6 Things We Learned From Fitness Queen Tracy Anderson

The pint-sized powerhouse responsible for toning such celebrity bodies as Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie and J.Lo visited Toronto this week to promote Samsung’s new GS5 smartphone and compatible Gear Fit wristband, which tracks heart rate, sleep quality and steps. Every health editor in town descended on 889 Yoga at the Four Seasons for a 30-minute workout and Q&A with Anderson, who previewed moves from a forthcoming DVD and had muscles quaking. Here, six things FLARE‘s Rachel Heinrichs learned about Anderson during the course of this very sweaty session.

1. She is even tinier in person
The cliché that celebrities look smaller in person than on TV is absurdly apt when it comes to Anderson, who must have 0.5-percent body fat. After the workout, she picked up her daughter, Penelope, who was, at two years old, already a third the size of her mom.

2. She doesn’t buy the “20 minutes a day a few times a week” fitness philosophy
“Somewhere in the ’50s, when the whole white-picket-fence thing happened, doctors just got frustrated and they were like, ‘Please just do 20 minutes, anything, maybe, pleeaase.’ It’s been a really slow road to educate people that, based on science, you need to connect to your body six days a week. You can take a day off and it won’t mess you up…but working out three days a week—you can never own a weight loss like that…It has to be a lifestyle.”

3. She doesn’t wait for you to keep up
Anderson is known for her complex cardio-dance choreography, which involves jumping, spinning, kicking and shoulder shrugging (often at the same time). IRL, the workout is every bit as discombobulating as in the DVDs, resulting in editors dancing into each other, limbs flying. Anderson very kindly suggested we move like natural dancers—and kept right on going.

4. She’s not judgy
Anderson got into trouble last year when she said Gwyneth Paltrow had “significant problem areas” after delivering her first baby, Apple, which had me worried going into to the class: if Gwyneth had problem areas, I have disaster zones. But Anderson put my mind somewhat at ease, by telling the group not to judge ourselves or our neighbours.

5. She recommends working out in heat
“When your body is trying to thermo-regulate to cool itself down, guess what works more? The connection between your brain and the muscles. Your body is uncomfortable, it’s trying to cool itself down…Automatic systems start to turn on in your body. It’s about having access to the muscles that are locked up, tight, not wanting to mould, shift or change.”

6. She and business partner Gwyneth Paltrow are planning to expand their gym franchise next year Galaxywatch
“I want to open a lot more studios but because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, I get a nervous about my relationship with the student, and making sure the method is distributed properly. Gwyneth wants to give women access to the method. We’re actually in the process of a big expansion.” She won’t say if or when in Canada.


Tracy Anderson’s Samsung GS5 and Gear Fit playlist:

  • Coldplay, “Midnight (Giorgio Moroder Remix)”
  • OneRepublic, “Love Runs Out”
  • Jessie J, “Thunder (DJ FmSteff 2013 Totalmix)”
  • Rachele Royale, “Shush”
  • Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”
  • Glass Animals, “Gooey (Gilligan Moss Remix)”
  • Asher Monroe, “Memory (Craig Welsh Pop Bootleg Mix)”
  • Dank, “Wonder Child”
  • The Black Keys, “Fever”
  • OneRepublic, “Counting Stars (It’s the Kue Radio Edit)”