My Weekend with Tracy Anderson
Does running in heels count as exercise?
Over the past two months, I've had myself convinced it does. It's been awhile since I've touched a stationary bike or put on my sneaks for purposes other than a casual dress day. The perfect storm of events happened a few weekends back. I happen to be back living on the east coast AND Tracy Anderson was in town hosting one of her infamous Detox Weeks. Knowing nothing about the details of what a detox week even means, I registered myself without hesitation as this is what I do. Get myself into situations without full context. I mean..the worse that could happen is I have Gwyneth gams by weeks end?
Day 1. - 8 a.m. check-in. Probably not a good idea to heavily imbibe (it was my anniversary!) and eat a heavy dinner the night before. First things first. Let's weigh in! Praying that taking off my shoes and sweatshirt will result in a low number on the scale. Ok, I've definitely have gained some weight since my workout hiatus. After weigh-in, I join 20 other TAM enthusiasts in the lobby for a protein shake (it was actually good!) to fuel us for our much anticipated workout TAM session. To my delight I make a few instant friends... we share our anxiety of the unknown "have you practiced?" one woman asked me. Practiced WHAT?! is going through my mind.
8:30 a.m. Tracy arrives promptly. Room quiet. I will admit--I was a little giddy and I think everyone else was too. She rambles on about how she is sorry for being (a few minutes) late and then in a split second, the music is on, and we are shimmying arms and waists, then before I knew it I was on the ground. If you've done her videos you will know what I am talking about. Hands and knees, and often face, on the mat with legs in the air. For about...an hour. Suffice to say, we haven't even started the cardio and I am DYING, thighs and glutes burning. I keep telling myself "I will keep going. I will do whatever it takes..bikini and bride body...I will keep my leg in the air." With no instruction from the front of the room, it was like I feel like a TAM failure as I had no clue what was happening. THIS is what they were talking about with the "practice." If you are a devoted TAM follower you should probably already know these exercises. Admittedly, I have the videos, but do not posses the attention span needed to complete a full series.
Moving on... one more hour and a half, we finish off our first day with an hour of dance cardio led by two of Tracy's best, brightest, and bushytailed. Do these girls have springs in their sneakers? Have you seen the episode of Lena Dunham in Girls where she is dancing like a crazy person in front of her computer trying to follow along to Tracy and team's routine? Yeah that was me. In the back of the (90+ degree) room. (Tracy likes it hot in there, in fact she said it wasn't hot enough and tomorrow it will be hotter!) Anyway.. I knew I was uncoordinated but never really know how much until last weekend. Arms flailing to "look" like I was following along. Skipping and occasionally jumping. Sweating my ass off. That was my first day. Pretty sure I was about to die and looking forward to eating some of the meals they prepared us for the day.
This is a day's worth of food.....
That's it. A salad, a green juice, and lots of pureed, but very nutritious, food. It was actually yummy. I cautiously fed myself through the day knowing if I ate it all too quickly, that would be it. Tracy insisted we don't cheat on our meals and if we felt the urge, to email an address reserved specifically for the TAM detoxers. She mentions that we have the potential to lose up to 6 lbs or more if you don't cheat over the weekend. Ok done. Not cheating. The rest of the day I was debilitated. I couldn't think, was exhausted, and ended up going to bed around 8 p.m. I was cool with it as I considered the beauty rest all a part of the process.
Day 2 - 7 a.m. wakeup call. Can barely move. Muscles so sore. Can barely sit on the toilet to pee and can barely lift my leg to get in the shower to rinse off. The bright side? Lost a pound... I know, I know it's water weight and basically didn't eat anything the day before, but it's promising and keeps me motivated for another day of torture. Drink shake and I make a few more friends and a quick scan of the room indicates I am not the only soldier down. I see a lot of bruises and bandaids on elbows from floor work. Find out that almost each person in my TAM group cheated. One with a yogurt and one with an entire meal and even cocktails! Feeling good that I kept to it.
More mat work and surprise! An hour of ladders and conditioning work. Was hoping for more dance cardio... or maybe a slower class with instruction? Regardless, ass kicking commences. It's the same as day 1 but I'm feeling very low energy and wanting to hide in the bathroom. The only mid workout motivator, when I was feeling like giving up: Tracy comes over to me and firmly tells me to kick her... as in, leg higher (it can't go higher!). I do it and she is happy with me, but lingers on my side of the room for awhile, watching our every move and ensuring we are not cheating. Likely sensing our lack of energy from our lack of caloric intake the previous evening, she sits down and imparts some wisdom on her method for us to ponder.
First, let me start with describing Tracy. Pint-sized, blonde, boobs for days, (she's breastfeeding) and a force to be reckoned with. She means business. Not a lot of putzing around with Tracy. She carefully times out her day, arriving on time, leaving quickly after our workouts, leaving no time for socializing or even pictures. Many of the women were disappointed in this, but I totally get it. She's busy, she's a new mother, and is running a massive empire! I can barely fit in a workout and socializing in my own life, and everything is carefully timed. Imagine throwing a child and a wildyly successful business in the mix. Forget it. Yes, no excuse, we all paid for her time through the weekend, but what she did leave us with is quality, great information, and a one-on-one experience working out with her.
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She's VERY passionate about what she does. She wants to help you educate and help others on fitness and nutrition. She repeatedly mentioned that she researched her method for over 15 years and that the bottom line is thereare NO quick fixes. Duh right? But some of us still believe in the miracle pill or procedure that will help us look like GP. And speaking of GP. I thought maybe she would drop in considering she was in town for a Tiffany/Gatsby gala, but she didn't...boohoo. But Tracy brought up her business partner repeatedly and said, "Gwyneth works really, hard" for that body of hers. Yeah yeah, it's GP's job to look good, but what I really got out of her quick day 2 lecture was that she wasn't judging me because I can't do the dance cardio moves or kick my leg (and leave it) high in the air. She insists that her method is like "blue-printing" the movements in our brains and we must repeatedly perform the moves in order for our brain to connect to the body. I get it. Practice makes perfect.
I ended day 2 feeling a little battered. We received our meals for the day and when I got home to eat my lunch, I could barely muster a muscle, let alone swallow my food. I told my fiance that I was going to cheat on my meals. I needed some food and my body was craving it. I convinced him on his fun Saturday night to take me to dinner at my favorite raw food place (cue Portlandia Episode "Fart Patio"). If I was going to cheat, I could at least be smart about it. My cheat was a salad. It was delicious and I went to bed happy and not hungry.
This was my cheat meal....the Pumpkinseed & Herb Salad from Pure Food & Wine.
Day 3 - 7 a.m. I woke up so exhausted and sore in new places and didn't know how I was going to survive the next few and last hours of the workout. The motivating factor was the money I spent to attend and the one hour lecture following our workout from Tracy. My weigh-in resulted in weight loss, regardless of my cheat. Game face on. Back on my mat. Same same. I made it, but barely.
We have an hour to burn between workout and lecture--this is where Tracy and team "evaluate" us--not the legendary sorority sister way (felt marker, x-ing out the body parts that need improvement). Tracy's most sprite trainer Katie assisted me. She looked at my body and said "I bet you felt like you had long legs at one point in your life...if you just toned here and here." Truths. Tis true. That glob of steak frite residue on my backside and thighs says something different. Taking this as positive feedback (yes I want long legs again!) I ask her what to do moving forward. She prescribes the Glutecentric Metamorphosis DVD's (I have them!) and says to continue to work on my muscular structure (TAM talk) and make sure I get my dance cardio.
Red faced and dying post workout #selfie
Tracy walks into the room, showered and fresh and out of her workout clothes and starts the lecture. The hour went by quickly and I took notes fast and furiously. She left in a hurry (profusely apologizing, but her breasts were filling up with milk!) but the few important take-aways are below that I found really fascinating.
WISDOM FROM TRACY
1. Women have four hormonal shifts through the month and the exercise you do and the food you eat are crucial to continuing weight loss/weight maintenance. Everyone has a week where they can lose weight, but its all different for each person depending on their genetics and menstrual cycle.
2. Right before ovulation is best exercise week. Use this week to your advantage! Get into a program this week and you will see the most results.
3. One week a month, (14 days after your period, or ovulation) is cheat week! What does this mean? You can have one "cheat meal." Tracy's cheat meal is bread, wine, plus a full dinner with starch. Pick which meal means the most to you during cheat week. If it's dinner, then lean into that, but eat a healthy breakfast and lunch.
4. The week after ovulation women experience a rise in progesterone, which mimics valium and makes you want to be cozy and eat chocolate. It's important to exercise and maintain healthy diet during that time to see continued or maintained results.
5. 12-24 hours before your period is due and during period it's SO important to keep on the program and NOT cheat.
Understand the formula, continue your workouts, and you will see results. Repeat.
A few other important tidbits from Tracy:
- She is not a fan of colonics. Our body knows what to dispose and when. Very damaging to colon and caused system to be confused.
- Salt is a big deal for women and use very sparingly. Again, duh, but she also mentions to use ONLY Celtic, Himalayan (Pink and from Pakistan) and a special salt from Utah, of which I can still not figure out what it is. When I do, I will let ya know.
- Calcium is very important! So are Omega 3s.Tracy was drinking chocolate milk through the workout! Believes in full fat dairy especially when breastfeeding.
- Worse thing to eat are excitotoxins: sugar subs (even agave!), MSG, Aspartame and caffeine. These things eff (she said the f-bomb) with women big time and cause inflammation. Avoid at all costs.
- Drink tea if you need caffeine.
- NO white flour.
- NO soy at all. Especially if breast cancer in family.
- Avocados can make women fat. So eat sparingly during the off weeks.
- Nuts make a lot of women heavy! Just an FYI...
- Stay away from juice cleanses!!!! And if you drink juice make sure its made right away.
- Energy drinks cause inflammation.
- If you have a sweet tooth, eat fruit, but do it first thing in the a.m.
Tracy also indicated that she has a bunch of new projects in the works-including a food delivery (of which we got to sample in our daily meals provided!) and a new face to face video training.
Weeks later, I will say that I haven't exactly been following her plan but am going to test it for a month before my wedding in September. Will let you know how it goes!
Has anyone else been to a Tracy Anderson Detox week? A fan? Have her videos? I'd love to hear from you!