Fresh off a red-eye from Los Angeles, Tracy Anderson walks into the room cheery, but a bit sleepy: She had been filming her new digital fitness series with Gwyneth Paltrow only hours before. “The eyelashes fell off, but I still have on my makeup,” she tells us, seemingly exhausted.
The trainer knows a thing or two about being exhausted — her 15-month-old daughter is in the car with her assistant, she tells us — but that doesn’t mean she gets a pass to skip fitness. And she says new moms — in all their bleary-eyed, spit-up-stained glory — should make sure to squeeze in a little post-natal exercise. But first, she says, we need to cut these women some baby-weight slack.
“The worst thing that we can do is criticize celeb new moms and make it look like it’s shameful to not get baby weight off really fast. I don’t understand why women do this to women,” she says. “It’s great when somebody gets it off quickly. I got it off really fast this time. I did not with my son 15 years ago — I gained 60 pounds.”
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Indeed, the pressure to be “superwoman,” she says — balancing career, home and changing bodies — can take its toll. But exercise, she says, isn’t something that should fall to the wayside, even in a hectic post-birth life.
“Everyone should exercise, even if you have a heart condition or something — there is a parameter around how you can exercise,” she says. “The only people that shouldn’t exercise are high-risk pregnant women that are put on bed rest, really, or if you’re put on bed rest for some other disease. But moving is life and exercising is life — that’s something that’s healthy for everyone.”
Anderson adds that new moms shouldn’t compare their bodies pre- and post-pregnancy because of the chemical changes that take place.
“Every new mom, their body feels like an alien,” she reassures. “There’s a hormone in your body called relaxin and that hormone gets put through your body during pregnancy so that you can expand to carry the baby, so that your body can change.” But once you have the baby, the hormone doesn’t come out with it: It sticks around for six months. All the changes that happen, she says, are meant to prepare us for more kids. “Our bodies are meant to have more than one baby,” Anderson adds. “So nature will only bring the hips back to a certain extent, which is not all the way back to where they were before.”
Her pre-natal fitness move
“Getting down on all fours, letting the uterus hang, letting the pressure come up through your back and doing leg lifts will work through your abs. Cardio for me doesn’t feel natural during my pregnancies. I walk and I do lots of toning muscular structure work.”
Her go-to fuel
Tracy mixes POM Coconut (a blend of POM pomegranate juice with coconut water) with vanilla protein powder before and after her workouts.