Sunday, 10 November 2013

Tracy Anderson – The Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout

Tracy Anderson is a fitness instructor to the stars.  And I’m not talking British Lawnmower Museum “Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous” levels of stardom here.
Vanessa Feltz, Alan Titchmarsh, Some bloke with brown hair...

Tracy trains Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth even appears on the DVD extras for this workout.  Gwyneth clearly believes the best way of promoting a fitness DVD is to tell us that after doing it, she “literally couldn’t walk for three days!” and that doing the Standing Arms section of this workout meant that she couldn’t pick up her children the next day.
“Sorry I’m going to have to put you down now, honey. Mummy’s just too fit for this sort of thing.”

Eh? Is that a good thing? Because while I understand that feeling some stiffness after a workout might be encouraged, being literally incapacitated sounds like a bad thing. I’m not convinced you should be recommending that.
“Can’t ... move. Too ... stiff ... ”

When she’s not incapacitating A-listers, Tracy likes to share her fitness methods with us common people. In her introduction, she tells us that we are all shaped differently: “The good news is that it is completely possible to re-engineer your muscular structure any way you want.”

I can re-engineer my muscular structure any way I want? Fantastic. Can I be an ichthyocentaur? That would be cool.
Part man. Part horse. Part fish. All awesome.

Her main mission is to make us all teeny tiny. It’s a strangely specific ambition that she keeps repeating throughout the workout. Like she doesn’t just want to slim us down, she wants to actually shrink us. Maybe Tracy was 6’8” when she started this.

When she first started teaching this method in her exercise classes “everybody’s arms became teeny tiny and cute.” Which could be a worrying development if you weren’t expecting it.
It’s what happened to this guy.

Tracy’s certainly teeny tiny all over now. It’s a bit like receiving fitness instruction from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When Gwynnie’s not using Tracy, she just pops her in her handbag.

I am a bit puzzled why this is called the “Mat Workout” as only 2 of the 9 sections actually take place on a mat. That’s only 22% per cent of the workout. I’m sure most workouts achieve a higher percentage than that and don’t even feature “mat” in the title.

No matter. It’s actually a great workout. You know, if you enjoy pain and suffering. And you’re clearly in great company if you do.

“Christ, Madge is about to start one of her tedious Qabala anecdotes.  Pretend to be busy.”

Worst Bit
There’s a distractingly high level of pouting on show throughout this DVD. It’s like doing a workout with a teenager's Facebook page.

Best Bit
I actually rather loved this. Or at least the small amounts that I could manage before keeling over in pain and lying on the floor twitching in pain like a walrus with its flipper stuck in a toaster.

There was a lot of stretching and bending and a generally Pilates-esque feel to the whole thing. I enjoyed the sedate, controlled feel to the excruciating agony. No one was making me charge about like a mad thing.

Difficulty Level
This is a crazy difficult workout. Not least because there’s no “Follow Geoff if you want the easy moves” option here. You can’t bend over, place your hands on the floor and then walk your arms forward three paces? Well, screw you lightweight. You better sort yourself out.

The arm workout looks like a few airy fairy floaty arm moves and is actually insanely painful. It better have done me some good because, you know, I don’t think I am going to be able to pick Gwyneth Paltrow’s children up tomorrow, either.

Hey Gwyneth, you were totally right about the arms. 
Me and Paltrow agree on so much.

Would I do this Workout Again?
I think I will. Not the “at least 6 times a week” that Tracy recommends because I am not a crazy. But at some point in the future, almost probably. And with that kind of killer attitude, I expect to look like this in no time:

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