Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Class With Tracy Anderson - Whoa!

If you'd have come to me on September 11th, 2010 when I wrote The Challenge, my first ever blog post about my journey into The Tracy Anderson Method and said: "Hey in five years, you're going to meet this group of women through an online photo contest and then you're all going to go to New York and workout together with Tracy Anderson in her Tribeca studio and she is going to know who you all are."... I'd have been like, yeah right, I want whatever you're smoking

All I can say now is Alice has got nothing on me. She might have fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland and seen some pretty amazing stuff but this? THIS?!?

I never saw THIS coming! 

You know how I like to digress, right? You didn't? Oh, well then you should go to the top of the page and click on What's This Blog because there is a clause in there that states: "I reserve the right to meander, waffle on, whinge, moan, crack myself up, etc. etc." So with that in mind...

Happy November!

Let's talk about November. It's the first of the month. I love the firsts of the months because they allow us to start fresh. To come up with a monthly virtue, to have some resolutions, and they basically give us (ME) permission for a do-over if we so need. 

So last month I chose BELIEVE as my virtue. I don't think I wrote about that, I'm sorry it was a crazy busy time. I chose Believe because my friend Jackie said I needed more self-esteem, that I didn't believe in myself enough and so she had me create my Believe Jar. I feel like I posted about this, so if I did and I am being repeaty repeaty, forgive me. Here's my jar.

The idea is to put in one thing into the jar that you believe about yourself each morning to build that "believe in yourself" muscle. Harder than it sounds. I am not sure I'm quite there yet so guess what the virtue for November is going to be?


Believe you're amazing, Believe that you can do anything you put your mind to, Believe everything is possible, Believe you are worth it! 

And keeping that in mind look what is beginning tomorrow (November 2nd)....

Eeeeeeeeeeee I am so excited and I really do feel like I am Alice in Wonderland just following the White Rabbit to where I am supposed to go. How fitting and fortuitous no? Join me as I meditate the next three weeks away with Oprah and Deepak, you can sign up HERE if you want to.

So, you wanna hear about my weekend with Tracy now? I am so excited to tell you all about it, but I also didn't want to tell you because I didn't want you to think I was bragging or something, or that I think I'm all that now, because believe me (ha, believe see? It's everywhere) I am more humbled than anything by this whole experience.

I don't want to go into detail about how it all came to be. So the Cliff Notes version is this. At the end of December last year, Tracy came out with Streaming where you could sign up and get a new class each week working out with her in the studio. So fun, right? 

Then in January she launched this Instagram contest where you subscribe to Streaming, you follow her on Instagram and post weekly pics of your streaming experience - mine looked a lot like this...

You see? Not much has changed from my Meta days where I was completely convinced that Tracy was trying to kill me. Even the dog was exhausted just from watching.

Anyway through these posts and pics I got to know several of these amazing women who were also into Tracy's Method and they were nailing it, hitting the mat every day and sending inspiration across the Instagram web waves. At the end of the month Tracy and her posse chose the winners, and while I was not one of them I still felt like a winner. One for having worked out every single day in January and not dying, and two for having met these "girls for girls" kind of women. So much love and support. Well all of that love and support led to this crazy spectacular idea from Emery, check her out HERE, that wouldn't it be cool if we could ALL workout with Tracy. So she asked and Tracy said yes and this happened.

If you look at the very top of this pic, you can see my huge grin as I hold up my iPhone. This is the tiny change room at the Tribeca studio. Would you like me to rewind slightly? Okay then I will.

You still here? I wasn't sure if that was a **Yawn** sure go on, Zzzzzz, snore, or a: YEAH woman how did this happen???

So our Emery set the wheels in motion and the weekend event was on, it wasn't on, it was on, drama drama drama - then finally "We're doing it!" But I wasn't sure that I was. I was so scared. In fact I almost didn't go. Honestly, Tracy is super amazing, but all that heat? Those crazy moves? Half the time at home I'd break out in tears because it felt so hard I believed I was in over-my-head. (Oh my beautiful Believe Jar, how far we've come together.) A close friend along with He Who Shall Not Be Named convinced me that I had as much right to be there as anyone else, I was invited after all, wasn't I? Yes I was. So I decided to go, but that wasn't the end of my terror, it actually got much worse.

I mean to tell you I was scared shitless. You know me, I have always been a half-ass-er. My rapper name is Lay-zee for crying out loud.  

I never do cardio, I never work out with shoes on much less weights, now I was going to have to put on sneakers and weights and try to keep up with these Super-women who seemed so much more hard-core than me. They did hours of working out - full double weights and hours of cardio. I was going to be Billy No Friends, after-all hadn't I always been? I'm used to being the odd man out, the loner, hell it's why I chose the Method and Streaming and all of it because I got to do it alone.

Anyway if I wasn't nervous enough, I went and dislocated my rib the very week before going.

It was (and is still) super painful. (Honestly I thought it was a sign that I should not be going.) I didn't have range of motion, it hurt to breathe, but thankfully my masterful friend/chiropractor/witch-doctor was able to tape me up for the event so that I could stand up-right.
So we all flew from our respective homes as far away as South Africa and as close as Queens - okay Agi didn't fly she drove, and we met on a Friday night in Soho. I was worried. What if we didn't connect? What if it was just an online thing and when we met they'd all be like who the hell are you? I don't post a lot of selfies, so a few people actually didn't know who I was.

But the first meetings looked a lot like this....

There were tears, there was laughter, there was a whole lot of hugging. Oh my ribs!

You might know many of them from their sweaty posts but look at these girls all dressed up...

It was real, the connection, the love, the support - I've never felt anything like it. 

Until stepping into that room the next day. The energy was like being at a massively connected spiritual retreat of some kind. I mean, I lived in a yoga ashram and didn't feel this intense pure love and joy.

I know you cannot see me in the class that is currently online because I like to stick to the shadows and prefer to be BEHIND the camera, but can you pick me out? My where's Waldo moment here - I'm under the clock next to the beautiful Erica. Look at this group. So I guess you want to hear about the class, huh?

I was super nervous, I had total butterflies, but when Tracy walked in and greeted us, her voice set me at ease. I'd been listening to her for the better part of six years. It was going to be okay.

Me, always with the camera. But isn't it cool that she has more or less kept me/us in shape all these years? So cool. You rock Tracy Anderson! She was so generous and warm. She took all our hugs and squeals in stride.

But then it was time to move. I thought I would die. The door closed, the temperature rose, I was in the very back corner right in front of the heater, humidifier AND speaker - holy shit talk about sensory overload. But the first thought that ran through my head was: "Hey, this is just like what I do at home, I can do this." It was a rather shocking moment. I was capable.

It's hard to see because it's a screen grab, but that is Clinsay in front of me and Nadineandrea13 next to me. Those are their IG names if you want to check them out. It was super surreal since I'd been following them online for months and now here we all were. WITH TRACY! Omigod.

I had been trying to avoid looking in the mirrors as much as possible but at one point I caught my reflection and I though, "Yo, Masters you have never looked this good at home" and then I realized that it wasn't my reflection lol - it was Lorettasfitnesslife. Omigod. Hilarious, she looks so great.

It was hot in the room but not too hot to stand it, so if you've been putting off going to a Vitality Week or visiting a studio, don't. If I can take it so can you. Just bring lots of water. The heat made me hurt less and move more so I think it is something I want to introduce at home, just not so much the humidity because I am afraid of mold. I don't think I could replicate that sort of heat and humidity anyway. But I quite enjoyed it while there.

There was of course those moments where I was thinking fuck we've got a whole 'nother side to do yet, but you just get so caught up in the music and the movements of those around you that you go with it, it feeds you. The biggest take away was that yes, ladies, online streaming is just like what Tracy is doing live every day. The only difference is that at home I can actually see her. In class I was following either Gillian or Gippersmith (Karen) to know what to do next. 

My advice or what I would know what to do next time is never fly out right after class. We had an afternoon session on the Sunday and I flew out right after taking a shower. I was so ill by the time I hit my gate.

The class really takes a lot out of you, more than at home I think because I tended not to rest in class whereas at home, I might take a break or do less reps. The heat sucks everything out of you. It's better to be able to grab some food and re-hydrate and just chill rather than haul a bag through a crowed airport and stand in endless lines. Especially when injured, duh!

At the airport as I was sitting at the gate I really thought I was going to faint or die. It was so bad, it got to the point where I felt like I would never ever do another live class again, but it's like childbirth. The second the pain is gone, it's forgotten and you cannot wait for the next class.

I'm more inspired and reinvigorated than ever. Still got a bum rib but I am going to try and learn the cardio. You'll believe it when you see it? I know, me too. ha ha. So not a dancer but since Tracy has gone to all the trouble of creating new content with breakdowns, I kind of feel like it would be rude not to.

She spoke at length answering tons of questions, so much that is beyond the scope of this already too long post - stuff like about menopause, cellulite, diet, supplements etc, but the biggest take away was this...

She is designing these workouts with your whole body in mind and with a long range plan. So if one week she doesn't do abs in the master class, do not add them. If she isn't using ankle weights, don't add them on to "make it harder" you are fucking up the long range plan for those accessory muscles. Also if she is adding weight, you should do the same. If you find that you're bulking when you do, really look at those angles, watch in the mirror. Are you getting that leg high enough or hitting it in the same place she is, if you're not you might be activating other muscle groups and that is what is causing you to bulk. 

Just trust her. I know it's hard, but after all these years, I do trust her. (Okay I still don't wear shoes or use double weights at home, but I'm thinking those 2.5 ankle weights might make a nice Christmas gift)

I hope this was helpful and fun. Last words, if you get a chance to do a class with her, do it. She is the real deal, the genuine article. She cares for us, she listens to us, and does this for us because she truly loves it and it shows.






  1. OMG. I love this post for so many reasons. Hilarious! Thanks for taking the time to write this. I was dying to hear about your experience. Now I can stop searching so hard for you in the streaming class this week! (I thought I might have found you but I was wrong) :) You look so amazing Shan and I'm so glad you had this experience - meeting Tracy, connecting in real life with all of those incredible women, having the "real deal" workout experience. It sounds like it was magical. And I'm so sorry you were near death both before and after :) - but I'm proud of you! I'll be sad come Wednesday when the streaming changes - I swear I feel the energy from all of you guys. And I'm doing the Deepak/Oprah series right along with you! Cheers and Happy November! xoxo. Donna

    1. Hey Donna,
      Yep I was at the back of everything - back of the photos or back of the room or the one taking the photos, not so into being "seen" in that way. It makes me feel uncomfortable. But it is so super fun to see everyone and you never do know the new class may be our second day with Tracy, who knows. I remember THAT class being a killer.

      It was magical and honestly had I been in perfect health would it have been as memorable? Probably, I would have been on way less pain meds - lol.
      I will look for your spirit/soul on the meditation airwaves my friend. So glad to have such great company.
      And hey, where are you by the way? Are you in Toronto, because I am back here and if you are, we must get together!
      Big hugs.

    2. I wish we were in the same town! I am all the way in Denver, Colorado. If I ever make it over your way I will definitely let you know and I hope you will do the same! I can totally relate to not wanting to be "seen" - I am exactly the same way. But with your beauty and kindness and smarts, you shine very brightly no matter where you are! Feel better and take care of your poor rib! Donna

    3. Well rats! Why the heck did I think you were Canadian? Okay then, if I make it out there we're having lunch! And drinks! And Starbucks! Glad you get it, most people think I am being funny or somehow vying for some kind of backwards attention or something. And thanks that's lovely of you to say.

  2. Aw! Squee! Thanks for sharing your experience! Sounded amazing for sure! Look at yo sexy self work in' it! ;)

    I've read that TA in person looks so freaking strong.
    So, uh if Ms. Tracy had any advice for protecting the old (literally) joints would you mind sharing?

    I would seriously consider volunteering for a Bionic woman type experiment. Then again, you can go it with a cracked rib why am I complaining?!

    You are such a warrior!

    1. Hi Gia, you're so sweet.
      She is super strong and toned in real life, more than you can see on the tv screen with streaming but like so super teeny tiny. Her hips are mini.
      No sadly, no advice on joints. You will have to take a vitality weekend and ask her! She's so great about answering questions.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Please tell us about the Q & A. I want to know what Tracy said about menapause, cellulite, diet, etc. I'll never be able to afford to go there, so I have to live through you.
    Did she say anything about why she stopped the Continutiy DVD's. I wish she would start them up again.

    1. Hi, I will do my best. My life is about to get super crazy busy with four jobs on the go at once, but I do want to share for sure.
      She stopped because she wanted us to have her live up to the minute content. With the DVD's there is so much time that goes into making them that she may have already moved on to something else by the time we get them. With streaming we are all on the same page with her doing her classes like the people in the studio.
      But she is still making DVD's and writing two new books - so more content is forthcoming.
      I know what you mean about the cost - but now with the two day courses, like the one we did in New York - it's waaaaaaaaay more affordable - you just have to wait until she comes to a town closer to you or where you have friends you can stay with.
      I really think you should do it. I was so afraid, but was shocked in my own head when I was like, hey, I'm keeping up. Whoa. Cool.

  4. I. love. this. post. Thanks for taking the time to write it Shan. So much of it rang true with me.

    I have to admit something, and it's going to sound really silly, but I historically have always been really shy/nervous/scared of groups of women. I was raised by men, mostly, and girls in school were just terribly I was/am a guy's kind of girl. I've started to figure out the glory of female friendships as I've gotten older, but groups still make me a teeeeeeeeny but nervous. I used to be kind of terrified that all the gals of TAM would be sort of like scary, perfect glamazons and then there'd be my goofy-ass self in my homemade pants. ;) But I have to say, I was so wrong! I am so in awe of the awesome group of women associated with Tracy Anderson. It's better than I could have imagined. Women who are trying to do their best, and support others who are trying to do the same, and do normal things ... like sweat...a lot.

    It's been so cool to watch everyone's progress/support/thoughts through your blog, and on Instagram, but it's super awesome to see a bunch of you all *together*...****WITH TRACY ANDERSON****...Gah! The best.

    Take care of those ribs. Hugs! xoxo,

    1. Myla, we really are best friends without ever having met aren't we?! I never had girlfriends. Not until later. But it's really why I hate to post pics of me I want people to see the real me and get to know the real me without judging what they might perceive on the outside.
      And lets face it, girls can be mean sometimes. Just look at all the trashy tabloid magazines, who do you think buys them? Mean girls me thinks.
      This group and this #tamily are so not those people. I cannot tell you how relieved I was. They did not seem like mean girls AT ALL online which is why I loved them, but you never know when you get all that female energy in the room what the dynamic would be. But like I said it was love on steroids, love in technicolor, love love love. I'm still high!
      You can come to the next one - we can wear homemade pants together!

    2. Oh my gosh Shan...I just adore you. Seriously big time.

    3. I forgot to say that we would bring our dogs and they would be wearing their 'alls!
      Lol I adore you too lady!

  5. Hi, I have been doing TAM for about 7 years and currently stream but am not on Instagram so I find it super inspirational to read this! It is so helpful, you have no idea. I would love to hear more, really any details at all are fabulous. (especially about if she said anything about menopause, etc). Your posts last week also inspired me to start to take how I eat more seriously and I have started to look at the 'Clean" material, so thanks. A little nudge was all I needed, I feel more back on track. I really connect to your work on many levels! (also am definitely a behind-the-camera-please-don't-look-at-me kind of gal). Cheers, Teresa

    1. Teresa,
      I am so glad to hear that you've been working out with Tracy for even longer than me. Isn't she fabulous?
      Yes, my Instagram tends to be what I see than about me or my workouts. I would be happy to post some of the things that we talked about.
      I'll do my best to get something together and put it up I'm just quite swamped with stuff at the mo.
      Glad you stopped by, it's nice to have good company.

  6. I love this so much! I'm thrilled you got to go. And much more good is around the corner for you