15 minutes with Tracy Anderson: Top workout and tech tips from this A-list fitness expert

Tracy Anderson workout samsung
Photography courtesy Samsung
Tracy Anderson workout samsung
Photography courtesy Samsung

Tracy Anderson, the woman responsible for Gwyneth Paltrow’s impressive quadriceps, dropped by Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel this week to lead her signature dance-based studio class and chat about the launch of Samsung’s Gear Fit ($219, bestbuy.ca) wearable fitness tracker. If you’ve tried her workout videos (and really, who hasn’t flailed their arms back and forth in the living room while staring intently at the laptop?), you know she’s a tiny powerhouse whose empire and influence grows by the minute. Herewith, the gospel according to Tracy:

We should be working out pretty much every day.
“The truth of the matter is that 6 days a week we should be focusing on and connecting with our bodies. You can take a day off and it won’t mess you off but the working out three days a week you can’t own your weight loss. You have to take care of your body all the time.”

Being too busy is not a reason to neglect yourself.
“We’re all very busy. Anytime you achieve in life you have to make sure that you have balance, and that’s part of achieving. I think people get worried about, ‘I’m not going to be seen or heard or make it, or be popular enough or liked enough” if they shut everybody else out and say, ‘I have to work out for an hour.’”

Fitness trackers that send your texts and emails to your wrist can help with that—but program an “out of office.”
“You can go for a focused run or power walk or a focused amount of exercise time and you can get your emails but program in a little message, like, “I’ll get right back to you.” I think people have anxiety about being disconnected or plugged out, even for an hour. We’re multitaskers, we’re like, I could give my kid more attention or my husband or my job. Especially as women we really are nurturers and we think of ourselves last, but in reality if we take care of ourselves we set a good example for our children.”

Even clumsily following along with her choreography is good for your brain.
“It’s proven that it rewires neural pathways in the brain if you exercise in the way we just did. If we just went for a run, your brain already knows how to do that, so does your body, but the fact that you just learned all these movements, that’s connection.”

It’s not her job to turn lazy people into Gwyneth.
“I don’t yell at people, I don’t scream at people, I don’t manipulate people. Until you can show up for yourself, I can’t show up for you..I consider my job to be focused on research, content development, forward-thinking, trying to create the best, the most affordable tools that I can.”

You should adjust the thermostat when you turn on her workout.
“If you think sitting in a steam room is going to help you lose weight, you’re totally wrong. If you think working out on a treadmill in a heated room will help you lose more weight, it will, slightly. But in my method it’s about me having access to the muscles that are locked up tight, not wanting to mould, shift or change, and pressuring the thermoregulatory system to access more of the brain to function.”

Tracking your sleep with a device like the Gear Fit is as important as measuring how many steps you take in a day.
“I think that people do not understand that they don’t sleep properly. It’s huge for inflammation, for fighting disease, for focus. I think moms, and young achievers would be shocked at how much sleep they’re losing and what their quality of sleep is like. If you have that knowledge you are going to take better steps and better care to make sure that you get the proper sleep.”

She knows you want to take her class in person, but can’t be everywhere so she’s all about being beamed into your house.
“I’ve produced over 160 DVDs in the last two years so that I can actually be in people’s living rooms. I pay attention to technology and fitness and make sure that if there’s anything that I really think can help serve people at home, when I can’t be like Starbucks [in studios] everywhere, I’m all about taking those steps.”