Is Optavia MLM Legit? [2022 Reviews]

Optavia is a company that runs weight loss programs and sells products that help you lose weight.

The company uses the Multi-Level Marketing (or Network Marketing) business model to promote and sell its products. They have a large network of “coaches” who distribute the meal replacement products.

In this Optavia Review, although we will dabble, we will not dwell on the products themselves. Rather, we will look at the business model to show you how it works both from the consumer’s and coach’s perspective, how you make money, how much you can realistically make, and how to join if you are interested.

After all, they present it as an opportunity to make money and we are in the business of finding out how such programs work.

Before I start…

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What is Optavia?

Although it looks like any other online store you’ll find online, when you pull back the curtain, you find that Optavia is a multi-level marketing company that offers health and wellness products to its customers with a service-oriented approach that seeks to meet their specific needs.

Is Optavia MLM Legit? [2022 Reviews] 16

The company comprises a network of health coaches who are passionate about health and pays them a commission to market the products they sell.

According to Optavia, typically, the coaches are customers who liked the products so much, they decided to “spread the word” and help other people who might be struggling with their body weight.

Coaches don’t just work with their direct customers. They can bring in qualified leads who later become coaches themselves.

To incentivize coaches to bring in those leads, the company pays them a certain amount of money that is usually determined by the sales figures of those recruits. We will examine the compensation plan later in this review.

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Who owns Optavia?

Although Optavia appears to operate independently, it is a subsidiary of a company called Medifast.

Medifast, Inc. is an American nutrition and weight loss company with headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1980 by a doctor called William Vitale.

Medifast is a public company trading in the stock market (NYSE). It produces, distributes, and sells weight loss and health-related products through multi-level marketing, websites, and franchised weight loss clinics.

It has 12 subsidiaries (Optavia is one of these subsidiaries).

It reported revenue of $934.8 million in 2020 and had 713 employees in 2020 (this excludes the coaches).

Medifast ran a program called “Take Shape For Life” that was all about weight loss. They renamed it the Optavia Program in 2016.

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How Does Optavia Work? (From A Buyer’s Perspective)

Optavia offers products called “Fuelings” that are created with a macronutrient profile similar to the original Medifast products.

When you buy these “fuelings,” they encourage you to integrate healthy habits, working with coaches and following the set nutritional guidelines. The mantra is “lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time.”

The goal is to stick to the brand’s Fuelings coupled with a “Lean & Green” meal (one meat, veggie and healthy fat entrée) each day.

This diet is designed to keep you full and nourished without losing muscle because you eat lots of protein, fiber and key nutrients.

You cut down on the calories and will be eating about 800 to 1,000 as an adult. If you stick to the diet, you are supposed to lose about 12 pounds in 12 weeks (on the Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan).

Since these very low calorie diets restrict you to just 80-100 grams of carbs, you stop using carbs as your main energy source and your body is forced to burn fat for fuel.

It is a High-Protein Diet because proteins contribute more than the recommended 10% to 35% of the daily calories.

It is also a probiotic diet because it also helps boost digestive health.

Working with Coaches

To help you through your journey are Optavia coaches who work with clients one-on-one. You become part of a community that keeps you accountable and encourages you.

Since they impart new healthy habits, you will have an easier time keeping the weight off once you reach your goal weight. Weight management is often a big problem for people who are new to this.

Independent coaches keep you on the Optavia diet and offer support by answering questions about the Optavia diet.

The company has a mobile app for tracking calories, preparing recipes, and ordering. They also run public and private Facebook and Instagram community groups.

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How much does OPTAVIA cost?

The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan goes for about $400 to $450 for 119 servings. That lasts you three weeks. If you calculate that, it is around $13-$15 each day.

And that’s without counting the additional groceries and proteins you will buy to complement these servings.

Does Optavia Work?

I suppose the question you have is: will it actually help you lose weight?

Just as you expect with any weight loss plan, nothing is set in stone. How the Optavia diet works depends on the individual and what works for you may not work for other people because there are variables like starting weight and age and how disciplined you are sticking to the plan.

The latter is uniquely important because without consistency, you will not shed pounds. How active you are also affects the results.

That being said, there have been self-sponsored studies into the efficacy of the Optavia diet programs.

CAVEAT: There haven’t been long-term studies on the Optavia diet because it is relatively new (it launched in 2017). However, Medifast has conducted studies on products of a similar macronutrient profile that they claim are interchangeable with Optavia products.

The Medifast studies have shown that in the short term, you are likely to shed some weight because you are eating fewer calories than the average non-dieting adult does. They sell their plans as short term solutions for rapid weight loss. However, in the long-term, the results are less impressive.

They also found that a self-directed, reduced calorie diet was less effective than a low calorie diet with behavioral support. This justifies the need for them to have coaches.

Should you exercise on the OPTAVIA diet?

They encourage a 30-minute session of moderate-intensity exercise. You can incorporate mild exercise like walking and gradually increase the intensity as your body adapts. There are special recommendations if you are following the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan.

BBB Rating

Optavia has been reviewed by customers on the Better Business Bureau website and it gets an average of 1.53 out of 5.

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What Products Does Optavia Offer?

As we’ve established, Optavia sells health and wellness products that help you on your quest of losing weight. You are encouraged to join a weight loss program and work with one of their health coaches.

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Optavia doesn’t just sell products, they want you to establish a healthy habit in order to have an easier time getting yourself to a healthy weight.

OPTAVIA Fuelings

They call their products fuelings. They are simple, nutrient dense foods.

They each have 24 vitamins and minerals, protein, the patented GanedenBC30®, and no colors, sweeteners, or flavors.

The way they are made, you can swap meal replacements as you please. For example, you can take a brownie instead of a soup and you’ll still get the same nutrient profile.

Lean and Green Meals

Lean and Green meals go together with the Fuelings. A lean and green meal has cooked lean protein, three servings of non-starchy vegetables, and up to two servings of healthy fats.

You can choose from a wide variety of vegetables and protein sources. The lean and green meal is not time-restricted and you can take it at any point during the day.

Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan

Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan® is the most popular plan they offer. It was designed by professional physicians and dietitians.

This plan has five “Fuelings” per day. They let you choose from more than 50 options, including shakes, bars, soups, biscuits and pudding.

The sixth meal comprises cooked lean protein and three servings of nonstarchy vegetables and healthy fats.

Other Plans

They have another plan called the Optimal Health 3&3 Plan for weight maintenance.

If you want a more flexible and higher-calorie diet, you can choose the Optimal Weight 4&2&1 Plan, which has four Fuelings, one healthy snack, and two Lean & Green meals.

There are other plans for special groups like diabetics, nursing mothers, seniors, teens, and patients suffering from gout.

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Becoming An Optavia Coach

If you are a fan of their products, you can become a distributor. A distributor is referred to as an independent Optavia coach.

Your job as an independent coach besides selling the product will be to show other people how to use the product. You can also recruit other coaches and show them how to build a business if you are good at it.

Optavia is careful to point out that becoming an independent coach does not guarantee financial success (in fact, later we will look at how much you stand to realistically make when you become one).

In a nutshell, your success will be reliant on hard work, diligence, skill, persistence, competence, and leadership.

How to become an Optavia coach

They break down the process of becoming an Optavia independent coach into three steps:

Step 1: Talk to your OPTAVIA Coach

You will be working under another coach and it is important to ask them about coaching opportunities and how to get started. They will show you how to get more clients and they are incentivized to do so because they get paid from your sales.

Step 2: Buy The OPTAVIA Business Kit

It contains everything you need to start your own coaching business.

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This kit has business tools, plan information, and even 12 months of free access to the company’s co-branded internet storefront. Here is what it contains:

  • Business Tools: Comprises OPTAVIA Success System, OPTAVIA New Coach Steps to Success, OPTAVIA Coaching Guide for the Habits of Health Transformational System, and the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan® Client Introduction Guide (pack of 10)
  • Plan Information: This includes OPTAVIA Guide, the Optimal Weight 4-2-1 Plan® Guide, and the Optimal Health 3 & 3 Plan® Brochure
  • Business Accessories like OPTAVIA Business Box becomes an open desktop organizer and filing system, OPTAVIA Pen Set includes 4 pens with printed OPTAVIA inspiration quotes, OPTAVIA Journal, OPTAVIA Coach Bottle, OPTAVIA Pop Socket for your phone, OPTAVIA Notecard Set (pack of 10), OPTAVIA Slinky Notepad, and OPTAVIA Tech Decals for your electronic devices.
  • Free Access to: Your own personalized OPTAVIA website for 12 months, Your own Back Office for 12 months, Standard subscription to the Healthy Habits e-Newsletter service for 3 months, and Automated virtual support training videos delivered electronically to your inbox.
Step 3: Engage in the OPTAVIA Coach Community

You are better off participating in the supportive Community where you talk to other coaches and exchange ideas. This is usually through social media.

How Much Does it Cost To Become a Coach?

The Optavia Business kit you buy costs $199.

You also need space for keep your inventory as well as keep track of the transactions and payment processing.

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The Optavia Compensation Plan

In a multi-level marketing business, the compensation plan pays you based on your direct sales and the sales of your downline. Your job is to get people to sign up for products on a retainer from one of Optavia’s diet plans. Then you will take care of the distribution, which means that customers give you money for the products.

Optavia health coaches act as a middleman because they refer customers to the products that might be the right fit for them.

Optavia pays you for the sales you make and those of your downline. Here is a snippet of the first page of the integrated compensation plan.

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You can learn more about this by reading their compensation plan.

As you’ll see, it is a pretty complex plan with various levels of coaches and salespeople. The higher you rank, the more you get paid.

The minimum you will get is a 15% cut for a sale at the lower levels of coaching.

The best way to increase your earning potential is to build a team.

Optavia will pay you a small percentage of revenue for each coach you recruit (from their sales). This even applies to when the product is cheap.

However, the percentage is way smaller than the 15% you get for your direct sales.

There is a program called “Leveraged revenue sharing” that lets you earn from up to six levels down your marketing team.

Therefore, to make money at Optavia, you need to be good at recruiting and leading others to help them recruit.

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Can You Make Money With Optavia?

Since Optavia is a legitimate company selling actual products, then, Yes, you can make money with it.

When you become a coach for Optavia, you get paid in terms of sales. This means that your qualified leads should be keen on learning about the products and commit to a diet plan.

So, this means that you have to do a lot of maintenance work besides finding new customers and recruiting. Unfortunately, not many people are wired for this.

To be honest, selling products and recruiting people is not as easy as they make it sound.

When it comes to how much you can realistically make, Optavia released the OPTAVIA Income Disclosure Statement for statistics on actual earnings of Coaches in 2020. Here is a snapshot of it:

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As you can see, very few people make the big bucks.

In fact, a majority of people hardly make any money and the ones that do, it is not enough to live off of. They have to have other sources of income to pick up the slack.

23.86% of the Optavia coaches failed to make any money. Now, this can be down to things like inactivity, lack of marketing skills but it is still telling that these are the majority of coaches working there.

Contrast that with the top 5% that make above $30,000 (they haven’t disclosed whether it is before taxes), and you can see just how tough it is to earn a living selling these diets.

Making money working for an MLM is incredibly hard because you have to be good at selling products and recruiting people. It is often tougher than it looks on the surface.

Make no mistake, the MLM industry has had its ups and downs and it is often a misunderstood business.

The blame goes to both the people who join these companies starry-eyed and with big expectations only to have their hopes crashed by reality and to the companies themselves for being so good at selling the ideal as the norm.

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Is Optavia A Network Marketing Company?

Optavia is a Network Marketing Company.

A network marketing operation or a multi-level marketing scheme is a marketing strategy where a company sells its products through salespeople (often called distributors) who aren’t on a salary. These sales people make money from the commissions they earn from the company’s compensation plan. We’ve seen this with other businesses like Scentsy, Amway, and Farmasi Makeup.

A network-marketing company is a legitimate business selling products just like any other business. The only difference is in the way they market these products because they use multi-level marketing.

If you put it that way, Optavia fits the description perfectly because they sell their products through a non-salaried sales force comprising “health coaches.”

Is Optavia Legit?

Optavia is a legitimate network marketing company.

The illegitimate version of a network marketing operation is a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme is a business that recruits people promising them money and the only way to make that money is by recruiting other people into the scheme.

Such programs do not sell services or products and they rely on the money people pay to join to pay out commissions. This model usually falls apart when people stop joining and the recruitment money dries up. Pyramid schemes are illegal.

Optavia is clearly not a pyramid scheme because it sells actual products and services and the money people make is from those sales. They sell the product through a network marketing business model that is legal.

Optavia has also partnered with major companies that have had nothing but good things to say about it. That wouldn’t happen if this was an illegitimate business.

On top of that, it went public in 2018, a process that subjected it to scrutiny and seeing that it survived that further cements the belief that it is legit.

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Optavia sells convenient, easy to use meal replacements through its network of independent coaches.

It is one of many avenues of making money online because you can join the community of coaches if you are passionate about selling its products and recruiting other people to come in and work as distributors.

Optavia is a legitimate multi-level marketing company.

When most people come across it, they ask whether Optavia is a pyramid scheme. But it is not one because pyramid schemes are illegal and they don’t often involve a product or service.

This company offers both because it sells you the products and has coaches to help you through the diet.

The sad reality is that most people who join this company as coaches will not succeed because there is so much competition selling the same product. You have to be stand out somehow to make money. For example, you can leverage the reach of social media to give yourself a leg up.

In terms of how great of an opportunity to make money it is, you have to be subjective because different people have different skills. For some, it is a cakewalk because they are great at sales and team building and nurturing but for others — and they are in the majority — it is a horrible business and they hardly make money.

You know where you stand and if you understand this, you can then decide whether it will work for you or not.

Before you leave

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(This is a 100% free training)

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David Fortune has been the editor since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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