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Tracy Anderson: Awesome trainer or most awesomest trainer ever?

March 18, 2009

So maybe you’ve heard of celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. “Responsible” for Madonna’s arms and for Gwyneth’s skinny bod in “Iron Man.” She’s recently opened up a studio with Gwyneth Paltrow, where, for the measly sum of $900 per month* you too can learn the awesome secrets to ultra-thin wiryness.

Oh, you don’t have $900 to spare? Poor thing.

Well, don’t fret because I have the skinny (get it?) on Ms Anderson’s method. Many Bothan spies died to bring you this so pay attention. Maybe grab a notepad or something.

You ready?

Starve yourself and work out twelve hours every week.

Oh, there’s some more details too, of course. Make sure you turn the heat way up when you do her workout. Don’t worry about why, it’s science. Also, never lift anything heavier than 3lbs! Because everyone knows the worst way to build muscles is to lift heavy things. You’ll need some help carrying groceries, picking up your children, using dictionaries, making spaghetti, doing laundry, bathing the dog…. but that’s ok. You don’t want to bulk up, do you?

Speaking of no bulk, check out Tracy’s awesome diet advice. I didn’t know spices made you fat? WOW! Science revolution going on here. And check out that menu. I don’t think there’s a day where your intake would go over 1000 calories. But don’t worry because Dr. Tracy did a double-blind five year study of this method on her own, she assures us and I’m sure she would have no reason to just completely make some shit up.

You better hope you can manage to eat all that food though because Tracy’s six two-hour workouts each week will be using every ounce of energy you’ve consumed (literally.) Her signature method: a blend of dance, pilates and secret moves given to her by a Nigerian prince she met through the internet is the only way to get results. No other type of workout, if done for 12 hours a week, could result in weight loss.

Now, some people might tell you that you can just lift heavy things, make small changes to your diet and not pay thousands of dollars to get results. But do that and you might end up looking something like this woman

Powerlifters are totally fat

This is what happens if you lift heavier than 3lbs!!!!

You can read more about her awesomeness here, here or here.

*You’ll also have to pay an initiation fee, of course. I mean, you can’t expect to join a gym for less than $1500 a year, can you?


ecause this entry keeps getting a lot of hits from people searching for things like “how to eat like tracy anderson” or “gwyneth paltrow’s diet” and lots of outgoing traffic to the article on Tracy Anderson’s diet plan, I felt like I needed to say something.

This woman, Tracy Anderson, does not have any kind of special magic knowledge. I don’t care that she’s skinny or that Gwyneth and Madonna are also skinny. I don’t care that she was on Oprah. I don’t care that there are people out there desperate, rich and/or stupid enough to pay $900/month to train at her facility. There is absolutely nothing new or revolutionary about what she is doing.

If you eat much less food than you need (aka: starve yourself) and workout 12 hours per week, then you will lose weight. You could eat all of you daily calories from twinkies and exercise only by doing a gentle walk for two hours, you would still lose weight.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret the diet and fitness industry don’t always want you to know: results are really easy to get. It’s really not hard to get people to drop weight. You find a way to get them to cut their calorie intake – in Anderson’s case, you give them a meal plan which doesn’t ever contain more than 1200 calories in a single day – and/or you sell them some great new exercise paradigm (which only serves to burn calories like every single other type of exercise out there.)

Success is really hard to come by though. What’s success? Continuing to lose weight beyond the first few months. Maintaining a weight loss for years without having to give up a ridiculous amount of time or mental energy. Being healthier, stronger and fitter (not just fitting into children’s jeans.) For a diet/fitness guru who claims to have some super new method, success would mean, imnsho, doing this for many people.

What has Tracy Anderson actually done? She has kept two women who have always been thin, thin. She spends hours each week working out with them personally. They both have people that can prepare fresh, possibly tasty food for them. Wow, give me two women who have never even been overweight, give me hours to train with them and give them each a chef and I too will keep them thin.

I don’t know why you’re interested in this woman. Maybe, like me, you are fascinated and frustrated by how it always seems that the people in the fitness industry who know the least get the most attention. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that beauty only happens between sizes 00 and 2. Maybe you’re not healthy or happy and you’re desperate to feel better.

If you’re in the last two categories, do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time or especially your money on people like Ms Anderson. Really, starving yourself and spending 2 hours a day, six days every week on exercise is not a revolution, it’s a disorder. There is good information out there on how to improve health regardless of weight and there are many many many people out there writing about health, self-image and living your life in bodies of all sizes.

So go ahead and eat plenty of nourishing and delicious food, feel free to pick up things that are heavier than 3lbs and don’t give people like Tracy Anderson any more undeserved attention or money.

  1. March 19, 2009 6:26 am

    That’s some nutty diet advice. No spices, oil, sauces. Why not just eat MREs? I think they’re designed to include complete nutrition, all in a convenient packet of mushy gruel. I would binge if I tried to eat like that. As for the 3 pound thing, I’ve heard that’s because they do so many reps, but my body sculpt does 100+ reps, too, and most women use heavier than 3. I don’t yet, because I don’t like the weights, but I’m getting there. Obviously, this diet is for short-term effects only. Or maybe when you’re that rich, you can self-medicate (cough, cough) enough to be able to tolerate this.

  2. March 24, 2009 3:50 pm

    Amen. AMEN. What is wrong with wanting to be strong? Holy crap it is irritating that Tracy thinks/assumes that women want to have teeny tiny arms just like her. No thanks. I need my guns to kick some a$$. :o)

    • March 25, 2009 6:43 am

      I know, right? Being strong is pretty much one of the greatest feelings in the world. I can’t imagine getting the same boost or rush from spending 40 minutes moving a half pound weight around that I do from grunting my way through a few sets of heavy squats.

  3. June 22, 2009 9:54 pm

    personally i think your just pissed because your body sucks and your too lazy to do her workout, because actually, it does work. i know from experience. so quit running your mouth and being a smartass.

    • June 23, 2009 3:00 pm

      Reading comprehension is our friend:

      If you eat much less food than you need (aka: starve yourself) and workout 12 hours per week, then you will lose weight. You could eat all of you daily calories from twinkies and exercise only by doing a gentle walk for two hours, you would still lose weight.

      So whether or not it “works” isn’t really the issue I have with her.

      And yes, the only possible reason I could have a problem with a woman who makes money off of telling women to starve themselves and not to lift actual weight is because I’m fat and lazy (which always go together, natch.) Considering Tracy’s advice to only lift baby weights, I’m betting most of her clients couldn’t begin to do my workout. Not that it makes me right, but if we’re sinking to the level of “UR SO FAT SO SHUT UP!!!” I figure it’s ok to be a bit of an ass.

      • June 24, 2009 10:01 am

        Attrice, I just want you to know . . . you’re my hero. That was AWESOME. 😀

    • annas permalink
      September 27, 2009 5:07 pm

      thank you Brittany, you are right… I think the rest of you are just pathetically jealous – this method is to develop a toned elegant body with out the bulk – get it? Oh, I guess not.

      So…we’ll jus’ continue to look better than you~

      • annas permalink
        October 13, 2009 4:05 pm

        I dont think so…and I’m 53.

  4. abi permalink
    June 22, 2009 9:56 pm

    ^^agreed 🙂 i love tracy andersons method! i do it everyday and i’m in such good shape now 🙂

  5. Miriam permalink
    July 6, 2009 9:47 pm


    I just tripped on this site looking up Tracey Anderson to see who this woman was. You have brought me to tears with laughter and you are absolutely correct. The twinkies comment is so true. I lost 60 pounds on the WW points system (never attended a meeting or joined) and it didn’t matter if I ate twinkies all day, just as long as I stayed within my points! I also walked 5 miles a day, split between morning and evening and sometimes it was a leisurely stroll. Kudos to you. What a great article.

  6. annas permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:15 pm

    The thing here is girls (aka Attrice) ~ there isn’t just one way to shape your body..or diet – it is possible to have more bulk if you the P90X workout -it is a great challenge and makes you look and feel better than you ever have ~ like I did last summer> I am naturally small 5″1″, and 53 yrs old…but had gotten alittle I did the P90Z pogram to get in tip top shape and I did! Fantasic workout ~ But – I still had the little bit of sag under my arms even though I had some great guns..This sag lead me to try Tracy Andersons workout – the tiny muscle groups she has you work on pull the larger muscles together, creating no space in between – I have been doing the excercise for 2 weeks and already see a difference. That is what I am after right now – no sag under my arms and toned body.

  7. annas permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:19 pm

    I meant to type P90X (not P90Z)

  8. Jayne permalink
    October 13, 2009 6:43 pm

    Came across this web through a link to another criticism of Tracy Anderson. Read about her in the UK, and googled her. Every interview she talks about “teeny, tiny muscles” and “accessory muscles”. So apparently the ultimate beauty for a woman is to be small, petite, diminished. She also talks about getting mad when her clients do cardio (like running) outside of her workouts – because (shock!) they develop MUSCLES.

    I want to start a youtube home video craze called “Tracy Anderson, I want to kick your azz….” (in whatever sport you do). . I don’t run for a ‘look’, I run to get ready for lacrosse season. I have muscles because I actually use them for a purpose. The same thing with my arms and my quads. I use them for rowing. If I trained to diminish myself to 92 pounds like Tracy Anderson – I’d DFL every rowing race, and my coach would bench me for lacrosse, and send me to a doctor for an eating disorder.

    Finally – regarding ‘accessory’ muscles: My handbag, shoes, belt, earrings, etc are accessories. My muscles are part of my body. There is a difference.

    Tracy Anderson is an idiot, and I could kick her ass in lacrosse or rowing – and everyone who reads this could kick her ass in their own sports that require women to have real muscles.

  9. Annette permalink
    October 21, 2009 4:33 pm

    I just wanted to say, I ignored Tracy’s eating plan and ate healthy (more like 1400 calories a day) and did her video (the mat workout) plus cardio (like an hour a day) and I can tell a difference. I’ve lost 8 lbs in the past month. It may be only 3 lb weights but my arms are burning by the end of the workout. Just my 2 cents.

  10. October 23, 2009 11:34 am

    Actually I did a body sculpt class the other day where I had to go down to 3 pound weights, and it still was too hard. I think people get religious about this heavy weight stuff, it’s not necessary for health, and it’s not how everyone wants to do it. I’m getting muscular regardless, and I almost enjoy it, which I absolutely wouldn’t if I was laying on a bench pressing huge barbells.

    • October 24, 2009 9:44 pm

      As always, I don’t care* what people enjoy doing so much as I care about the load of bull that often gets sold along with different diet/exercise ideas. Like that light weights will build some kind of different quality of muscle (that ‘toned’ look) or that lifting high reps of light weight will build the same mass of muscle that lifting lower reps of heavy weight will. Otherwise, if people are getting the results they want and enjoying (or not actively hating their exercise) then more power to them. Tracy Anderson gets rich selling people a load of bull about how and why her stuff works. That’s what gets up my craw. That and the fact that the ‘look’ she pushes has a lot more to do with lack of food that any particular workout.

      For me, since I like a strong look on women and prefer to spend half an hour max doing weights, I lift heavy. I have thought about going to a sculpting class at my school though cuz my routine is getting OLD. Gotta keep it fresh.

      *don’t care as in I don’t have any feeling that everyone must do this or must not do that (well, maybe endless crunches are something I think are a waste of time) not as in “i hate you and don’t care what you do so nyah!”

      • October 26, 2009 11:51 am

        I recommend trying a class or two, it always seems like various teachers find a way to work a muscle I never thought about nor realized was there. You might be surprised, some of those exercises that look so easy are anything but. There are men who take the body sculpt/strength training classes at my gym, and most newbies, their first day, they always start with huge weights, move to lower ones quickly. I’d still prefer cardio any day, but I like the way worked muscles feel, so do these more now.

  11. nikki permalink
    October 31, 2009 6:56 pm

    u r all lezbeens cuz u r strong. i can barely hold myself upright in a strong wind so that means i am hawt and super duper feminine. being able to do physical stuff is for boyz. *giggle*


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