust. She’s legit. She’s competed in NPC shows and crossfit competitions. She’s an actual athlete, unlike some of the people I see trying to push these products and I’m just like “Huh?”.

Who knows what will happen! When my Challenge starts on Monday I am going to be an unbiased, positive person. I really do want this to work because otherwise I wasted a good amount of money! I am going to work hard too. In all honestly I would love to get behind good products. I’ll never become a distributor, but I wouldn’t mind supporting something I believe in either.

I’m super curious to see how the next 24 days will go, but all I can do is give it my all and try. I’m abandoning all my doubts and negative feelings and diving “All In”.

Goals + Hopes for 2016

Miscellaneous

Another crazy, fun year has passed! 2015 was one of, if not the best year of my life. (2011 was quite a good year as well!)

This past year was exciting. If I had to pick one word to describe it, I would definitely say “exiting” is the word. Obviously our wedding on August 29, 2015 was the most exciting day, but the whole year was fantastic and eventful. My husband and I were blessed to watch seven other couples get married. We also took our first vacation together. I traveled to Nashville, Texas and Colorado. I competed in (and survived) my first Olympic distance triathlon. I ran my third full marathon. I got promoted at work…The list goes on and on about all the wonderful, neat stuff that we did. It has been one big adventure and tying the knot and officially starting my life with my husband was the foundation of it all.

Dec 31 _ 7pmPArkway drive, MAAs I sit here thinking about our wonderful New Years Eve plans with our friends tonight, I find myself really looking forward to 2016. I love the new year and celebrating a “new you”. Some may think it’s cheesy, but I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s a time to refresh and challenge yourself. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and your life. It’s a good way to find new things to challenge you and to be passionate about. I encourage everyone to write down your thoughts and feelings about the past year and to also write down your thoughts, feelings, goals and hopes for the new year. Here’s what I’ve got:

My 2016 Bucket List / Goal List

  • Take a hot air balloon ride AND/OR skydive
  • Travel to: California, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC and MAYBE Italy
  • Pay off my credit cards and car (I just need to buckle down and I can do it!!)
  • Compete in (and survive) my first 70.3 Ironman triathlon (maybe get in the best shape of my entire life because of this?!!?)
  • Run my fourth full marathon (???)
  • Volunteer (soup kitchens, clubs, time, etc.)
  • Complete a 100-mile bike ride
  • Attempt and be successful at donating blood (the past few times weren’t pretty and I actually HATE it, but I am O-Negative and I know how important it is)
  • Get a tattoo with my husband (we’ve wanted to get these for a while, but it was never the right time or we never wanted to spend the money on it)
  • Stay off Facebook (I have recently been trying to ween myself off the stupid social media platform. I deleted the app from my phone so that I can only check it from a desktop computer. People have become so obsessed with it and with putting everything online. I just want to scream “Get off your phone and live your life!!”)
  • Read one book a month (I tend to listen to CDs in the car while driving to and from work, but I’d like to try to do more actual reading from a paper book!)
  • Get better about seeing my group of girlfriends more regularly. Every time we get together (which is once every few months) we always say “Why did we wait so long to get together?!” I know schedules are crazy and everyone is busy, but getting together for an hour over a glass of wine isn’t that hard.
  • Write in a journal (everyday or every few days.) I’ve looked up 200 journal prompts and will use that to help me start writing more. I have a prayer book that I try to read everyday and I want to read the prayer book for a few minutes and then write for a few minutes. I want to do this every.single.day. I’ve been reading about the Miracle Morning routine and the importance of it. It’s pretty neat actually!

Fluffy Goals:

  • Continue loving my job. Go out of the way to volunteer and help with projects. Get as much experience in everything as possible and improve my professional status.
  • Look more into getting my Masters (think seriously…maybe Fall 2017??)
  • Be the best wife I can be to my incredible husband.
  • Go out of my way to spend more time with my family, especially my grandparents.

The Usual Goals:

  • Every single winter/off-season I gain about 20 lbs. It’s just what I do. I train hard and eat clean from May to September and then from October to December it’s a free for all. (It’s basically one big, giant all-you-can-eat contest.) I know it’s not healthy, but it’s what I do and as you can probably guess, I’ve gained the weight. Currently I am sitting 20 lbs heavier than I was in August for our wedding. I enjoyed my off-season, but I’m ready to shed this weight and to buckle down. The holidays are rough on everyone’s waist line, so I’m trying not to beat myself up too much. I had my fun, but now it’s time to get back on track. (Plus I feel like garbage! I’m actually excited to start eating vegetables!)
  • To help with my “getting back on track” I’ve decided that I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before. I’ve signed up for my first ever Advocare 24-Day Challenge. For the past couple months I’ve seen people rave about it and I’ve always been judgmental of stuff like this. Shakeology, Herbalife, the 21-Day Fix, Arbonne…the list of distribution companies go on and on. Finally, I grew curious and I decided to look into Advocare. There was someone on social media that I actually trusted and I reached out to her. After a good amount of research I decided to give it a try. If it fails then I’ve been right all along and now I know, but if it doesn’t – well, you get it! I’m not looking for a “quick fix” and I get that I’ll have to bust my butt, but I am hoping that the products and support help me. I’ve joined the national “All In” challenge and it starts January 11. More to come on this!

I’m looking forward to a wonderful night out tonight and partaking in my husband and I’s usual New Years Day tradition – sushi and a movie. (We are going to see Star Wars and I’m excited!) Thank the Lord for blessing me with such a wonderful and fantastic life. I pray I get to stick around for a good time more with the ones I love.

Have a wonderful and safe new year, friends!

new-year