Dear Gwyneth Paltrow's trainer...

Too heavy???Too heavy???Omigawd! I saw Gwyneth was on Oprah, talking about you, Tracy Anderson, her very own personal trainer. And you train Madonna too. That's so awesome. You know, I'm a personal trainer as well. We should totally get together and braid each other's hair and share exercise tips, doncha think? It would be so cuuuute. Why, since we are both trainers, I bet we have lots in common. I mean, we probably both follow all those studies about how women don't lift heavy enough weights at the gym to really see the benefits of strength training, and how that's such a problem, and instead most women are just wasting time dicking around instead of getting strong and lean. And well, with two high-profile clients like Lady M and G-dawg, you have this amazing forum to spread the gospel of real, meaningful strength training to the ladies at home.

Yay! Anyhow, keep it up!

Love, K...

Hey Tracy, Um, I don't mean to be a pest here, but I just looked a little closer at Gwyneth's interview. It's great that she credits exercise with helping her come out of postpartum depression, and yay for some nice, varied dance cardio. That's super. But, er, I'm confused. First off, there's some tag line asking if I want a body like Gwyneth's. That seems a little silly, doesn't it? I mean, the woman has been rail-thin her whole life. Her legs are about the size of the average person's arms. That's cool, it's her build, but if we want to emulate hard-to-achieve greatness, I guess I'd look more at a Dara Torres or some of those amay-zing Olympic track and field athletes. Those bodies are just gorgeous, aren't they, with all that muscle definition? And Madonna, I mean, she doesn't eat much and she got serious muscle definition from yoga, for gawd's sake. You aren't really saying your program is gonna make the rest of us look like Madonna, are you? You wouldn't take credit for what is so clearly accomplished primarily by a combination of a cardio touring lifestyle and some serious dieting and genetics? And maybe some knifey-injectiony stuff on the side? Please advise.

Signed, Confused K...

Oh Tracy, Wow. I just saw the quote of yours: "Only 3-pound weights...No woman should lift more than 3 pounds." That has to be a joke, right? You are kidding? Tell me you aren't serious. You really think Gwyneth---teensy little Gwyneth---is gonna bulk out by doing something like, say, one-arm rows with maybe twenty pounds? And worse, you actually went on television and said no woman should do more than 3 mother-loving pound weight training? Somebody please tell me I'm just having a bad dream...

BTW, lean muscle crap aside, there are other reasons to lift weights. Um, there's a reason we call it strength training. Because it can, well, build strength, and by that I'm talking about the ability to pick up more than 3 pounds (even if you do do it for 40 thousand times, yo.) Sometimes we also call it weight training, by which we mean the ability to move weight through space. Like, actual weight, so that we aren't toothpicked-limbed crybabies with chronic pain and hips that shatter when we bump into a table. But whatever, maybe I'm just being silly now, wanting exercise to be functional and women to be strong and all that nonsense. Goofy kid, me.

You said this utter nonsense on Oprah. The show watched by so many women. I love Our Lady Oprah for her humanness, but lord knows she's fallen for every diet-exercise fad that ultimately proved to be entirely unsuccessful at long-term weight maintenance. Now, while so many of us trainers are soothing women into being willing to pick up a dumbbell that doesn't come in cute little colors, you are setting that s--- right back into ri-idiotic-diculous land. Because you stick women in a hot room, work them out for two hours of cardio a day, six days a week, and then they lose weight? Puh-leez. I hope I could accomplish more than that for Gwyneth Freaking Paltrow in half the time with a lower heating bill.

Oh, and I also remember now, you put new clients on that starvation-level calorie diet. Great. Well, there's a long-term solution. I mean, surely you don't think most women are having problems with getting too bulky, do you? Because of the less testosterone thing, women can't...oh good gawd, I've written about this so many times I could just strangle myself with one of your stupid elastic bands before I go through it again. Here. It's even about you.

So let me just ask you something: Gwyneth says in the video (and I love the cheeseburger taco ad and the bad porno music, BTW) that she is always carrying her 30-pound son with one arm, so her other arm hangs lower (i.e. is saggier, less toned, blah blah.) Your solution is to make her do more work on her non-son-carrying side to even it out. Now, following your logic, that arm that lifts 30 pounds all the time ought to be enormous, right? All bulky with gigantic muscles? Oh wait...It's the more toned side. Huh.

Do you tell her to not carry her kid, because 30 pounds is too heavy for any woman who wants a lean body? Do you have your clients get someone to carry their groceries for them, do they ask for help moving boxes, do they have to get assistance when pushing themselves out of a swimming pool because even in water, their body weight is more than 3 pounds? 'Course your clients aren't really getting much strength benefit from all that weight work anyway, so it might not be a bad idea. And who cares, really, if you are weak and frail, as long as you are thin, and with just a starvation diet, a bunch of dance cardio (oooh, the routines actually change from session to session, how novel to not make people do the same stuff over and over until they die of boredom, as if any trainer worth money doesn't do this) and a hot room, you too can get really, well, skinny. Maybe. Possibly. Depends. What's the cost of those two-hour sessions? You know, the ones where you steal all your leg and booty floor work moves from 80's Jane Fonda videos?

You know, I wouldn't care so much that you are an idiot and a huckster, and gawd knows it doesn't matter to me if celebrities lurve you, but when you say stuff about how no woman ought to lift more than 3-pound dumbbells, and you say it on television, and people believe it...well, I guess, bleep you very much. Bleep you and your nonsense bull s--- stupidity. Bleep. Off. Oh yes, and I guess I'm not the only one who thinks you might be a con. There's this too. Oh, and this. Yep.

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