There’s nothing I love more than embarking on an overly ambitious fitness plan, especially when it’s somehow celebrity-related, so yesterday I started the dang Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program to really try to get my bod into bangin’ shape before all the travel I’m embarking on the rest of the summer. I’ve done a lot of online research (including testimonials and reviews on YouTube and personal blogs, which are much more telling than sales-y websites, wouldn’t you say?) plus I’ve heard good things about her from some friends – especially my friend Kana, who is in amazing shape and has done all the TAM DVDs (although she has a love-hate relationship with Tracy, and I can already see why).
As most of you know, I cook fresh food at home the majority of the time and I also work out regularly. But… ugh! To be super candid, my body is just not where I want it to be anymore, and definitely not the way it was in my early 20s. Why? Slowing metabolism as I crumble into my late 20s, I guess. Bummer. Combined with happy hours, restaurant reviewing, food blogger events, and a whole handful of fun stuff that I wouldn’t trade for the world but definitely hampers fitness goals.
I’m going to a bunch of weddings this July-September (including being a bridesmaid in one) and that means seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen in awhile and being in a lot of photos. Rob’s in the same boat as me – in fact, he’ll be a groomsman in Scotland in just two weeks! So we’ve been trying to eat especially healthy and logging some extra hours at the gym, and still. STILL! I feel like my progress has been minimal at best. I’m fed up with my current routine, so I’m willing to give this a go.
If you’re as pop culture obsessed as I am, you’ve probably heard of TA or at least seen her on the cover of magazines. She’s a celebrity trainer best known for her relationship with Gwenyth Paltrow (to clarify, Gwenny is not my spirit animal but cool peeps like Nicole Richie are also fans) and she is T-I-N-Y. I mean, I’m small – 5’2 – but Tracy clocks in at just around 5’0. I kind of like that because I get really annoyed whenever I see six foot, long, lanky fitness magazine models who are like “I just eat moderately and walk sometimes and I stay soooo skinny!” …shut up, you totally won the genetic lottery.
The Tracy Anderson Method (or TAM – yep, she calls it “the method,” I know, it sounds kinda cult-y) focuses on building long, lean, feminine muscles and definition by high-repetition, low-resistance workouts that change every ten days. You do a half hour of mat method work plus a half hour of dance cardio six days a week. When I say low-resistance, I mean it; she forbids women to use weights over 3lb to prevent muscles from bulking up. This is really different than what I’m used to in the bootcamp classes I’ve been taking recently, where our trainer keeps encouraging me to build up to more and more weight… I know a lot of exercise science is like “women can’t bulk up even if they lift extremely heavy weights, they don’t have enough testosterone for that to happen!” but I am here to tell you, as a short girl, my biceps and legs definitely do get bulky when I’m incorporating heavy-ish lifting into my exercise routine. It might be muscle, but it still looks thick and I’m not a huge fan.
Thanks to her celeb trainer status, insistence on using very low weights, constant emphasis on “getting teeny tiny”and a few other extreme claims, TA is a somewhat controversial trainer (Jezebel types really seem to hate her and more traditional personal trainers usually aren’t fans either) and yeah, some of her claims can be a bit eye-roll inducing, but I kiiiind of don’t care. There are certain things about Tracy’s fitness plan that I won’t/can’t follow, though:
- The straight-up 90-day metamorphosis progression. This one I would love to do, but we’re leaving for Europe in two weeks, so even though the initial program is a 90-day challenge type thing, I’ll be doing 14 days, then a 9 day break, then picking up where I left off, I guess.
- The eating plan. I honestly do not believe it’s sustainable for an active adult woman; I don’t see how my metabolism wouldn’t drop like crazy. (Curious to peep her food plan? I stealth-searched it out online today, here’s a pdf.) There’s a lot of purees (or as critics would say, baby foods) that I’m not interested in. I will be focusing on upping my protein and being ultra-conscientious of my carbohydrates, especially sugars. And alcohol. Wah! Not too excited about this, but it must be done.
- Doing the dance cardio component every day. I’ll do it when I can, but sometimes it’s just not convenient for me to fit in 30 minutes of cardio in front of the TV at home, like on days when I need to fit part of my workout in at my office gym during my lunch. Or yesterday, for example, it was a hot and sunny Sunday, and Rob and I went on a really long walk around the neighborhood. Just gotta get outside sometimes!
- Paying for it – ha! At least for now. These DVDs do not come cheap ($90 for the initial package) and while I’m willing to shell out some cash if I notice results in the first couple weeks, I’m giving myself a free trial via Youtube. I found days 1-30 of her Metamorphosis mat work plus dance cardio videos on there, plus some bonus arm workouts and other specials. (Feel free to check everything out on my Work Out playlist.) I’ll be doing Metamorphosis days 1-30 from those videos plus interspersing some of those extra arms videos, and as long as I like what’s happening, I’ll pony up for the rest through her actual website.
Everything else is happening, though. I’d tried out a workout DVD with Kana in the past so I knew what to expect, but… woof. Talk about some leg lifts. They’re killer. You might think, “what, it’s just moving my legs in the air for a few minutes, what’s the big deal” but trust me, your glutes and legs are burrrrning by the end. The arms and abs sections are also good, but not as grueling as the leg mat portion. I capped off everything with one of the shortest TA arm workouts on YouTube – it’s only three minutes long and uses zero weights, but my shoulders were dying by the end of it. I’m not sure if that reflects the lameness of my arms, the difficulty of the repetitive moves, or a little bit of both.
Anyway, I would love to hear what you think if you’ve tried out this program… and I’ll be posting about my results (and some ultra-nutritious recipes, which I hope to keep interesting and creative despite the whole “health” factor) in the meantime!