I Worked Out Like My Favorite Celebrity, and Discovered an Online Workout I *Actually* Look Forward To

Photo: Getty Images/Viktorcvetkovic
Celebrities, they’re just like us… or so we’ve been told. Sure, they may have private chefs, nannies, chauffeurs, stylists, assistants, and personal trainers, but yeah, otherwise the same.

If there's any celebrity I wish I were like, it's actress Tracee Ellis Ross. She is heavy on the self-love, and oozes confidence in every interview I’ve ever seen. As a biracial, unmarried, and childless woman, I look up to her as an example of what owning your life looks like.

Since Tracee is my BFF (in my mind), I of course follow her on social media. I love to see where we would be hanging out if we hung out. One of the things she posts about that we would absolutely do together is working out. She does many different kinds, but the one that jumped out to me is the Tracy Anderson Method—a cardio-heavy workout that first became popular in the early 2000s, when Anderson, who trained in dance, teamed up with Gwyneth Paltrow.

When I first saw Tracee post about it I thought, “What the heck is this odd kicking and flailing workout?” My next thought was, “If Tracee is that fit from these workouts, I need to try them, too.”

Now, do I think you should do a workout just because your favorite celebrity does? Absolutely not. I'm a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and I’ll tell you what I tell my clients: Find a fitness program that works for you. Because if you don't enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. What's good for one person—particularly a celebrity who likely has access to resources the rest of us only dream of—won’t necessarily be a fit for you.

But I was looking for something new to spice up my routine, so I signed up for an online membership.

To do the classes, all I needed were some light hand weights (one to three pounds) and ankle weights (1.5 pounds.). There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes on the site, with one workout per week at each level. The intermediate and advanced workouts build on the beginner workout, so you can progress over the course of the week once you’ve got it down. There are also elective workouts like cardio dance that you can take as well.

For the beginners (hello, it’s me!), there’s a breakdown of each part of the workout with a trainer talking you through it. But aside from these videos, the workouts themselves are set to music without any input from the trainer. I found this to be the most challenging thing—I’m used to being talked through a workout, and as a group fitness instructor myself, that’s how I run classes when I teach. I did the guided beginner class first so that I would understand the moves and I'm glad I did—I needed those details.

The workout was just 30 minutes, but boy were my arms and buns on fire when I was done. Yet it could have been a comedy routine: I was rolling around on my floor and kicking my legs every which way, getting myself into all kinds of positions while giggling and asking myself, “What the hell am I doing?”

Meanwhile, the instructor in the breakdown video pulled zero punches. She was basically like, “If this isn’t how high your leg is, you’re wrong.” I couldn't help laughing nervously. Ummm... can she see me?

But also, can we also talk about those ankle weights? Who invented these torturous things? Lifting the body weight of my leg is hard enough without adding an extra 1.5 pounds to it.

After that first class, I didn’t quite get why it’s so beloved by my bestie (and other Hollywood elite), but I did have a lot of fun. The workout is about moving, flowing, and connecting with your body, and I enjoyed that part. But would it correlate to actual results?

Well, yes it did. After a month of doing the Tracy Anderson Method, my core was stronger, my buns were feeling like steel, and my arms were getting more chiseled. I found that I actually looked forward to doing the online workouts rather than sinking into my big, comfy couch (this is saying a lot for me). Though initially I was puzzled by not having an instructor talking me through each exercise, I actually appreciated it by the end: With just me and the music, I felt like I had a better mind/body connection, and I was able to let go and enjoy it. I’m sure I was doing some of it wrong—especially the dance moves—but I was having fun and I felt like I was in the groove.

Though I totally vibed with my bestie’s fav workout, not everyone would. My advice? If you want to try a trendy workout that all the celebrities and your friends love, check it out. You may find it’s right up your alley; you may hate it. That’s okay. Fitness can be kind of like dating. Sometimes it’s love at first try, and sometimes you have to see what other workouts are in the sea. That’s the beautiful thing about it: There is something out there for everyone.

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