Tracy Anderson’s 5 (Surprising) Workout Rules

Photo: Smallz & Raskind
Tracy Anderson has come a long way from a kid whose ballerina mother encouraged her to "get really comfortable with unstructured movements" (just ask anyone in the TAmily).

The celeb trainer, who basically invented the genre of dance cardio (so yes, all choreographed roads today lead back to her), is one of the most recognized boutique fitness personalities.

With more than 20 years spent studying, consulting with scientists and doctors, and choreographing her own unique content, the dance cardio dynamo definitely has her own ideas about developing a good routine.

"[Getting active] is about you carving out your lifestyle and not following trends," Anderson explains.

On a recent weekend in Miami for Buick’s new Cascada convertible—which burns more calories than driving a vehicle with a roof, she says, since you use more of your senses—the superstar trainer delved deep into what she really thinks about breaking a sweat.

Originally posted March 16, 2016. Updated June 2, 2017.

From enforcing daily sweat sessions to (carefully) dropping the kettlebell, the celeb trainer shares five core workout philosophies—from her unique point of view, based more on her experience than the latest research. 

1. Look past the large muscles.

I don’t like roadblocks—and I consider when a large muscle is built up to be a roadblock. The key is to not use more than what you need, and to learn that less is more. If you want to be longer and leaner you’ve got to stay away from 10-pound, 15-pound [weights] and calling to action the bicep, the quad, the glute—the very direct large muscles that know exactly how to work in very specific ways.

The stronger one muscle gets, the more it shuts up all the other things. As you age, the stronger you make your bicep, the worse your skin [under your arm] is going to sag. You can’t ever get to it because the [bicep] is too overbearing. It’s like your muscles get in an abusive relationship with themselves. The strong ones say "go to sleep" to the smaller ones.

2. Our brains should be included in our workouts.

"In research, the number of muscles in our body keeps going up because [scientists are] starting to look at smooth muscle differently. We need to be connected. Everything needs to be called into action, and our brains—which remain one of the most mysterious objects in the universe to this day—have got to participate."

Tracy Anderson workout philosophy
Photo: Smallz & Raskind

3. Yes, you should be getting sweaty every. single. day.

I really believe in exercise every day. When I first started, people were still being told exercise 30 minutes a day, three days a week. I have gotten literally an army of doctors and scientists behind me over the years. The work I deliver is not something that is damaging the muscles; it's something that is actually good for you to do each day. You brush your teeth every single day. Your teeth are so tiny, they take five minutes to brush. The rest of your body, in comparison, deserves 30 minutes, in my opinion.

4. The body learns exercise like it learns a language.

Say you want to learn a foreign language: If one day you take French, one day Spanish, and one day Japanese, you’ll never learn a foreign language. But focus on Spanish and your brain will actually start to grow fatty acids and you get double bonds. The better you get, the more you’re able to challenge yourself and get to a new level to achieve physical change, fight disease, [and] fight aging.

5. Fitness trends—and kettlebells—can be dangerous.

There are a lot of boutique fitness practices that wear and tear on your joints or are not super healthy. Or people flinging kettlebells—you don’t really know where the force is ending up. I see more people with injuries in my studios from kettlebells than anything. It seems like everything [has gotten] very extreme: We watch weight-loss shows where people are pushing cars up hills. It’s just wrong.

Looking for a personal trainer? You'll want to ask these 6 important questions first. Plus, the gut-friendly salad recipe Tracy Anderson swears by

Loading More Posts...