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.
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.