I’ve received quite a few emails in regards to the article I wrote about Tracy Anderson and her questionable claims about exercise and nutrition. My basic argument was that Anderson’s method is no better (or worse) than any other form of exercise, and her dietary advice is extremely dubious given it strips out many essential nutrients the body needs to regulate itself (particularly when doing grueling workouts).
Many of the emails and comments were from people in the fitness industry who wrote to thank me for speaking out about celebrity gurus and the nonsense they promote. But this email from Emily Gallant stood out:
The irony of having a Man review Tracy Anderson
Doesn’t my subject title say it all? If you aren’t certain about something, or haven’t actually tried it out for a period of time, you shouldn’t spend time bullshiting about it, especially not on a website, no matter how self-important that makes you feel. You shouldn’t accept writing assignments that you have to be blasphemous in order to complete. Tracy Anderson is the future in which fitness for women is moving. She may not be for everyone but her system truly works. No longer are male fitness regimes being inaccurately prescribed for women. Instead we finally have a form of exercise that makes women look how they want to look. As someone immersed in various kinds of extreme exercise and tried every form of it you can imagine, I can attest that the Tracy Anderson method does work to lean women out in a way that is normally Impossible. I always cringe when I find blogs like this because it is clearly for entertainment, not to continue in the formation of a supportive community in support of an improved world. You can do better.
I’m not going to respond to Emily’s orders that I stop ‘accepting writing assignments’ because she doesn’t like what I’m saying. But I will respond to her charge that because I’m a man, I can’t comment on fitness methods for women.
I worked in the fitness industry and have several professional qualifications. I’ve been taught by women, and have taught women (in fact, one of the people in the business I respect the most is a woman named Maura Barclay – one of the most knowledgable and brilliant yoga/martial arts instructors around – and if you are in the Seattle area, go and train with her).
I’m genuinely not sure what being a man has to do with anything here. There is sound exercise and nutrition advice, and bad exercise and nutrition advice. Tracy Anderson has pretty good workout advice and pretty bad nutrition advice – and that’s me being charitable. Her series of exercises are good for a certain type of fitness (aerobic fitness and muscle tone) but not so much for others (you won’t develop much strength for example). I went over her nutritional advice in my article, but to recap, it’s dangerously low in essential fats, minerals and calories in general. This is particularly bad for women, who need to maintain a significantly higher percentage of body fat than men to regulate their hormones (especially if they want to have children).
While Emily says that my piece ‘is clearly for entertainment’, I’d argue the exact opposite. I don’t usually write about fitness and nutrition, but felt the need to point out some facts after reading Anderson’s claim that “you need to stop every other kind of exercise and only do my workout.” Sure, I haven’t done the Tracy Anderson Method, so I’m not speaking from experience, but I’ve been around the industry for long enough to know that it is complete and utter nonsense.
And I think Emily could do a lot better.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.