The Tracy Anderson studio at 903 Montauk Highway in Water Mill is a pretty unique place for fitness addicts. It's the only Tracy Anderson facility on the planet that doesn't require a membership. Color us intrigued! We recently completed viTAlity Week (please note, the next session begins August 4th), and boy oh boy, were we impressed with this intense recharge to our system! Admittedly, we didn't exactly love the ultra warm room, but Anderson explained that heating up your workout space maximizes results. We were inspired by how much this chick actually lives her brand. Everything really is about her constantly evolving method, and she taught us to look at our bodies in terms of balance. Meaning, if you don't look the way you want, then part of your body is out of balance, not overweight. As far as we can tell, everything in Anderson's life is in equilibrium, and this guru of fitness sat down with us for a q+a about her method, steamy workouts, and life in the spotlight. Her candid responses have us believing that the Tracy Anderson Method [TAM] deserves the hype!
1. What does someone who has never tried the Tracy Anderson Method need to know before showing up for class?
The most important thing is having an open mind. I mean, even the warm up is different, and a person might think, what am I doing? I'm just flopping around. Preconceived notions about how a fitness class should go won't help. And, there needs to be a nonjudgmental attitude on yourself and everybody else in the room. This truly is a different way of connecting to yourself.
2. Why do you think this is such a different experience for newbies?
The music is really loud, and there's no instruction. I want people to follow along and be game for giving the full class all of their attention. This is important because the class evolves through different phases. Someone might feel self-conscious while doing the cardio warm up with arms, but they might love the mat work. So, it's important to stay for the whole class.
3. Fair enough. What is the goal of viTAlity week?
They were formerly called Detox Weeks, but that terminology was widely misused. So, we changed the name, and my goal is to connect with as many people as I can in an intimate setting. When I see people who aren't regularly in my studios, but are doing the DVDs or are totally new to the method, I can help them further their wellness lifestyle. I do more good with a small group of people, and participants become more educated on what I've created.
4. You keep the studio very warm- it's a big shock to the system. What is the reasoning behind this?
It might not feel great during cardio in the beginning, but the muscular structure work should start to feel better pretty soon. I've tested results in a lot of different ways, and it seems uncomfortable when you start exercising this way. We all have a built-in thermoregulating system, and when that becomes challenged, we get more access to our brains. When you connect and perspire, the muscles become easier to work with and use. This deepens the connection, so it's not really about the heat causing the caloric burn. It's about the connection because of the heat that makes the expended calories become more significant.
5. You have a strong dance background. Say someone (perhaps, even this reporter) isn't connecting with her inner Beyoncé. Should your class intimidate them?
Absolutely not! I think we all want to be in touch with our inner Beyoncé, and my studio is a safe place to find that aspect of yourself. I want people to understand that I might train a lot of pop star divas, but there are no judgments in my classes. If there is a mean girl attitude, I zone in on it and make sure that it's removed from the space. No matter what you look like when you're shaking it, we all need support systems. And, eventually, we all get there.
6. Speaking of the celebrity-factor, it's human nature to obsess over the phenomenal bodies of starlets in the news. What do you say to a client who is obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow's arms?
The first thing I say is, it's nice that you recognize her beautiful arms. I am quick to point out that she works really hard on them. It's great to celebrate other people's talents, but you should want to be your best self, not a version of someone else. Obsessing over someone else will not allow you to achieve your most balanced self; I want people to identify their imbalances in their own life. Look, I'm not stupid to the fact that the bodies I help create are on the covers of magazines, and they look so beautiful. My method does that for everyone. The problem is that you have to be realistic about where you're starting from, because I preach consistency. It takes a long time to do my method properly, and get everything to wake up and strengthen and create real change. The Cliff Notes version of my method will never get you Gwyneth's arms. She's been doing this for more than 8 years, and she changes her program every 10 days. She shows up 6 days a week, and she never deviates from the program. The paparazzi has photographed her running, and she's like, that was only for a scene in a movie. She's such an A+ student.
7. It's event season in the Hamptons, what cocktails should we be drinking if we still want to be able to make it through class in the morning?
It's funny that you're bringing that up, because I had rosé yesterday. I only drink wine, and I don't drink any other kind of liquor at all. If you keep it to one to two glasses of wine, you should be okay. The key is to space it out, but you have to be careful in the Hamptons. It would be easy to start drinking in the day and continue drinking through the night.
8. You inspire so many people to achieve their fitness goals. Who inspires you?
I admire people who take chances and are unafraid to be transparent. I work with a lot of celebrities who don't want others to know that they are working on their bodies. I'm like, why wouldn't you want everyone to know that you are working really hard on yourself? Most people don't fall out of bed looking perfect. And if you dig a little deeper, I wouldn't wish anybody to go through what some of these people go through to look a certain way. There are people that I lean into who have progressed their fields. I find a lot of inspiration in people who pioneered things, and there is such a commonality that these people were all criticized at first. I mean, made fun of by their peers, mimicked, ripped off, and finally, celebrated.
9. This sounds like it's hitting close to home. What's your experience been like?
I remember being laughed at for using three-pound weights. People made fun of me for saying that we need to exercise more than three days a week. All of a sudden, everyone lives this way, and Soul Cycle is putting my bands on their ceilings.
10. Point taken. What's the biggest misconception about you?
People just assume that I want to make all women teeny-tiny. There are just so many lies on the internet, and I've had some opportunistic people try and take advantage of me. I'm not immune to the harsh things people say, so I really believe that people need to be supportive of each other. [Laughs] You could devote an entire article to all of the misconceptions about me!