Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson recently launched her Pregnancy Project workout DVD collection, providing women with safe and effective fitness routines during the pre-and-postnatal periods. Tracy says these DVDs – which she filmed during her recent pregnancy – are a “passion project” that are “really needed for women.”
The fitness guru opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about following her own advice during her second pregnancy — which enabled her to lose the 33 pounds she gained in just 11 weeks. Tracy also talks about her daughter Penelope, 6 months, and A-list clients such as Gwyneth Paltrow who is her “most balanced, focused, and hardest-working client.”
CBS: Tell us about your new Pregnancy Project workout DVD collection. We hear there are interviews and advice on pregnancy. Tell us also about workouts for the pre and postnatal periods.
TA: “It is a collection of DVDs that I had wanted to do for a very long time. Having designed women’s bodies for fourteen years, you could imagine how many I worked with through pregnancy or seen after pregnancy. There is such a remarkable difference when you have the proper exercise tools to use when you go through pregnancy.
Nobody in the DVD fitness market really did anything that was results-oriented, or that prepped you to get your pre-pregnancy body back. It was something that I really wanted to do for a long time. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to make a series that was customized to each month of pregnancy. I wanted it to actually take the women through the journey of pregnancy in a nurturing and nonjudgmental way, as every single woman’s pregnancy is very different.
I did the DVD set so women could have all of the toning and muscular structure work. There is no cardio work in it, as I believe wholeheartedly that pregnant women need to listen to their own bodies in terms of cardio work. For instance, I am a fitness professional, and cardio doesn’t feel good to me during pregnancy at all; it doesn’t feel natural. When I was pregnant, I walked and did my muscular structure work, but jumping up and down did not feel right to my gut or to my body at all.
It was a passion project that I felt was really needed for women. We brought together a bunch of fabulous women, from Christy Turlington to Gwyneth Paltrow to Molly Sims. Women give advice and tell their pregnancy stories in the beginning of the DVDs and throughout their journeys. I think it is a very valuable collection for every woman to have when they go through pregnancy.
In regard to how the workouts vary for the prenatal and postnatal periods, pre-pregnancy focuses on empowering and strengthening your body to the design that you want it. You should do things that give you the results you want for your lifestyle. Once you become pregnant, you need to make sure that you are tailor-making your workout to the changes that your body is going to go through.
Doctors will tell you that you can continue to do the same exercise that you’ve been doing during pregnancy. However, through all the research I have done, I have discovered that you can take advantage of the time when you have the relaxive hormone in your body and take that time to actually redesign your body afterwards. I’ve made it possible for women to actually go through pregnancy and come back from pregnancy with a better body than they ever had before.
The post-pregnancy stage is where that major change takes place. Once your doctor releases you, it is easier for me to design a body that doesn’t have muscle bulk than it is to design a body that does. Women come to me all the time and say, ‘Oh my gosh! I thought I was doing the right thing, and now I have Terminator thighs and I can’t fit in my jeans [laughs]!’ It is very hard to undo that kind of bulk. After women go through pregnancy, their muscles are not as strong as they were before. I can really let my design get in there and help them get a better body than ever before. Women shouldn’t be afraid of pregnancy.”
CBS: Tell us a little bit about your fitness programs which focus on building, sculpting and defining our smaller muscles.
TA: “Basically, when I started building this fitness program that had never been done before, I did research on the small muscles and saw that they are very tough to get to, but they are like the beauty muscles. For women, keeping all of the muscles strong and designed together is key. You can’t just get to the small muscles; you can’t work the small muscles without also working the larger muscles.
It’s about working the large muscles so that the small muscles wake up, and then everything works together as a group. You do this instead of isolating and bulking up the larger muscles, which in turn could make women feel less feminine and look less feminine.”
CBS: Congratulations on the recent arrival of your daughter Penelope! How is she doing? What kind of baby is she? Are you getting any sleep?
TA: “Thank you! She is so sweet and gets sweeter everyday! She has this little bright white blond fuzzy head and she is just so adorable. My son is a very peaceful and calm person who was also a very calm baby, and I am a little bit nervous with Penelope because she is wild [laughs]!
She doesn’t cry and she’s super happy, and she has a very colorful personality. I am also getting sleep too, as she has slept through the night since day one. I have been very lucky! I am nursing, so I think that helps too.”
CBS: We hear you lost the 33 lbs. of baby weight in 11 weeks! Please tell us how you did it….from gaining minimal weight, to losing it so quickly afterward.
TA: “I’ve spent thirteen years creating this fitness method for women and I use it myself, so I really credit the method for staying fit in the prenatal and postnatal stages. In my first pregnancy 14 years ago, I gained 60 pounds and it was the most nightmarish thing to get off. I was so happy to not have to worry about going into pregnancy this time; I knew what I was doing. I followed my own advice during this second pregnancy and gained around 33 pounds. I was able to lose it all in about eleven weeks.
I didn’t workout for the first six weeks [postpartum], but by eleven weeks I felt like I was back to my normal weight. All my skin tone was back, and everything was easy! I feel very lucky, and I did follow my own advice. I did the muscular structure workouts during the pregnancy, I waited the six weeks with no exercise like my doctor told me to, I breastfed, then I started my muscular structure post-pregnancy routine as soon as the doctor released me. Then I started cardio again.”
CBS: Tell us more about the 60-pound weight gain during your first pregnancy with your now-13-year-old son Sam. How did this experience change your life?
TA: “It made me want to go down this path and create this fitness method. It was during my pregnancy that I met with the doctor that had done all the muscle biopsies that I used to learn to create the method. I thought to myself, women need this so desperately. As a professional dancer, I gained weight when I turned nineteen. Dance workouts that involve just dancing do not give women the bodies of their dreams. To get your best body, it takes someone knowing what they are doing to give you the context.
It was then that I set out to actually create this fitness method. It totally changed my life in so many ways. I wasn’t someone who was gorging to death, but I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy. Sixty pounds on someone who is five feet tall is a massive amount of weight. It’s not like you try, and that’s why I feel so bad when the press criticizes women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. It’s not like you’re trying to gain a lot of weight…you are trying to relax and bring another life into the world, and you crave cheeseburgers and carbs. What are you going to do?
Nine months later, you’ve packed on a lot of weight, and whether you are pregnant or not, people do that all the time. It’s really all about having the right support and the right tools.”
CBS: You were recently quoted as saying, “A lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to let their bodies go.” Many of our readers were insulted by this. Please elaborate and/or defend your thoughts.
TA: “Absolutely. That quote was taken out of context. I did an hour-long lunch with the woman who did the interview, and what I was saying is that it’s hard enough in everyday life to not want to eat like ten cookies, but when you’re pregnant and creating another life, those cravings are even more intense. You also need to listen to your body, because that’s what feels natural.
When I said that women use pregnancy as an excuse, I wasn’t saying that women who are pregnant are like, ‘Oh I’m pregnant, thank god I am just going to get fat now.’ That is not what I meant. I meant that women think to themselves, ‘I need to eat this because my body is telling me that I obviously need it and I feel shaky if I don’t.’ It’s not that women are using it as a bad excuse, but it is an excuse for a lot of people.
We have to look at the facts where science, research, and doctors tell us that it actually could hurt the baby if we eat ten cookies; it is better for us to eat the cookies, but still have it in balance. All of that is the nutrition that is passed on to the baby. It puts mothers in the position where diabetes and other health issues are more prevalent.
It was a much bigger conversation. Also, I do feel that when women who try to starve themselves to look a certain way get pregnant, I feel that for sure they are like, ‘Thank god I am pregnant so I don’t have to feel like I have to starve myself anymore, because I can’t.’
I feel bad for the women in the world who feel like they have to eat such minimal amounts of food to feel their best. That is unfortunate, and that’s not the right formula. We should eat and we should nurture our bodies, and we need to be able to have the right exercise tools and really make exercise a part of our lifestyle so that we really get the bodies that we want.”
CBS: You have worked with A-list moms such as Madonna, Nicole Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Courteney Cox. Which of these high-profile women has been your hardest-working client?
TA: “Gwyneth Paltrow is definitely my most balanced, focused, and hardest-working client. She is not obsessive hardworking, she is balanced hardworking. She shows the strongest determination and dedication to the fitness program, and has been doing it for six years, six days a week.
She keeps looking better and better; she recently turned forty, and she constantly says to me, ‘Thank you so much. I can’t believe at forty I look better in a bikini than I did at twenty.’ ”
CBS: What are some of the differences between being a mom now and being a mom 13 years ago.
TA: “I feel like I am more of a woman now as a mom, and I feel more equipped to be a parent that isn’t just all heart. Obviously you have to be all heart to be a parent, but, especially with a girl, I feel like I am more equipped to raise a smart, kind woman that is not a ‘mean girl.’
I just feel more equipped as a woman. When I had my son, I was 22 and I couldn’t have loved anything more. He took over my whole heart and all of my focus and everything. Now, being 37, I am more equipped as a woman to balance it.”