Tracy Anderson 30 Day MethodTracy Anderson
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Ballet/Barre, Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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I had problem with press01/19/2013
While I sold off or traded the three TA DVDs I owned after a hard time with Tracy's Post Pregnancy Workout, I'm still a fitness DVD addict and going back and forth between workouts goes with the territory.
Tracy should have released this book first, then released the other DVDs because it gives you good insight into what she's doing with all those moves and even breaks down the moves so you can follow them, especially the cardio. Now this isn't NROWL or any of Kathy Smith's books. And don't be put off by the poor subject/verb agreement, use of the vernacular or rambling, stream of consciousness prose mixed with buzz words like 'musculostructural'. There is a method to the madness, uh, Method.
The point of her Method is muscle confusion by working the muscle on a diagonal. Actually, it's not even muscle confusion but muscle bewilderment. Before I tried this bootcamp I never understood what she meant about the muscle being pulled close to the bone but within a few hours of the Day 1 exercises I literally felt like my bone marrow was being pulled out of me.
The book's plan is separated into three sections: muscular structure, cardio and menu and has a DVD demonstrating all the exercises to house music. The muscular structure is further broken down into three Sequences of 17 exercises each lasting 10 days. Each day of a Sequence you're to add 5 or so reps to each exercise until you reach a max of 60 reps, or 40 reps with ankle weights for lower body. After you finish the mat exercises the cardio is next. To help get you started and to further demonstrate the exercises, the accompanying DVD has Tracy on a plain white background demonstrating the moves according to Sequence. Already there's a serious dread factor for the mat exercises, but as the book says, in a few days your body will start to crave the pain. I'm still struggling to understand how the first set of arm movements in the First Sequence burned all the way to my breastbone. There are seven lower body exercises, five ab exercises and five arm exercises to each Sequence.
The DVD also contains the two 10-minute cardio sections which you're to repeat twice during the 30 day plan to nice house music. She encourages you to build your own playlist for the cardio and even includes a playlist in the book. The cardio portion of the workout is a godsend for those of us who bought Dance Cardio and quickly traded or sold it off. The moves are simple step touches, hamstring curls, and high impact moves like jacks, heel-toe moves, forward and side kicks and side-to-sides. The bonus is that after learning the 10 minute sections, you can then play your own music when you get bored with the DVD's music. While the cardio portions are nearly 95% high impact, don't despair. The book includes modifications for all exercise levels to allow you to master her dance cardio. Tracy Anderson? Modifications? Seriously? Yes, seriously. And let me tell you, high impact gets the endorphins going faster than climbing the step, at least for me. At least I still call it high impact; the book calls it jumping and you're to progress from low impact step touches to high impact in 10 minute increments until you have a 40 to 60 minute high impact dance workout.
The video is shot in black and white, not an issue for me, but I read a few people were not happy. Also, the cardio portion of the DVD looks like it was prepared in a 'cut and paste' manner, again, not a problem for me but it might be an issue for those who like to follow an instructor move for move. While she does mirror cue, the editing will leave you off count. Since she encourages you to use your own playlist and the moves are very basic, I had no problem doing the cardio ad lib as it reminded me of the times I used to dance around the living room for cardio before I discovered workout videos. She also does the mat work on one side only, leaving you to finish the other side on your own. I didn't have a problem with this because I've done book exercises before, though some might.
She also recommends a workout space heated to "the eighties" to help loosen up muscles, three hardware store mirrors and a cornucopia of exotic ingredients for the tasty-looking recipes, I simply worked out in the bedroom after running the shower super hot and used the mirror from our dresser. I did not use the meal plan because I was lactating at the time I started the bootcamp. You'll also need a chair for Sequences 2 and 3, and she recommends a yoga mat and working out on hardwoods. If you're on a slab, I'd suggest puzzle mats or some sort of cushioning. I'm on a crawl space and my feet still felt a little sore on the bottom the day after cardio.
To sum up, this is an intense, intensive 30 day program not for the shy or the broke. Besides the 45 to 90 minutes needed for muscular structure, as she calls it, you'll need another 40 minutes for cardio, and God knows how much time to shop and prepare the tasty meals. Despite the time and expense, the woman knows her stuff. One of her shortcomings has always been, in my opinion, that she does not have the educational background to relay her knowledge in a manner that would satisfy many advanced exercisers who have tried every method out there and who lived through the move from high impact/no weights in the early days of home fitness to safer low impact moves and added resistance for quicker results.
The other shortcoming is that she talks a lot about how she formed her Method but does little to demonstrate those early days. I only wish she'd included Before/After photos the way Callan Pinckney did her in book to show the gastric bypass patient who benefitted from her Method along with the mother of multiple children and the original 150 or so women she experimented with in the days before Madonna and Gwyneth. Those experiments and the people involved remain shrouded in darkness, lost among reports of bankruptcies, walk outs and ex-business partners. Despite all of that, TA has not just survived but thrived. She has at least 10K more people following her on FB than Cathe, and more all the time. Where the revelation of bad girl behavior would have tanked any other fitness pro, for some reason it made TA even stronger, at least for now.