Tracy Anderson Method FAQ

Maybe you have heard about the Tracy Anderson Method and you're thinking of trying but you'd like to get more information first. You can go to Tracy's official web page and get some basic info. As there is no Tracy Anderson Method FAQ that would cover the most topics related to this method, I decided to create one to help people who are just starting out or cannot find certain answers. I started collecting the questions asked on her FB page. I am no expert, not even a TAM veteran, just a fan who has been trying the method for a few years. If this collection helps to answer some questions you might have, I will be happy. What do I base my answers on? Her book, dvds, interviews, webisodes, whatever I could find on the topic.

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 1. What is the method about?

It combines toning exercises and dance cardio. TA recommends 10-day rotations of the muscular structure sequences. Tracy exhausts the large muscle groups and then the smaller muscle groups wake up and pull everything in. She tries to prevent bulk this way and give you a long, lean, feminine shape.
It’s all about new content, you need to be changing it so that your muscles don’t get bored. You need to challenge yourself constantly and be consistent. It’s a life style change.
It’s not about dieting but exercising regularly, moving your body for about an hour a day or if you wanna get the most of it, then more (1,5  hr or so)

2. What do I need to do the method?

Not much. For a start, you can check some webisodes on youtube to get an idea.
If you get interested, get her dvds.
Mostly you will be using your own body as a form of resistance.
You need a yoga mat (or a towel or something because some exercises involve kneeling down). Some people like to fold theirs to get additional support.
chair (regular kitchen chair, armless) - mostly for support and reference point
up to 3-pound weights/ 1.36 kg (women) - or you can start with 0,5 l water bottles
men can work up to 8-pounds/ 3.63 kg
good shoes for the dance cardio
A mirror helps to focus and perform the moves correctly, so you might consider getting one.

3. Should I do MS (muscular structure) or DC (dance cardio) first?

It does not really matter, but for more efficient weightloss TA recommends MS first, followed by DC.

4. Should I be pulling in my stomach muscles during the exercises?

According to a video with Maria (TAM master trainer), you should engage these muscles whenever you can.

5. Which shoes does TA recommend for DC?

Nike Shox and Mizuno Inspires

It’s important to have shoes with enough shock absorption in heel and toe. You should also stay buoyant and off the floor, be careful with your footing to avoid injury.

video with Anna Kaiser where she gives tips to help you with cardio:

6. Which dvd should I start with?

I would say go for the book which has the dvd and explains everything in detail. It has 3 MS sequences (1 per each 10 days) and a simple cardio that anyone can follow (it's not edited greatly but it will do the job).  Her other dance cardio dvds take a bit of learning as they are more choreographed.
Mat Workout is very good and has a killer arm series.
Post Pregnancy Workout is great for the abs, it has a lot of instruction. Anyone can benefit from it, not just women who have just given birth.
Or, you can start with the new Metamorphosis series which have a 30 minute cardio and 9 MS sequences (you have a plenty of content for 90 days).

7. Do I need to be on a diet?

TA doesn't like dieting because it's not sustainable and food is a big part of our lives (social, emotional and physical), but if you want a kickstart and see results faster, there are mealplans in the book and in the Metamorphosis series.

8. When people on TAM Facebook group talk about a bootcamp, what do they mean?

Going by the 30-day method book, it’s kind of a challenge. Laura Stroud has been writing a wonderful and incredibly funny blog about her bootcamp experience:

9. People use a lot of acronyms on TAM FB page, what do they stand for?

PP - Post Pregnancy

PDS - Perfect Design Series

Meta - Metamorphosis

DC - dance cardio / DA - dance aerobics, also BDC - Beginner Dance Cardio (DCI), DA07, DC08

BC - boot camp (her book: 30-Day Method)

MS - muscular structure

10. Is the TAM Facebook page a good resource?

Definitely. There are some people who have been doing the method for a couple of years now and they give great advice. To name a few, Emily Dunkin, Franco Valiente,... They have been really helpful.

11. How much time do I need to put in the method to get results? How much cardio?

1 hour (4-6 times a week), 1,5 hours if you want to give it your best
If you don’t have much time, you can alternate muscle structure and cardio days.
If you have weight to lose and only a little window, do cardio.

30 minutes-1 hour cardio/day is enough. If you do to much cardio, it can start affecting your joints.

12. Will I become static or will I have enough content to keep the muscles interested?

Tracy has more than 3 000 moves and she’s constantly working on new sequences, so your body will get all the challenge it needs to get you the results you want.

13. What if can't jump during the cardio?

You can step-touch, do what you can, try to incorporate some more action gradually. Have proper shoes. Keep the room warm and avoid stop-start style. Try to perform the moves and stay connected.

14. What if I get shin splints from the cardio?

Make sure your sneakers give you enough support, do you your stretches daily, skip the jumping and step-touch during the dance cardio, warm the room up. Try to stay really light on your feet.

15. What is Tracy’s take on cardio?

She avoids stop-and-go movement (e.g. tennis), repetition activities (e.g. running, spinning) that might bulk up the major muscle groups. According to her, you need continuous movement to get the results. So, she wants you to do her own dance cardio, which can be more choreographed on the dvds‚ but there are easier to follow versions - Metamorphosis has one and there is one on the book dvd, but the editing has put some people off.

16. Are there other TA approved forms of cardio?

You can try her treadmill cardio or use a rebounder (mini trampoline) - useful for people who have problems with their knees. Some people use walking for cardio, others dance, but Tracy swears by her own form of dance aerobics.

Tracy treadmill workout:

Tracy trampoline series:

17. What kind of floor is the best for dance cardio?

Tracy talks about hardwood floors in her book, so if you have access to such, lucky you.

18. What about my exercise room - should I heat it up?

Tracy talks about heat because it keeps you sweating and the muscles perform better when warm.
80 F (26.7 C)

19. Is Tracy against weight lifting?

It doesn’t accomplish the kind of body she is trying to give you - long and lean muscles, instead, it makes your muscles short and bulky. The movement is linear and when you can’t feel the action, you up the weight.  So you end up with same exercise and more weight. It stresses the muscle to the point when it needs to repair itself and you build mass, but you’re building muscles that are more prone to injury, your joints aren’t happy either.

20. Why only three-pound weights?

It doesn’t mean you can’t lift more in your everyday activities. More weight is just not suitable for TA exercises. Even without weights, you’ll be challenged. Adding more weights might just cause you injury. The workout is not traditional, you’re tightening, elongating muscles, not trying to bulk up.
When you try her unweighted arm section on the Mat dvd, you’ll be lucky to get through without breaks:-)

21. What kind of changes should I expect to feel when I start with the method?

The beginning might be uncomfortable, especially if you start with the book and challenge yourself for 30 days. You will have an all-over-tired feeling, almost like you have a flu, you will feel sore in places you haven’t felt sore before and it will be a different kind of sore when your accessory muscles start waking up.

22. How many reps should I start with?

If you can do 20, that’s good. But if you can’t, just work yourself up gradually. Do as much as you can do. Be patient with yourself and keep challenging yourself.
Work yourself up to 40 and more.
Never go over 40 with ankle weights!

23. When should I add ankle weights?

If you can do 60 normal reps for 3 days in a row, but only add ankle weights when you can perform all the reps perfectly with no break.

24. How heavy ankle weights can I use?

In a video for Gwyneth Paltrow, Tracy tells her to use 1 lb ankle weights (0.45 kg). In her book she only talks about light ankle weights, so I guess 1 pound would do.

25. Should I do the reps for different sequences all on one side first or do I switch after each move?

With the different sequences you should perform all the reps on one side and then on the other because first you exhaust the large muscle groups and then only the accessory muscles kick in.

26. What about warm-up/stretches?

If your room is relatively warm, it helps, but in her book Tracy suggests you do 5 simple stretches before you start exercising.

These moves include the triangle you might know from yoga, plié, hands to the floor, thigh and hip (with bent knee), side stretch. I will get back to these and explain more.

nice warm-up video:

27. How will I be challenging my body with the method?

You will be challenged by many aspect of the method: by repetition, angle, rotation, your own body weight, choreography, connection/focus and opposing forces (when you get good at the method).

28. I have problems with the unweighted arm sequences and standing abs, how can I learn them?

When performing arm sequences, keep you shoulders down and neck long, pay attention to detail, remember to stay connected to the rest of your body, engage abs, really reach, think about the opposing forces within you.

With the standing abs (rib isolations), practise with simple side to side moves. You might want to start kneeling down, it will keep you grounded. Don’t forget to pull your belly button towards your spine. Move with your ribs, not your shoulders. Your ribs and hips are moving in opposition - you’re using your ribs as the cross vector. When standing, bend your knees a little, drop you tailbone towards the ground, keep you abs engaged, keep the torso long.

This video will help - Maria Kelling (TAM Master Trainer)


29. What equipment do the TAM studios have?

They use several fitness systems designed by Tracy: bands, bars, cubes, Hybrid Body Reformer.
You can get a glimpse here - first there is a bit of the cardio, then halfway through they use different equipment in one of the studios.


30. What if the arm sections become too easy for me? Can I add more weight?

You shouldn’t go over the 3-pound limit (if you’re a woman, 8 lb if you’re a man), but try to control more or do the sequences twice.

31. Where can I get more information on the customized Metamorphosis workouts?

The link to the full-length infomercial (28mins):

Basically, there are 4 different workouts (90-day programs - muscle structure and cardio): abcentric, hipcentric, glutecentric and omnicentric. You can also get continuation dvds.
Unfortunately, you can only order these from her US website, so prepare to pay extra postage and possibly customs if you live outside the US. The dvds should play on all players.

32. Are TAM workouts available as an iphone app or can I buy them in digital form? Do I have to order dvds even though I might not use them again after I complete the 10-day rotations?

Unfortunately, her website offers dvds only, but I have heard that they are working on this. Personally, I would prefer to buy downloadable versions as there have been problems with the shipping, some people had dvds arriving scratched. However, there are many short webisodes on youtube worth checking out. This channel has a lot of them:

When you start with a dvd, you might use it for a month, depending on your shape, but you should move on once it gets too easy and you’re not feeling challenged. Adding more reps or ankle weights help too.

33. The meal plan in the book seems pretty low calorie, how will I get through my workouts?

You can eat bigger portions, don’t starve yourself. You need energy to work out.

34. Do I have to follow the meal plans to get the results I want?

The meal plans are to help you kickstart your transformation, they are temporary. Some people don’t follow the meal plans at all and still get results. It helps to eat clean and fresh, eliminating the usual culprits and having enough vegetables and protein. You can eat whatever you want in moderation.

35. Are Tracy’s meal plans about baby food?

No. In her book she has meal plans both for vegetarians and meat-eaters which include salads, soups, main courses and desserts. She avoids sugar and processed foods, adding extra fats. Instead, yacón syrup is used, organic olive oil spray, kefir yogurt, green juices and so on.

She has a performance cleanse menu (5 days) in the book which includes pureed foods. The reason is to give you enough nutrients while cleansing and keeping your digestive system working.
You’ll have seven different foods each day and some power juices (kale juice, kale spinach beet juice).

36. Are there shopping lists in the book?

Unfortunately not, but Summer has put the shopping lists on her page. She has a lot of TAM information, so make sure you check it out if you’re thinking of doing the 30-day bootcamp.

37. What does Tracy recommend for hydration and what should I drink during the bootcamp?

She mentions coconut water without added sugar, green juices (especially kale), Neuro and Préventiv Water. Neuro drinks contain essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals and Préventiv Water claims to have no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, zero sugar, zero calories, no artificial flavours. Neither Neuro nor Préventiv have a complete list of ingredients online, only the active ingredients, which I find a bit weird.

There is no specific info about drinks during the bootcamp, but I assume you should avoid anything with sugar or sweeteners. Some people also skip coffee and drink green tea or water with some lemon juice instead.
Just make sure you’re staying hydrated:-)

38. What about alcohol and TAM?

Tracy says that enjoying a glass or two of wine a day will not slow down your results. She often talks about the power of resveratrol (found in the skin of red grapes), so drinking wine in moderation can be benefitial to your health.

39. What is Prtty Peaushun?

It’s a body lotion that Tracy loves and uses in all photoshoots. It was created by makeup artist Bethany Karlyn. It’s 92% natural raw ingredients - for example avocado oil, avocado butter, calendula extract, green tea and rosemary extracts, fruit wax and so on. However, it also contains some silicone (dimethicone). It comes in several shades.

40. Will TAM have an effect on other areas in my life?

Working out can improve not only your skin tone, endurance and health, but also your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. You will feel more feminine and sexy and this new self-confidence will most likely affect your sex life too.

41. How should I choose the right Metamorphosis workout?

To identify your body type, think about the area where you are genetically weak, where you put on weight first. For some people it has been hard to choose between hip and glutecentrics, and Tracy mentioned something about lifting your butt a few inches - if your saddlebags disappear, you're glutecentric. If you have thick thighs all over, then hipcentric should do the trick.

42. What if I interrupt the Metamorphosis programme for some reason?

If it is a week or so, go back to the level you were on, but if more than a month, you should start from the beginning.