To say that I wasn't more than a little excited to lace-up my neon ClimaCools for a workout session with trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson would be a Pinocchio nose-worthy fib. Anderson designs the fitness programs of countless stars, runs three studios, has published a book, is a frequent guest on E!, and now she's also Venus' celebrity fitness expert. Given that she works with Jennifer Lopez, a Venus Goddess, Venus was the one that organized the event centered around "getting Jennifer Lopez's legs."
Aside from the Venus-Jennifer Lopez connection, when asked about what convinced her to partner with Venus, Anderson told me and a handful of other bloggers, “Like shaving, working out is a 365 day a year thing.” She then told us that while she designs fitness programs for countless celebrities, she only personally trains “celebrities that can also be ambassadors,” by which she means celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Richie, and Gwyneth Paltrow who are honest with women about all the hard work it takes to stay in shape.
I have to say, after reading her book, I had some preconceived notions about Anderson, but she squashed most of them in person. She’s incredibly sweet, vivacious, and when I asked her about my main concern regarding her method – namely that it builds endurance without building strength – she told me that she in fact does built strength, just not via the traditional method of hand-held weights. Rather, she focuses on using your own body weight. I agree with her that using your own body weight for something like a push-up is an awesome way to go, but you need to build up strength in order to be able to effectively do that, and for me personally, I do not see anything wrong with traditional hand-held weight exercises. That said, we both agreed that multi-tasking and working multiple body parts at the same time is the most effective way to go (think a side plank with a leg lift).
I may not buy some of Anderson's murky explanations about how she can, for example, “cure you of cellulite” (all research has pointed to this being impossible), but I admire her confidence and when it comes to her moves in person, the appeal for me was undeniable. I set myself up directly behind Anderson and was in awe of how intensely concentrated she was throughout her routine. As someone who takes fitness classes almost daily, usually when I see a move I’m not familiar with, there’s a reason; either I'll consider it to be ineffective or worse, dangerous (think of the spin studios that advocate doing weight work while spinning – a sports medicine doctor confirmed to me that this is very unsafe for your back), but in the case of Anderson’s moves I was won over by a number of them that were unexpected, challenging, but also fun (or at least as "fun" as a workout move can be).
As for how Anderson came to work with so many celebrities, she told us that it was all word of mouth and that as a mother she never imagined that she would end up doing things like going on tour with Madonna for three years. What did I never imagine? That I would be looking into joining her New York City studio.
Anderson discussing her method; Anderson demonstrating a move after leading us through a workout session (yes I opted for the mat directly behind her!)