A CONVERSATION with Tracy Anderson
11th Oct 2022
Tracy Anderson is a leader in the health and fitness industry and the creator of the revolutionary Tracy Anderson Method; a research-based fitness methodology devised to create total balance in the body that’s loved by the likes of J Lo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham. As a friend of Tracy’s and a devotee to her method, Dr. Sturm shares Anderson’s commitment to producing real results with advanced science - rather than marketing promises – and her passion for movement. Together, they have created an exclusive POST-WORKOUT SKINCARE KIT; a selection of skincare products that refresh, clean and hydrate skin after exercise and to coincide with its launch, we sat down with Tracy to find out more about her method and its inspirations, her fitness philosophy, and her secret to maintaining motivation.
How would you explain the Tracy Anderson Method?
I would say, first of all, that it is best enjoyed by moving and doing it. I have created a language of communication that encompasses all that your body primarily has to offer to make sure that you are engaging with your muscular structure in the most complete way possible and to create balance where there's imbalance. And there's a lot of components that go into that formula; from not talking to you during the workout, moving to music, changing the content every week and having a strategic muscle exhaustion sequence. There is a lot of science involved.
Where would you recommend someone starts your method?
I wouldn't go back to chapter one of my career. I'm a lot smarter and faster and better at what I do now than I was when I first did my first DVD - or any of my DVDs - because I'm a lifelong learner and researcher and I am not a fixed person. Instead, utilize all of the knowledge that I have in the moment. And I would exercise your primal right to move and the decision that you've made in your life right now to say, “I'm going to move.” Let go of all of the reasons why you think you’re not ready; I'm too hard for you, I only train celebrities, everybody looks thin in my classrooms – all the things that I see people throw out there. Park all of the dialogue that's in your head, and just say, “I am meant to be exercising, I'm going to trust Tracy's body of work, I'm going to start at beginner on the streaming platform because I'm new, and I'm going to take it one step at a time.”
Do you think, as women, we’re getting better at devoting time to ourselves?
I still see the same pattern, which I’ve seen since the very beginning of my career of, “I'll do the easiest things, and I'll worry more, and I'll stress more, but I still find it very difficult to do the actual work.” And that's unfortunate, because it really is a strong signal for how much work actually needs to be done. We all have our insecurities as women for a variety of reasons but we need to be more physically connected and more self-empowered than ever if we're going to make sure that we continue to move in the right direction. And if you can't show up for your health, in the most basic and honest of ways, you're going to be out of balance in your clarity internally – just as you would be if you are trying to make healthy decisions in your life, but you eat junk food, drink alcohol, do drugs and get no sleep. You're not going to be able to do it. Movement is the same thing.
Do you ever find yourself lacking in motivation?
Of course, but I have to be radically honest with myself and want to incorporate how to take care of myself into my parenting. I care very much that Penny (Tracy’s ten-year-old daughter) understands that when she's going through tough times in life, her movement practice is a practice that is essential to be faithful to. Do you have to do my workout? No. Even if you're going for a walk in the evening with your kids, because that's what you can do, you become faithful to taking care of yourself, your family, your kids, your relationship.
You famously don’t speak during your workouts. Why?
The depth of inwardness and that deep communication that's happening with them and the conversations that they're having with themselves is so vital. I would never think of disrupting it. It’s an uninterrupted, 30 minutes to an hour, where they can just trance out, and they're tracking me to music, and nothing else. That is so vital. And when people come up to me and they say, “I came to you for the abs or I came to for the butt and then I stayed because my mental health felt so much better,” that to me, is the biggest win.
Your streaming workouts end in you addressing your class, sometimes with topical conversation. How has that evolved?
Yeah, sometimes I’ll talk about more technical things and then sometimes, I do that unrehearsed dump after class to try and teach people how to just let it out – it’s part of that process. But for me this happened during my first five year study on 150 women. I realized that it was so restorative for them - the clarity that just the movement and the practice could help clear their minds and themselves. That's why I say all the time, it's your primal right to move. You have no business feeding yourself, drinking the right amount of water every day, sleeping every day and leaving your movement out. I really don't even care what the movement is.
What’s a misconception that you think a lot of women make with fitness?
I think what hurts my heart the most is, I love all of the very celebrated women that I have had the pleasure of working with - the J Lo's the Gwyneth's – and they're beautiful women and I love how they raised awareness for my work. But what saddens me is the women at home, who choose to work out or move to not necessarily be them, but to be like them or to be as desired as they think they are or to be as beautiful as they esteem them to be. You don't choose an exercise program because a celebrity does it. It is irrelevant what anyone else is doing. You have got to listen to yourself and ask “does this movement feel good to me? Do I buy into what this teacher’s philosophy is? Do I buy into their education?”
What would you advise to women exploring a new workout method?
This is where I would say slow down and read a little bit about how long the people have been in practice or in business - because a lot of people now are just starting fitness businesses to take advantage because it's a big moneymaker. And I wouldn't look for gimmicks or quick fixes. You really need to land where you want. If you don't want to be a bodybuilder, or you don't want to become a pro tennis player all of a sudden in your life, don't train like one.
How often should we workout?
Your body is meant to move every day. My streaming is expensive at $90 a month but it's $3 a day if you do it every single day. And that's the thing with fitness - if you spend £40 on a class, and you can only afford to do that class one or two times a week, and the other days, you don't know what you're doing, that's not serving your health. And you can't really move the needle in two days a week. I'm totally fine with taking a day to rest where you chill. But I'm not okay with people going like, “you know what, I'm going to just move on these two days and do this thing that I can afford for myself. And then the other days, I'm going to just not do anything.” It's not okay.
You create new content each week for your subscribers. Is that difficult to maintain?
It's really healthy for me to age and faithfully practice what I believe in for as long as I can, and I will because I'm not doing this for marketing or for a specific business model. Like I said, I'm faithful to my children, my husband and my team, but I'm also faithful to this practice. So, I will continue to do that. I think it's important. I also know that community is a huge part of our health: there are actual studies that show that if you drink socially (in moderation), you’re more satisfied with life than if you drink alone. It's just stressing how important connection is. So, I do really believe that it is good for me and good for my audience for me to show up every week.
You’ve collaborated with Dr. Barbara Sturm on the amazing Post-Workout Skincare Kit. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I do not believe that everybody can do everything really well. But I do believe that people who are focused doctors and who are focused on skincare and preventative aging are where it's at. And I have been a fan of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s since very, very early on because I found her approach to educating people about what she was doing to be so raw and real and radically honest, that I was immediately attracted to her from the start. And I've used her products for many, many years - they're always a part of my routine. I see results with everything that she brings forward.
You have amazing skin. What does your skincare routine look like?
At the moment, my skincare routine is I cleanse with Dr. Sturm’s CLEANSER – which we have in our little kit. I love it because it feels so clean, it removes everything and I don't break out from it (I suffered from cystic acne when I was younger). I also love Dr. Sturm’s THE BETTER B NIACINAMIDE SERUM. I will also use my Ageless Balm, which is really a greasier product and gives you an intense glow. But I take that and then I put in the HYALURONIC SERUM and the GLOW DROPS. I literally mix it all together. I really love the GLOW DROPS - sometimes I’ll use them as moisturizer and then just concealer. I am kind of a makeup junkie. I do like a bit of makeup.
Are you good at switching off?
No, I'm terrible at it. But I think it's because I have responsibilities. I employ a lot of people you know, and I'm a mom. And my son is 23-years-old and right now he's traveling, so I need my phone next to me because I'm like, that's just a great advancement technology for safety. The thing that I need to work on the most with my personal health is to worry less. I worry a lot.
What’s next for Tracy Anderson?
I have just launched a piece of sustainable fitness equipment called MYMODE. For me, the next conversation with people is that we are only as healthy as our environment. And just as much as we have to face the reality of what we put in our bodies, how we tend to our relationships and stress, how we sleep, how we move and how we are with nature, there’s another piece of the pie that people just don't pay attention to. The fitness industry is really dirty environmentally. And so that's our next venture.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Wine or beer?
Chocolate or chips?
You know what, it used to be chocolate but I think now it’s chips. 🍟
Netflix or novel?
I’d say novel but actually, I only read non-fiction – I have read Zen and the Brain about five times in my life and I’m actually starting reading it again. Dr. James Austin is one of the most brilliant teachers, I would never have my method today if it wasn’t for his work. 📖
Pool or beach?
Bath or shower?
Shower. I take two baths a year. Who has the time for it? 🚿
Text or call?
Coffee or tea?
Sun or snow?
Late night or early morning?
I used to be late night but now I’m early morning. ⏰