Tracy Anderson and the annual fitness post

19/12/2012

Natasha Poly in Vogue Italia October 2010 (photography: Craig McDean)
If you follow Fashioned by Love from the very beginning you may remember a couple of fitness-related posts I wrote in 2011. I know, it’s been a while… Not that I don’t like exercise – it’s quite the opposite. I get my endorphins topped up regularly and feel out of my comfort zone whenever something prevents me from sticking to my routine. I just don’t tend to blog about it unless I feel there’s a need for a muscle-strengthening-body-fat-reducing story of my life that might grab your attention.

Today was the day that felt right. I had my usual “happy hour” and decided to share a few post-workout thoughts. How knows, maybe some of you will find them interesting or even adopt a few new habits comes 2013… At least this resolution will be very easy to stick to.

Just in case you haven’t read my previous posts (which I totally understand), I would like to start by saying that when it comes to exercise I DIY, big time. I don’t do gyms or personal trainers. I met a few, it was a total disappointment, so I decided to go with what I know best and that’s good old home workouts.

I like exercising in a comfort of my room, using my own shower afterwards and not wasting time on packing my belongings and travelling back and forth. I do, however, spend plenty of time choosing my DVDs and that’s exactly what I am going to talk about today.

Two years ago I’ve discovered Tracy Anderson workouts, tried them and fell in love. Her routines made me feel good and re-shaped my body exactly how I wanted even though I chose not to follow her advice 100%.

Diet-wise, I just did what I preach since it would be unwise not to use the knowledge I’ve got.
When it came to the fitness part, I used her body shaping workouts three times a week rather than every day as she urged everyone to. The sensible schedule allowed my body to rest and recover in between, so instead of burning out (it will always happen if you aren’t careful) I kept on going. In addition, whenever I felt like it, I mixed in a bit of Tracy’s cardio, on alternative days, of course.

Which DVDs did I use? I have a few and rotate them every 6-8 weeks. If you’ve never tried Tracy’s workouts here are my suggestions to get you started.

As much as you may  be tempted to go for the 30-day Method, pick the Post-Pregnancy Workout instead. Although it may sound like an odd choice, it is the best one for any beginner. I received it by mistake, but once used it became one of my favourite DVDs. Both abs and legs routines are mostly floor-based and target the areas that can be very difficult to deal with – the lower abs, muffin top, bottom and thighs. She also included some arm exercises, too, so the area won’t be left untouched. Frankly, once done you are going to feel like you just had a muscle strengthening massage that made you tired to the core. It’s a wonderful feeling (if you like to feel the burn like I do).

And just in case you are still reaching for 30-day boot camp – fair enough, but be prepared to concentrate more on your remote control on/off button rather than your routine in order to complete the exercises. This is the only DVD that does not play continuously.

Once you feel that you can easily complete the first DVD (or did it for 6-8 weeks), move on to Tracy Anderson Method. It’s a bit more challenging than the first workout, but it’s just as enjoyable and beautifully presented. This time most of the leg exercises are of a standing kind (you will need a chair for that) and so are some of the abs. Although both parts are good, my favourite one here is the arm section because it really is brilliant, made my arms ache (in a good way) and improved the muscle tone. Sometimes I just use the arm section after doing a cardio or even on its own if I am short of time but fancy a bit of exercise. I really do love it.

It’s also worth mentioning the cardio routine because there are a few of them and Dance Cardio Workout is the only one I like. Ironically this video received quite a bit of negative feedback on amazon – please do not be put off by reading those reviews. I understand that everyone is different, but the DVD really is fun and worth trying. As I mentioned above, I use it 1-2 times a week on days when I don’t do any other exercises.

There are eight routines, each lasting about 10 minutes or so. Some are definitely more complex than the others, so it’s a good idea to watch the whole video before starting your workout just to familiarise yourself with the moves and challenges you are about to face. I never used the break down part – I always find that most manuals take away my enthusiasm for life, so I only refer to them in case I get stuck, which, when it comes to dancing, never happens.

The only downside to the video is the missing cool-down part, so normally once I am done, I walk around the room for a few seconds and then move onto doing some simple stretches. If you have no idea how to stretch, there are some good routines and advice on Shape website.

I didn’t find the technical part (i.e. the moves) too complicated, but my cardio levels were rubbish, so I was out of breath and very beetroot-like after my very first attempt. Instead of being a hero and going through the entire workout (which would probably be a matter of life and death), I began by completing part one, then adding part two a week or so later and so on. In four weeks I was able to dance through 6 routines without feeling uncomfortable. I deliberately skipped two parts because I wasn’t too keen on the music, but the rest was absolutely brilliant and made me believe that I could actually dance.

If or when somebody mentions that this DVD is not for beginners, don’t count yourself as one (even if you are). Go for it, have fun, try and try again and you will notice the difference in a few weeks. Just make sure you have plenty of water, hard floors and very good sports shoes. The latter is crucial because you will be doing a lot of jumping and if you ignore the footwear you may have to deal with an injury at some point. As soon as I watched the DVD I went and got myself a pair of appropriate trainers at JD Sports to dance happily ever after. My calve muscles still ached after the first few sessions, but trainers provided the much needed cushioning for the joints and ligaments. Please bear this in mind.

In addition to these trio, I’ve also got Tracy’s Perfect Design Series, but I will tell you  more about those next time.

Photo source: Natasha Poly in Vogue Italia October 2010 (photography: Craig McDean)

33 comments:

  1. This post comes exactly when I needed it. As I can't stick to my running-in-the-park routine now that winter is here, I've switched to exercising at home (I don't do gym and personal trainers either) and I was thinking that some exercise DVDs would be perfect for a more efficient workout. So thank you for the suggestions and tips! :))))

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  2. I am a huge fan of fitness!:) Thanks for your tips!:) xxx

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  3. I should probably watch this DVD - Lord knows I need to improve my fitness! It's fantastic that it helped you to become more active and healthy :)

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  4. Great post!! I am a fitness enthusiast too but I usually don't talk about it on the blog. I've been thinking about a fitness/nutrition post... Maybe soon.
    Thanks for your lovely comment on my wedding pics post. Means a lot!
    XO, Gina
    http://classyeverafter.blogspot.com

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  5. Я тоже далека от спорта, если и занимаюсь, то тоже дома по роликам из ютюба. Лень ходить в спорт зал)

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  6. Its so refreshing reading a post about fitness...I love hearing about routines and exercise ideas from fellow bloggers, because It motivates me as well. I fully agree with you on finding your routine that suits you and working on it at home, I find it more comfortable rather than at a gym. Thanks for letting me know about the dvd

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  7. I must try her out again, it's been a while...I go to the local gym instead but it it is good to o Tracy in the comfort of your home!

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  8. You should try Blogilates too - her workouts are amazing!

    <3 katherine
    of corgis and cocktails

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  9. wow, she's really amazing!!! ;D

    Kisses,

    Benedetta

    www.daddysneatness.blogspot.com

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  10. Thank you for sharing. I am looking up Tracy Anderson right now. I need to get into shape
    XO,
    Zhanna
    www.lifeandbows.com

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  11. I also use fitness DVDs, and think they are such a great way to keep in shape without having to pay gym fees or have to go out in this cruel weather!
    -Kati

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  12. amazing reading I enjoyed every line of it!

    xx
    www.pretpenser.com
    www.pretpenser.com

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  13. wow! nice post! thnx for sharring!
    i also like to exercise at home, just by dancing with my favoreite songs! hahahah!

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  14. Hi dear!
    Thanks for this post, so interesting!
    xoxo

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  15. Well done for sticking to an exercise routine! That's my resolution for next year...again haha xxx

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  16. Oooooh! I need to try some of these workouts! I am the worst when it comes to getting my fitness on - work has just been too all consuming lately. Hopefully I'll get some running in when I'm on vacation soon!

    xx,
    Maya

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  17. such a gorgeous shot - just followed (thought I was before, hmph!)

    Xo Megan, www.TfDiaries.com

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  18. Wow, these sound great! I've never used DVDs at home, I might try to introduce them into the old routine...thanks for the heads up!

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  19. so great to read all of this info. Exercise is such an important part of my life and this was truly helpful! xx. gigi. www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  20. Great post!

    http://sarassweetstyle.blogspot.com/

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  21. Early Santa brought me a pair of fitness shoes, Little Rus! I have been missing classes this last month (I am more of a lazy girl, so I need somebody to make me work, that's why I prefer gym classes) but during the winter, I think that home work-out with DVDs is much better :* Thanks for the tips :)

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  22. I must look into this because I love DVD workouts!
    I just joined a gym but I love to work out at home too : )

    xo,
    Cindi
    Breakfast at Cindi’s

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  23. Natalia, thanks for this review! I've tried gyms and it's a hassle on many levels. It's a workout just getting everything together and getting there. hahaha I'm going to look into her DVDs.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  24. Natalia, thank you so much for this post! Actually I love sports in general and until I started working, I used to exercise regularly...but now I find it so hard to fit gym or classes (I love pilates) in my regular schedule, and I'm sure it's just an issue of motivation...Not sure if a DVD course can do for me, but I've heard so many (wonderful) things about the Tracy Anderson and I would love to try it!

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  25. Very Impressive post.It is not very easy to leave comfort zone and practice something new but the impetus in this post make us realize the importance of exercise and fitness.

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