The Body Beautiful
By Cristina Greeven Cuomo
Photographs by Eric Cahan
Tracy Anderson is nothing if not motivated. Calling her a trainer would be an understatement—she’s a designer, an inventor.
Ten years of all-consuming research to find new training techniques to transform the body have led her to some inspirational and innovative methods. Today she works full time on the research and development of her method while on the road with clients, including Madonna, with whom she’s lived for more than a year. While building her new gym in NYC, which opens early next year, she’ll be debuting her incomparable Hybrid Body Reformer, and developing her system of workout bands (see cover). She’s also just released a trilogy of new DVDs (The Tracy Anderson Method Presents: Dance Cardio Workout, Mat Workout, and Post-Pregnancy Workout).
ON GWYNETH AND MADONNA
GOTHAM: Gwyneth told me about how you guys first met and how she fell for you.
TRACY ANDERSON: She’s like the best girlfriend to have. She’s got great taste across the board and she’s very giving and very intelligent and very sharing with everything. She’s one of the coolest people on the planet. And she works so hard. The first time I ever worked with her she was like, “Holy crap, that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” But she believed in me, never bitched, and never gave an excuse for not making a session. She gave me a hundred percent and I gave her a hundred percent, and now she’s got a killer body.
G: Both she and Madonna train with you. How does the scheduling work?
TA: Video chat is the most amazing invention ever! Gwyneth and Madonna started within a week of each other. Madonna was doing the video training while I was training Gwyneth for two films, and then I switched and Madonna took the priority position. So I juggle the two.
G: What’s a normal day like for you?
TA: Right now my inspiration is Madonna and Gwyneth, so I wake up in the morning and I design for them. I’m on the road with Madonna so I train her for two hours and then go do other things; then I warm her up before her shows. After that I’m video chatting with my LA studio and with Gwyneth and her [interim] trainer…. So it’s just crazy all day long.
ON FINDING HER CALLING
G: How did you get started as a trainer?
TA: I’d been a dancer since I was three. My mom was a ballerina; she worked three jobs to send me to dance school [the American Musical & Dramatic Academy] in New York, and when I got there at 19, I started packing on weight—40 pounds, actually. And I’m five feet tall! The teachers were very critical, but they didn’t really have a solution. It was very cutthroat—either make weight or you’re going to lose your scholarship and not get asked back next semester.
G: What was your routine?
TA: I’d dance all day at school and then do more cardio—I had a personal trainer at Crunch. And my mom paid for extra Pilates classes, which in 1994 was almost unknown. That didn’t do anything for me. The only time I could ever lose weight was if I literally ate two steamed chicken breasts a day or something insane like that.
G: So, how did that all change?
TA: A few years later, when I was married, I got pregnant with my son and gained 60 pounds. That was the turning point. My ex-husband [Eric Anderson] played for the Knicks and had a bad back, so he saw a lot of physicians. I asked them if you can take any woman and manipulate her structure in a healthy way, a foolproof way. Learning about it consumed every minute of my life.
styling by Maria Serra@LGA
Paltrow’s makeup by Gina Kane@Caren.co.uk
Paltrow’s hair by Peter Gray
Anderson’s hair and makeup by Rachel Wood@Artistsbytimothypriano.com