Take Shape For Life Review: Weight loss plans & products
Take Shape For Life was founded in 2003 and is a division of MediFast Inc, a publicly traded company.
MediFast is based out of Maryland in the US and was founded in 1980 by William Vitale.
At that time, Medifast was manufacturing and distributing Medifast Meals to doctors, who in turn prescribed them to their patients and counseled them through the Medifast Program.
With the onset of managed care, Medifast products were no longer covered by insurance, and doctors no longer had time to counsel patients to the degree necessary for sustained weight loss and management.
Retired Marine Colonel Bradley T. MacDonald, CEO of Jason Pharmaceuticals at the time, set out to re-engineer the business model for the company by working with his alma mater, Villanova University, and the Bartlett School of Business, to create a direct-to-consumer model for Medifast.
In 2000, he formed Medifast’s Web and toll-free business, Medifast Direct.
In 2003, the Company changed its name to Medifast, Inc. and was listed on the American Stock Exchange, moving to the New York Stock Exchange in 2006 (NYSE: MED).
Also in 2003, MacDonald teamed up with Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, a critical care medicine specialist, to create Take Shape For Life, the coaching division of Medifast, Inc.
Jason Pharmaceuticals was originally the parent company MediFast was created under, however today it is a subsidiary of MediFast Inc.
Today Take Shape For Life is headed up by CEO Margaret Sheetz (right), who also serves as President and COO of Medifast.
As per Sheetz’s Take Shape For Life corporate bio;
Prior to joining the Company in 2000, she was a legal assistant with the firm of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman and Blumenthal in Dallas, Texas.
Ms. Sheetz was first selected as a Management Director in 2008 after she had assumed the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer of Medifast, Inc.
She is the senior experienced operations executive who has built the operational structure of the company.
On the regulatory front, 2012 saw the FTC and DOJ hit Jason Pharmaceuticals with a $3.7 million dollar civil penalty for false advertising.
Under the new settlement order announced today, Jason Pharmaceuticals is prohibited from misrepresenting that consumers who use any low-calorie meal replacement program, including the Medifast “5 and 1” plan, can expect to achieve the same results that an endorser does, or can lose a particular amount of weight or maintain the weight loss.
Such representations must be non-misleading and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence that consists of at least one adequate and well-controlled human clinical study of the low-calorie meal replacement program, or a study that follows a protocol detailed in the settlement order.
Under the settlement order, the company also is prohibited from making any other representation about the health benefits, safety, or side effects of any low-calorie meal replacement program, unless the representation is non-misleading and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence that is generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate results.
The company also is prohibited from misrepresenting that any doctor, health professional, or endorser recommends a weight-loss product, program, service, drug, or dietary supplement.
Also of note is a 2010 defamation lawsuit filed by MediFast against Tracy Coenen.
Coenen, who works as a forensic accountant and fraud investigator with Sequence Inc., found herself a named defendant in the suit for covering a report critical of MediFast and Take Shape For Life.
In May 2009, Barry Minkow and his Fraud Discovery Institute released a report about Medifast Inc. and its multi-level marketing arm called Take Shape For Life (TSFL).
In September 2009, I wrote an article on this blog about Medifast and TSFL, exposing the fraud behind multi-level marketing (MLM).
In February 2010, Medifast sued Barry Minkow, Robert Fitzpatrick, me, and others with claims of defamation, violations of California Corporations Code and Unfair Business Practices.
Approximately two months later, my attorneys filed an anti-SLAPP motion.
In March 2011, the judge dismissed me from the case. Medifast immediately appealed.
In June 2014 the Court of Appeals upheld my dismissal. (Yes, the appeals process took more than 3 years.)
By that stage Coenen had racked up almost $200,000 in legal fees, which MediFast were eventually ordered to pay.
The other defendants were not fully dismissed. The appeals court allowed some issues against them to proceed.
Yet after it was assured that I was out of the case and Medifast would be paying my fees, Medifast settled with the other defendants.
The settlement included the defendants giving up nothing. There will be no retraction of anything that was said about Medifast.
The future speech of the defendants will not be restricted. And Medifast paid a large portion of the defendants’ legal fees.
This might be amusing if it hadn’t taken five years of my life to resolve. At every step of the case, Medifast and its attorneys acted unethically.
For sure, the attorneys will tell you that they were litigating in the best interest of their client. In fact, they lied to the court repeatedly, ran up our legal fees, ran up their own legal fees, and unnecessarily prolonged a meritless case.
Read on for a full review of the Take Shape For Life MLM business opportunity.
The Take Shape For Life Product Line
Take Shape For Life operate in the weight loss MLM niche, with products manufactured at MediFast’s ‘wholly owned manufacturing facility in Owings Mills, Maryland‘.
Take Shape For Life products are marketed under a series of weight loss plans, with each plan containing a selection of bars, shakes, smoothies, drinks, crunchers, hearty choice meals, soups and various breakfast and dessert items.
Take Shape For Life products are also bundled together in a range of “kits”, costing between $297.65 to $346.25.
In addition to Take Shape For Life’s meal plan products, the company also markets “lean & green meals”, snacks, flavor infusers, supplements and “tools & accessories”.
There are too many Take Shape For Life products to list here individually, but the full range and retail pricing is readily available on the company’s website.
The Take Shape For Life Compensation Plan
The Take Shape For Life compensation plan pays affiliates to sell Take Shape For Life products to retail customers.
Residual commissions are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure, in addition to several performance-based bonuses offered.
Take Shape For Life Affiliate Ranks
There are ten affiliate ranks within the Take Shape For Life compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Health Coach – sign up as a Take Shape For Life affiliate ($199)
- Senior Coach – generate 1000 GV a month and have at least five retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your downline
- Manager – generate 3000 GV a month and have at least five retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your downline OR have two personally recruited Senior Coach ranked affiliates
- Assistant Director – 4000 GV a month and have at least five retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your downline OR have three personally recruited Senior Coach ranked affiliates
- Director – 5000 GV a month and have at least five retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your downline OR have four personally recruited Senior Coach ranked affiliates
- Executive Director – 6000 GV a month and have at least five retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your downline OR have five personally recruited Senior Coach ranked affiliates
- Regional Director – maintain Executive Director qualification and have at least one Executive Director ranked affiliate anywhere in your downline
- National Director – maintain Executive Director qualification and have at least three Executive Director ranked affiliate in separate unilevel legs
- Global Director – maintain Executive Director qualification and have at least five Executive Director ranked affiliate anywhere in separate unilevel legs
- Presidential Director – maintain Executive Director qualification and have at least ten Executive Director ranked affiliate anywhere in separate unilevel legs
Take Shape For Life affiliates are paid a retail commission on the sale of products to retail customers.
Each Take Shape For Life product is assigned an “adjusted retail price”, which is 95% of the retail price of the product.
Commissionable volume on retail product orders is then 48% of a product’s adjusted retail price.
Retail commissions paid out are 20% of the commissionable volume of each retail product order.
Eg. Product X retails at $10. This corresponds to a $9.50 adjusted retail price (10 * 0.95) and $4.56 commissionable volume (9.5 * 0.48).
The retail commission paid out on the sale of product X is thus 91.2 cents (4.56 * 0.2).
Residual commissions in Take Shape For Life are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Residual commissions are paid according to generations within the unilevel team, with a generation defined when an Executive Director or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel leg.
When an Executive Director or higher affiliate is found in a unilevel leg, all affiliates from the top of the leg to the ranked affiliate count as the first generation for that leg.
Any affiliates after the ranked affiliates count in the second generation of that leg, with the second generation capped off if another Executive Director or higher ranked affiliate is found in that leg.
If no Executive Director or higher ranked affiliates exist in the leg, the second generation extends down the entire depth of the leg. This is the same for all subsequently defined generations.
Note that defined generations in one unilevel leg have no bearing on defined generations in any other unilevel leg.
Commissions are paid out as a percentage of sales volume generated in each unilevel leg generation, with earnings available on up to five generations per individual unilevel leg.
How many generations a Take Shape For Life affiliate can earn on is determined by their affiliate rank as follows:
- Regional Director – 6% on the first generation and 5% on the second
- National Director – 6% on the first generation and 5% on the second and third
- Global and Presidential Director – 6% on the first generation, 5% on the second and third and 4% on the fourth and fifth
Client Acquisition Bonus
The Client Acquisition Bonus is a $100 bonus paid out if a new Take Shape For Life affiliate generates $1000 in sales volume (adjusted retail price) within their first thirty days.
The sales volume must come from at least five recruited Take Shape For Life affiliates or acquired retail customers.
A match of $100 is also payable if any personally recruited affiliates qualify for the Client Acquisition Bonus.
The Growth Bonus is a percentage bonus on commissionable volume generated within a unilevel team (including an affiliate’s own retail customer orders).
The percentage is paid out according to rank, with a maximum 30% paid out monthly:
- Senior Coach – 10%
- Manager – 15%
- Assistant Director – 20%
- Director – 25%
- Executive Director or higher – 30%
The Growth Bonus is an override bonus, with a maximum 30% always paid out.
If an affiliate is ranked below Executive Director, they are paid their applicable percentage. The system then searches their upline for a higher ranked affiliate to pay the remaining percentage out.
Eg. A Manager ranked affiliate would qualify for a 15% Growth Bonus payout, with 15% in unpaid bonus remaining.
If that affiliate’s immediate upline was an Assistant Director, they would be paid 5% with 10% in unpaid bonus remaining.
The system would then search for either a Director or Executive Director or higher to pay the remaining 5% or 10% out respectively.
Note that an Executive Director or higher affiliate is always paid out the full 30%. This means that there is no leftover percentage to pay out upline.
Elite Leadership Bonus
The Elite Leadership Bonus is a bonus percentage commission paid out on unilevel team sales volume.
Up to 3% of a bonus is available, with how much of a percentage earned determined by a Take Shape For Life affiliate’s rank:
- National Director – 1% bonus
- Presidential Director – 2% bonus
- Global Director – 3% bonus
These percentages pay out on an affiliate’s entire unilevel team volume, they are not restricted to generations or any other depth cap.
Rolling Consistency Bonus
The Rolling Consistency Bonus is a quarterly bonus, paid out when an affiliate maintains a set amount of GV for three consecutive months.
- generate $2000 or more in sales volume for three consecutive months = $250 Rolling Consistency Bonus
- generate an average of $4000 a month for three consecutive months = $500 Rolling Consistency Bonus
- generate an average of $6000 a month for three consecutive months = $1000 Rolling Consistency Bonus
GV counted for the Rolling Consistency Bonus is limited to sales volume generated by personally recruited affiliates and retail customer orders.
Joining Take Shape For Life
Affiliate membership with Take Shape for Life is $199.
The Take Shape For Life website mentions that this fee provides ‘12-month access to your own Back Office (and) co-branded Take Shape® For Life web site‘.
This suggests that after 12 months a Take Shape For Life affiliates has to renew their affiliate membership. There is no mention of a renewal fee on the Take Shape For Life website however, nor was I able to obtain any renewal costs elsewhere.
With MediFast’s 2010 lawsuit in the back of my mind, I was expecting to discover a compensation plan that was readily identifiable as a product-based pyramid scheme.
Having gone over Take Shape For Life’s business model though, I have to say this is one of the lighter MLM opportunities I’ve reviewed.
Whether the Take Shape For Life compensation plan has changed much since 2010 and earlier, I have no idea – but today you’re looking at pretty straight forward unilevel plan with readily identifiable retail commissions.
The idea behind the product line appears to be total meal management, as opposed to a single supplement approach. Through the offered kits, Take Shape For Life affiliates tailor meals for the customers, with products sourced inhouse through MediFast.
Provided nothing dodgy is being touted on the marketing side of things (Take Shape For Life affiliates are obviously neither dietitians or doctors), this seems like a pretty effective marketing method.
If the weight loss plans themselves are solid, then the convenience of an inhouse product range complimenting it is pretty convenient.
On the flip side of the coin this is a highly competitive market and weight loss plans are a dime a dozen. With that in mind thorough evaluation of not only Take Shape For Life’s plans and products are recommended, but also that of local competition.
Compensation wise nothing in particular stood out to me as a glaring recruitment incentive. If the food products are ordered according to the offered weight loss plans, then I’m not seeing how inventory loading might be an issue.
Certainly the $199 affiliate fee isn’t commissionable, so we can rule that out as a recruitment incentive.
I will mention that $199 for basic affiliate membership is rather high, but also that it rules out the grey area of a company claiming retail customers are signing up as affiliates for a discount.
Nobody is going to convincingly argue that retail customers are paying $199 on top of the cost of products, meaning Take Shape For Life’s retail volume should be readily identifiable company-wide.
Technically speaking a lack of retail sales activity would indicate something wrong either with Take Shape For Life’s product pricing, or perhaps the products themselves.
That should be easy enough to determine though by enquiring about a potential upline’s monthly retail sales volume.
Take Shape For Life affiliate rank qualification sees either retail sales, recruited affiliate purchases or their rank count, so it should be easy to ascertain how your potential upline is maintaining their current rank from month to month.
One thing that did strike me as odd was the Client Acquisition Bonus, which is usually otherwise named a “Customer Acquisition Bonus”.
The reason for this is the bonus is typically used to encourage retail sales, as opposed to Take Shape For Life’s bonus which makes no differentiation between recruited affiliates and retail customers.
I’m not sure why this is, but restricting the bonus to retail customers only for qualification would be a smart move.
Another smart move would be retail volume qualifiers for commission payouts, of which there are none.
Again though, with the lack of incentive to focus exclusively on affiliate recruitment, this in and of itself shouldn’t be a problem (unless retail is being ignored completely).
With careful evaluation of Take Shape For Life’s product line, retail viability and consideration that the company has been around for a few years now, Take Shape For Life might just be what you’re looking for in an MLM opportunity.