If you haven’t been spending the past few months really exercising (walking the dog doesn’t count!), drinking lots of milk, sitting in the sun, or getting daily massages, chances are that you’re handicapped by low serotonin levels. And unfortunately, it is very challenging to summon physical motivation when this level dips—it’s why you’re losing the tug-of-war between the gym and your reality TV-laden DVR. What’s worse is that carbs can trigger a momentary uptick in serotonin, which is why it can be so hard to kick a bagel-for-breakfast-every-morning habit: We can become addicted to carb-induced highs, which only contribute to the problem. It’s a truly vicious cycle.
But all is not lost, because just as depressed serotonin levels can trip you up when you’re trying to get started, once you begin the process of elevating and regulating those levels through exercise, they’ll be your biggest ally and cheerleader on the road to fitness.
As many of you know, I’ve been devoted to Tracy Anderson’s workouts for more than four years now. But that isn’t to say I don’t fall off the wagon sometimes. Oh MAN do I fall off the wagon.
Take this month. I’ve been somewhat depressed, it’s winter, I can wear leggings and layers and no one will notice that I’m heavier, and it’s still six weeks ‘til my body will see the light of day in New Orleans (vanity is a huge motivator for me). Long story short, I identify 100% with what she says above. It is just really HARD to get out of that rut, and carbs are so easy.
But this week I’m turning it around. I’m doing her Nutrient Boost eating plan (a modified version of the baby food diet) and doing full Meta workouts every day, even when my calves ache because they’ve been so unused, even when I’m sad. In just a few days I can already feel the heavy weight of inertia lifting. I’m not at my bounciest, not even close. And I’ll need to stay pretty vigilant, food-wise, to get where I want to be by early March. But I am reminded of something I once said that I have used as motivation this week:
Give me 14 days, and with discipline, I can get back to my thinnest and fittest.
Just 9 days to go….
PS: Two big winter workout tips: crank that heat for an hour or more before you workout. You need the room as warm as you can get it. And consider mixing it up with Tracy’s trampoline workout. Dancing on hard floors when it’s cold out is harder, even with the heat on, and may lead to injury. I give my calves and joints a rest once or twice a week.
Anonymous asked: Hi there. I recently purchased the Tracy Anderson Dance Cardio for Beginners, however I did not take into account my entirely carpeted apartment. After just one run through I'm thinking carpet + Tracey might be a bad, ankle-twisting combination? Do you do the cardio on hardwood floors, or is carpet doable?
Oh dear! Carpet + dancing is a terrible combination, I’m afraid. Even the slightly uneven floorboards in my apartment aren’t great. I much preferred the fake-wood Pergot floor in my last apartment — it had some give, which is easier on your calves and joints.
That said, after about 5 months of doing Tracy religiously I STILL ended up in a boot for six weeks with a stress fracture in my third metatarsal — “dancer’s fracture.” The lesson there is that it may take longer for the small muscles and ligaments of your feet to get strong enough to perform the routines than it does for your cardio-vascular system to be up to the task (ie, I pushed myself too hard).
And of course the real lesson is that Tracy is not fucking around (as her lawyers make clear during the medical disclaimer that precedes every DVD). So you are smart to be wary of injury. It’s a very real possibility.
You’re in luck, though. Tracy recently released a mini trampoline cardio workout. I’ve been using it (mixing it up with dance cardio and mat work) for two weeks and enjoy the rest it gives me from the constant leaping onto hard wood floors (which I find especially difficult in winter, though I try to over-heat our living room before working out).
And the best thing for you is that you can do it in a small, carpeted space.
Good luck! And remember: you can do it.
This month marks three years since I gave myself over to Tracy Anderson, mind, body, and soul (ok, just body — though I’m the first to admit that I talk about it enough you’d think she’d taken over my brain, too).
In February 2009, I bought her (original) DVDs, cancelled my gym membership, and never looked back.
One of the main benefits I’ve found with her approach is that even when I slack off for awhile, my body keeps itself together. I do this thing where I check out my abs quickly in a mirror (I’m waiting for someone to catch me at work). I do it when I’ve been working out a lot (to gloat) and I do it when I’ve been working out a little (to assure myself no, I’m not fat). And, even if I’ve been pigging out for a week, they’re still there. Now granted, I’m not ab-centric (in Tracy parlance) — it’s my thighs that are my real bugaboos — but a little softness around the tummy is the first sign that I’m slipping, so I like to keep an eye on it.
The point is, my body continues looking pretty much the same even if I’ve only worked out a few times in two weeks (we’re not talking super-duper-fit, mind you, but we ARE talking feel-good-naked). And my endurance remains high.
People criticized Gwyneth Paltrow because she claimed she “gained weight” for Country Strong, and there’s a scene in it where she’s in nothing but jeans and a bra and … uh … what?? She’s as thin as ever. (I’m convinced the rumor actually came from her PR people who, god bless them, thought they could nudge her to an Oscar since the Academy with that gain-weight talk.) I read her clarification somewhere: she didn’t set out to gain weight per se, she just didn’t want to look like someone who was working out all the time. So she significantly slowed down her Tracy routine for the 6 weeks or so she was filming. I think she just did a few sessions of cardio dance. And she said that her body pretty much stayed the way it was — despite eating fattening Nashville food — until a week or so before the end of filming.
That, my friends, is the Tracy touch. Once you’ve done it for a year or so, your body maintains progress. Tracy would never say this — she doesn’t want you skipping any workouts — but it’s the truth.
Another thing is that I know I can get in fighting form in two weeks. Give me 14 days, and with discipline, I can get back to my thinnest and fittest. That’s nothing to shake a stick at — and it’s not something I experienced with other workouts. But the thing they always say about Tracy is true: you put in the work, she will give you the results (and when you’ve been at it for awhile, results come FAST). I see far too many overweight people huffing away at the gym. If you’re going to spend time working out, why not make it worth something?
Now, I am not nearly as “teeny-tiny” as true Tracy devotees. I honestly don’t have an interest in being thinner than a true size 6. So I’m not nearly as strict about maintaining discipline, especially where it comes to food. But that’s the beauty. I’ve found my ideal equilibrium, and that involves workouts (with all their immediate benefits, namely sweating out toxins and stress) and some of the best food this world has to offer.
I am never giving this workout up. Never. For as long as there is a Method, I will be doing it. Here’s to sticking with what works.
PS: Just as an FYI, and update on this post, for the past 9 months I’ve been doing her Metamorphosis program. $35 a month for workouts that change every 10 days. And let me tell you — I thought I’d seen it all but that woman has found ever more insane ways to kick my ass. Holy crap.