via Body + Soul |
Tracy Anderson is responsible for getting some of the biggest names in Hollywood into shape. She shares her top tips on toning up.
Gwyneth Paltrow said it transformed her body, while Kim Kardashian used it recently to get back to her pre-baby shape. The Tracy Anderson Method, with its vigorous dance routines that incorporate more than 3000 fitness movements, is the go-to workout for Hollywood women.
So, is it possible for mere mortals to get Gwyneth’s legs or arms like Madonna? Not really, Anderson says, but for two good reasons: “Not only do these women work much harder than most because they have to [Gwyneth reportedly exercises for 1.5-2 hours every day, six days a week], but women also need to realise that a lot of what they see in magazines is airbrushed and manipulated – and trust me, that’s coming from a person who sees these people every day.”
The consolation is that we can still get our best body using the workout wisdom Anderson has gained from whipping celebs into shape. Here are her golden rules:
Increase your workout sessions
Doing a couple of weekly sessions down at the pool or in spin class might do wonders for your cardio health, but if you’re looking to transform your body, it’s not going to do much, Anderson explains. “Anyone who says you can change your body with just three days a week is scamming you,” she says. “If you want to be bikini-ready, you’re looking at [working out] an hour a day at four to six days minimum.” The good news with this method is that you’ll never have to worry about dieting, but the bad news? You’ll have to keep it up to maintain it. “It’s a simple matter of putting in what you want to get out, period.”
Shake things up regularly
It’s a wonderful feeling when you know you’ve finally mastered a particular type of exercise or movement, but it seems the joy is actually short-lived because, as Anderson tells it, the better you become at something, the less effective it is for your body.
“The brain maps movement, so once it feels that it’s conquered something, your body will go on autopilot, which is why there needs to be enough of a change to your routine and movements to keep genetic weaknesses and imbalances awake, alert and engaged.”
In Anderson’s “Method”, the routines change every 10 days, and are customised to different body types and shapes. “You don’t have to change your whole workout, just some of your movements,” she says.
Give up on crunches
You can also forget doing sit-ups, push-ups and any other exercise that’s based around repetition, Anderson says. “Moves such as crunches which concentrate on the one area create an imbalance in the body and encourage bulk by charging up the larger muscles,” she explains.
Instead of working solely on your “problem area”, an all-over workout tailored to your body type will require your brain to stay connected to your body and engage more of the smaller muscles which should see you getting “shredded” fast.
Audit your diet
Fitness isn’t “one size fits all”, Anderson says, and neither is diet. “Working out is useless unless you take stock of what you’re putting into your body and being honest with yourself about your habits.”
Anderson suggests taking a look at your fridge and pantry to really think about what you’re eating and to ask yourself whether you’re overeating or going hungry and what changes you could make.
“It’s also important you find out if you’re sensitive to any foods as not only could you be having an internal reaction to them, but they could prevent you from reaching your physical goals,” she says.
Eat (carefully) before you exercise
Most of us take care with what we eat after a workout session (why undo all the hard work?), but what you eat beforehand is just as important, Anderson says.
“Exercising on an empty stomach makes your workout far less effective because you’ll be sluggish and won’t be able to go the distance.” Instead, she recommends eating lightly (“No bread or pasta because they’ll prevent you from burning as much fat as you could be”) or having a couple of scoops of protein powder with half water and half coconut water.
Write angry letters
That evil boss isn’t only standing in the way of you getting a pay rise/promotion/life, but he or she could also be responsible for your substandard workouts (and by default, your substandard butt). “When people are stressed, it clouds their minds and makes them less productive,” Anderson says. “So I encourage clients to get rid of their stresses every day.”
To do this, she advises taking a moment every evening to write things down, whether in a diary or a fiery letter you can then destroy (don’t send). Not only will this give expression to your grievances, it will clarify any issues in your head. And a good mindset will make your workouts more productive, too.