Tracy Anderson, Fitness Entrepreneur

Pieces from the Edition01 for Tracy Anderson line

"I grew up as a dancer in Indiana. My mother was a ballerina and she worked three jobs to put me through dance school. I left Indiana to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City on a dance scholarship; I went to school with Jason Mraz and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Originally, I wanted to be a dancer and go to Julliard, but I’m only five feet tall and I was not built like I am now. By dancers' standards I was fat; by normal standards I was a little chubby—I gained 35 pounds when I turned 19, even though I was dancing all day. I learned very early that you can move all day and still not have the body that you want.

Because of my body, I wasn’t being taken seriously as a dancer. This was around the time that Disney came to Broadway, so the people at my school were very much like, ‘Maybe Tracy you can play the teapot in Beauty and the Beast.’ That’s not what I wanted to hear. I felt like I was failing my mother who was working so hard. I’ll never forget the time where I thought, ‘OK, well, I’m going to start smoking.’ I bought a pack of Marlboro Ultra Lights and smoked one for maybe two blocks like a complete nerd. I coughed so much before I was like, ‘No, you know what? I’m not going to smoke. That’s just not who I am, and that doesn’t feel good to me.’ That was the one and only time I ever smoked. [Laughs] I never got into drugs and I had what I would consider a normal relationship with food. I’ve always been very cautious with my health, so I was afraid to not eat a normal amount of food, especially as much as I was dancing. Mind you, I was eating maybe one bowl of Special K in the morning, mustard and tomato on a bagel for lunch, and maybe chicken and broccoli for dinner, and one brownie. I wasn’t eating a bunch of food... My mustard and tomato bagel was the one thing I had every day. All these years that I’ve owned my body being tiny and how I wanted to be, I still can’t look at a mustard and tomato bagel. I think if I eat that bagel, I’m gonna gain 30 pounds. I will eat a pizza, cupcakes, and cakes—I’ll eat four cupcakes—but I cannot look at that combination of tomato and mustard on a bagel.

Anyway, that was kind of a sign that I was not driven to be a famous dancer—I had limits to what I was willing to do to my body. Instead, I decided to over-exercise, which, in retrospect, was just as unhealthy. I took Pilates lessons, which my mother loaned me money to pay for, but it did nothing for me except make my rib cage expand more, which is exactly what Joseph Pilates was trying to do with his work, actually. I also went to Crunch, when Crunch was really popular. I did so much step aerobics that I looked like I was shoved in a trash compactor and spit out like a Garbage Pail Kid in my black leotard and tights. I’m not kidding. My muscles changed, but the weight didn’t go anywhere.

I auditioned for a basketball movie called Blue Chips, where I met my son’s father, Eric [Anderson]. He played for the New York Knicks. After we got married, Eric had to go to Puerto Rico for a summer league to rehab his back injuries. There were always doctors around for the professional athletes, and one, in particular, became the diamond in the rough of my life. He was kind of my defining moment. He had done a whole movement-based body of work on how to create balance when there’s imbalance in the body, to create a body that performs better, and not just overdevelop muscles that don’t work properly, the way traditional forms of fitness lean.

I spent a lot of time around this doctor, but he was only focused on the lower-back for these athletes. He could make a change, but he couldn’t sustain the improvement, because he couldn’t create enough movements to maintain it. So I said, ‘Well, I’m really good at movements. Let me try and help you out,’ because I was thinking, ‘If you can do this with the back, can you do it with the whole body?’ Nobody else had even looked in this direction for fitness, and that’s when I decided to create a fitness method.

It took me probably four years of research before I ever considered telling anyone, ‘I want to try my method on you.’ It’s not something I could go to school for; it was new. I started by analyzing how people at the top of their field all look the same—jockeys, swimmers, Baryshnikov, whoever. If you can make your body freakishly large, why can’t you make your body freakishly proportional? No one was was focusing on that.

I started experimenting on myself, taking pictures and noticing how my shape changed. I started to get good at what kinds of movements worked. Now I work on making people their most proportioned self, but at the time I was told that I had to pick one ideal body for everyone to look like. I started with women, asking myself, ‘Can I take any woman from any genetic background and turn them into one thing?’ I had to think: whose butt do I think everybody wants? And before Gisele was even a household name, I cut her butt out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, and I was like, ‘I think every woman wants that butt.’ And then I went through magazines and things, trying to find examples for the rest of the body, thinking, 'These arms look too bulky. These arms look too scrawny and lifeless. I feel like women want this leg, women don’t really want a six pack on their abs, but they want their stomachs to curve in and then curve out.’ I literally had to work out what I thought every woman wanted. But the only piece that I took from an actual person was Gisele’s butt. I laugh about it now, but everybody still wants that butt. She’s pretty timeless.

Eric and I built a really big fitness facility in Indiana for families, where I started testing my method on the moms. Right off the bat, it really started transforming lives—they all changed like the Stepford Wives, and people only wanted me and Eric to teach them or their kids. When you build a YMCA, you can’t have only two teachers. It’s not scalable. We learned a horrific lesson, and bankrupted ourselves with the place in our early 20s. By some miracle, I found another small space, and was able to continue to feed my son.

I was making up nine to thirteen different exercises for 150 different women that changed every ten days. No one did the same movement twice, because we woke up the small muscles, and to make any change with the large ones, you have to keep challenging them with different kinds of movements. They get strong fast, smart fast, and stupid fast. When I think about it now my brain just gets exhausted—I can't believe I did all of that. But this is what I’m supposed to do in life, period. I want to give every person that attention.

I had no intention of ever taking it out of Indiana, but one of my clients suggested that I open a studio in L.A. That was a tough decision for me because we had to involve investors. But, after opening in California, I had a line around my block within weeks. It was crazy. That was around seven years ago. The first person to come to me saw results faster than she’d seen results with anything else, and these women were savvy. I was written about and it was like, forget about it from there.

I've worked with celebrities, and with Madonna for a long time. I met Gwyneth Paltrow through a friend of hers who was really changing with the method. Gwyneth was like, ‘What are you doing? Are you having surgery?’ And she was like, ‘No, it’s this girl.’ I agreed to meet with Gwyneth, and she said, ‘I’ve got this movie coming up where I have to be a superhero.’ It was the very first Iron Man. She said, ‘I know you have a son—I just had Moses—and I can’t get this weight off. I’ve never had a problem like this in my life.’ She had 35 extra pounds on her. Her butt was long and she had outer thigh problems. Gwyneth is lucky because she’s really tall, so she can hide it really well in clothes, but she had significant problem areas. I felt so badly for her, and thought I could really help. So, I agreed, and she did everything that I asked. Now, seven years later, she looks younger every year; she’s totally transformed. And she really does the work. She and I became business partners, too, because she said, ‘Every woman has to have this. It’s not fair. I’ve tried everything and nothing works like this. You’re a real gift.’ It wasn’t a business decision for her at all.

Now, what I do is make sure to protect my intention for why I’m doing what I’m doing, and maintain focus on authenticity. I really believe that the second you let go of that for a price tag or something, you’re screwed. So I’ve held onto the method with a really tight hug."

—as told to ITG

Tracy Anderson photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles on July 2, 2013. Check out the Edition01 for Tracy Anderson line here.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Miss Y.

    Good interview, the article is well written! I don't do fitness, but this is certainly an inspiring story!

  • tera

    I'm very impressed by all her self motivation, researching, and work. This gives me a lot of respect for her and I LOVE that she "cut out Gisele's butt from VS catalog". So funny! Yes, we Midwestern women will work our asses off, figuratively and literally. I'm going to be in Indianapolis this weekend so will suggest they put a tribute to her in the city :)

  • Someone

    Would love to see more articles like this. Truly inspiring to know like anyone she has struggled, taken risks but her determination brought success.

  • Janine

    I have her first post-pregnancy abs DVD. Omg. I've never even had a baby! It's the best abs DVD I've ever used. Of course, I'm lazy! and don't do it all of the time but it's killer. I like Tracy's work ethic. None of this fame was handed to her, she seems to have worked pretty, with kids! Good for her. Also, she wears this pretty pink lipgloss/lipstick on her Post-Pregancy DVD. Can you find out what it is? I love it. :) (I was hoping this article would include a few of her products. I love her makeup.)

  • kathS

    I want to know more!

  • Stephanie

    Wow!!!! I'm so in love that you did Tracy A. She is amazing and I'm living proof her method works... changed my pregnant ass into a slim, tight beauty almost instantly. Seriously - she is amazing.

  • Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    So true! Certain exercise gives you too much bulk. Looking at what individuals need and how their body responds to different exercise is better.

  • beautyidealist

    I scrolled down to the bottom to see who wrote this piece so I could thank them. I can't express to you how excited I was to see this at the top of your website today. I'm so fascinated by her path to becoming one of the most sought after and recognizable figures in fitness. I really love her story and it just proves that good service/product will sell itself!

  • Cay

    It's great that she is such a successful entrepreneur, and many women clearly love the work she does. The thing here that rubs me the wrong way is this concept that there is ONE body that every woman wants. I don't think that is true, and the idea that women were all changing "like Stepford Wives" is a little bit alarming to me. All bodies are different and no bodies look exactly the same. Our society is so focused on there being this one ideal body, and this just completely buys into that. It's like instead of being focused on being fit and healthy, she's focused on this ideal Hollywood stereotype.

    • Emily

      yes! totally agree... as someone who lives in los angeles and struggles with an eating disorder, this whole approach that "this is what my legs should look like" feels very superficial. it makes the process of getting fit about losing weight instead of pursuing an active lifestyle that makes you happy and fulfills you as a human being.

  • Guest

    I freaking LOVE this woman. I was 100 pounds overweight and had all but given up on myself. I was ashamed to go to the gym -- where I was made fun of -- and couldn't even find decent clothes to exercise in. I bought a Tracy Anderson video from a late night infomercial and decided to skip the gym and exercise at home and in secret, in my bra and underwear. When I first started, I had to sit down after five minutes and I thought I was going to die. I kept at it.

    That was several years ago. Today I am fit, slim (five feet eight, 118 lbs.) and really happy. Yes, I did the work and no I don't eat everything I want to eat, but I don't miss what I've given up.

    Tracy, if you happen to read this, you changed my life and helped me salvage my health. Thank you.

    • marisa

      Holy crap 5'8 118? Is this a typo??? Im 5 '8 and at my very slimmest weigh in at 135 and am told I look too thin.

  • AM

    I've read almost every article written about Tracy Anderson because I'm so obsessed with her fitness method. I think this is the most detailed peice about her background. Thank you so much for sharing! I encourage any one who has not tried Tracy's method to give it a go. The results are truly incredible.

  • Samantha Elisabeth

    LOVE HER. I remember when she first started getting big, I obsessively looked EVERYWHERE for snippets of her workouts (I believe this was right before she started releasing her DVDs). I remember scanning every women's magazine, every little article, every little video. I still remember her treadmill tricks of switching it and the arms routine she shared with SELF. I think I even remember reading about the bankruptcy in Indiana as well.

    I'm so glad she's been so successful! She's got the right ideas and her stuff WORKS. There's a video out there of her visiting either Korean or Japanese pageant finalists to show them exercises, and she does this crazy ab move while doing a handstand. For any doubters who think her methods don't actually create strength, I point them towards THAT.

    • mermaidsdream

      what were her treadmill tips?? I was also like you and ended up buying the DVDs. I liked them, but I like running more, hence why I wanna know her treadmill tips!!

      • Samantha Elisabeth

        Hi! They actually weren't really running at all haha. It's quite old (I can't find the video), but the one I watched she recommended switching up what you're doing instead of straight running--skips, gallops,etc. You do it to songs and switch per song.

  • bluesky557

    I'm LOLing at two things: that Gwyneth thought she was a superhero in the Iron Man movies (what?), and that Tracy ever felt bad for Gwyneth Paltrow. Stars: not like us.

  • Ms. Fit

    I love this interview and I'm totally inspired by Tracy's story. I love passionate people and Tracy is just that!

  • Assel Seisekenova

    Tracy's method is really effective with it amazing metamorphosis!

  • Aubrey Green

    Great Article!

  • Jill

    I thought I'd read all these comments with backlash to this article, and sadly, I didn't. This woman sounds like a monster. "Gwyneth is lucky because she’s really tall, so she can hide it really well in clothes, but she had significant problem areas. I felt so badly for her, and thought I could really help." Are you kidding? How many eating disorders did you just trigger?

    'These arms look too bulky. These arms look too scrawny and lifeless. I
    feel like women want this leg, women don’t really want a six pack on
    their abs, but they want their stomachs to curve in and then curve out.’

    The thought of a woman going around analyzing people this way....this is like the most monstrous voice in your head coming to life.

    This woman isn't about health. She is about making women into Stepford Wives, as she says. I'm happy for those who have used her methods to achieve the body they want, but hate that they make this woman rich in the process.

    I love Into The Gloss...even more now, because they really do post whatever comes out of people's mouths.

    • sashi

      You're reading ITG; it is understood the readers care about their appearance enough to be checking out a beauty blog. If having a different body shape gives someone confidence, I don't think it's a social agenda. There is a lot of information and ideas you can either adopt and aspire to, or choose to ignore. This woman worked really hard at something she believes in, and I think that is what the commenters admire. She's not looking to hurt anyone.

      • Jill

        Sashi, I appreciate your comment. I do read ITG religiously - it's fantastic. In fact, I think it's great they posted this article, because it exposes Tracy's thoughts. There is a big difference, I think, in Emily posting what blush is really working for her, or fun moodboards, or "hey, this serum rocks, my skin is much clearer/smoother/whatever" than Tracy saying that Gywenth Paltrow - a universally accepted-as-thin woman, was worthy of pity for her body shape. Or that this woman went around looking for what is unacceptable in body shapes. Even if Tracy isn't looking to harm, she really is. I have no problem with articles on fitness and diet here. It's just the way this woman talks really feeds into people's insecurities and fails to celebrate differences.

        • sashi

          I sure understand, and yet take the view that Tracy is not going up to women making them feel badly about that they have a different shape to hers, or what she finds in LA as the body ideal. When women tell her what it is they do not like, she shows them how to change it. She didn't pity GP's body shape, she felt for her in her struggle to control it. I think so much of beauty and beautifying oneself is the feeling of being in control of how you present yourself. I don't take Tracy's comments or attitude as "You women are ugly and here is how to conform", but instead " If you want to change this for whatever reason, I have come up with this method(s), give it a try". Women- well,people- are concerned about their bodies, it's a fact, whether or not admitted. It's not a proud moment in the history of humankind that we're self obsessed.... yet we are in it and if making a change helps you, it's ok. Regardless of how it's interpreted, I like to see the other side of the viewpoint in the comments. I am often so impressed by the women featured that I fail to see a negative subtext. Maybe a little naïve of me.

        • Jacqueline Fonte

          You mention that Gwyneth is universally accepted as thin, and yet, you also mention that multiple body types should be accepted. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow didn't think "thin" was perfect- like many people. Maybe she wanted to be toned AND more curvy. Yeah, maybe she wanted Giselle's booty.

          I have a hard time with people saying that this article is going to trigger eating disorders when TA clearly talks about making sure she eats healthy and refused to continue smoking just to maintain a certain aesthetic. She doesn't even encourage people to obsessively exercise, and talks about how she once did and it was a mistake.

          I know that eating disorders are a touchy subject for many, but this is ITG. People don't come to this website to talk about cars or pizza. This is a website devoted to aesthetics from the inside out and TA is on the inside.

        • KG

          I don't understand? If I was going to a personal trainer or going to a
          gym every day - I obviously had a vision of how I want my body to look
          and I would want my trainer to GET that. I don't think she is trying to
          make it look like Gwyneth had a problematic body - many "thin" people want to still be thinner or toned. Tracey understood that and helped her! There is no eating disorder here! Eating disorders, like body issues, are personal issues - and you cannot interpret them to mean one is a monster. Getting some perspective on what Tracey's message is will make you realize that she obviously created something that has helped many people. I don't follow her method, have never tried, but respect that she passionately worked toward developing something different and effective for many women - and Gwyneth! I would KILL for those abs.

    • Sarah Sá Couto

      She listened to her client, and apparently that meant a lot.

      "I felt bad for her" was not be the best choice of words, but it showed empathy. She tried to feel for client. There's a business lesson there.

      • Amanda McArthur

        exactly - i think she was saying "I felt bad for her" because Gwyneth was saying she'd tried everything and had to get into a certain shape for her movie role. who hasn't felt that feeling when we're trying to get in shape for something specific? in this case, it was for her ROLE; her JOB.

  • omarcamel_2000

    Emily - thanks! I've gone back and forth about what I think of Tracy Anderson ... but after finally reading her own words, I'm officially a fan. Thanks for bringing us the personal side of Tracy Anderson, The Machine!

  • Chantel

    Lovely post!

  • Katherine Clow

    Great piece! I've heard so many wonderful things about Tracy, and I'm happy to have read her story. Very Inspiring!

  • popbijoux

    I'm with the commenter who said this woman sounds like a monster. Sorry I can see how she's accomplished her "method" and all that I am glad for her. Yes I like the aesthetic of it, in a way. As I reader, all I see is someone who has transformed self-hate into a business. I read the echoes of eating disorders and hoards of women thinking that looking like Gwyneth Paltrow amounts to happiness. That she "felt bad" for Gwyneth Paltrow for being "overweight" as a new mother. That having an "outer thigh problem" is a serious issue. I find this article disturbing. That's all.

    • Sherry

      Why is that a problem, to say she felt bad for someone? If one of my friends just had a baby and was struggling to lose the last 35 pounds, I would feel bad for her and wish there was something I could do to help. Gwyneth wanted to tone up, she went to Tracy for help. End of story. There's nothing monstrous about that. I can understand the issue with self-hate, that's a big issue for me, but I don't think everything Tracy does is connected to that. She's allowed to feel bad for someone who isn't happy with their current body. Whether we think Gwyneth looks good or not doesn't matter. It's Gwyneth who wanted to make some changes and be in the best shape she could for her film, and Tracy worked with her to do so. Just because we think Gwyneth looks just fine doesn't mean she shouldn't want to make improvements just like the rest of us.

      • brookesmasher

        all day.

    • Jill

      Thanks, girl :)

  • lola

    Can someone explain to me how gwyneth paltrows body is considered a work of art? I find her body average. She looks so.. plain

  • Leetoki

    I feel the same way about her but I appreciated this post so much because of that. It was nice to see that behind that 'tude she radiates that she's actually had a mountain to climb, and has fucked up and all that, and that makes it all slide into place for me.

  • Amber

    A hardworking woman with a passion and a vision.

    She's original in her approach and her knowledge comes from personal experience. You work hard, you get results.

    She doesn't turn women into clones, her method simply sucks everything in - and it stays there! Amazing. Work hard, get results (both in business and in exercise).

    Better than Spanx. Thank you Tracy A!

  • Vanessa

    Have you tried The Method? It's a really great program. I use it in conjunction with strength training and running. Before I started working out with my trainer, I had a month of TAM under my belt. Even to this day it has made a huge difference, especially in my ab area. My trainer always comments on how difficult it is to get me sore there even when we are doing really difficult things. My best friend has a different set of TAM videos (along with strength training and light running) and has also noticed a major difference. I don't think Tracy Anderson can play to your insecurities if you don't have them-if you learn to love your body. She never says that weights make you bulky. She says that if you only rely on building big muscle, you don't get as toned as you would get if you focused on the small muscles that most people at the gym miss/ignore.

  • Sherry

    There's a reason why she only uses 3-pound weights. She's not just using the weights like regular workouts where you do bicep curls and tricep exercises and that's about it. For those types of workouts, you could probably do many reps at a higher weight. But are you really doing much but increasing the size of those muscles? Tracy's arm exercises include a large range of arm movements, including long arm extentions, and you shouldn't do some of those moves with a heavy heavy weight, or you could injure yourself, tear or pull something. So she does a variety of arm exercises with lighter weights. It's safer and the change is pretty remarkable. And just because she uses lighter weights, don't think it's easy! She also has moves she does that don't use
    ANY weights, and it's only about 5 minutes of arm movements, but by the
    end of it I'm begging to put my arms down. It's all to do with
    resistance and the way she has you moving your arms. I have a ton of weight to lose, so it's going to take me a while to reach my goals, but doing Tracy's workouts I have already seen changes in my arms. It's surprising, but it works. The jury's still out on my full progress for now because I have a long way to go, but so far I'm seeing results and overall I'm happy with her program.

    • Nina R.

      Could you please share which of the TA workouts you do because when I went to the website I was a bit confused as to where to start?

      • Sherry

        Nina R., last year I did Metamorphosis (which then leads into her Continuity series), and lost about 40 pounds. NOTE: I did not do her food plan; I felt it was too difficult for my schedule (working and going to school) so I just tried to generally eat healthy and not after a certain time of evening. But about 50 days into Continuity I injured myself last summer so after 6 months recovery time and physical therapy, I didn't feel ready to repeat Metamorphosis, so right now I'm trying out her "Method for Beginners" (you can find it in stores or on Amazon for about $10) to ease back in. It's generally at a slower pace than the Meta workouts (except for a few of the leg exercises), and she explains all her process and the moves very thoroughly. (She does not always explain her moves as thoroughly during Metamorphosis -- that's one of the issues I have with that program. You really have to watch her to make sure you're doing it all properly.)

        Another excellent series by Tracy is her Pregnancy Project DVD set. I think it's good not only for pregnant women but also for women who are larger or new to regular exercise and need to take a slower, gentler pace. She explains each move, offers modifications for some of the moves (especially if you have a belly that gets in the way or heavy legs that are difficult to wield) and she takes a slower pace than the pace she uses in Meta (which was sometimes way too much for me, given my current size). Even though I've not been pregnant, I have tried the Pregnancy Project DVDs as a little "experiment" and I prefer the pace of it. I don't think I'm ready to return to Metamorphosis yet. I don't want to reinjure myself!

        For you, I'd say it all depends on what size you are, how much weight you want to lose, if you're already a regular exerciser, all that kind of thing. You might want to start with Method for Beginners, or her Total Body Rebounder/Mini-Trampoline workout. If that's too easy for you, then I'd recommend Metamorphosis (which is 90 days in length), and then Continuity (which is the next step after Meta).

        If you look up Tracy on Youtube (I think her username is GoTracy): she has some general workouts for you to test to see how you like her approach, including some that are 5 to 10 minute arm workouts that she had Gwyneth do, and some that involve doing cardio on a mini-trampoline (some people like her 'total body rebounder' workout because they prefer using the mini-trampoline for their cardio rather than the dance cardio that comes with Metamorphosis because the trampoline is less hard on the joints than when you're jumping around on the hard floor). I hope this helps! :)

        • Nina R.

          A belated thank you for all of the suggestions!

  • BPlease

    I've used her first DVD and found it very helpful. I know the motions look whack but they worked for me. I also run, and ignore the advice about running not being optimal, because it is for me.

    I know Tracy Anderson is incredibly controversial but funny as it reads, it helped me a great deal to tap into how much I love to dance - the DVD led me to explore dance classes at my gym, and I'm much happier for it. And I don't know what juju is involved, but GP does look younger over time, and she's running around in bikinis now, post-kids. It's pretty remarkable.

  • BPlease

    I'm really not a stan or anything, but I think Anderson is really fairly unfiltered and not media-polished for someone with such a prominent business.

  • Makia

    You know her? Please tell us what your experience has been with her personally to make these claims?

  • Senka

    What do you think about Face Yoga?
    What would be Tracy Method For Face?

  • anastasiaC

    oh wow - love Tracy!!! I did her TAM book/DVD and gave it my all for 30days before a Summer holiday - I stuck to it and also watched what I ate and I lost inches everywhere, my body was so toned and lean! it was the first time EVER that I noticed a change in my lower half (im curvy pear shape) my saddlebags were no longer...amazing! it was the only thing that worked for my body - I did lots of aerobics and other sports previously which just left me bulky and my thighs huge, not lean at all...Go Tracy! your method works!! I am now doing the Metamorphosis DVD all in the comfort of my inspired!!

  • Fatima

    Don t be so judgemental; you don t know her. What we all know is that s she s a great businesswoman who had her ups and downs. I respect her for her perseverance! I m a thin person and I still wanna workout whats wrong with that?! I don t like the cellulite on my thighs so I work on my hips and butt!

  • Natalie

    Before I found Tracy I had been doing CrossFit for 2.5 years. Before that I was a competitive rower and swimmer. I could move faster and pick up more weight than any other woman I knew (and some men). However, through all of that intense activity, my body never changed shape and I never lost 1 pound. I enjoy sports, but I also want to look good in a LBD. I've been doing Tracy's DVD's (Meta and Continuity) for over 2 years now and have never looked better. I've lost 25 pounds and dropped multiple pant sizes. I'm thin and strong and healthy and ecstatic about the way I look in clothes and a swim suit. Tracy gives women the tools they need to be, as she says, "their most proportioned selves." She doesn't play on women's insecurities. When she says not to lift more than 3 lbs, she means for HER method. She has an unconventional method that works. If you're looking for an exercise program that makes you look great and keeps your body healthy, I suggest you try it. Also, if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.

  • The Healthy Collective

    wow, such a good interview! It's so nice to know the inside scoop for one of the most popular trainers around!
    Hilary x

  • Guest

    Thin people always think working out should be about fitness, wellness, unicorns and rainbows. But when you are fat, and I have been morbidly obese (see my previous post) you think about being thin.

    Now that I am thin -- thanks to Tracy Anderson -- I think more about my health. But if wanting to be thin gets a fat person to a place of health, there's not a damn thing wrong with that. I really think that people who have never been fat need to keep quiet and sit down when it comes to this particular topic.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Ms. Anderson in person, but most of us will only ever know her from her DVDs. And my experience with THAT was great. I went from a size 24 to a size 4. I have no complaints whatsoever.

    • MelissaBass

      My thin comment was related to my experience with her. Not once did I try to push myself on anyone; it's hard for me to understand why you sound so offended when I was only reacting to someone I have met IN PERSON.

      It's not for you to tell me when I should keep quiet or not. For better or for worse, I will not keep quiet and sit down when it comes to any topic if I feel like voicing a simple opinion. Because that's what my comment was. a simple opinion. And that opinion has not changed. I found Tracy Anderson to be unpleasant and rude, but I do wish her all the best.

      It is anyone's prerogative to buy her products and services, just like it is mine to give my opinion.

  • Sherry

    Ordinarily I'd agree with you. Body image issues are a HUGE soapbox topic for me, and I believe we'd all be in better mental shape about how we feel about ourselves if the media had a different approach to how they present products and advertising and so many other things. Of course, that's not the only thing that causes body image issues, but that's a whole other conversation! :)

    However, I don't think Tracy's necessarily saying 'hateful' things about people's bodies. She's pointing out their issues, and in that regard, it's her job as a fitness trainer to not pull any punches when it comes to telling the truth about what she sees and what she can do to help, and most of these women come to her to do that for them. If she were just pointing out people's flaws and they didn't ask for her opinion, then I'd say she should be more respectful. But if she's been asked to help someone, she should be telling them what she sees and how she can help them change that.

    I don't think Tracy always says things in the best ways (which gives the media too much opportunity to use those statements as provocative soundbites) which can anger, confuse or grate on people, but if you get a chance to hear her talk when she's got more time to express herself and talk longer, she eventually explains herself in a better, more in-depth way that makes more sense. Frankly, I think she's better at showing what she can do than talking about it.

    I will agree that her food plan is pretty darn strict, which is why I elected not to do that part of her workout plan. And that's the thing I think people forget too, that they have the power to take the parts that work for them and leave the rest. You don't have to do everything exactly. I mean, I'm sure you'd get amazing results if you followed her instructions to the letter, but for some people (like me) that's not feasible with my life and schedule. So I use the parts that are workable for me, and that does help me. I've lost about 40 pounds so far, so I think that shows there's something good to what Tracy has to offer.

  • Laila

    Another problematic kid of a dance mom.

  • Reu

    Awesome article!! I would love to hear more from Tracey in the future. I followed her meal plan and got really toned up, even though i didn't have time to exercise. She;s a genius. She may not be for everyone, though. Some of the comments here sound really self righteous and invalidating, for the reason that Tracey has her own viewpoint that isn't approved by the commenters here. Just as you have your views, so does Tracey and the millions of women she's helped.

  • Jill

    I couldn't take her seriously after her comment on Joseph Pilates...I want to like her but she just seems so ill informed it's kind of scary.

  • Brie

    I'm going to not-so-sadly have to file Tracy Anderson away with the many faux fitness gurus. The secret ingredient that makes her clients lose weight is her highly calorie restrictive diet. This is a simple math equation, as all weight loss is: burn more calories than you take in OR take in less calories than you burn. As for those accessory muscles? That's a term girlfriend legit made up. They are stabilizing muscles. There is no way to 'pull skin tight' bc of an exercise and the reason women feel they 'bulk up' has NOTHING to do with the weight they lift. It has to do with building muscle under a layer of fact. If you add muscle to your frame without reducing the fat, yes, you will look bulky. Again - take in less calories than you burn, do this by eating less, exercising more and exercising general moderation with your diet. You can achieve the types of muscles Tracy delivers with a combo of cardio, pilates, strength training and even some yoga, coupled, of course, with a sensible diet.
    Magic? I think not. Please don't spend your hard earned money on this! Lastly, she is said to not be a kind or honest woman in business, sadly. Check out more about her reputation in Indiana by googling Glenn Barber.

  • suzi

    If she had studied pilates, she would have known that the rib cage is always pulled in like you are tying a corset. The power from the "Powerhouse" comes from everything being pulled in.

  • Jillian Salatas

    Tracy Anderson is an AMAZING women & her method is hands down the best workout I have ever done! She has completely transformed my body! I have been doing her method for almost 2 years now! I have also had the pleasure of taking a class at her Brentwood studio with her! I have never felt so strong and healthy! I am so thankful she created this method!