Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Metamorphosis by Tracy Anderson

Over a month ago, I pledged not to speak of Tracy Anderson or any of her products because of all the hoopla surrounding the release of her newest program, Metamorphosis.  At the time, I was overcome by hype that I must have spoken nonstop about Tracy Anderson.  Now that the smoke has subsided and the chatter has died down, I think I can now give an objective review of Metamorphosis.

As many of you know (or don't), Tracy Anderson is no stranger to controversy.  Although I will not waste my time discussing every little incident and faux pas that has made her a polarizing personality in the fitness world, one of the biggest criticisms of her method is the length of time she requires to do her workouts (90min-2hr, depending on who you ask).  While for some people, that length of time is no hair off their back, I'm pretty sure the consensus among the average person is "Who the hell has time to workout for 2 hours?!"

Well lo and behold, Tracy answers to her critics with Metamorphosis, a program that comes with 9 muscular structure workouts at 30 minutes a piece.  It also comes with a 30-minute follow-along cardio workout to accompany the muscular structure work.   It's a 90 day program, with each MS workout to be used for a 10 day period before moving on to the next one.

  You mean I can get a Tracy Anderson workout done in an hour (59 minutes depending on which MS you are using)?  Well, sign me up!

                                             Isn't the packaging so pretty!

The program offers 4 different sets to choose from based on your  body type and your aesthetically-driven fitness goals.  You can pick from one of the following:

Glutecentric=droopy, shapeless ass
Abcentric=for the girdle-wearing crowd
Hipcentric=saddlebags galore
Omnicentric=total body tragedy...looks like I have a winner!

Let me first start by making a list of what I think are the pros of the program:

-30 minute format: I can't reiterate how much this makes me happy!

-Killer lower body work: despite the shorter running time, Tracy knows how to pack a punch in 30 min.   I believe she averages 6 moves on each leg and maxes out for a total of 40 repetitions each move.  This is definitely the most intense lower body work she has ever produced, and for the first time ever, I was sore after using a TA workout.  My saddlebags were on fire for two or three days!

-Lots of plank work: since you spend most of the lower segments on all fours (I know what you are thinking, you filthy pig!), you get the added bonus of working you abs as well.  Plus, planks seem to be the respected, go-to ab exercise lately since the recent advent of the anti-crunch movement.

-Cardio effect: as I mentioned previously with this being the first time a Tracy Anderson workout has made me sore, this was also the first time her work gave me the cardio effect.  My heartrate sure did shoot up fairly quickly, and towards the end of the workout, I was sweating buckets.

-Good music: Tracy's taste in music has always been a selling point for me.  Definitely known for her tastes in trance, techno, and ambient-based music, Tracy hits another home run.  With the exception of one workout (I'm looking at you, Omni Meta workout 2!), the music definitely helped me get through the burning sensation in my ass.  Nice distraction, Tracy.

-Not a lot of chatter: Tracy has never been known to be a chatty Cathy, so it should come as no surprise that she continues with her minimalist approach.  Going along with the nice ambient music, Tracy, who does a voice over instead of talking while instructing, remains pretty restraint, leaving the viewer to concentrate on the workout.

-More informational material included with the set: as much as I have loved Tracy's past work, she always seems to cause confusion in what she says and what she expects from her fans.  Going off of what I have seen on places like the forum on Video Fitness and her Facebook page, many fans don't know where to begin or what order to do the MS and the cardio.  In her informational guide, she addressing these questions thoroughly and with clarity, answering questions from what time she recommends working out to what shoes to wear for her high impact cardio (I'm still going barefoot though).

-Schedule tracker: I'd be lying if I said I have been consistent with the program, but I have to admit, I do appreciate being able to track progress and what workouts are next on the queue.

-Recipes and food guidelines: I almost considered this a con, but I am not going to pan Tracy Anderson for her controversial meal plans.  It is no secret that some people believe Tracy promotes unhealthy, low-cal diets, but I see them as more of guideline than anything else.  Her criticisms also revolves around the fact that she likes to use snobbishly unobtainable and expensive ingredients (yacon syrup?).  Still, the recipes look fun and take a unique twist on the usual mundane meal plans that come with exercise systems.  I might not follow the plan religiously, but I do plan to use the choco chestnut pudding recipe for a rainy day.

With all that in mind, I must make note of the cons:

-Lacking in upper body work: Tracy does bring the weighted arm segments that were a standout in her Mat workout, but weighted and unweighted arm work takes up no more than 6 minutes of the workout time.  I do still find it effective and get that nice burn going, but Tracy only starts to take you to that threshold before moving on.  You see, in her Mat workout, both the unweighted and weighted arm sections burned like a motherf*cker, and just when you thought you couldn't take it anymore, she kept going!  In Metamorphosis, she only barely scratches the surface.  Understandably, 30 minutes isn't enough time to get everything in and the arm segments could be repeated twice if desired.

-Sloppy floor ab work: just like the arm segments, this goes by fairly quick, especially in comparison with the Mat workout.  To me, it wasn't necessarily how rushed this segment was, but rather how sloppily it was put together.  It really felt like there was no rhyme or reason behind each move and before you could adjust, she moved on quickly to the next move.  Between having to figure out was exactly she was doing and trying to adjust my body quickly enough, my neck and back sure felt strained at times.

-Lack of cueing: I know I praised Tracy for her minimalist approach when it comes to talking, but her cueing is so minimal, it is almost nonexistent.  There are times I looked up at the screen only to realize how off I was. Luckily for me, I have figured out Tracy's rhythmic pattern to how she executes her moves, so I was eventually able to keep up while not having to worry constantly looking at the screen.  For those who don't get Tracy's style or haven't been acquainted with it, this might steer you away from wanting to use this product.  Tracy is not user-friendly for those who need constant instruction.

-The set: I may in the minority on this one, but I did not like the set.  I know many people rejoiced with Tracy's decision to use a bright set with shades of white and pink (it essentially looks like the packaging it came in), but it just reminded me of a Polly Pocket playhouse I use to play with as a kid.  Personally, I liked the dark, modern, industrial vibe of the Perfect Design series.  I thought it was sexy and chic.  I also liked the use of Gwyneth Paltrow's Hamptons workout room in the Mat workout.   I guess different strokes for different folks.

                                                    The Metamorphosis set

                                                 Perfect Design Series set

Bottom line: Tracy has created another set of fun workout for those familiar with her method.  For me it is not the end-all, be-all of workouts, but it is a nice addition to my (growing) collection.  As someone who likes cross-training and functional fitness, Tracy Anderson would not be my primary source of exercise; however, I have always found her workouts to be complimentary to the main workouts in my rotations.  Tracy makes workouts that are fun, unique, sexy, far from mundane, elitist, stylish, and appealing.  As far as I am concerned, Ms. Anderson, you are always welcomed into my house of exercise.

That is all!


LDY_SOLANA said...

Thanks for the pros and cons. Tracy turns me off with her "patent moves" and her way or the highway thought of working out, but the workouts do look good. I relied on a lot of unweighted/floor work when I did distance running years ago and would find her mat stuff helpful since I am getting back into running again. I just might possibly get her book and make my own routines. I remember mentions that she doesn't like running either, but BLAH on her LOL. I was never in better shape then when I did 20+ miles a week.

Liz said...

Yeah, as much as I enjoy Tracy Anderson's workouts, I too dislike her "my way or the highway" mentality. Aesthetics might be a good motivator, but in the long-run, I want to be as healthy and as active as I can. Tracy Anderson's workouts alone do accomplish these feats.