Well Being

Tracy Anderson Can’t Really Change Your Body Type…Or Can She?

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Tracy Anderson is known for molding the bodies of Hollywood celebrities (Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna have credited the trainer for getting their post-baby bodies back in check), and her long list of A-list clients has built her a nice bicoastal biz. But now she's taking her workouts to the masses, claiming that she can even morph the bodies of mere pleabians with her new (aptly named) DVD set: Metamorphosis by Tracy. “With metamorphosis by Tracy, you can actually design the body you've always wanted, defy your genetics, and redefine your body type,” promises the promo, below. We don't doubt that Tracy can help a couch potato slim down, or even help an exercise buff see results with her DVDs and diet plan. But change our body type? We doubt that she can make everyone's hips as slim as Madonna's, and getting legs like Gwyneth's would require painful leg lengthening procedures for the average woman (we're only 5'6”, after all).

Then again, there's a whole field of research centered around the concept that we can change our genes by tweaking our behavior and environment (it's called epigenetics, if you want to get technical). Traditionally, most of us have an easier time believing that we can change our bodies, genes, and minds for the worse than for the better: Smoking can give you cancer that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise; fast food can make your middle expand beyond what it was born to look like; even if you exited the womb talking, too much television can turn your grey matter to mush. But when it comes to improving our health, appearance, or smarts, most of us are cynics at heart. And not for no reason: We can't count the number of times we've dropped paychecks on products that failed to deliver on the promise of making us look, feel, or act better. And half of them even backed up their claims with science! So why should we believe that Tracy Anderson could change the shape of our thighs?

Many fitness and health trends leave us disappointed; some even leave us fatter, poorer, and feeling crappier than when we started. But we have plucked one truth out of the trends: Changing your health and appearance for the better takes some work. If a DVD claims that you can lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes a day, chances are it's bullshit. If anyone tells you that taking a pill, drinking a juice, or repeating a mantra will make you thin and beautiful, don't believe the hype. But a defeatist attitude isn't any healthier; exercise and a healthy diet can transform a person's health. Period. If you're 5'6” and brunette, we shouldn't expect to look like Gwyneth (or even Tracy Anderson, for that matter). But managing your expectations doesn't mean giving up on a healthy lifestyle.

Tracy's infomercial glosses over the fact that her promises hinge on hard work and a strict diet, and we could even argue that it's setting us up for failure by promising to completely change our bodies. But ultimately, her program doesn't promise change without work, and if there's any test of whether a program is worth its weight (or monthly payment plan), we'd say that's the one. Oh, and Gwyneth Paltrow endorsed it on GOOP (“It’s pretty f’ing great 'cause it works!”), and who doesn't believe Gwyneth?

Do you think workouts can change your body type? Tell us what works for you in the comments section, below: