I was once a sucker for infomercials. Oddly, there was something kind of fun about watching these commercials that make life a little simpler; promise big change with minimal effort for only 3 payments of $9.99. And, to be fair, some of them were pretty cool. My two favorite purchases were my TotalGym and Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis.
While the TotalGym is great, you kind of have to have the space for it. It folds up easily to go in a closet or under a bed, true. But the easiest way to start a new habit like working out is to remove as many barriers as possible. Having to pull the TotalGym out and fold it back up is one extra step you don’t need. If you have the space to keep it out, though, it’s a really fun, quick, effective workout.
Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis, however has very low barriers to get started. You don’t need much space (just a long enough stretch of floor for you to stretch your arms over your head – if you don’t hit anything, you’re good). It’s a quick, effective workout so it doesn’t require more than 30 minutes (or less). And the core workouts are low impact so you can even do them barefoot in your pajamas (not that I have experience with that or anything…).
Metamorphosis is actually one of my favorite ways to workout. Building the small, accessory muscles means you don’t get sore the next day. It shapes your body more quickly and more effectively than working your big muscles. And since those small muscles support the big muscles, you do notice a difference not only in how you look but how efficiently your body works. I would easily recommend Metamorphosis to pretty much anyone (especially if they enjoyed pilates or yoga but wanted to be more active).
I’ve even got some tips to help you get even better results!
This may sound silly, but when you’re in those moments that are really hard and your muscles are starting to burn, smile. Not in a grin and bear it sort of way. But a genuine smile plays all sorts of great tricks on your body. It sends the message that you’re happy; that you enjoy what you’re doing. And if you enjoy it (or your body thinks it enjoys it) then it’s easier to get through the set. And it’s easier to come back and do it again the next day.
Do what you can
The last session in each level is the strategic muscle exhaustion. Which is exactly that – it’s designed to make YOUR muscles tired in strategic ways to shape your body and make you stronger.
But your muscles may not be able to do what Tracy’s can do, or what mine can do. Keep in mind the point of this session is that exhaustion (don’t go easy on yourself). But honor your body and do as many reps as it takes to exhausts your muscles. Then do one more.
That one more is going to be what makes not only your muscles stronger but your will also. It’s how you get from 15 reps to 20 reps. It may be the most important one you do out of the whole thing so make it a good one, keep your form awesome and afterward smile because you rocked it!
Don’t worry about being exact
The biggest difference when working out with Tracy Anderson and other routines is that you don’t need to keep up perfectly with each of the moves. Especially in the beginning. Because I’ve got to tell you, Tracy isn’t worried about being exact.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great fitness instructor. The Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis is effective and I love it. But she’s totally one of those people who will do 6 reps on one side and 5 on the other. She’ll go one direction for a bit and then never come round to doing the same thing on the other side. She’s mostly pretty consistent, but she’s not exact. You don’t have to be either.
Just keep moving. Keep up the best you can.
In fact, when you let go of needing to do all the moves exactly right in the exact order and for the same count, you’ll actually keep up better.
And you will improve. It’ll get easier. Just keep going
Tiny confession – I really want to be lean and strong and healthy with as little effort as possible. If working out requires a lot of time from me, that’s one of those barriers that gets in the way of getting it done. On the other hand, if I can get what I need in 15 minutes instead of 30, I’m in (one reason I loved the TotalGym so much).
Cardio doesn’t work like that. It requires that you do it and keep going for at least 20 minutes (and I mean AT LEAST). So when I started Metamorphosis, I did the muscle sculpting workouts and totally ditched the cardio. Because that would mean, like, working out for 45 minutes!
As you go through Metamorphosis you’ll find it’s a little cardio, especially in the muscle exhaustion section. But do yourself a favor and supplement with real cardio for 20 min per day 2-3 days a week. Walk, run, do Tracy’s cardio dance (which will support the other work you’re doing), but do something or you’re going to regret it around level 6.
3 days per week
Tracy’s workout plan is 6 days a week. And if you seriously want to get in exceptional shape in 90 days, do that. I have no idea it’ll work great.
But, for me, asking for 6 days is another of those barriers to getting started. 3 days a week I can do, though. And once I get rolling and am enjoying it, I can even do 4.
If 6 days a week is a barrier for you then know you can get better, healthier and stronger in 3 days per week – 4 is even better. It’s more important that you DO IT and keep doing it rather than demanding too much from yourself and quitting.
And by have fun I mean, even if that means being silly. Because some of the moves are kind floppy, bouncy, dancing a little crazy. A lot of them are also different – working your abs on the floor without anything that looks like a crunch.
Those different ab movements are what got me hooked from the very beginning. I’ve done pilates for years, dabbled in yoga, ran. I’ve done Turbo Fire and Tae Bo and I don’t even remember most of the others (I did mention I liked infomercials). But even if it looks (or feels) ridiculous, those arm and ab movements are going to shape your body, make you stronger and keep you interested because they’re like nothing you’ve done before (presumably – they were like nothing I’d done before).