Tracy Anderson on Your Wimpy Fitness Excuses

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Tracy Anderson
Tracy Anderson Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

In person, famous Hollywood trainer Tracy Anderson is exactly as tiny, tough, and outspoken as you might expect. She thinks juice cleanses are nonsense, hates the taste of water, and wants everyone to pull up their diapers and start exercising. But that doesn’t mean she disapproves of indulging at the occasional work dinner. Anderson, who is currently promoting her new partnership with Zicam’s line of immune-supporting supplements, talked to the Cut about her daily approach to health.

How I start my day: I wake up between 6 and 6:15 and check in with my teenager, who is so good at getting himself up. I don’t eat breakfast right away. Sometimes, depending on the time zone, I’ll have to do an interview or something. We have clients all over the globe so sometimes I have to check in on someone early in the morning, and then around 8:30 every morning is coffee time for me. Then I do a protein shake. I have my workout come 9, 9:30, and I am popping a Zicam Total Immune plus Performance Support Orange Burst melt in my mouth right before my workout. I’m someone who craves sugar, so when I could eat gummy bears before my workout I’d be totally fine, but now I like to have something good for me but flavored.

How I like to sweat: I have developed the largest bank of fitness content ever made. The Tracy Anderson Method is all that I do, seven days a week. I’ve spent almost two decades creating that methodology, but if I want to go on a hike with my kids or paddle-boarding, my regular focused fitness routine allows me to be able to have vitality and energy everywhere in my life. I believe 100 percent in being focused in your workout and that your workout time is your strategic time to create balance where there’s imbalance in your body. If you’re trend-hopping all the time, then you might be burning calories and moving circulation, but you’re lacking the ability to really design your body.

What wellness means to me: Wellness to me means that when you have your whole self considered — your physical, emotional, and intellectual self — you have the ability to learn how to balance it all in a life-giving way. Balance is something that I don’t think is talked about enough in terms of how much we have to balance every single moment of the day. Every 24 hours our body is burning a certain amount of energy. Every single day we don’t exercise we are gaining weight or staying the same, it’s a fact. And so wellness to me is considering everything because it all matters.

I developed a space in fitness that makes it possible for us as human beings to open up neuro-pathways in our brain and connect to our body in a way where you can strategically take care of all of your muscles in a unified manner. I was perceived as wanting to make everyone teeny-tiny, but it’s not about looking like someone else or being teeny-tiny, it’s about being your most balanced self. That looks different for every person. I also don’t believe in quick fixes or cleanses or extreme diets. The term wellness is not looking like a celebrity looks in a fleeting moment or on a red carpet because they’ve got a juice cleanse in their hand. So many misidentify what true healthy practice is for things that seemingly beautiful people are doing.

My wellness shortcut is: I’ll drink flavored water throughout the day because I don’t like the taste of water. And then I’ll have organic cans of chicken — Whole Foods makes this. You can open a can, mix it with some mustard and capers, put it on sliced cucumbers and have a really low-calorie, healthy lunch.

A client was just texting me about her food. She was like: “I had to sit next to a boss at work and I had to go off my healthy plan, is that okay?” I’m like, Listen, you have to be you. If you’re sitting down at a table and people have cooked for you, as long as you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity, you need to enjoy the moment. Anything that you’re doing in one moment that is out of practice that serves the emotional and intellectual side of you cannot harm your health. The next day, though, is time to get it in check. The biggest thing is not to go so many days out of balance.

How I feel about fitness excuses: I just launched a livestream program that I’m really proud of because I’ve had wait lists to my studio for years. I didn’t create this work to just give it to certain people, I want the content to be able to be affordable. The beginner option is 30 minutes. Everyone can cut out 30 minutes somewhere. Get up 30 minutes earlier. Connect yourself for those 30 minutes.

People need to learn to take care of that little tiny kid inside of them and learn how to put their adult diapers on and show up for their health. If you don’t give yourself a healthy option, then basically you’re an adult that’s not wearing diapers and you’re making a mess everywhere of your health. It’s really that simple. You just need to learn to speak straight to yourself and be your own health cheerleader.

How I eat when I’m alone: There’s a goat cheese called Midnight Moon and I could eat blocks of that with a little olive spread on some great gluten-free bread. I also have a serious love affair with chocolate. I could literally eat chocolate frosting shots from Sprinkles for an hour, no problem.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Tracy Anderson on Your Wimpy Fitness Excuses