Carl Daikeler, co-founder and chief executive of Santa Monica-based fitness company Beachbody, built a thriving, multilevel marketing enterprise by seeking out customers just like himself — those who want to be fit but don’t love to exercise.
Customers join the fold and stay motivated by connecting via social media to independent fitness coaches, who also sell nutrition shakes and other products.
“The fitness tools, the nutrition tools, are the only reason I’m in the shape I’m in at 55 years old,” Daikeler said. “If I was running a different kind of company, I would easily be 30 pounds heavier, and I’d be on cholesterol medication.”
Today, two decades in, Beachbody counts about 28 million customers for its menu of at-home fitness and nutrition programs. Daikeler reported the company’s 2018 revenues at approximately $800 million.
Beachbody is slated to launch its newest program, Morning Meltdown 100, on July 16. The program asks people to commit to 100 varied workouts to be completed at their own pace.
“No gym is as convenient as the living room,” Daikeler said.
Daikeler’s strict personal regimen and office style reflect his choice to make sure fitness starts at the top. He walks the walk — and does the crunches.
His day starts at 5 a.m. with a workout in his Malibu home gym using Beachbody videos. Each day’s meals are premeasured and stored in separate containers. Daikeler chooses a daily uniform of jeans, shirt and sneakers so as not to waste time making choices.
He usually leaves home at 7:30 a.m., headed to either Beachbody headquarters in Santa Monica or the company’s Van Nuys studios where production teams shoot exercise and nutrition content.
A sophisticated autopilot system in his Tesla makes it easier to take calls while driving. “Wherever I am is an office,” he said.
Daikeler admits it’s hard to unplug, but he makes time for one unexpected hobby: producing Broadway theater. Growing up in Pennsylvania, his family owned a playhouse, and Beachbody’s success has allowed him to reclaim his theater roots. He has won Tony Awards as a producer of the 2018 musical revival “Once on This Island” and for 2019 Best Musical winner “Hadestown.”
“It’s really fun because my dad, who is in his mid-80s, loves the theater and serves as my East Coast proxy,” Daikeler said.
Still, Daikeler’s Beachbody success stories remain the real stars of his show.
“Our distributors are coaches helping people to succeed; they are adding value to the equation,” he said.
“I have no problem, say, buying and drinking wine without an accountability partner. But fitness and eating right — that community has real value,” he added. “That’s why the network marketing model can be so powerful.”