A Guide to the Tracy Anderson Method

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What is unique about the Tracy Anderson Method?

What makes the Tracy Anderson Method different to yoga, pilates, weight lifting, tae bo and all the hundreds of other fitness approaches? The goal of the Tracy Anderson Method is to create your most balanced body, which means almost all of your muscles will be worked and none of your muscles will be over developed- so you’ll look pretty streamlined. Pilates also has the goal of having long elongated muscles (along with other aims) but the Tracy Anderson Method actually achieves this over pilates- try it and you’ll see. The Method doesn’t just work your large muscle groups but focuses on your smaller accessory muscles (which normally atrophy through lack of use) to help pull in the larger muscles and keep your body looking youthful with great skin tone.

A typical female Tracy Anderson Method physique will have the following attributes:

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Long slender arms with great skin tone

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Flat abs with a cinched waist and V lines, without 6 pack definition (Tracy’s approach is to go for classically feminine lines over bulked muscles)

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A small lifted backside- when Tracy created her method she actually modelled her exercises to achieve the look of Gisele’s rear.

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Long streamlined legs with lots definition but no bulk.

Tracy Anderson Before and Afters

What does doing the Tracy Anderson Method involve?

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In order to achieve the streamlined look, as previously mentioned Tracy targets the smaller muscles; she does this by employing the brain’s connection with the body by using balance, unusual moves that your body won’t be used to and working on inverted/diagonal angles rather then straight lines- eg lifting your leg diagonally to your body rather then straight behind, so you are activating the muscles that your body isn’t used to using. To stop your brain from getting used to these moves and the effect being lost, Tracy keeps these small muscles awake and alert by changing the workout every 10 days. These “toning” exercises are referred to as muscular structure work- as they work on the structure of your muscles (the shape of your body- minus the bones!). Another benefit of the interesting movements and constant introduction of new exercises is it keeps you interested in the workout so you’re less likely to become bored and more likely to keep at it. It’s also great as compared to traditional forms of exercise there’s actually somewhere to go (onto new moves) rather then repeating the same moves over and over and just adding more resistance in order to “progress”. See all of Tracy’s muscular structure workouts (including free videos and magazine workouts) and all of her muscular structure DVDs.

To compliment the muscular structure there are a few cardio options, all of which regularly change the movements so won’t build up your muscles the way that traditional forms of cardio do eg using a stair climber. The main cardio options are dance cardio and rebounding. See all of Tracy’s Cardio workouts (including free videos) and all of Tracy’s cardio dvds.

Tracy recommends that you do between 30-60 minutes of cardio and 30-60 minutes of muscular structure 4-7 days a week.

Acronyms

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If you post on any of the Tracy Anderson Facebook groups, or posted on the Tracy Anderson website forum (not sure if this will ever return) you will have to get used to a lot of abbreviations, here’s what they mean:

DC= Dance Cardio

MS= Muscular Structure

PD= Perfect Design Series

PP= This could either mean Post Pregnancy or Pregnancy Project- a bit unclear sorry!

PT= Precision Toning

TA= Tracy Anderson

TAM= Tracy Anderson Method

Tammers: People who do the Tracy Anderson Method!

Common misconceptions

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You won’t lift more then 3lbs and this is bad

For some reason a lot of people seem to be up in (over developed?!) arms about Tracy regularly using only 3lb weights. I’m not really sure why this is as people don’t seem to be having a go yoga or tae chi practitioners which use NO WEIGHTS and these have been around for millennia. Tracy doesn’t mean don’t ever lift more then 3lbs in your day to day life, she means for some of her specific arm exercises only use 3lb weights. The reason for this is in some of Tracy’s arm sequences the moves are so complicated and fast passed that it would be near impossible to swing around a weight in the way that Tracy does that was much heavier then 3lbs without messing up the movements and activating the large muscles to help out rather then the specific ones that Tracy is trying to focus on. However she does actually use heavier weights then 3lbs; in some of her workouts she will use two 3lb weights in one hand, in one of her DVDs she uses 5lb weights, she also uses a lot of moves that employ your own body weight such as push ups and she doubles up on ankle weights and even lifts a chair in some of her arm routines.

If you change your workout every 10 days you can do any workout

Some people confuse that the main part of the method is that it changes every 10 days rather then what the workout actually is, so thinking that you could, for example do boxing for 10 days followed by crossfit for 10 days and so on and you would be sticking to the method, but this isn’t the case. To stay true to the method you need to be doing Tracy Anderson Method approved moves, which all have the same previously mentioned purpose.

Tracy wants you to eat baby food

Tracy’s actually very pro eating whatever you like as long as you exercise, if she is pushed for diet advice she maintains that as long as you’re eating good quality food no matter what it is eg organic chocolate instead of low quality chocolate with bad ingredients, that’s fine. She did have a “baby food diet” but it was mainly about eating pureed foods from recipes that she’d designed, not literally baby food and she’s not even championing that diet plan anymore.

Tracy isn’t a qualified personal trainer so she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Tracy isn’t qualified in traditional “personal training” as we know it, she explained that she didn’t see much point in being trained in the methods that had failed her. I have completed a recognised personal training course and some of the taught content was “If you want to tone rather then build a lot of muscle, use a low weight and do 20 reps” I explained that when using workout machines on the lowest weight my legs still bulked and the course leader’s response was “Do 25 reps”. That was the qualified personal training solution to my legs bulking when doing traditional exercises, so I can understand Tracy’s perception at how limiting the world of personal training has been. People also seem to forget that Joseph Pilates who is recognised as an exercise pioneer also wasn’t trained in personal training but still Pilates is seen as a respected form of fitness, so much so it’s also regularly prescribed by (qualified) doctors and physiotherapists to those suffering with back complaints and ailments associated with poor posture. To take it to a larger context; the Beatles didn’t study music yet I can safely say they were top of their game- comprende?

If you have any additional acronyms or common misconceptions about the method let me know.

6 thoughts on “A Guide to the Tracy Anderson Method

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