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TRACY ANDERSON IS A JOKE

The reason there are so many diet and fitness books and DVD's out there is because they all claim to be "the right way". That "right way" must be legit and supported by proper medical research, not ridiculous fakes like Tracy Anderson, Stanley Burroughs, etc. The diet and fitness program that works for your body without bringing any harm to it is the way to go! Its all about being healthy and happy, after all!

This review of the 'Tracy Anderson Method' from fitminusfiction.com is hilarious!

Fiction-spotting: Tracy Anderson. I mean, Jilliam Michaels. Wait, Susan Powter. No-Tony Little.

A few days ago, one of my friends asked us what we thought of the Tracy Anderson phenomenon. (“Who?” ) So thanks for the post topic, and get your feet set. This is so in-depth, I think we hit China.
All fake experts have one thing in common. They make up methods using their own uneducated reasoning.
It reminds me of people in ancient civilizations. (Stick with me, this works.) They didn’t understand why volcanoes and earthquakes happened. So, they said fire rained down from the sky, and the gods shook the earth in anger. The Greeks needed a dude in a chariot to explain the sun’s movement across the sky.
Fitness “gurus” develop these theories as if they truly understand physiology. But really, they’re just guessing at explanations in the absence of real understanding. They have no idea of the mechanisms in the body.
Tracy Anderson’s schtick: “small accessory muscles pull in the major muscles and keep you from looking bulky.” Well, I’ll give her one thing. Girl’s ballsy with her fiction.
A) “Accessory” muscles isn’t even a real term. They’re called stabilizing muscles—their job is to help stabilize you. B) In fitness science language, what she does is called “muscle endurance” exercise (as opposed to muscle-building/strength exercise). Which is controversial, in itself, because there’s not a ton of benefit involved.
Whenever you do a lot of reps with little or no weight until you poop out, that’s a muscle endurance exercise. This does not build more muscle. I better repeat that: if you can perform an action more than 15 times, you’re not building any muscle. (ACSM Position Stand, “Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults.”)
I can lift my arm above my head just fine. But if I did it 100 times in a row, would my arm get tired? You bet. Will it build muscle? Nope. Because your muscle can already perform that action just fine. All you’re doing is running it out of juice. [Nerdy explanation of "juice:" inorganic phosphates build up and prevent production of more energy. Also, hydrogen ions (acidity) accumulate.]
I did some sniffing around for info on Tracy Anderson’s methods. After some searching, I found a nice, objective (but not overly educated) review of the DVD, and a video with clips of her workout, if you’re interested.
Anderson has stated several times that women should never lift more than three pounds, because they’ll “bulk.” Hey, what’s that old saying? ‘It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool…’ Your muscles can already lift three pounds. And if you’re not heaving with muscle now, you’re just fine.
Exhibit A: Me. I lift 20-pound dumbbells for each bicep. I do dumbbell presses with a 35-pounder in each hand. My arms are neither bulky, nor cut like a bodybuilder. They just look slimmer and “tighter” than they used to. And my shoulders seem to look a little more square, too. (likey like like)
But don’t just take my word for it. As usual, we’re gonna cram the scientific reasoning down your throat, too (it’s what you love, right?): women don’t naturally have the testosterone and growth hormones to get big muscles. Only a very small percentage of women (less than 1%, according to the PhD) have the extra Y chromosome that makes them capable of building muscle more like a man.
As if that’s not enough to convince you, here’s some more: the muscle women tend to develop is more slow-twitch (for endurance activities), which is the long, lean kind. Men tend to develop more fast-twitch muscle (for strength and power), which is the bulky kind.
It’s worth bearing in mind that many women who worry about bulking up (okay, treading carefully now) probably have a decent layer of fat over that muscle, too. For instance, building muscle on their thighs might only make their legs look bigger, instead of shapelier—it’s because they haven’t gotten rid of the fat over the muscle yet. Just saying. For more on that topic, you’ll definitely want to check out what this post has to say.
Remember, cardio keeps your heart healthy, and can keep you slim, but building muscle is what gives you nice shape, fights the bastard-twins Time & Gravity, and helps keep up your metabolism.
So anyhoo, I found enough Anderson falsehoods to fill Epcot. Here are just a select few:
Working the “accessory” muscles as she does, “pulls the skin back to the muscle.” False. No such thing. Again, if you can see muscle, it’s because there’s less fat over the muscle. (Really, you do yourself a nice favor by reading that other post.) And regarding skin that’s been over-stretched, like those people you see on TV who lose an excessive amount of weight: you can’t unstretch it. Skin’s elasticity only goes so far.
During one of her workout DVD’s, Anderson apparently mentions that the pain you’re feeling is because the “accessory” muscles are changing the shape of your limbs. False. Even if you exercise the hell out of stabilizing muscles, they’re small, and not in a position to change the shape of your limbs.
Here’s a really disturbing one. According to this article and others, Anderson often puts her clients on a diet of around 1,000 calories a day.
Um, she can’t do that.
First, because she’s not a dietitian (details, details). You’re not allowed to prescribe diets unless you’re a dietitian. And even a dietitian can’t prescribe a diet of less than 1200 calories, unless it’s under the direct supervision of a doctor. Anything under 1200, and you’re not getting the essential nutrients you need to live, hence the need for a doctor to keep an eye on your vital signs.
Anderson also claims that running bulks up your thighs. Well. Now she’s just contradicted her own mouth. Running is a muscle endurance exercise, just like the stuff she does. (Easy repetitions, over and over and over. No resistance.) Quick review: muscle endurance = no building muscle.
All of Anderson’s talk about teeny muscles, in general, is crap. You know what teeny muscle is? Less muscle. There is no magic teeny-but-strong muscle. You may have teeny muscles that you’ve trained to endure 100 reps, but they are not stronger. (I.e., if you could only lift 30 pounds before, you’ll still only be able to lift 30 pounds now.)
If you insist on having the slimmest body with the tiniest muscles, become a long-distance runner. It’s a ton of cardio, and doesn’t build muscle. (Even though lots of long-distance runners do strength training, to improve their performance.)
She finds a way to burn calories off of you, and then purposely doesn’t build muscle. That’s pretty much it.
So how does she get you to burn these calories? She has you workout for two hours everyday. Yeah, you heard me. Two hours. That’s her recommendation—one “cardio” DVD, one “mat” DVD, each one hour.
Which is, sigh, the source of another fiction: if you can do the same workout for an hour, it’s not cardio. No one can keep their heart-rate up in the cardio-training zone for an hour. Not even marathon runners. (Huh? Here: They build up their anaerobic threshold so high, that they can run fast for long periods, and still be below their cardio zone.)  Now, you’ll probably need this post for the real info on how long to workout.
Why trust someone with changing your body, when they don’t even understand what they’re doing to your body? Ineffectiveness is the least of your worries. They can do harm.
And harm doesn’t always manifest itself immediately. Lift weights the wrong way, and eventually, you’ll develop a bad back. Or knee. Or whatever else. Or, the opposite: you could unknowingly not build muscle at all.
Starve yourself one of these “trainer’s” diets, and it screws up your metabolism. Or what about those high-protein/low-carb diets? Now linked to inflammation and clogged arteries in the long-run. Or Fen-fen—remember those days?
Unfortunately, a big part of health & fitness is not intuitive. It takes deep knowledge of physiology. Which these geniuses don’t have. Hell, I couldn’t even find a decent certification for Tracy Anderson. Or Jillian Michaels. [Michaels lists two on her credentials: the AFAA, which isn't accredited, (that means it's not considered legit), and NESTA, which is a two-day course that requires you be 18 and have a high school diploma. It is not respected.]
Then why do people say their methods work?
Bottomline, if these false experts get any kind of results with their methods, it’s because they got you to burn more calories than you took in. That’s it. Any of their crazy theories behind it, just ignore.
Beause you don’t get to choose where you lose fat. So any “targeting” or “sculpting” or “shaping” they have you doing won’t be visible until you lose the fat first, anyway. Which is only done by burning calories. I’m not fond of italics. But I’ll use them. By god, I’ll use them.
I have my own unfounded theory here (I know. Hypocrite.). When most of the country thinks walking for thirty minutes is sufficient exercise, well then, hell—these DVD’s probably do have them working harder (burning more calories) than they have in years.
Whether their results are sustainable, though, is another question entirely.
Actually, that’s proof the trainers on The Biggest Loser (TV show with Jillian Michaels) don’t know what they’re doing: many of their contestants gain the weight back. You know why? Because that’s what happens when you approach weight loss the wrong way.
Is there a right way? Yes. Weight loss has been studied to death. If you understand the physiology—and psychology—behind becoming fit, and abide by it, it is much, much more likely that you’ll keep the weight off. It’s not some lofty land of milk & honey, there are plenty of people out there who do get it right.
Keep a stink-eye on these celeb trainers. Celebrities don’t know anything more about fitness than the rest of us. They buy into fads and pick uneducated trainers, just like the rest of us. Except when we do it, the trainer doesn’t get famous. When Madonna picks a trainer, they broadcast it to the planet. It’s fine for Gwyneth Paltrow to like the results Tracy Anderson gives her. But it doesn’t give her the authoritative knowledge to dub Anderson an expert.
Get your VO2 tested. Find out where your heart rate needs to be during your workout. Have a real, accredited trainer build your strength-training routine. All these other dinglewads are just tryin’ to make money off your confusion.

Hope we didn’t make your head explode.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for debunking all of the workout myths that had me mystified for YEARS. Seriously, you're a fantastic, witty writer, and your knowledge is superb. Keep this up, and you'll have your own show someday.

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  2. This article was very helpful. I do have to add that I know my stuff, both psychologically and physiologically, so out of sheer curiosity I watched ( but didn't do) a Tracy Anderson DVD. And they way she moves her body, to anyone who has half a trained brain, is all wrong. If you are working your arms, you move only your arms. Sadly many of us have to fight our genetics to be the "social" norm for a body type. Best advise, do what feels right and screw the rest. Society's views are very messed up when it comes to a women's body type. There use to be days when a women with curves was considered beautiful. Love your curves ladies because it is the only way you can be truly happy. If you love yourself for who you already are. If you want to change, do it for you. Not for someone else.

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