Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Blog Launch - Happy Anniversary!

On May 11th, 1999, Beachbody got its very first customer order from a woman named Hope Putnam. She ordered the Great Body Guaranteed™ collection, and a fitness and weight loss company was born.

When Jon Congdon and I got started, we didn't know what direction the company would take, except that we wanted to use direct marketing to build a strong relationship with our customers with an eye on the evolution of the Internet for ongoing communication. With the launch of our first product, we started to get feedback from people thanking us for creating "fitness programs that work." Soon after we decided to focus, and go deeper in this category to see how much of an appetite the marketplace had for "real" fitness and weight loss solutions, with an end-game of being so successful that our customers would be "walking billboards."

Later that year we launched a product called "Winning Results." We had a test group, produced an infomercial, and learned a lot about marketing a comprehensive fitness and diet solution. But that was only a 21 day program. I pitched Jon an idea for a straight-forward 90 day program for people to focus - not for the rest of their lives pre se, but for a fixed "transformation period". That led to the development of the "Power 90® in-home boot camp for total body transformation" in 2000 with Tony Horton. I pitched the idea as a system just for men, but Jon strongly urged me to expand it to appeal to both men and women . . . thank God for that. Tony got to work designing the routines. I can remember the first time he put two pieces of tape on the floor of his apartment to explain the idea of "X-work" cardio. Easy, good stuff. (We even originally planned to sell a roll of tape with the program!) Jon and I went through the first 90 days along with Tony, tweaking the routines to meet the expectations of "anti-exercise" people like us, and reading everything we could get our hands on to make the diet plan easy and effective. We had amazing results, and when we finally tested the advertisement for Power 90, we knew we had created something exciting. It seems people were craving an approach to weight loss that appealed to their sense of logic. "For 90 days you follow these videos, eat this way, and you will lose this much weight." Simplicity, without an expensive piece of equipment to store under the bed.

In 2000, we launched, and in 2001 then our Message Boards at and were pleasantly surprised when real customers answered posts by people who thought any program that promised these kinds of results might be a scam. (The first post like that is still there on the boards, posted by Ashlee on 8-30-01!)

Once we had the momentum of a winning Power 90 infomercial, plus a growing community of customers, the momentum really started to pick up. We announced the first Power 90 Hawaii trip to celebrate customer success, and started to develop Slim in 6® with Debbie Siebers, based on a new "muscle tone without muscle bulk" training technique we had created, called Slim Training®. Slim in 6 took off just like Power 90 did, and the story continues with programs like P90X®, Fast 10™, Kathy Smith's Project: YOU™, Yoga Booty Ballet™, and soon-to-be-released Turbo Jam™!

Now, Beachbody has more than 100 full- and part-time employees, ships over 25,000 packages a week, and has a skyrocketing community of people that support each other in overcoming the obstacles that so often derail our fitness and weight loss goals. What started as an idea at Sunday brunch on the back of my restaurant placemat (still hanging on my wall, by the way!) has taken on a life of its own. We have overcome incredible operational issues from our fast growth, and managed to maintain the most fun environment to work that any of us have ever encountered.

But Beachbody is no longer mine, or Jon's, or even the original 20 investors who made it all possible. Now it is yours—the Beachbody community—whom we have worked to serve for six great years, and whom we are committed to serve as we strive to reverse the trend of inactivity and obesity.

Our goal is to help you make living a healthy, active lifestyle the norm. And we appreciate all the feedback you give to make us better.

In this blog, I will share the inner workings of Beachbody, including how I cope with the demands of work, life, and the ongoing pursuit of health. It's not any easier for me than it is for anyone else, except for the fact that the reminder that the need to choose to be active and eat well is "in my face" all day long.

Visit my blog from time to time, and it will be in your face too, and along the way we'll succeed at this together.

Meanwhile, happy anniversary to Beachbody, its employees, investors, customers, and friends, and to everyone who has signed-on to make this a great place to gather to achieve real results!

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