Maybe you have heard about the Tracy Anderson Method and you’re thinking of trying it, but you’d like to get more information first. When I originally posted this article years back, there was no Tracy Anderson Method FAQ, so I decided to create one to help people who are just starting or cannot find certain answers. If this collection of 40 Q&As helps you get more clarity, I will be happy.
What do I base my answers on? Her book, DVDs, interviews, webisodes, whatever I could find on the topic. This article was updated on October 10, 2017.
1. What is the method about?
It combines toning exercises and dance cardio. TA recommends 10-day rotations of the muscular structure sequences. Tracy exhausts the large muscle groups and then the smaller muscle groups wake up and pull everything in. She tries to prevent bulk this way and give you a long, lean, feminine shape.
It’s about changing content, you need to be changing it so that your muscles don’t get bored. You need to challenge yourself constantly and be consistent. It’s a life style change.
It’s not about dieting but exercising regularly, moving your body for about an hour a day or if you wanna get the most of it, then more (1,5 hr or so).
2. What do I need to do the method?
Not much. For a start, you can check some webisodes on YouTube to get an idea.
If you get interested, you can buy online workouts, get her DVDs or try her new video streaming subscription.
Mostly you will be using your own body as a form of resistance, but there are a few other things you’ll need:
- yoga mat (or a towel or something because some exercises involve kneeling down). Some people like to fold theirs to get additional support.
- chair (regular kitchen chair, armless) – mostly for support and reference point
- up to 3-pound weights/ 1.36 kg (women) – or you can start with 0,5 l water bottles
men can work up to 8-pounds/ 3.63 kg
- good shoes for the dance cardio
- optional – a mirror, helps to focus and perform the moves correctly
3. Should I do MS (muscular structure) or DC (dance cardio) first?
It does not really matter, but for more efficient weight loss TA recommends MS first, followed by DC.
4. Should I be pulling in my stomach muscles during the exercises?
According to a video with Maria (TAM master trainer), you should engage these muscles whenever you can.
5. Which shoes does TA recommend for DC?
It’s important to have shoes with enough shock absorption in heel and toe. You should also stay buoyant and off the floor, be careful with your footing to avoid injury. She has recommended Nike Shox and Mizuno Inspires in the past.
6. Which DVD should I start with?
Update: Explore the online workouts finally available. There’s Cardio Dance for Beginners which has four 15-minute workouts that you can combine that I like to use. There are all of her toning and cardio DVDs available in digital form.
Her book* which has a DVD and explains everything in detail. It has 3 MS sequences (1 per each 10 days) and a simple cardio that anyone can follow (it’s not edited greatly but it will do the job). Her other dance cardio DVDs take a bit of learning as they are more choreographed.
Mat Workout is very good and has a killer arm series.
Post Pregnancy Workout is great for the abs, it has a lot of instruction. Anyone can benefit from it, not just women who have given birth.
Or, you can start with the Metamorphosis series which has a 30 minute cardio and 9 MS sequences (you have a plenty of content for 90 days).
7. Do I need to be on a diet?
TA doesn’t like dieting because it’s not sustainable and food is a big part of our lives (social, emotional and physical), but if you want to see results faster, there are meal plans in the book and in the Metamorphosis series.
8. When people on TAM Facebook group talk about a boot camp, what do they mean?
Going by the 30-day Method book.
9. People use a lot of acronyms when it comes to the method, what do they stand for?
PP – Post Pregnancy
PDS – Perfect Design Series
Meta – Metamorphosis
DC – dance cardio / DA – dance aerobics, also BDC – Beginner Dance Cardio (DCI), DA07, DC08
BC – boot camp (her book: 30-Day Method)
MS – muscular structure
TAva – new low-impact dance cardio (Tracy Anderson + va from Spanish)
10. How much time do I need to put in the method to get results? How much cardio?
1 hour (4-6 times a week): 30 minutes MS + 30 minutes DC
If you don’t have much time, you can alternate muscle structure and cardio days.
If you have weight to lose and only a little window, do cardio. You can do up to 1 – 1,5 hours of cardio if you want and have time.
Give it 90 days. Tracy says you can do unbelievable things in 90 days. That’s the length of her Metamorphosis program, so you should definitely see results then. You’ll definitely feel different very early on, don’t get frustrated that your problem areas might start changing later. It’s a process, lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
11. Will I become static or will I have enough content to keep the muscles interested?
Tracy has more than 3 000 moves and she’s constantly working on new sequences, so your body will get all the challenge it needs to get you the results you want.
12. What if can’t jump during the cardio?
You can step-touch, do what you can, try to incorporate some more action gradually. Have proper shoes. Keep the room warm and avoid stop-start style. Try to perform the moves and stay connected.
13. What if I get shin splints from the cardio?
Make sure your sneakers give you enough support, do you your stretches daily, skip the jumping and step-touch during the dance cardio, warm the room up. Try to stay really light on your feet.
14. What is Tracy’s take on cardio?
She avoids stop-and-go movement (e.g. tennis), repetitive activities (e.g. running, spinning) that might bulk up the major muscle groups. According to her, you need continuous movement to get the results. So, she wants you to do her own dance cardio, which can be more choreographed on the DVDs‚ but there are easier to follow versions – Metamorphosis has one and there is one that comes with her book, but the editing has put some people off.
15. Are there other TA approved forms of cardio?
You can try her treadmill cardio or use a rebounder (mini trampoline) – useful for people who have problems with their knees. She has also said that a long powerful walk can be better than a short run. It’s something that almost everybody can do and it doesn’t have harsh impact on the joints. You can change the speed, the stride, incorporate music etc. to keep yourself engaged.
16. What kind of floor is the best for dance cardio?
Tracy talks about hardwood floors in her book, so if you have access to such, lucky you.
17. What about my exercise room – should I heat it up?
Tracy talks about heat because it keeps you sweating and the muscles perform better when warm. 80 F (26.7 C)
18. Is Tracy against weight lifting?
It doesn’t accomplish the kind of body she is trying to give you – long and lean muscles, instead, it makes your muscles short and bulky. The movement is linear and when you can’t feel the action, you up the weight. So you end up with same exercise and more weight. It stresses the muscle to the point when it needs to repair itself and you build mass, but you’re building muscles that are more prone to injury, your joints aren’t happy either.
19. Why only three-pound weights?
It doesn’t mean you can’t lift more in your everyday activities. More weight is just not suitable for TA exercises. Even without weights, you’ll be challenged as you’ll be using your whole body for resistance. Adding more weights might just cause you injury. The workout is not traditional, you’re tightening, elongating muscles, not trying to bulk up. When you try her unweighted arm section on the Mat DVD, you’ll be lucky to get through without breaks:-)
20. What kind of changes should I expect to feel when I start with the method?
The beginning might be uncomfortable, especially if you start with the book and challenge yourself for 30 days. You will have an all-over-tired feeling, almost like you have a flu, you will feel sore in places you haven’t felt sore before and it will be a different kind of sore when your accessory muscles start waking up.
21. How many reps should I start with?
If you can do 20, that’s good. But if you can’t, just work yourself up gradually. Do as much as you can do. Be patient with yourself and keep challenging yourself. Work yourself up to 40 and more.
Never go over 40 with ankle weights!
22. When should I add ankle weights?
If you can do 60 normal reps for 3 days in a row, but only add ankle weights when you can perform all the reps perfectly with no break.
23. How heavy ankle weights can I use?
In a video for Gwyneth Paltrow, Tracy tells her to use 1 lb ankle weights (0.45 kg). In her online store she’s selling 1.5 lb ankle weights.
24. Should I do the reps for different sequences all on one side first or do I switch after each move?
With the different sequences you should perform all the reps on one side and then on the other because first you exhaust the large muscle groups and then the accessory muscles kick in.
25. What about warm-up/stretches?
If your room is relatively warm, it helps, but in her book Tracy suggests you do 5 simple stretches before you start exercising. These moves include the triangle you might know from yoga, plié, hands to the floor, thigh and hip (with bent knee), side stretch.
26. How will I be challenging my body with the method?
You will be challenged by many aspects of the method: by repetition, angle, rotation, your own body weight, choreography, connection/focus and opposing forces (when you get good at the method).
27. I have problems with the unweighted arm sequences and standing abs, how can I learn them?
When performing arm sequences, keep you shoulders down and neck long, pay attention to detail, remember to stay connected to the rest of your body, engage abs, really reach, think about the opposing forces within you.
With the standing abs (rib isolations), practise with simple ‘side to side’ moves. You might want to start kneeling down, it will keep you grounded. Don’t forget to pull your belly button towards your spine. Move with your ribs, not your shoulders. Your ribs and hips are moving in opposition – you’re using your ribs as the cross vector. When standing, bend your knees a little, drop you tailbone towards the ground, keep you abs engaged, keep the torso long.
28. What equipment do the TAM studios have?
They use several fitness systems designed by Tracy: bands, bars, cubes, Hybrid Body Reformer.
29. What if the arm sections become too easy for me? Can I add more weight?
You shouldn’t go over the 3-pound limit (if you’re a woman, 8 lb if you’re a man), but try to control more or do the sequences twice. In some videos she has gone up to 5 pounds.
30. Where can I get more information on the customized Metamorphosis workouts?
The link to the full-length infomercial (28mins). Basically, there are 4 different workouts (90-day programs – muscle structure and cardio): abcentric, hipcentric, glutecentric and omnicentric. Visit the official website.
31. Are TAM workouts available as an iPhone app or can I buy them in digital form? Do I have to order DVDs even though I might not use them again after I complete the 10-day rotations?
Her website now offers online versions of all her workouts, DVDs and streaming subscriptions.
However, there are many short webisodes on YouTube worth checking out. If you start with a DVD, you might use it for a month, depending on your shape, but you should move on once it gets too easy and you’re not feeling challenged. Adding more reps or ankle weights help too.
32. The meal plan in the book seems pretty low calorie, how will I get through my workouts?
You can eat bigger portions, don’t starve yourself. You need energy to work out.
33. Do I have to follow the meal plans to get the results I want?
The meal plans are to help you kick-start your transformation, they are temporary. Some people don’t follow the meal plans at all and still get results. It helps to eat clean and fresh, eliminating the usual culprits and having enough vegetables and protein. You can eat whatever you want in moderation.
34. Are Tracy’s meal plans about baby food?
No. In her book she has meal plans both for vegetarians and meat-eaters which include salads, soups, main courses and desserts. She avoids sugar and processed foods, adding extra fats. Instead, yacón syrup is used, organic olive oil spray, kefir yogurt, green juices and so on.
She has a performance cleanse menu (5 days) in the book which includes pureed foods. The reason is to give you enough nutrients while cleansing and keeping your digestive system working. You’ll have seven different foods each day and some power juices (kale juice, kale spinach beet juice).
35. What does Tracy recommend for hydration and what should I drink during the ‘boot camp’?
She mentions coconut water without added sugar, green juices (especially kale). There is no specific info about drinks during the boot camp, but I assume you should avoid anything with sugar or sweeteners. Some people also skip coffee and drink green tea or water with some lemon juice instead. Just make sure you’re staying hydrated:-)
36. What about alcohol and TAM?
Tracy says that enjoying a glass or two of wine a day will not slow down your results. She often talks about the power of resveratrol (found in the skin of red grapes), so drinking wine in moderation can be beneficial to your health.
37. What is Prtty Peaushun?
It’s a body lotion that Tracy loves and uses in all photo shoots. It was created by makeup artist Bethany Karlyn. It contains natural ingredients like avocado oil, avocado butter, calendula extract, green tea and rosemary extracts, fruit wax and so on. It comes in several shades and has a nice sparkle thanks to its light-reflecting mineral particles.
38. Will TAM have an effect on other areas in my life?
Working out can improve not only your skin tone, endurance and health, but also your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. You will feel more feminine and sexy and this new self-confidence will most likely affect your sex life too.
39. How should I choose the right Metamorphosis workout?
To identify your body type, think about the area where you are genetically weak, where you put on weight first. For some people it has been hard to choose between hip and glutecentrics, and Tracy mentioned something about lifting your butt a few inches – if your saddlebags disappear, you’re glutecentric. If you have thick thighs all over, then hipcentric should do the trick. If you’re still not sure, you can always go for the omnicentric.
40. What if I interrupt the Metamorphosis program for some reason?
If it is a week or so, go back to the level you were on, but if more than a month, you should start from the beginning.
*affiliate link – more info here.