I went into lockdown with the best of intentions. There were two things I did during those first few uncertain months at home to stay focused and positive. The first was finally watch all the available seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The second was finally trying out all the popular exercise programs that had been permeating my feed “for like ever.” They were all offering extended free trials and unbelievable deals, and I was stuck at home looking to stay fit. Not to mention the curiosity factor and knowing I had around 3 weeks of free trial and I could cancel before my credit card was charged. 

The workout method I ended up absolutely loving is the Tracy Anderson Method. As I have said, I have always been an active person, plus I suffer from Addison’s Disease which necessitates a certain level of health and fitness. I am also almost 49, have had two children, my body is falling victim to gravity, and I inherited a lump and bump here and there from genetics. All that to say, I have problem areas that I wanted to concentrate on that conventional exercise never seemed to address, things that did not budge  – or flatten – no matter what I did. 

I began to see real changes in my body after about a week to 10 days of doing Tracy’s program. After one month, even my husband made a comment on my abs and he might not notice if the house burned down, so there’s that. The philosophy behind her method is concentrating on working the smaller muscle groups, rather than the larger ones most other programs focus on. I do believe therefore I never saw the results I wanted (a squat by any other name is still a squat). Just by holding your body properly, your core is engaged, so it really does involve your entire body. 

If you try her workout, I highly suggest watching her weekly talk, as well as a breakdown of this week’s moves by another instructor. Her method looks and feels weird at first and if you do not watch the breakdowns, you might think you are doing it wrong when you are not. You are supposed to hold your leg at that specific angle and twist your arm in that unfamiliar way. That is why it works. 

Another reason to watch the instructional videos is that Tracy does not talk during the workout itself. This is a conscious choice because she wants people to fully engage with the exercise while they are doing it. Personally, I find that instructors constantly giving out instructions in a high-energy workout situation is rather disrupting, so this was a big plus for me. It allows me to completely tune in to what is going on in my body. 

This leads me to another reason why I love Tracy’s method so much. It involves the mind as well. She calls exercise “conversations with your body,” an idea that helped me get reacquainted with my body, make friends with those problem areas, and appreciate the fact that my body is healthy at a time when your health is nothing to take for granted. 

Tracy completely changes the exercise routines for all three levels every week. That way you are never tired of the same routine week after week, month after month. This helped me with burnout from repetition alone. A bonus is that you can save her weekly videos to your favorites if there was one you particularly loved. I have a few saved that go back to the basics on an advanced move so I ensure I do not hurt myself. There are bonus videos, as well as an active TA community on her website and on social media. Everyone is always incredibly supportive and helpful. 

Lastly, the Tracy Anderson Method is easy to start, requires minimal floor space, and little equipment. The bare minimum you need to get started is a mat and some light hand weights. You can add leg weights if you want and occasionally a move requires a chair, but the upfront cost to get started is pretty small compared to many programs on the market. 

So, what programs did not make the cut?

Sorry, Beachbody Method, Bikini Body Guide, and OpenFit. I could get into a longer point by point as to why, but they all had a few similarities that put them on the chopping block:
 – Nothing new. Despite fancy names and a slight twist on a traditional move, it was still the same old exercises that left me frustrated in the past.

  – No real plan but a lot of suggestions. With Tracy’s plan, she explains how each week is designed to build upon the one previous. And if I want to do some extra work on my arms or hips that week, I know exactly where to find the video that will help me with this goal. It does not cost extra.

 – The mental component and other benefits were lacking. Whether or not they offered any extras in the basic package is one thing, but if they did, it was up to you to find it. All and all, these methods give you access to exercise classes when I was looking for a comprehensive program. 

Now I know people who strongly disagree with my assessments above, which is great! The Tracy Anderson Method just gave me everything I wanted and more in an exercise program and I can make it work in the time and mental energy I have to allocate to exercise. 

If you have been following for the past week, you know that I have not exercised in quite some time. I was hoping that writing this post would get me excited to get back to the TA Method and it did! The old me was an exercise junky s while I will always be a disciple of Tracy’s, I would love to hear about any programs and apps that you love. And if you try the Tracy Anderson Method, please let me know!

Photography by Chie Endo and Breezy Ritter