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May 11, 2010

Gwyneth Paltrow's Buns of Steel + Jazzercise

Ok, so I'm not really a fan of the Tracey Anderson Method.

I'm not going to say it doesn't work.. it can.  I mean, it does.

It's just not my style.

At all:

Tracey's schtick is that you work the "accessory muscles" instead of the prime movers, you end up long lean and girly, instead of the size and bulk you would get from weight training.

Gwenyth Paltrow credits The Tracey Anderson Method with getting her in wicked shape to play Pepper Pots in Iron Man 2, opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, who's Iron Man 2 workouts I covered earlier in the week.

Here is the Scoop on the Tracey Anderson Method:

1.) They steal every hip abduction and extension move from Buns of Steel and Pilates.

2.) They include 60 minutes of dance cardio

3.) The calories are extremely low

4.) The food is extremely clean (she says "frozen peaches are your new ice cream")

Why "The Method" Works

There is actually a lot that works about the Tracey Anderson method.  Anyone that's ever taken a really kick ass dance cardio class (I used to like the old Nike Rockstar classes) knows that it really is an hour of intense cardio.

Because it's dancing, and not running on a treadmill, it's more fun and people work harder.  And working hard always works.

This is the concept that Jazzercize and a million other dance based Group Exercise classes are based on.

It gets people moving, a lot, and people like it.

On top of that, there is an emphasis on precision movement, and I'm all for anything where people are practicing better movement.

As far as all those moves to hammer your butt, it's looks like they do about a thousand moves that hit your glute maximus and your glute medius.  That means that it does, in fact, really work your butt.

If you ever did Buns of Steel in the 80's, you know, it actually really does kick your ass.

Tracey Advocates a low calorie, super clean diet, and that always works.

Why "The Method" Blows

Ok, first off, Tracey Anderson says that "No woman should ever work out with more than 3 pounds."

I just don't buy the whole "Women have to be weak to look feminine" thing.  I don't think anyone has to be weak.  If I take out the trash, the trash is more than 3 pounds.  And no one ever "bulked up" from taking out the trash.

Look, I've actually seen super light - ultra high rep workouts work.  It just takes lots... and lots... and lots... ... ... ... and lots... ... ... ... ...of reps.

Watch some of the Tracey Anderson Method videos and you'll see them doing movements for 40-100 reps.  It turns into an ultra endurancy kind of thing, like running instead of strength training.

It can work, the same way that marathon running can work. 

But it takes about four hours more gym time per week, and because this kind of workout can often be muscle wasting you have to eat a lot less food to keep your weight down.

Let me repeat - You could produce the same fat loss result, with half as much time in the gym, and get to eat more food, with a smart strength training program.

I just like to have my client's workouts be more efficient than that.

My favorite part: In this video of Gwyneth and Tracey:

Tracey says that no women should ever lift more than 3lbs.

Immediately, Gwyneth mentions that she carries her kid, who is 30lbs, around with her left arm.  And that her left arm is her lean arm.  Gwyneth says that the right arm, the one she's only been lifting 3 pounds with, is the one that has the fat hanging off of it.

Anyone else see any irony in this?

I'm Not Knocking Tracey Anderson, or Gwyneth Paltrow

Actually, I think she's super charismatic, and her class looks really fun. 

She does an awesome job of selling her philosophy, and making it fresh and new and unique.

If you really want to try The Tracey Anderson Method, I recommend totally ruining everything she preaches by adding a couple strength training days - maybe two days per week of strength training and two days per week of "The Method".

I just think it's a lot more gym time than most of my clients have.

And that with this kind of workout, you aren't going to get to eat as much food as if you were strength training.

And for the record, I think Gwyneth looks awesome as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 2.  I just prefer the more superhero look of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow!

by Josh Hillis, RKC2, CPT, PES, ZMRS, ZMIS


If you didn't get it yesterday, make sure to pick up my friend Arnel's free report: 5 Reasons Your Workout Sucks! and make sure you aren't making any of the Big Five Mistakes!



First, kudos to Gwyneth for working so hard. She's obviously very fit, which is fantastic. And props to her for her honesty, and especially for showing herself doing an actual *workout*, with complaints and sweatyness and everything.

But I'm calling bullsh*t on the "No woman should ever work out with more than 3 pounds" crap. Who the heck is Tracey Anderson to tell me what I *should* or *shouldn't* do? I'm tired of these celeb trainers telling me how I'm supposed to train or what I should want to look like. YES, tell me how Gwyneth trains. Tell me what she eats. Tell me how she copes with food cravings. That's great information to have. But don't tell me I should want to look like her. Because I don't. I can appreciate how awesome Gwyneth looks and respect her for her hard work while still holding Jessica Alba (in her "bulky" phase) as my "ideal" and training example. Tell me how to get there *if* it is what I want, but don't tell me it's what I *should* want. That's not up to Tracey Anderson to decide.

Thanks for another great article, Josh!

Tracey Anderson is a criminal/con artist who will eventually see her day in Indiana court; therefore, her corny ridiculous workouts never impress me. (Nor does the stupidity of them ever amaze me). As for Gwyneth Paltrow, I've *never* seen her as some sort of specimen of hot body - those catsuits can be designed to make a person look fitter than they are. To me she looks like a noodle, a wet noodle, and should definitely pump more than 3 lbs.

Totally agree! I'd take the buff Jessica Alba look over Gwyneth - actually I'd take the buff Jessica Biel look over the both of 'em!

The thing is, I think Gwyneth is really going for the wet noodle look! And I've stopped judging which look people want, I'm stoked for people who manage to get exactly what they are going for. Kind of like the Jersey Shore guys who just bench and curl 90 minutes per day. It might not be the look my clients are going for, but I've got to give them props for getting the look that they want.

I used to think Tracey Anderson's workouts were totally stupid too - then I got it, it's just dance cardio - it's a really well marketed dance group exercise class. Jazzercise 2.0

And when I worked at 24 Hour Fitness, I had lots of clients that would pair 2 days of hard strength training with 2 days of dance cardio stuff, and get great results. And they liked it, so it was fine.

I mean, I have clients who run marathons also!

I think Scarlett Johansson was the one wearing the catsuit, and Scarlett looked bangin!

You've gotta tell me, what's the drama about Indiana! =) That's a link long article in the Indianapolis Monthly about her - it's aptly titled "Getting Ripped" as in OFF. Besides what's in the article, if you do some searching you can find out more about how she ripped off customers in Indianna and LA, ripped off "friends" and family - and basically lied about her whole career. Told people she was the pink Power Ranger, performed in Cats on Broadway, and a zillion other lies. Madonna probably dropped her because she realized what an idiot she looked like for hiring that con and falling for her crap. (There is also a "rant" page where many of her former customers dis her - ).

Her program involves, like you said, lots of dance-type cardio and...starvation. She actually promised people that she could get them down to twiggy proportions with no regard to health.

You're right - they didn't put Gwyneth in a catsuit, just Scarlett (and she looks great). I'm a woman & hormonal, so I can be catty and say...that's why SHE was in it and not Gwyneth. :D

*facepalm* You know what? I actually meant Jessica Biel! But I got so angry about Tracey Anderson that I confused them. Duh.

Josh - Really great post. This last Sunday I was speaking to my 61 year old mother on the phone and she told me she just bought wrist weights so she could do this workout she saw on Oprah that REALLY tones your upper arms. Immediately I was like - "do you mean Gwyneth Paltrow?" At which point she was like "Yes!"

My problem with these workouts is exactly what you mentioned - the muscle wasting nature because 99% of people will NOT do the dance cardio (which is what is really taking the fat off) as its just too hard and high impact.

My poor mother believes her arms wobble because she needs to tone. I was like, "listen, do you think your tricepts are hanging or something?"

My first pass at this article, originally, was going rip Tracey Anderson a new one.

But on second thought, I'm like, it's Jazzercise, it's harmless.

I think this would be a great workout week:

Barbell Deadlifts 3x5
Dumbbell Press 3x5
Barbell Squats 3x5
Pullups 3x5 (weighted or assisted)

Jazzercise, Nike Rockstar, or Tracey Anderson Method

Kettlebell Get Ups 3x3
Kettlebell Swings (mixed intervals) x 10:00

Jazzercise, Nike Rockstar, or Tracey Anderson Method

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Fun
Joint mobility, yoga, easy hike, ultimate frisbee ect.

I think it's hilarious she said she's the Pink Power Ranger! That's like if I said that before I cut my hair I was Slash from Guns N Roses!

Did I mention I was the guy inside the CGI monster in Cloverfield =p

I'd heard something about the starvation, but I didn't dig down enough to really find out how little food people get on her diet. I'll have to check that out!

But that's one of my favorite things about having people actually *add muscle*, they get to eat more! Seriously, at this point I think being strong makes almost every fitness goal easier.

Totally! Really high intensity, on beat, precision dance is actually a hell of a workout. I think it's great when paired with strength training!

It's hard hearing the "new thing" people are trying. I try not to make a face EVERY time someone tells me the new thing they just read! The signal to noise ratio in the media is SO LOW.

Did you ask her: "Hey Mom, have you ever read my blog?"


Ditto what you said Josh
"I just like to have my client's workouts be more efficient than that"
That sums it up in one. Great post mate

Also, on the do not lift more than 3lbs.

If you do a squat, lunge, or even walk you're lifting all of you... I don't care how skinny you are, you definitely weight a lot more than 3lbs.

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