“Exercise is good for everyone if it is balanced,” says Tracy Anderson, the entrepreneurial force behind her namesake health plan – “The Tracy Anderson Method.” “Running is not good for [women]. Lifting weights over and over is not good for us. Overuse of your joints is not good. Compartmentalizing your muscles, making them bigger and bigger and bigger, is not good for us. This is not the animal we are meant to be,” she says. Instead, Anderson, who has already established a cult following with the ladies, believes in balance, something she’s implemented into her results-driven routine. Anderson, whose method up until now has been targeted towards women, has recently introduced a program geared specifically for the guys. Here, Life+Times talks to the whip-smart businesswoman about the process behind her brand.
Life+Times: Tell me a little bit about how you even started with The Tracy Anderson Method?
Tracy Anderson: I did what it takes to create a real fitness method. I probably actually set a gold standard of what it takes to set a real fitness method. I did a five-year research study with 150 women and measured them every 10 days and I created original content and sequencing for each of them and navigated them.
L+T: With these women, what were you measuring?
TA: I wasn’t measuring BMI or typical measurements. I was measuring based on the idea of how to create balance where there is imbalance in the body. I told them everything they needed to do. They knew they were guinea pigs. They all transformed like Stepford wives. They all did the work, but they all transformed completely. That word of mouth spread like wild fire. This was in Indiana.
L+T: Are you careful about what you eat?
TA:No, I’m smart about what I eat. If I ate a tablespoon of Yak Butter, which has 800 calories in it, or if I drank a diet soda – what would happen? If you asked 100 people in the middle of America the following question – “Will I gain more weight if I ate a tablespoon of Yak Butter or drank a soda?” – unanimously they would say Yak Butter. But they’re wrong. Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.
L+T: Alright, I know the women go crazy for you. But what about your recently launched “Men’s Program.” Can you tell me a little bit about it?
L+T: Men want to be panthers. They want to be machines that function. Right now, it’s all about being ‘skinny ripped’ – you want to look good in a tailored suit. It’s important for men not to overdevelop.
L+T: There’s clearly a big difference between your program for men and women – right?
TA:Men and women are very different. Men go through one hormonal change in their life, women go through at least four, however, we both have over 600 muscles in our body and the brains connection to firing those muscles is the same. If you walk out on ice, both of our brains recalibrate and help us. The amount of work that I have done carving out the relationship between the brain and the muscles, is incredibly beneficial to men as well as women and kids as well as teens. Let me tell you, there is not a women that you can put in front of me, that I can’t make every dream come true for her on her body if she gives me her time and trust. I’ve taken that approach and have developed the same mentality for men.
L+T: There’s also this whole psychological approach to your method too.
TA:Our muscles and our brains are the only tools we have. We can’t change the vessel of our body. You have free will – what are you going to do with these tools? Make it part of your life – smart, sustainable, lasting, that is going to feed you and last.
L+T: You must get stopped on the street often by people who have said you’ve changed both their bodies and outlook. What do you make of this?
TA: Totally. Someone actually stopped me the other day that cried to me for 30 minutes about how I changed their body. Recently I was in a store and someone heard my voice and they stopped me and told me that they recognized my voice because they watched my DVD’s every morning. I loved that as I really feel like I put myself as your teacher in your living room.
L+T: Do you feel as if you’ve established a brand?
TA:If you develop yourself and if you want to be a long lasting brand, you have to be the person that would create your brand and be happy doing it for a single person and not necessarily thousands and thousands of people. If not, you are manufactured and I believe you don’t have what it takes.
L+T: Do you still teach?
TA: I love teaching for 20 people. At this point in my career, I don’t have to be like “Unless 1,000 people are showing up at a detox weekend, I am not moving.” In fact, my favorite thing to do is to go to my TriBeCa studio and teach a master class. I do this often.
L+T: The members must love that.
TA: I did yesterday, and I’m doing it tomorrow. I do it randomly, but the members know. I have to be able to connect to the people I change and I have to be able to say “OK, I am going to move like this now. How are they following me? Is the language I’m speaking able to be accepted? Luckily, they’ve responded and I couldn’t be prouder.
For more information on Tracy Anderson, click here.