By now, it’s safe to assume you’ve heard of petite powerhouse, Tracy Anderson. Her fitness method is so unbelievably unique, challenging, and effective. Six years later, I’m still amazed at her ingenuity, spunk, and dedication to her craft.
As devoted to this exercise regime as I am, there are also moments when I want to kick and scream in agony. Sometimes I stop and scratch my head like "Huh? What on earth are you doing, Tracy? That's not humanly possible." To say this method is complicated is an understatement. What's more, it can be very intimidating. Especially when you're first starting out. But there’s a reason why it works and why so many women have adopted it- both celebs and normal gals alike.
You can read all Tracy's method here. But here's the scoop- it combines mat work and dance cardio. Both take time to learn- it's like teaching your body a whole new way of moving. When I first started out, things were rough. I experienced shin splints, muscle soreness, haggard elbows and knees, and sheer confusion.
But I never gave up. I am so proud of how far I've come- from waving my arms in the air like a confused chicken to now- like a graceful swan. If you've ever tried Tracy Anderson and have felt discouraged, I'm telling you: don't lose heart. You can do this!
Today I'm sharing five techniques to ensure you’re having the best Tracy Anderson workout ever. I created them so you can avoid the mistakes I've made over the years. These tips will help make your workouts as smooth, seamless, and enjoyable as possible. In due time, you will be a master of the method, too!
1. Find The Perfect Shoes
When you start the method, you will probably research suitable sneakers. There are many different opinions and information on the Internet. It took me 3 years to find my prince, you know... sneaker wise. I went through countless pairs (or shall I call them frogs.) And along with those frogs came blisters, shin splints, and tired, aching feet.
Once I found my dream pair of sneaks (Reebok ZigTech) I felt light on my feet, had energy dancing and more control on the mat. And no more skin splints or blisters! You probably won't find the perfect pair at first, trust me. It's really, just trial and error. But once you put on the right pair, you'll know instantly. It's like your own Cinderella moment. But with sneakers.
After you've found your dream sneakers, treat them well. That means only wearing them during your Tracy Anderson workout. This will preserve them and keep them in the best condition possible. Avoid wearing them outside and exposing them to the elements. And if you can, buy multiple pairs of the same version. Sounds nuts, but once you find the best pair of shoes for you, others simply don't compare.
2. Use Two Mats
Or three, if need be! The extra cushioning is essential, as you are on your hands and knees for much of Tracy’s mat workout. A single mat, no matter how cushy, does not cut it. There is absolutely no point in attempting a workout if your foundation doesn’t support you. In Metamorphosis, you will notice that even Tracy uses two mats. I like Prana mats because they are lightweight and have a nice grip to them.
3. Alternate Sides
This tip could very well be common sense, but it’s definitely worth noting. With Tracy’s method, you start a new workout every ten days. If you precisely follow along with her, you will notice she does all of the moves on her right side first then all of the moves on the left side second.
Instead, I switch things up. On the first two days, when I'm really trying to learn the moves and understand the reason behind them, I do all of the moves just as Tracy does- right side first, left side second. On day three and each day after, I rotate which side is worked on first. Our bodies get used to things and our muscles memorize what's going on. And we need to keep them challenged in order to see a change.
Another reason this tip is important is because we don't want one arm or leg more defined than the other. You will notice that the side of your body you work out second is usually more fatigued. More fatigue in our muscles = even better results. I don't know about you, but I want to look relatively symmetrical. So switching things up is my best bet.
4. Always Keep A Towel Nearby
Towels come in so handy with Tracy’s workouts. First of all, you will be sweating like a pig. Especially if you’re crazy enough to work out in 80 degree heat and long sleeves- all in the name of an intense workout! Keeping multiple towels on hand has become second nature.
But towels can also provide another layer of protection for your hands, elbows, forearms, and knees. Any fellow method devotees out there reading this, you know what I mean. Many times, Tracy will have you get in a plank position. In turn, forearms and elbows get rough and beat up- something I wasn’t used to. A small towel can ease the stress on certain body parts and provide a much-needed layer of support and padding. Now my elbows don't look or feel like sandpaper!
5. Play The DVDs With Tracy's Voice
There are three audio options on Metamorphosis DVDs- Full Audio (music and Tracy’s voice,) Music Only, and Tracy’s Voice Only. Out of the three options, I never choose music only. Why so? Because her direction is so important for results. No one can explain the moves better than Tracy. This plays into the one of the method’s main themes: mind-body connection.
Another reason I like to hear Tracy’s voice is for the camaraderie. She’s your number one cheerleader- she’s in the trenches with you. Although she makes things look like a cakewalk (it is her method, after all!) she is your mentor. I strive to mimic her moves as closely as I can, exaggerating and emphasizing just as she does. Every little detail matters.
Another crucial reason why I work out with Tracy's voice? The motivation factor. Working out at home, all alone sometimes makes motivation difficult to strike up. It’s not like a group class where you can feed off the energy of others. No one is there to pump you up or make sure you're completing all the reps. I find that working out with Tracy’s voice keeps me focused, accountable, and excited.
So, there you have it. Five tips that have helped me make it through six years (and counting) of the Tracy Anderson Method! I genuinely love it and look forward to it each day. If you have ever considered trying it, I can't recommend it enough.
Have you ever tried Tracy's DVDs? If so, what did you think? And if you're still doing them today, please let me know how you make the most of your workouts!
Main image via Tracy Anderson.