PT Monthly Magazine


Exercise-class war: city’s elite pay $5,000 to book gym mat Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow have trained with Tracy Anderson…..

It is high summer in New York and the forecast this week is for more warm and muggy weather. Nevertheless, in the coming days, everyone who is anyone in the Hamptons, Long Island, will be inside a hot and humid room, kept moist by blasts of steam venting from the ceiling, grasping one end of a long wooden staff and being forced to bend, flex and generally shake a leg.
These are the workout classes hosted by Tracy Anderson, who made her name as a fitness trainer for Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham, and places in said classes are now as sought after as a waterside table at Le Bilboquet or an invitation to a billionaire’s garden party.
By some accounts, such has been the competition for spots in these classes that fights have erupted over mats, pitting new arrivals against members paying $900 a month who have paid an additional $5,500 to “reserve” a mat for the entire season.
“If by mistake you go to a mat that is not your mat, you may have someone screaming at you,” one non-member complained to the website Insider.
Besides this exercise-class warfare, tensions are said to have arisen between the wealthy disciples of Anderson who train for most of the year at one of her gyms in Manhattan and then find themselves mixing with other members in the Hamptons.
“When they’re mixed together, the power dynamics shift,” a former trainer for Anderson told the site. “They’re the queen bees September through May in Tribeca.” In the Hamptons, it becomes “ ‘I have money’, and ‘Do you know who I am?’; ‘Do you know where I live?’ ”
Steven Beltrani, president of Tracy Anderson’s company, denied suggestions that the contest for spots at her studios had become “chaotic”, claiming that “this has been our smoothest and most successful summer”.
Anderson ,48, grew up in Indianapolis where her mother ran a ballet school and her father was a serial entrepreneur and painter. Anderson says he had a tendency to put on weight, and that she had inherited the same sluggish metabolism. Moving to New York, hoping to become a dancer, she put on two and a half stone.
Her first husband, a basketball player, suffered back problems and she accompanied him to see a doctor who said he needed to build up “supportive transitional muscle groups” around his spine. “I was like: ‘If you can do this for the back of athletes, can you do this for the whole body?’ ” she said.
Her method, designed to target and “confuse” these lesser-known muscles, was tested on the mothers of pupils of a dance school she ran, before she introduced it to studios in New York and Los Angeles. In 2006 she was contacted byPaltrow , who had given birth to her second child and was trying to get into shape for the first Iron Man film.
The actress was unable to go out jogging without attracting an entourage of paparazzi and, by Anderson’s account, could barely do any exercise without her feet hurting. “I had to get a mini trampoline for her,” she said. “She literally texted Madonna on her way out from her first session and was like, ‘You have to do it’,” Anderson said.