goop is trying to kill me

Well, not Goop herself, but her minion, Tracy Anderson certainly is.

Tracy Anderson is the pint-sized, former-dancer-turned-trainer-to-the-stars, creator of The Tracy Anderson Method. Her program focuses on two components: Dance Cardio and Muscular Structure Work. I didn’t feel much like dancing, so I focused on the muscle work/mat program.

Tracy believes that you have to work your small “accessory” muscles (those that surround larger muscles), in order to get the ideal long, lean, feminine shape. Funny, I usually think of things like watches, scarves and bracelets as accessories, but evidently some of my muscles are also accessories.

She believes that traditional forms of repetitive cardio (like running) will overuse your large muscles and cause you to bulk up. She goes as far as to say, “I don’t recommend you do ANY other form of exercise, really.”

Wow. Those are fightin’ words there, missy.

Snark aside, I like the sound of long, lean, dancer’s muscles, so I went in with an open mind, much like I did when I tried Pure Barre last year.

And much like that experienced, I wound up crying like a baby midway through this workout.

Not literally.

Well, mostly not.

The mat portion of the Method program is approximately 55 minutes in length, starting with a short intro from Anderson, where she makes some pretty controversial claims, including the ability to spot reduce. She calls it re-engineering your musculature.

Stop giggling. Look at what she did for Goop’s body.

Let’s walk through the program, shall we?

A 5-minute warm up, sadly, sets the tone for how outrageous this workout is. It features a bend and snap-like move that would give Elle Woods a run for her money.


The warm up is followed by a 15-minute leg program, done standing, using a chair. Let’s just say I feel as though, should the need ever arise, I might be able to earn a little extra cash at a peeler bar after perfecting those moves.

Next up is the 4 minute standing ab workout. “You will get good at these”, she promises, “they just take a bit of time.”

I’ll bet we’d get better at them much quicker, Tracy, if you actually provided ANY instruction during this instructional video.

You might as well watch this video on mute, because she never actually explains the moves. Nor does she ever announce when she changes from one move to the next. This is extra challenging when you’re bent over and can’t actually see your screen.

This ‘standing abs’ section is basically 4 minutes of her showing you that she can dance better than you. I felt no ab engagement during any of these 4 minutes. Then again, I was probably doing it wrong because no one explained what I SHOULD be doing.

The next section, however… this one broke me. This one is a keeper.

The arm program lasted for 16 excruciating minutes. Memories of barre class came flooding back, as I re-lived that special brand of pain that hundreds of repetitive small movements delivers.

She used 3 lb weights for part of the arm program, and cautioned that women “should never lift more than 3 lbs because it will cause you to bulk up”.

I nearly spit the water that I had just gulped all across my living room floor. Who IS this woman?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should admit that I decided to pass on using any dumbbells. This decision had nothing to do with the threat of growing massive, hulking, muscles and everything to do with the fact that my arms felt like giant chunks of driftwood.

After the brutal arm program, we went back to more leg work – this time down on the mat. 6 minutes of writhing around in poses that would not feel out of place on the stage of a strip joint.

This was followed by some [actual] ab work, down on the mat. This 5 minute section is virtually all crunches or variants of traditional crunches. Boring, but possibly effective.

And finally a cool down that looked remarkably like the warm up. More bending and snapping.


I finished up and then paused to reflect on the workout.

I had a tough time getting past some of the ridiculous claims she makes, including a suggestion that certain moves would “pull the skin back in closer to the muscle”. Seriously? Loose skin just pulls back towards the muscle.

And no one has called her out on this shit? Amazing.

Even more amazing is that so many high profile celebs swear by Tracy Anderson. But maybe they know something I don’t know. Maybe she did transform their bodies. Maybe she’s better in a 1 on 1 personal training setting than in an instructional video (with no instruction).

The verdict: I thought the arm program was super hard and probably super effective, because it reminded me a lot of the arm work at barre class. I also found her slightly less annoying during the arm segment. This was likely due to the fact that I was too busy trying to hold back tears from the pain I was in.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

85 thoughts on “goop is trying to kill me

  1. Break out those Richard Simmons videos – and the short shorts and headband. BTW, I thought goop was the stuff that we made creepy crawlers out of?

  2. I bought that dance video on recommendation from a friend and the “Gwyneth” write-up. I was living in a tiny apartment at the time and nearly broke both the apartment and myself trying to follow the program. Think I watched it twice. My husband is a personal trainer and Neuromuscular Therapist (i.e., he has some proper qualifications) and he reckons weight training is the best kind of progressive training for both men and women. He’s horrified at the suggestion that women should limit themselves to 3 lbs. Training should always be progressive, like that Plank Challenge you’re doing. I currently lift 8 kg (17 lb) weights and I am very far from bulky. Total and utter horseshite. Throw her in the trash!

    • Bahahahaha! I can’t imagine how bad the dance video would have been. Thankfully I didn’t pay for this. The mat program – split into 5 parts – was available on Youtube.

      Her claims were so outrageous, not to mention blatantly wrong in many cases, that I can’t believe anyone credible would vouch for her (but they do).

      All that said, the arm program was really good (in a really horrific way). I think I can stand her for the 15 mins that the arm program lasts. 🙂

  3. I don’t know anything about the workout or Tracy Anderson, but your description of both was hilarious. All the misinformation in her chatter is one kind of sin, but failure to provide proper instruction is outright irresponsible.

    I’m working out with an excellent yoga instructor right now and I’m discovering what a HUGE difference it can make having someone correct even very tiny errors in execution.

    • Oh – this is a whole other level of irresponsible, Joanne. I’m lucky in that I’ve had such great instruction both in person with personal trainers, in gym classes and also with much better videos – so I knew enough to mostly follow along. The section on standing abs was hilarious. It’s worth the youtube watch for that one alone. 🙂

      She’s more worried about looking sexy (hair all falling forward) while she dances and gyrates, than she is about actually TEACHING anything. 🙂

  4. Good for you for trying it, Nancy! How annoying that she does not instruct in this instructional video, what’s up with that? I would be all over the arm exercise, ! I have got to do something about these wings of mine before I start flying around the house. 😦

    • Check it out, Maria. Just YouTube it – Tracy Anderson Method Mat (it’s 5 parts total – i think the arm part starts in part 2 and goes to part 3 – or 3 + 4, can’t remember).
      It’s horrifically hard but is supposed to address bat wings. 🙂

  5. Apparently Ms. Anderson took a different anatomy class than me, because her theories of skin being pulled back toward muscles and heavy weights bulking women up are things I never learned. I’ve lifted heavy weights for years, and I’m certainly no Arnold. I also switch it up and some days do light weights. To me, variety is key. Do that and you’ll work all of your muscle groups.

    I do have some workout DVDs like these though none by Anderson. After reading this, it’ll probably stay that way, too. 🙂

    • She is a piece of work, Carrie. Worth the YouTube view for sure. If for nothing else than to get a good laugh in. I haven’t bought her DVDs; I did the workout on YouTube (parts 1 through 5).

  6. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Right… What?

    Hang on…


    Ok I’m done.

    No sorry


    Ok now!
    What 3lbs? My boots are heavier than that!!

    I’d better step away from my 90kg deadlifts then!!
    I am instantly wary of anything that says you can make your muscles long…if exercise did that I would be really really tall!!

    I have heard of this woman and not in a very favourable light, many comments are much the same as yours only less funny!
    It is true that yo don’t have to lift heavy to train hard (or insanity wouldn’t work…) but 3lbs? That is 1.3kg…seriously my boots are 2kgs each!! I guess I’m her world women are not allowed to lift anything then…not handbags or shopping or children or 90kg deadlift bars!!

    Well done for sticking with it even if it was just to produce a funny post!!! 🙂

  7. Thanks for saving me the $. I’d been looking at her stuff and something just didn’t set well with me. You sure cleared up a lot …. in your usual entertaining manner 😆 You’re right, why hasn’t anyone called her out on this BS?

    • OMG, I’m so glad someone else felt like something didn’t smell right from the outset. It was hilariously silly – all these sexed up moves and back arching/gyrating. 🙂

  8. I’ve never heard of her and I think I’ll keep it that way 🙂 It can be hard to find the balance with these things though – sometimes I just wish they’d shut up for a second or two – but she should provide at least some instructions!!

  9. Ok, I had to click the link and find out who Goop was, lol, once I saw it, it all clicked! Great post, I’m proud of you for always trying new things and I have a confession. I hit almost 11k steps yesterday. I know this because I bought a Jawbone. It’s kinda cool! It is normally $100, on sale for $30 and you remember that contest you won for a best buy gift card that you said don’t ship yet due to my travels and I have been holding onto? Yeah, I paid $22 for my Jawbone… Because guess who forgot why she had that in her closet? 🙂 So I’ll do an email one, or would you prefer Starbucks maybe? Let me know! (And I am sure there is a reason why the Jawbone was on sale, but that’s okay, for my first tracker, I’ve only had it a few days and I love it! So worth spending your gift card on! Lol! )

    • Y’all didn’t know who Goop was?? Jeezus, I can’t believe how many of you don’t pray at the church of Goop. Gwyneth loves to taunt us with how much she knows about:
      1. cooking
      2. decorating
      3. exercising
      4. singing
      5. acting
      6. basically EVERYTHING there is to know in life, Goopy knows it better than any of us do. She excels at EVERYTHING!

      Tracy Anderson is a mental patient. I encourage you to watch the YouTube video links I posted in my comment to Sam. They are hilarious. Make sure you have your depends on. 🙂

      Finally – YAY YOU!!! 11,000 steps is awesome! So proud of you!! I tried the UP unit (Jawbone) and really liked the look of it and the way it tracked sleep, but didn’t love the way it tracked my higher impact activity. That said, any fitness tracker is going to tell you how much (or how little) you’re moving – which, in and of itself, is a huge benefit. For me, at least!

      Great use of your gift card!! Since you spent it on something so awesome for your health, I’ll consider that my prize! Go you!

  10. UGGGG….I tried her workout and could not comfortably get into some of the moves she suggested, so I knew my form was all wrong. I DO like the arm exercises, but I gave up on entire workout. I am glad there is no one watching when I attempt some of this stuff! 🙂 Have a good weekend!

  11. Lol, Nancy, what a scream! Your description was hilarious! I too have never heard of Goop and had no idea it had anything to do with Gwyneth. I am no fan girl anyway, but when she started babbling about conscious uncoupling a while back while getting divorced, I had heard enough.

    But I was curious enough to go find the videos on youtube and did about 5 minutes of an arm one. She may be full of bunk, but that shit has to work because my arms were DYING! Thanks for sharing. I could probably listen to her for 5 mins or so every few days if I were to see arm results… 😀

    • Hahaha! I know what you mean about Goopy’s over-the-top BS with the conscious uncoupling. I love to hate her. So much. 🙂

      I actually linked all 5 parts of the mat workout in one of my comment replies below. the full 16 mins of arms starts in Part 2 and goes thru half of Part 3. I’ve done the full 16 mins on Wed and today, and yesterday I did a 5 min version (video posted on GOOP of all places) followed by another 3 min one she recorded on a beach. My arms are screaming in a good way, so I’m thinking this shit has to work. 🙂

      p.s. I just booked a trip back to ATL week after next. I get a whole 36 hours at home between UK and Atlanta. 🙂

      I arrive in at midnight Monday the 23rd and leave the afternoon of Thurs the 26th. If you’re up to it, I could do dinner Tues or Wed nights. Will have a car, so I can always meet you part way.

      • OMG, I was dying after 5 mins, I guess I would have to work up to the whole arm part!!!

        Wow, your travel sounds brutal lately, but kinda fun to go to the UK.

        How about this, during your pitstop at home, let me know if you still feel up to it, and if you do I would love to do dinner either Tues 24th or or Wed 25th. Maybe we could meet somewhere in Buford, which is a few miles north of you on I-85, there is a mall there, so lots of restaurant choices, and quicker for me to get to.

  12. Yikes, Nancy, this is pure torture! I couldn’t. I absolutely couldn’t do this stuff for longer than five minutes before probably yanking the chair out from beneath her and using it as a weapon.
    Your description had me choking with laughter though, which I think neatly sums up all the ab work I need for the day. Exercise: done and dusted. And thoroughly enjoyable.

  13. I’ve never heard of this chick but quickly checked out the link and was immediately annoyed. Its my moody time though..haha! She looks like someone who has probably always been in great shape and just made up some nonsense claims…and damn, her streams are expensive! Ridiculous. And to say that running makes you bulk up just sounds stupid to me. Nobody I know who is a runner is bulky. Just another person trying to make a buck with an “original” but silly idea. But that is one big fat judgement based on a quick glance at a sight…and major support of you 🙂

    • Moody time or not, she is annoying as all get out! 🙂
      That said, her arm program is fantastic! I’ve been doing it (on mute) almost every day and I totally feel it!

  14. Pingback: london calling | my year[s] of sweat!

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