There's a reason Tracy Anderson is a favorite trainer among A-listers and regular women alike: She understands how we want to look and feel (strong, sculpted, and balanced). Why does she endure when other fitness stars are here today, gone tomorrow? Her work ethic. The 42-year-old mom of two is opening two new studios this year (bringing the total to eight), offers online streaming workouts, and recently launched a line of organic meal-replacement bars (TA Ultimate Clear Bars) at Target.
If you're working out with Tracy—who trains everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Hilary Rhoda to Tracee Ellis Ross and Alessandra Ambrosio—you won't be coddled. The Indiana native gets results by forcing clients out of their comfort zone while empowering them to take control of their health. Now you can benefit from Tracy's magic: We asked her to solve your challenges and help you achieve your best body yet. She even takes questions from two supermodel clients—because, hey, who doesn't need a little help now and then?
Tracy's wearing (top photo): Lulli Dancewear leotard ($20; discountdance.com) and Capezio legwarmers ($25; amazon.com). Above: Capezio leotard dress (capezio.com for similar) and tights ($20; amazon.com).
What is the key to making exercise something you love? —Erin, Atlanta
Consistency. At first, your body is uncomfortable because you're still weak. It's a tough journey to the other side, and the only way the brain can learn is to shift what it's doing. Once it does, your body will release happy hormones from working out, and you'll begin to crave it—and then you'll get better.
What can you do each morning to improve your shape? —Amanda, Jacksonville, Florida
Take a deep breath and look at yourself in the mirror with a positive outlook. Remember: You want to take care of yourself and be as good to yourself as possible. With self-gratitude, you can start making choices that will create balance for your body. That's a lot more effective than me telling you to wake up and do five squats, because five squats isn't going to do much. This mind shift will.
What do you tell yourself when you don't feel like working out? —Kristen, New York City
I take a minute and I ask myself, "Do I feel sick?" If yes, then I am not working out. If no, then I ask, "Am I more tired than usual?" If so, where am I in my menstrual cycle? There are two weeks out of the month when a woman is really a superachiever, and there are two weeks when it's more difficult to show up for ourselves; you get run-down, and your hormones are shifting. If you're on a weight-loss path, you have to learn how to handle those days so you don't fall into a self-sabotage pattern. If you can predict them, you can plan better. I would rather you say, "I'm taking the day off, and I'll show up for myself the next day."
As I get older, how do I fight a changing metabolism? —Debra, Cortlandt Manor, New York
You need to adjust your food and your workout to where you are now. The answer is not, "My age is this now, and my metabolism has changed, and now I will be overweight." How strategic are you being with your workout? You need something that keeps you on a constant journey and that you can sustain, like yoga or tai chi. With these disciplines that are holistic, mind and body, you can get better and more focused and age well.
What would surprise people most about your celeb clients? —Christine, Stamford, Connecticut
They're in the classes with everyone else. This morning, Maggie Gyllenhaal walked right into my class, and Hilary Rhoda. They're breaking down the ridiculous wall of "I need a VIP room" or "I need a back entrance."
What makes you feel body-confident? When do you feel most beautiful? —Suzanne, Washington, D.C.
Looking at myself in the mirror during class while I'm teaching. I think it's the natural flush, the sweat, the focus. Maybe it's because I'm so confident; I know what I'm doing with my body.
When can I have wine again?! —Amy, Brooklyn, New York
I love it! I actually like wine. Not a bottle of wine—a glass. It just takes the edge off. As long as you don't drink so much that you don't care anymore and you're like, "Bring on the mashed potatoes." That is a problem.
Plus, questions from Tracy's A-list clients
What can I do to stay in shape on the road? —Hilary Rhoda
Stay consistent, making sure you sweat wherever you are. If you're traveling, there are hot yoga studios that let you rent them out for $25 to $40 during off-peak times. You can follow a streaming class in the heat and humidity. Or tear out magazine workouts and take them with you. Also, make sure you have fueling snacks with you—be prepared.
With so many inspiring transformations for your clients, what has been most meaningful to you? —Alessandra Ambrosio
The most meaningful thing is that I have the tools to help people find themselves and their light, feel physically comfortable in their own skin, and feel their best.
The life lesson Tracy learned from J.Lo
J.Lo told me her grandmother used to tell her that no matter what is going on in your life, you put on your dress, you put on your lipstick, and you walk out the door like nothing is wrong. You put on your game face, so to speak. I think there is a lot to be said for that.
Styling by Karen Shapiro. Hairstyling by Oscar Blandi for Oscar Blandi Salon. Makeup by Meredith Baraf using Wonderskin for Ba-reps.com. Manicure by Kylie Kwok using OPI at TracyMattingly.com.