Advocare review: is this sports supplements empire a scam?

Advocare is a big-time sports and wellness multi-level marketing and direct sales company.

The MLM nutrition space is crowded with companies so you really have to bring it.

Advocare has.

From their popular workout drink, Advocare Spark, to their signing of Drew Brees, Advocare is an intriguing company.

Like Herbalife, they’ve had their fair share of pyramid scheme accusations and media hit jobs (1, 2, 3), but they’re still a top 5 nutrition direct-sales lock.

But unlike other MLMs, they don’t pay for recruiting other members.

That can be a bummer for some who were looking forward to passive income. For others, that’s another good sign the business is legitimate because distributors will join to sell the products, not promote the business opportunity.


1. What is Advocare? Advocare is a multi-level marketing company in the sports supplements niche. Currently headquartered in Texas, It was founded in 1993 by Charles Ragus. Its name is short for “Advocates Who Care”.

2. What does Advocare sell? Advocare sells nutritional products specifically targeted towards athletes. They have over 80 products available.

3. Who was the founder of Advocare? Charles Ragus was the founder of Advocare. Before Advocare, Charles was a regional vice president for Fidelity Union Insurance and an Herbalife distributor. He founded another MLM called Omnitrition International in 1989, but left it to retire and eventually found Advocare. Charles even played briefly for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1960s after college.

4. Who currently leads Advocare? Patrick Wright is the CEO of Advocare as of 2019. Before him, they had 2 interim co-CEOs named Brian Connolly and Reid Ward.

5. What background does Patrick Wright have? Patrick has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Dallas. He joined Advocare in 2008 as Director of Hispanic Marketing Development after leaving another MLM called Morinda. Rapidly advancing up the ranks in Advocare every few years,  Patrick eventually made it to Senior Vice President of International Sales. In this role, he oversaw Advocare’s successful expansion into Canada.

6. What are Advocare’s most popular products? Advocare Spark (workout drink), Ready-to-drink protein (protein shake), Advocare ONE/80 (formerly called 24 day challenge, which is a nutritional program that includes body cleanses, Advocare Spark and others).

7. Are Advocare’s products organized into product lines? Yes, there are 5 product lines called Trim, Active, Well, Performance Elite, and Fit.

8. What is the focus of each product line? Trim’s products are geared towards fat loss through appetite control and better digestion. Active’s products contain aminos, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes to enhance energy and focus for intense physical activity. Well has supplements for better sleep and staying healthy. Performance Elite’s products fueling your muscles during and after workouts for better recovery. Fit is similar to Active and Performance Elite.

9. What are Advocare’s “Solutions”? These are bundle deals of certain Advocare products that complement each other for various health/fitness goals. Advocare’s 3 solutions are Slim & Trim, 24-Day Jumpstart, and Advocare One/80.

10. What does each Solution contain? Slim & Trim has a 14-day and a 28-day weight loss program. The 14-day one has 3 products, while the 28-day one has 2 packs each of 4 different products. 24-Day Jumpstart has products from all product lines as well as an Advocare backpack. You can choose from 4 flavors. Advocare ONE/80 has 3 product bundles called Jumpstart (this is just the 24-Day Jumpstart Program), Optimize (28 days), and Lifestyle (28 days) that you can either “Commit” to all at once or order “Step-By-Step”. You can customize your ONE/80 plan

11. What is a Preferred Customer? Preferred customers get 20-30% discounts on all products. Preferred customers get a free box of Spark each time they renew their membership.

12. How do the preferred customer discounts work? Preferred customers must make a certain amount of purchases within 4 consecutive Purchase Periods (about 2 months) to get the discounts. There are 3 tiers: $0 – $499.99 for 20% off, $500 – $999.99 for 25% off, and $1,000+ for 30% off.

13. What is the minimum purchase requirement for preferred customers? There is not a minimum purchase amount for preferred customers.

14. How much does it cost to join Advocare as a distributor? It costs $59 plus tax and shipping to get your Advocare Distributor kit, and then a $50 annual renewal fee.

15. What’s the difference between a preferred customer and a distributor? Preferred customers only get discounts up to 30%, while distributors get to sell the products and access higher discounts.

16. What if I no longer want to be a distributor? Advocare will repurchase any of your inventory, including the Distributor kit if you decide you no longer want to be a Distributor.

17. Do Advocare distributors get any product discounts? Advocare distributors get an immediate 20% discount with the ability to qualify for up to 40% off.

18. How much can I earn as an Advocare distributor? Advocare distributors can earn 20-40% profits per sale based on the discount you get when buying the products as a distributor.

19. Can I build a downline and earn even more? No. Advocare no longer offers compensation for recruiting members. You can only earn through selling products directly to customers.

20. Do Advocare distributors have to buy any products or hold inventory? No.

21. What is DebtBusters? This is a small educational Advocare offers to customers and distributors to help them get out of debt. They have a free, downloadable brochure/workbooks on their site.

22. What is Advocare’s refund policy? Advocare offers a 30-day money-back guarantee or exchange if you don’t like the products you ordered.

23. Is Advocare a scam? Some used to say it is, including a report by ESPN that questioned the company’s business model (4), but the company has since removed compensation for recruiting new distributors. Combine that with the fact that people can purchase products at retail without joining the company, and Advocare really is not a pyramid scheme.

24. What is Advocare’s BBB rating? A+ (5)

25. How long has Advocare been in business? They’ve been around since 1993.

26. Advocare’s revenue? They made $472 million in revenues in 2018.

27. How many Advocare distributors are there? Over 500,000 (6)

28. What lawsuits have been filed? Ethics lawsuit in 2009 (7), pyramid scheme allegations (8).

29. Comparable companies: Beachbody, TruVision, Herbalife, Omnitrition International

30. Recommended? Product-wise, they’re pretty good. Opportunity-wise, there are better, especially since you can only earn through sales. If you’re doing it “for the money”, there are much better ways to make money online.

Learn more about our #1 recommendation here.

Advocare Review – Overview

Advocare is a sports supplements MLM company whose products are targeted towards athletes. It was founded in 1933 by the late Charles Ragus.

Charles has an interesting history before Advocare, plenty of it containing MLM experiences.

He went to college on a football scholarship and found himself as a Kansas City Chiefs defensive end for a little while after he graduated.

Charles left the NFL to work at Fidelity Union Insurance, becoming a regional vice president at age 27. He left them to work in real estate and later for a family retail business, eventually joining his future competitor Herbalife and becoming a top distributor.

He founded his first MLM nutrition company, Omnitrition International, in 1989, but he eventually sold himself out of the company to retire.

4 years later, he was back with his newest venture, Advocare.

Since then, Advocare has grown from only two products and one distributor to the huge product selection and distributor network they’re known for today. Patrick Wright is the current CEO, but more on him below.

Unlike some other MLMs, Advocare has eliminated any earning potential from recruiting other distributors, placing a lot more emphasis on direct sales to customers.


Advocare has 80+ products, ranging from ready-to-drink protein to metabolism boosters. Their products are split among 5 product lines called Trim, Active, Well, Performance Elite, and Fit.

They also have 3 “Solutions” called Slim & Trim, 24-Day Jumpstart, and Advocare One/80. These are programs the include bundles of Advocare’s products and some additional features.

Here are Advocare’s most popular products:

1. Advocare Spark

Advocare Spark seems to be a cross of a pre-workout and BCAA supplement, which you’d want to drink before and during workouts.

They’re also marketing it as a “cognitive enhancer”, so I guess you could put it in the nootropic or energy drink category as well.

Either way, Spark seems to have cult status with Advocare users, easily being one of their most popular supplements.

What are Spark’s ingredients? Taurine, caffeine, choline, l-tyrosine and vitamins like B6, B12, theomine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid (9).

How many calories are in Spark? 15 calories.

How much caffeine is in Spark? 60 mg per serving.

What flavors does Spark come in? Blue raspberry, cherry, fruit punch, grape, green apple, limeade, mandarin orange, mango strawberry, pink lemonade, and watermelon. They release limited-time flavors as well.

Is Spark good for you? It’s ok if you’re not sensitive to caffeine. Vitamins and minerals are good for you, and they’ll help with your energy levels and muscle recovery, too. There are also 0 sugars, as they use sucralose for sweetening.

Product alternatives? Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition

2. Advocare ONE/80 (formerly “24 day challenge”)

This is a full-out, 80-day wellness program.

It’s made up of 3 phases: Jumpstart (which is just their 24-Day Jumpstart bundle), Optimize (a little longer at 28 days), and Lifestyle (also 28 days).

You can either buy these step-by-step or you can “commit” to the full 80-day package at once.

You aren’t stuck with what they give you, either. Advocare lets you customize your own if there’re products missing that you want to be included.

From a marketing perspective, it’s genius because it gets people attached to their fitness products inside the Advocare ONE/80 bundle as they follow the day-by-day routines designated in the program to hit their fitness goals.

What’s inside the bundle? Spark, meal replacement shakes, MNS 3 (they’re calling this a metabolic pill, so its a hybrid appetite suppressant/metabolism booster/vitamin), and some fiber and omega 3 support supplements. Also, there’s a 2-volume workbook they call the Transformation Journal that has all the details of the program.

Not a bad mix since all of those products can help people lose or maintain weight and live healthier lives. The only product that could use more explanation is MNS-3, but that’s usually the case with most diet or fat burner-ish supplements.

Some other extras include a grocery guide (because a healthy diet does the heavy lifting when it comes slimming down) and a measurement sheet to physically track progress.

People doing the Advocare ONE/180 program can even opt into coaching emails for the duration of the program.

3. Advocare Ready-to-drink Protein

Advocare Ready-To-Drink Protein was designed for simplicity and convenience. Each carton comes with 20g of protein and 140 calories, making it a solid option for protein consumption post workout or for reaching your daily protein goals.

For more aggressive gains, Advocare also has its Muscle Gain shake, which has 25g of protein per serving (10).

What flavors does Ready-To-Drink Protein come in? Chocolate and vanilla.

What are Ready-To-Drink Protein’s ingredients? Vanilla’s main ingredients are filtered water, milk protein concentrate, fructose, calcium caseinate, medium chain triglycerides, whey protein concentrate, and various vitamins and minerals.  Chocolates’ ingredients are the same, with the obvious additions of cocoa and dairy cream.

Is Ready-To-Drink Protein good for you? It’s pretty good if you don’t mind all the extra ingredients. Most protein powders and protein-based drinks have those extra ingredients anyways, most likely from processing. This one just has vitamins and minerals as well.

Product alternatives? Muscle MilkPremier Protein

Advocare’s products have won several accolades, most notably an endorsement from supplement guru Dr. Oz for the quality of their product as tested by ConsumerLab.com. [2]

They’ve got Advocare Spark, which is a household name in its own right, generating more buzz than a competitors entire company:

Advocare also just signed a multiyear agreement to become the Official Sports Nutrition Partner for Major League Soccer… this is World Cup level! [3]

Of course, a few of Advocare’s products have had their share of controversy. It was discovered that their Arginine Extreme supplement was tainted with clenbuterol after Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for the enhancer while taking the Advocare product.

They also suffered a PR setback after an ill-advised marketing campaign targeted kids for a caffeine-riddled sports drink.

Lol. Could be worse, but still…

Mistakes were made, but Advocare seems to have weathered these setbacks and continues to surge forward with sales and distributorships despite the bad publicity they received concerning these events.

Usually, management and founder don’t spell much for your typical MLM… they’re either too young to have much experience, their past is hidden from internet view, or they’re simply too shady to lend their company any cache.

And for a while, management was unclear. Richard Wright, the old CEO, left the company. Advocare had to hire in some interim CEOs to fill the gaps.

But they’ve decided on a new CEO named Patrick Wright, and he has plenty of experience.

He joined the company in 2008 as Director of Hispanic Marketing Development after leaving another MLM called Morinda, quickly advancing up the ranks in Advocare every few years.

Patrick made it to Senior Vice President of International Sales, helping to extend Advocare’s reach into Canada.

Definitely helped him land the CEO job.

The transition from Richard Wright to multiple interim CEOs to Patrick has left some feeling uneasy, but Patrick seems like a good man for the job.


Advocare obviously upsells you on becoming a distributor, but they also have an upsell subscription called Preferred Customer.

Preferred customers get immediate 20% discounts on any products they purchase, but that discount can go up to 30% depending on your total purchases amount with 4 “Purchase Periods” (about 2 months).

If you buy $500 – $999.99 of Advocare products in that time period, that discount goes up to 25%. $1,000+ gets you the full 30%.


Advocare’s Spark costs $54.99 and The Ready-To-Drink Protein costs $44.95. Preferred customers and distributors can get these and other products for less depending on which discount they qualify for.

Speaking of Preferred Customers, that subscription will run you only $19.95 a year, which isn’t even $2 per month. Each renewal earns you a free box of Spark, and yes, you can set up auto-renewal. When you consider how cheap this is and the discounts you get, there’s no reason NOT to get a Preferred subscription if you use Advocare products.

Advocare ONE/80 costs $640.56 total: $185 for the Jumpstart portion and $227.78 each for the Optimize and Lifestyle portions. Alternatively, you can customize your own plan, but the price depends completely on what you include in your plan.

Distributors have to pay $59 plus taxes and shipping to receive their Distributor kit, as well as a $50 annual renewal fee. That’s only $4.17 a month.

To put that into perspective, sell 1 Spark per month as a distributor and you’ll have made your investment back twice.

For all of Advocare’s prices, I’d recommend you visit their site.

Compensation Plan

Here’s how you earn income as an Advocare distributor:

  • Retail Sales. Purchase products at 20%-40% discount and sell them at full retail price. The difference is all yours in profit. Your discount depends on your sales volume but the minimum is 20%. Attain a level of $3,000 in the last 1-3 consecutive pay periods to hit that 40% discount level.
  • Bonuses. To qualify for the various bonuses, you must sell at least 5 products to 5 different customers during the pay period. Keep it up or you lose all your compensation for that pay period. Advocare will actually contact your customers to verify the sales!
  • Tons of bonuses. Too many to list here, so check out the Advocare Compensation plan in its original form here.

Advocare does not pay earnings on recruiting new distributors, so don’t expect to sit on a giant stream of passive income.

Overall, those are some pretty good profit margins. But there are MLM companies out there that pay better for sales and still pay you for recruiting.


Prestige and power are good any time you can associate yourself with these qualities, so it’s certainly going to help in recruitment that Advocare is so respected and well known in the MLM world.

Sure there have been some mishaps along the way- name a huge company which hasn’t had PR snafus and misdirected product lines. Out of 22 years in business, there were only the 3 major issues listed above, so this is a non-issue as far as I’m concerned.

Advocare’s heavy involvement with the DSA, the impressive credentials of their management, and celebrity endorsements all serve to lend their distributors the backing of a true winner in a field of copy cats.

What’s better than when the Major Soccer League agrees to let you sponsor their team for 4 years?

You’ll be selling to people who already know the brand. That helps with recruitment as well as with retail sales.

Advocare is also very active in charitable initiatives, additional sponsorships, and other newsworthy activities which should almost make it a no-brainer when it comes to marketing the product and setting up a website if that’s your route to success.

Lastly, some people get up in arms about companies that let you earn money off recruiting people rather than selling the products (even if the products are the main source of earnings).

Guess what? Advocare doesn’t even pay you to recruit people anymore, so not even those people can really complain.

Want to represent a heavy hitter in the over-saturated world of nutrition products, where branding and marketing are essentially done for you? Advocare wouldn’t be a bad choice.

But if you’re in this to chase money, just stop. There are much better ways to kill your 9-to-5 job and make money online, without MLMs, recruiting, and ponzi schemes.

Gotta b-slap those tacky money-chasing habits.

In other words, you might like our coaching because it shows “the good life” without 3-way calls or spamming wellness products to your Facebook friends.

About the author: Jeremy Page created Multiple Streams for big thinkers and online business owners.

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