In this post I’ll be giving my truthful and honest review of the Tracey Anderson Method. Please keep in mind that this is my own personal opinion and preference, before any of the TA army come after me.
You can read on, or watch the video version below.
In case you are like me a few months back and had never heard of Tracey Anderson before, allow me to fill you in. She is the celebrity trainer that has been linked to the bodies of such superstars as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Anniston to name a few.
I stumbled across her after seeing some Youtube video’s popping up on my feed that were claiming the miracles of the Tracey Anderson method. Famed for Anderson’s DVDs her metamorphosis program, dance-inspired workouts and now more recently the fitness guru created Tracy Anderson’s online studio.
So off I trotted to the website out of my health coach’s curiosity, I had to see what all the hype was about.
I was of course then bombarded in January with ads for her online programme and so I decided to embark on her 2-week trial to test and see just exactly what is so magical about her method so that I can give you my honest review as a health coach to see if it’s worth the investment of your own time and money.
First off I want to share my thoughts on the website and her marketing in general.
Sigh….. it’s everything I hate about the health and fitness industry. I know we have to market our services but really, the over exagerated BS that I saw had me scoffing and eyeball rolling, if you saw me you would think I was having a seizure.
This is without talking about the emphasis around having thin dancers style body, which is what we all should be aiming for apparently. Even if that’s not your genetic body type, she says she can change that.
It’s this type of talk that has people who don’t know any better, completely buying into this nonsense.
Then, of course, she has so many celebrity endorsements, that obviously she is a miracle worker and pioneer of body transformations.
The words on her website and within the intro videos say things like:
“Works miracles on celebrities. Proclaimed as a guru, a fitness fairy, a pioneer, a secret weapon, but most of all a leader”
Apparel that supposedly helps you perform the workouts better, a skincare line, to expand the way you exist in your body. Specialised for your body and our practice”
They go on to say how Tracy’s trainers have tried to take her methods and use them for themselves. But Tracey is so unique that true transformation can only be achieved through her method.
Well of course only you can get the results my love, you are of course a fitness fairy as it states in your marketing video!! So if that is the case why do you feel the need to sue your past employees if you are indeed so magical??
In the world of celebrity and the size of the ego never ceases to amaze me!
Only recently an article came out about how paranoid Tracey is that ex-trainers will steal her method that she has even gone on to sue them. Making instructors teach for excessive hours in overly hot and humid studios leading to nasty hygiene issues.
Just more of the type of celebrity drama that people love to thrive in.
You know drama and stress is bad for your health, right Tracy?!?
Just more examples of things that really suck about the health and fitness industry and she is cashing in BIG time.
Over substantiated bullshit claims that are not backed up by science, just like the time Gweneth Paltrow’s Goop platform told everyone that they should be putting jade eggs up their hoo har to gain some magical energetic balance (or something like that, I really have no idea what the claims were meant to be).
In fact let’s not get started on Gweneth and her latest interview, I’ll save that for another article.
Anyway back to the TA Method.
Her website reads ‘Your metabolism and muscle function will be optimised in completely new ways!! A fitness platform, unlike anything you have ever experienced. No matter your body type or fitness level we have classes that will adapt to you.
‘When you track and mimic Tracy’s movements, you tap into your physical self, stimulating both the brain and your body’s metabolic rate’
Excuse me what now!?!
By watching movements, rather than listening to instructions can stimulate your body’s metabolic rate.
Hmmmm, really!!! I would like to see some research to back up that claim. Oh wait, I can’t find any!
Now, there is a fair bit of research that supports the power of the mind in enhancing the body. Visualisation has been used by top athletes for many years. There is no doubt that harnessing the power of your mind works.
I’ll touch more on this when I talk about my own experience of doing the sessions, keep reading.
How Much Does The Tracey Anderson Method Cost?
At the time of writing, you can currently access a free 14-day trial and then $90 a month thereafter and more if you want to upgrade to the virtual live classes.
New workouts and workout videos are released weekly and over 1300 classes are available in the digital library. Music only visually led approach as her research (can we see these published papers please, I would love to read them) shows that verbal instruction only interrupts your journey to better results.
To go to an in-person class at one of her studios in Los Angeles, New York city, The Hamptons, Madrid or London is going to cost you a pretty penny.
They don’t actually list the price on the website (usually a sign it’s a lot) you have to apply for a membership which of course it the height of exclusivity, but I believe is in the region of $900 a month.
No wonder she has the £1,100 dollar Prada trainers in every colour. Come on now Emma don’t be jealous lol.
The website claims you will:
‘transform your results in days and proving that you are deserving of a program that will take your wellness to the next level’
The marketing speel on that last one is killer!!
Basically telling you that you need this program and spend your money to prove that you are worthy!!!
Because when you train like Tracey and her celebrity stars, then and only then will you be enough.
Way to trigger most women’s and mother’s insecurities of constantly fearing they are not enough, that one line should surely do it.
I get that this is the world of marketing, but come on!! Maybe this is why I’m not a millionaire yet, integrity doesn’t always pay, sigh.
There are a few different levels available with the online classes.
Beginners, intermediate level , advanced level and there are also a dance cardio workout too.
I started with the 30-minute beginner’s mat workout.
My initial thoughts were….. what a load of shit!
This is just movement, and it’s boring movement at that. Yes, she uses unique sequences and is certainly different to anything I have done before. But essentially it’s high-repetition moves with light hand weights, ankle weights and dance-style movements.
I didn’t work up a sweat or feel particularly challenged. I will need to try the intermediate one, though I don’t always have the time to complete a full hours workout.
Tracey recommends doing an hours session 6-7 times a week.
But come on, let’s be honest. If you do any workout or any movement for that matter 4-7 times a week you are likely going to see changes in your body.
I don’t believe there is anything magic or special about this workout. It’s overhyped bullshit that people (likely women who are already skinny) buy into.
I also really feel that recommendations of an hour a day 6-7 days a week is another rich woman’s luxury.
I’m a busy working mum and I need my workouts to be short and effective so that I can move my body 3-4 times a week and look and feel better from doing so.
Sure, if I was a rich housewife from LA with bags of time on my hands, maybe I would workout for an hour a day too. I have no doubt I would feel and look pretty incredible.
When I completed to 30-minute beginner’s session. I didn’t feel as though it was a good workout, I felt it was a waste of a workout on a day when I really wanted to work hard and kick some butt in my session. In case you can’t already tell I am not impressed.
Intermediate Session Review
I had to eat my words a little after the first session, as I actually enjoyed the intermediate session a little more.
I didn’t watch the breakdown video, because you know, who has got time for that? Like with most things I just dove right in.
It was more challenging, had more variation of movements and I did start to work up a bit of a sweat, though not that much. It is advised to do the sessions in a hot humid environment.
I’m currently in winter in the French Alps, it’s damn cold outside and the current extortionate energy prices mean I like to use my workouts as my heating source, not the other way around. So no I did not workout in a hot humid environment.
The workout uses light hand weights for the upper body and leg weights around the ankles and incorporates core moves working the entire body with repetitive movements.
This kinda takes me back to the 80/90’s when I used to sit in the corner of the studio whilst my mum would workout in her leopard print thong leotard, think your Jane Fonda Style high repetition kicks and you get the idea.
Jane Fonda was the original home workout queen and I think most middle-aged women have done her workouts at some point.
Whilst I didn’t hate it, It feels completely like stepping back into a time warp. We have come so far in fitness in encouraging women to lift heavier weights and work on strength training and the amount of research backing up the benefits of resistance training for women including:
- Improved bone density: Can help increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that affects many women as they age.
- Increased muscle mass: Increasing muscle mass, which can lead to a higher metabolism and improved overall physical function and improved metabolic health and physical appreance.
- Increased strength and endurance: Strength but also strength training has shown to improve endurance too, making you fitter for every day life whilst also reducing th risk of injury.
- Improved body composition: Strength training can help improve body composition by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass, leading to a leaner and more toned appearance.
- Improved mental health: Has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve overall mental health and well-being.
- Reduced risk of chronic disease: Strength training has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Yet here we are going back to women should be gentle and feminine, here are your 2lb hand weights, tracy’s program just feels like taking a step backwards. I can see and indeed feel some benefits to this style of workout, but I don’t think it should be the ONLY type of workout.
She talks about using small muscles rather than big muscles in order not to bulk up. But that isn’t really how the human body works.
The body is a kinetic chain meaning that all muscles work together as a whole. Sure we can isolate different muscles and often in strength training we do focus on the larger muscles. But that is because they are our predominant movers. Though essentially all of your smaller muscles are often working too at the same time.
Also if weight loss is the goal, having more lean muscle through weight training as part of your workout routine is essential to support good metabolic health and is the best thing you can do for your female body.
Why No Talking?
During the exercise program, she does not talk.
No instruction, no cures, no nothing.
Her design of workouts according to her website:
“During Tracy’s first research study on 150 women at the start of her mission, she learned that she can keep your brain more engaged if she does not speak to you during your workout, and you follow her as if you would while playing a video game. This has proven to strengthen the mind-body connection, and facilitate the burning of more calories. Becoming good at tracking her is going to be part of your success in this ever-evolving journey. You will see and feel results immediately, but what you will experience over time is that she is designing your body in a way that you won’t ever plateau.’
So let’s talk a little more about this mind-body connection that can lead to an increase in metabolic rate.
Research shows that mental imagery can improve physical and sports performance. The athletes who used mental imagery techniques during their workouts had significantly higher oxygen consumption and energy expenditure than those who did not use these techniques. That’s why sports psychology is a whole field of science itself. Your psychology matters.
Additionally, the study found that mental imagery can improve athletes’ performance by increasing motivation, focus, and confidence. This can lead to better physical performance and endurance.
When the participants in the above-listed studies are using visualisation they are allowing the mind to visualise them performing their sport in full, visualising the outcomes and utilising all of their senses.
When I was completing the Tracy Anderson session I was:
- Straining my neck trying to see what is going on in the floor positions
- Always a few steps behind as you never know what is coming next and is extremely frustrating
- Never sure if you have the technique exactly right
- Spent a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly was going on.
None of this was allowing me to create the vision of me stimulating my muscles and the workout to maximum effect. That is not what the studies are talking about when working on the benefits of visualisation.
Yes, there is a lot of research that proves that visualisation can improve performance, and stimulate metabolism leading to an improvement in results, but this was not it.
To get the benefit of visualisation I would prefer some subtle cues to help spark that vision and I believe would be far more effective. This is how I personally prefer to guide my clients in my own classes and courses.
The workouts are continuous sequence moves so you are moving for the majority of the one-hour session, the heart rate stays pretty steady during this time.
I must say I didn’t even attempt the dance cardio portion of her workouts. Dance is really not my thing and the thought of attempting to follow a routine that has no cues and following her around always 3 steps behind was just not appealing to me.
Yes, the style of training is unique, I liked some of the moves used that were quite unique and the mix of mobility style flows. I’m a huge fan of workouts that include mobility work and use it with my own clients as a qualified MoveNatinstructor, but is the TA Method the magic that she claims it to be?
I don’t believe so.
I have to also preface my conclusions around the fact that I only completed 2 sessions. I know there will be people from her tribe that claim that it does indeed work wonders.
But who is to say that if you did an hour of any pilates or dance or MovNat style class for an hour 7 days a week, you would not get similar results?
Movement is just movement, it’s the moving of the body that is the magic, not this specific method in my own opinion as a health and fitness coach.
I feel her claims are so outlandish that people just buy it, at times often pretty fat phobic and that a lean small dancer’s body should be every person’s goal.
Actually, to me, this small frame is not desirable to me, I want to look and feel strong and powerful as a woman. I aspire to more of a Wonder Woman type physice than the flimsy stick think Barbie look.
You can stick your 2lb handweights pass me the big guns as I want to be the woman who takes all of her shopping from the car in one go.
I want to be fit and functional for life not skinny and weak!
She often bangs on about how she wants to change the world and the perception of what it takes to be fit and move well, yet her price point and the time required to get the physique she is talking about is the epitome of the saying that ‘wellness is for the wealthy’
There was also no guidance on nutrition in the main part of the website. Which let’s face it is the second ingredient of magic that really goes into what your body looks like.
There is a monthly (it could be quarterly I’m not entirely sure on that) online magazine that you can download from the members site. This magazine full of images of Tracy wearing next to nothing (insert IG images) and oiled up like your typical wellness magazine cover star featuring outlandish and exquisite recipes that are created by her private chefs.
Again just for the financially and time-rich people of the world that can actually put this together or pay someone to do it for them.
Nothing about the resources or the program made me feel like I was worthy enough, it just perpetuates more feelings of not enough and self-comparison.
For working women who just need to find a calorie-savvy meal that satisfies them, tastes good, is easy to make, gets nutrients into their body and also a meal that their kids will actually also eat seems too basic for dear Tracey.
But then this is the exact exclusivity that people are buying into.
It feels like a flex of wealth and superiority to state that you do the Tracy Anderson Method rather than just saying I exercised, slept more and ate healthier.
I anticipate I will get some hate from her die-hard followers on this, but as I started right at the beginning, this is my own personal opinion. If you have found that it works for you then that’s really awesome, keep on doing it if it works.
This method, however, is not for me.
Though I liked some parts of it, I like that it’s a great low impact workout, I like the mobility work and moving the body in a different way. That’s a call for me to explore different types of movement and practice MovNat more often which is my absolute favourite (I feel a challenge coming on) I want short but effective workouts that integrate with my life. And also a reminder to you as the reader that having a range of different training types can help your body perform optimally, reduce injuries and perform for life better.
I do feel after doing this, and doing the Les Mills review (which has been my favourite app and review so far to date) that I want to put a couple of more Pilates and Barre style training sessions into my schedule, but again that always comes to how much time I have, as to why I don’t as much.
Both Barre and Pilates will help you to work the smaller accessory muscles Anderson talks about activating and you could save yourself the $90 a month fee and get some sessions free from Youtube videos (insert some options).
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