If you’ve been reading Old Man Fitness for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I tend to refer to the Fitness game as a “racket.” For the most part, I use the term as a bit of wordplay, intended to poke fun at the way we all tend to invest more of ourselves into  fitness than we could ever get back: it doesn’t matter how many glasses of water you drink per day or how many laps you run at your local track, on a long enough timeline, our efforts to achieve strength-based immortality will end in failure.

But there are some parts of the Fitness world that the word “racket” is actually the appropriate term for, like the vast array of nutrition and supplement sales pyramid-like schemes none of us are able to avoid on social media these days. The most prominent one of these “totally not a pyramid scheme” multi-level marketing systems is probably Thrive, a brand produced by a company named Lev-El that promises to make you fit and rich by taking their supplements and selling them to your friends and family.

Thrive’s products, like all supplements, don’t undergo any kind of mandatory testing to support their marketing claims – the FDA simply isn’t in the business of refuting the miracles promised on every bottle and box sold at your local GNC, and as a result, brands like Thrive have been able to market inane products like weight loss and “general wellness” patches – stickers – that you simply slap on your skin and *poof* – you’re healthier, skinnier, or just poorer… depending on how active a role the placebo effect plays in your experience.

Thrive is so widespread that some of you reading this might even be members yourself – either shelling out the required $100-$300 dollars per month to keep “thriving” or peddling the snake oil to everyone on your friend’s list (quite possibly with the best of intentions) to offset the cost of this month’s supply. There are a number of products offered through Lev-El that come right to your door each month, and like any nutrition or supplement company, some products have science on their side and others amount to little more than 21st Century witchcraft – promising to make you thinner, healthier, or happier in exchange for around the same amount of money per month it might cost you to buy a Mercedes C-Class or get unlimited data on three different iPhones.