on January 1, 2009
I am in my 30s and have been a lifelong on and off exerciser(gym, treadmill, mostly The Firm videos)... About a year ago, I had an a-ha moment and realized that I was having a hard time "sticking" with working out, because with my Firm videos I wasn't really seeing good results and they were boring me to death!
That's when I switched over to yoga/pilates/barre workouts which I have truly enjoyed and have provided me with results...however, I had plateau'ed and was (coincidentally) thinking of how I could supplement with dance cardio when I saw Gwyneth Paltrow and TA on Oprah. After some research I ordered the TA Dance Aerobics (older dvd) through her studio...and enjoyed it so much that I decided to go for it with the Mat WO as well, even though I had promised myself to not spend any more $$ on tapes for a little while.
This has to be my #1 favorite DVD I own now. I have been doing it about three times a week and also doing the dance aerobics dvd. I have lost some inches over the past month even though I took a lot of days off and haven't had the best diet due to the holidays.
Here are some things I wanted to point out to anyone considering purchasing the Mat DVD:
* This is an intermediate-advanced workout. Newbies should expect to take it easy and definitely don't plan to be able to do this 4-6xs a week at first! You could hurt yourself (I am thinking mainly with the arm/shoulder portion) due to overtraining.
* The arm workout is a ~~standout~~ feature of the TA method. I have very rounded shoulders, I believe due to poor posture and bad genes. It took me almost one month before I was able to get through the unweighted arm session (I think this is a sign of how weak the smaller muscle groups were in my upper body). I see more change in my arms/shoulders/chest/back than I have ever seen doing any other kind of workout. Thank you, Tracy!
* Weighted arm section, most likely you will need 1-2 lbs to start regardless of your strength. I could use 10lbs with Firm tapes but could barely get through using 1lb weights at first.
* The leg exercises really require a lot of concentration (as Tracy says herself during the workout). Due to the large range of motion, you can easily just swing your legs around(momentum) and not really use the muscles properly. I try to imagine I am pulling a weight with my toes and envision my leg is following an imaginary line to help keep control and the leg portion has become much more difficult the more I control it.
* I must say...I do not endorse doing 2hrs ~or the two tapes~ a day unless you are an more experienced exerciser and know your body well and know about overtraining. With that said, this tape will provide you with great results doing it 3-4 times a week along with cardio and I personally find Tracy (her philosophy and body type) to be inspiring fitness-wise.
**Edited to add:
(I thought it would be helpful to add this one last thing)
WHY IS THIS WORKOUT DIFFERENT:
Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout really does take different components from other exercise genres and combines them to make a very unique workout.
For instance, she uses the Fluidity principle of trying to engage as many muscles as possible in movements... An example of this would be traditional floor hip-thigh isolation work from Firm workouts, she does similar moves but while standing behind a chair, so you are working the moving leg but also the standing leg and additionally you are engaging the muscles in the arms while holding the chair and the core and back.
She also incorporates Pilates elements into her exercises (stretch and strengthen types of movements, larger ranges of motion).
Many of her standing leg "rotations" seem to me to be a variation of the Callanetics/Bar Method's Pretzel (which targets the outer hip/glute area).
Lastly, because it is such high repetitions, lots of motion, I feel I am keeping my heartrate up during much of the workout.
I have added 10-30 minutes of Dance Aerobics before doing the Mat WO to warm up and my body feels as if it every single muscle has been exhausted from head to toe but leaves me also feeling invigorated with a "workout high". Happy Exercising!
on January 4, 2009
I agree with the negative AND positive reviews. This isn't going to be for everyone. At the same time, it's possible to get something out of it if you're willing to accept the video's shortcomings.
Overall, I'm glad I got it. I can use it in conjunction with my fitness regimen.
I'd read the reviews before I bought, so there were no surprises - I could enjoy it for what it's worth: a good change of pace, very 'dancer-ly'. It reminds me of portions of the dance classes I took in high school / college, so maybe that helped me. The concept of "accessory muscle" training makes a lot of sense, and I can incorporate that into the rest of my fitness.
After doing the workout three times in nine days, I'd actually noticed some toning. It's a much more fluid form of movement and exercise (than, say, step aerobics or kickboxing), and therefore helps my poise and core. As a disclaimer, I hadn't done much training in a couple months, so probably MANY kinds of resistance training would show results.
I mostly appreciate all of the arm sections (REALLY works my shoulders). Unique, fun moves. I also find great value in the unique horizontal ab moves.
As many have said, there is VERY minimal instruction, and that can be frustrating and laughable. Much of the time, you can figure it out - but it will require you to really look closely and really connect with your body. If you want a lot of guidance, just pass on this video.
For me, lack of instruction is especially a problem on the leg work, because there seem to be more variables in form - (feet pointed? knee in or out? how to align leg? back twisted?). You really have to go through trial and error to see what details work best.
With Ms. Anderson's lack of skill as a group instructor (perhaps she's fabulous when you are gwyneth and doing one-on-one training ;P ), there should have at LEAST been more close-ups, video angles, or even text guidance. For something that's being marketed as "high end" you'd think they could have made more of an effort. Also, as another reviewer mentioned, DVD chapters would have been great when you want to mix it up.
Also... girl shoulda worn her hair pulled back! Sometimes it's hard to consider her form when it looks like she's shrugging her shoulders throughout with all that hair.
I always work out with a Polar heart rate monitor. It was nice to find that I burn around 300 calories from doing this hour long workout. (I'm 31 years old, 5'4", 120 pounds, in good shape). So in addition to toning, you'll get a little cardio and calorie burn.
The 3 pound weights used in this video's sequences are challenging. However, it irks me that Tracy Anderson claims women should NEVER lift more than 3 pounds. I think that "bulking" is a myth depending on how well you balance your training. Ms. Anderson should better define what she means by bulking - it's irresponsible to lead women to believe they'll look like Arnold if they lift light dumbbells (5-12 lbs) !
on September 30, 2008
I am so happy I ordered this. I have known about Tracy for some time and after seeing her on Oprah was pleased to see there are DVD's available.
It is only Tracy doing the workout, which makes me feel more like I have a personal trainer. Her directions and comments are appropriate and the music corresponds well to the moves. The changes can be quick but with repeated viewings, I don't see a problem in picking them up. It's much more graceful than any run-of-the-mill workout. In fact, I would go so far as to call it "purposeful movement" rather than exercise. I can definitely say it's something I will look forward to doing rather than dreading. Also, there isn't a lot of babble and bubbly encouragement, which I'm grateful for.
I can't imagine a muscle that isn't worked during this routine. It is a challenge and if you're just starting out, just do what you can and work your way up to it. It will take me some time to be able to do it as effortlessly as Tracy does.
The contents of the Disc are: Mat Intro - 1:02, Mat Workout - 57:28 (Includes warm-up and cool-down), Gwyneth Interview - 0:56, Tracy Interview - 2:56. You need a basic mat sized area, mat if you are on a hard surface, 3 lb weights and a chair. It starts with warm-up then standing legs, standing abs, standing arms, standing arms with weights, mat legs, mat abs then finishes with cool-down.
One caveat - During the floor ab work, make sure that your hands are simply supporting your head or there for placement rather than lifting it. She does keep a distance between chin and chest and mentions it, but if you're not familiar with the move, it may appear that she is lifting her head with her hands a bit. Lifting the head rather than the upper body won't target the proper muscles and more importantly can cause neck strain or injury.
*I don't think there is any further instruction needed, the moves are simple & basic but the combination and amount is more than effective.
on December 24, 2012
This is my very first review ever of any product that I have purchased online. Although many of the reviews on here of Tracy's products seem professionally produced, let me assure you that I am certainly just an average 40 something female wanting to share info on a great product. I initially purchased Tracy's 30-Day Method book in June and wanted to follow the program for the entire month. I was so excited to get started with her unique approach, that I read the book in 2 days then began measuring my arms, hips, butt and thighs as she suggests. I also purchased her post-pregnancy dvd as a supplement to the one that came with the book. By the middle of July, following the meal plan in her book and alternating the dvd's, I dropped 3 dress sizes from a solid size 12 to a size 6! I am also 5 ft nothing like Tracy, so this form of workout has been very effective for me. I can honestly say that I have achieved results I have never seen before from my gym workouts or any workout for that matter. Although none of the moves that Tracy does are simple, they are doable, just do what you can and you will still see incredible results and quickly. I purchased the Mat dvd after reading the reviews and I'm glad I did. It is so tough, but challenging enough to want to do the moves better with each passing session. If you are looking to really change the way you look, and want an irresistibly attractive figure, Tracy Anderson's Method wins hands down. Since the body transformation I've been able to achieve I have gotten a plethora of compliments, have been approached by more men than I have had in years, and my sense of beauty and esteem is through the roof. I would give this product rating more stars if they were available. Look into Tracy's products they are worth it for sure. I really hope this helps to make an informed decision to purchase. Good Luck!
on August 23, 2010
Disclaimer: I know how much Tracy despises running, and despite my love and adoration for her mat workouts I just can't buy into her cardio dance gospel (and don't even get me started on those incredibly silly treadmill workouts.) I hope my perspective and results will encourage some of my runner sisters to ignore the cardio half of Tracy's method and still reap the reward of her really innovative toning moves.
As a runner (I'm no marathoner and I couldn't care less about PRs, but I'll do the occasional half and I live for trail running), I'm constantly trying to find non-cardio workouts that are both challenging and relaxing. I love running because it's both incredibly difficult and extremely centering, and I really try to look for that balance in other forms of exercise. The slow pace of yoga and pilates tends to frustrate me, and the HYPER ACTION attitude you find in body sculpting classes kind of scares me.
Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout, however, is absolutely perfect for me. My cardio habit had left me a little noodly at best and downright skinnyfat at worst. Though lean, I completely lacked muscle definition. I've been doing this workout alternating with her webisodes (I'm not sure you can purchase them anymore now that her Perfect Design series is out) 5 days a week for the past six weeks, and the results have been absolutely incredible.
Upper body: The arms series are amazing! My arms have definition for the first time in my life, and nothing beats extending your arm and seeing the tricep pop! I know Tracy gets a lot of flack for telling women to never go above 3 lb weights, but I simply can't imagine doing her arms series with a heavier weight. Plus, it's fairly common knowledge that heavy weights and low reps make bulk, whereas light weights and high reps whittle... and no one does high reps quite like Tracy.
Abs/core: I have to admit, I really didn't get the standing abs series at first. The mat work was great, but I just kind of felt like a gangly prepubescent boy trying to do the standing abs sequence. However, after about 3 weeks of wiggling my way through, the mind-body connection involved in the standing abs sequence finally clicked. It's really hard to explain how it works, but all I can tell you is that you'll get it if you do it enough. The workout hasn't made me "ripped" by any means, but my entire midsection has definitely gotten smaller. All of my jeans now gap at the waist and I had to invest in several new pairs of lululemon speed shorts since my old ones were beginning to fall south during my runs.
Legs: My legs were already very lean from running, but I found that this workout had some interesting effects on them. The ballet barre style moves she does don't seem particularly difficult at the outset, but they come back to haunt you the next day. I was SORE. My legs haven't changed in size according to the measuring tape, but they look sleeker and more feminine. My quads seem a lot less boxy and my inner calves now nip in right below the knee. These are small, small changes, but together they make for a different (and very welcome) look for my legs.
Butt: Again, my butt was effected quite like my legs. Formerly square, flat, and kind of squishy (sorry for the overshare), it is now round, firm, and just the right amount of juicy. I got a booty-related catcall for the first time EVER last week, and I couldn't be happier!
Overall, I'm incredibly happy I took the plunge to try out the Tracy Anderson Method. While I didn't follow the gospel of Tracy to a t, I found that I was able to tailor it to my needs and interests and maximize my results.
on July 4, 2009
First let me say that I do like the workout. But I have to add that for the price, it is very unprofessional.
I like the workout as it is different and is easy on my knees. It is more like ballet and pilates, so it is a gentle workout, but not easy. It is just that Tracy is difficult to follow because she does not instruct very well.
What I found most frustrating is that she is not consistant with reps. She will do 25 on the right and 39 on the left for the same excersize! Do that for a while and you will see the difference and that is not easy to fix!
I have watched with pen in hand and wrote out the reps for each side and now do the workout without Tracy! Of course, I do the same amount of reps for each excersize on both sides, but really, for 29.00+ I should NOT have to do that!
So, if you do buy this video, know that you will have to pay attention to this if you expect your results to be even for both legs.
on September 18, 2011
I'm 40. About 3 years ago, my father died and I almost immediately gained 20 pounds. I became pregnant soon after and could not lose the weight after my child was born. I'd always been able to maintain my weight via dance class (6 times a week), but this kind of commitment became impossible once I had a small child (travel to class=45 minutes, plus 1 hour and a half class, plus 45 minute return trip, 6 times a week =hefty babysitting expenses for vanity).
The name Tracy Anderson started popping up on blogs. She had her ardent defenders, but quite often, the "elite" bloggers seemed to make fun of her. There was plenty of reason to--if you are a skeptic and married to your skepticism. Anderson was training Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Her methods were often in direct opposition to what a decade of weight training for women had dictated (lift more weights!). She seemed to have emerged from nowhere to live a charmed life. She was accused of putting people on starvation diets and helping the already thin become more thin. Gwyneth moaned about her shar pei like pooch and yet, none of us ever saw any glaring defects in Ms. Paltrow's posterior. And Madonna--hadn't she always been dancing and showing off her body? It wasn't as though Anderson had brought someone like, say, Jennifer Hudson or Kirstie Alley back from the abyss.
Still, something about her "method" intrigued me. As a dancer, I was accustomed to relying on ballet to firm up my hips and butt and thighs, jazz for abs and hip hop for arms. Then there was floor barre class and the extra Callanetics I did at night. It was a substantial investment of time. More than once I wondered why someone couldn't just condense the very best of these moves. I tried Pilates and it can be effective, but it still works best in conjunction with dance. It's not a surprise that so many dancers teach pilates--my own ballet teacher always said to me: "If you can do ballet, then do ballet. It's better than pilates."
Tracy Anderson has in fact put together a magical method that borrows from the very best of all these exercise traditions, and others. I used this Mat DVD and in 10 weeks, my body changed substantially. I lost 3.5 inches from my waist, 3 inches from my hips and 4.5 inches from my thighs. I did not follow her diet (which you can find online if you look hard enough, or pick up in one of her books), but stopped eating most white flour and stopped putting sugar in my coffee (I am now back eating some whole grains and maintaining my weight). I lost 11 pounds. The weight change, though, wasn't as remarkable as the re-shaping. I literally don't have a single pair of pants that fit any more. All this took 10 weeks. I now weigh what I did in my late 20s at the peak of my dancing mania. And for those who say that Anderson's method primarily relies on weight loss, I would like to point out that the clothes I wore in my late 20s are also too large--it is not just weight that you will lose, but inches.
If you are a fitness devotee or a dancer (or ex-dancer), then you'll pick up the moves easily and intuitively understand what she is trying to do. I do not think this DVD is for a beginner, though I would certainly never stop anyone from trying to do the workout. I have now moved on to Anderson's Metamorphosis program, though I still occasionally supplement that with moves from the Mat DVD--it's that good. I finally have a way to work out at home. And while I have not given up dance--I find that Anderson's method actually complements dance class very well--I do feel relieved that I have a way to workout whenever I want to.
As for how this Method compares to similar exercises: as I mentioned above, Tracy's moves target the body's troublesome areas in a way that one dance class can't. To replicate in dance class what Anderson does in an hour (or less), you'd literally have to be a professional dancer, in the studio 6 hours a day. This is not a realistic way to live or work for people who just want to reach a high level of fitness.
I have loved Callanetics in the past, but do find the moves begin to stall. There was never enough variation in Callanetics, and there was never a true cardio component (research Anderson's programs and you'll find a cardio component) and the arm section was always weak. With Anderson's DVD, I actually have rather sleek arms for the first time in my life. Also, Anderson's found a way to put a program out there that will help fitness seekers continue to improve. With Callanetics, there was always a point where you were going to stall, or simply maintain. It's more fun to work out if you feel that you are constantly trying to excel. That's why dancers dance in part--to always do and learn something new. There is no point to just doing a plie over and over again without it leading to something else. Anderson's program understands this psychology, and continues to give its users something new to learn to do.
As for the weight lifting debate--some trainers are incensed by Anderson's limiting of weights to 3 pounds. I'm a mesomorph. I can lift a lot of weight, but I did not like the way my thighs, calves, shoulders and neck changed as a result of lifting (which I also tried for a period in my twenties). Perhaps I didn't bulk exactly (as we are told over and over again that women cannot bulk), but my muscles did tighten up and the overall effect was not something I liked--I just looked thicker. I did not like the way my clothes fit. I did not like that I gained muscle weight. This doesn't happen with Tracy's program.
I've never written a review for an exercise DVD before. I write very few reviews period. And I'm about as skeptical as they come--the tyranny of celebrities and hype surrounding personalities in general irritate me. Anderson's introduction into this world was certainly helped by the friends she made. On the other hand, there is a reason that successful women flock to her--Anderson actually delivers the goods. If you do what she ways, your body will change. The program will not fail. I can't recommend this DVD--and the Method in general--enough to women who want to change their bodies.
on June 13, 2011
I have been doing this DVD 6x a week for the past 6 weeks, along with a 4 mile power walk each day. Bar none, this DVD is the MOST EFFECTIVE workout DVD I have EVER done. And I am no stranger to workout DVDs. Yes, I've had success with others, but the visible results from this DVD are shockingly quick and I feel GREAT. My legs look fabulous, and my arms and shoulders are toned and sleak. I LOVE wearing short sleeve shirts and tank tops now. Yes, you really do get your limbs smaller and pulled in. Not bulky like some other workouts have done to me in the past. A dancer's body really is possible! I am 5'7" and weigh 120 lbs now (but just 3 months ago weighed 146 before eliminating starchy, processed carbs and sugar from my diet). Everywhere I go I get compliments, and I have never been more confident! I also do her post pregnancy DVD 2x a week because the ab section is killer. Also, about 1.5 weeks ago I started doing the arm section in the Matt DVD 3x each workout. So I generally fast forward to the arm section and do both the non-weighted and weighted arm section 3x in a row, then rewind to the begining and complete the remaining workout (skipping through the arm section). WOW, what a difference it has made to my arms, but I will tell you that even though Tracy does not say this in the DVD, you will also be most impressed at how well the arm section tones your shoulders as well. All I can say is -- "just do it". Just get this DVD and change your body, your life, and your confidence level. I have dropped 2 sizes since starting this DVD 6 weeks ago!!
on November 29, 2008
I've been working out with Tracy's DVD's for a few months now and I can tell you that I like what I'm seeing! First of all, I am a 33 year old man who up until recently LOVED to jog regularly. Then I discovered Tracy's Dance Aerobics DVD. Then, she came out with this line of workouts and I was thrilled. I definately see a difference. As everyone knows, Tracy trains Madonna and Gwyneth. So I kinda feel like I'm getting a bargain of what those two pay. I bet Madonna would love to only pay $30 to workout with Tracy. I have to admit, I was not going to write a review for this product because I already wrote one for her dance cardio dvd and I felt that was enough. But after reading a few negative reviews about Tracy, I wanted to come to her defense. First of all, I agree- Tracy cannot cue if her life depended on it!! But I noticed something odd today. I live in Manhattan, with paper-thin walls and a new neighbor was moving in next door. I found myself NOT reaching for the remote to lower the volume because since Tracy doesnt cue, I didnt have to worry about my neighbors being up in my business. I let the music play. They probably thought I had the radio on. The other thing is that I think Tracy intended for us to memorize these workout (which we will inevitably do anyway) thats why theres very little cueing. Come on, admit it, doesnt it get on your nerves hearing karen voight, kathy smith, denise austin, tamilee webb- day after day saying "and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4!" "lift the leg higher!" " kick! and jump! and turn! and clap!" I dont care how sweet they sound, it gets annoying day after day. Especially if theres a mistake in the video. With Tracy, I dont have that problem. As for Tracys weight training beliefs- she has said from day 1 that she wants to work the small muscles to death so that they pull in the big muscles. Giving us a thinner look. Just give it a try. Obviously it works for Madonna, Gwyneth and me :)
Besides, you can always resell it on amazon!!!
I hope this long review helped!!
on October 4, 2008
I bought this dvd after seeing the segment on Oprah. I decided to write this because of the people who wrote bad reviews and didnt even watch the dvd. Let's get the cons out of the way first. She doesnt explain all of the routine that well. But it was so easy to follow along. It's very simple to follow espically if you are fimilar with Callentics.
-great music espically for an exercise dvd !
-barely any equipment is needed a chair, and 3 pound weights
-little space is needed
-an intense workout that is completed in under an hour
Seriously Tracy hits every major muscle group without the use of weighs ! Yes even the arms without weights and you can really feel the burn. She shys away from most traditional moves so most of these moves were new to me and really hit my trouble spots. There is a segment when you do use weights but they are light and after doing the arm routine without the weights sometimes 3 pounds can be too much. And I used to lift weights hardcore at the gym. She gets the arms done in less time than the gym. And the standing leg segment is killer.
The dvd starts out with a warm up, then standing legs using a chair, then standing abs which burned it was a lot like dancing, then arms without weights, arms with weights, lower body on the mat then finally abs on the mat.
I now this dvd is a little more pricy than the usual dvd but if you have purchaseed Turbo Jam or something along those lines you know you have to pay more for a excellent exercise dvd. It is worht the money you spent. There are no lunges and squats which get old and boring. The music is mellow but good (I actually liked most of the songs) and the routine is about an hour long. If your not certain after this review that this dvd is the one for you read my other various exercise dvd reviews to see if we like the same type of workouts. But this one is good if you want an intense workout that does not take long and leaves you winded and sweaty.