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Celeb trainer's important message

Associated Press Associated Press 12/05/2016 Kelli Kennedy

She's sculpted the bodies of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez and runs a multimillion-dollar fitness empire with 218,000 Instagram followers, but Tracy Anderson is tired of talking about how to achieve the perfect celebrity body.

Anderson has turned down several offers for reality shows and says she no longer accepts new celebrity clients.

She's cautious about being in an industry that often plays to women's insecurities in a culture where social media photos scrutinise every body part and every calorie consumed.

Anderson would rather talk about what exercise can do for your mental health than how it can get you six-pack abs.

"What celebrities are doing is really irrelevant," Anderson said in a recent interview while in Miami for a breast cancer fundraiser at her pop-up studio.

"I feel like we're constantly dimming our own lights by showing there's a demand for, 'Oh my gosh, that celebrity is carrying that drink. Is she drinking it? Is that why she looks like that? I want that drink, too, because then maybe I'll look like that,"' Anderson said.

"It's toxic."

Anderson, 41-year-old mother of two, struggled with her weight for years as a dancer. She said she never set out to be an entrepreneur.

"I really felt the personal pain from not being able to make weight as a dancer on a dance scholarship," she said.

"I gained 60 pounds with my first child. ... I understand what it's like to feel not at home in your own body."

Her mix of dance cardio is followed by what she calls "strategic muscle exhaustion" that includes rapid arm movements - often with no weights - that require rotating your limbs in odd positions for 10 to 15 minutes nonstop and literally hundreds of repetitions of crazy leg lifts while on all fours.

Her dance cardio classes, which are heavy on jumping, have drawn criticism for being too harsh on joints, and many fitness experts have disputed her claims of reducing fat from certain areas, saying fat spot reduction is a myth.

Anderson's overall method has also been accused of promoting unrealistic teeny-tiny bodies.

But she says the bodies she sculpts are simply a design preference from clients.

Her product line includes DVDs, protein powders and bars, and an online streaming service where devotees pay $US100 ($A135.52) a month to take part in her weekly master classes. There's a five-year waiting list to join her New York City studio.

Now she's trying to build an online community of women devoted to building character traits not just sculpting their bodies.

"I wish that a big (workout) motivator for everyone is just preparedness and strength ... when you're empowered physically and sure-footed physically, it helps you push through stress and deal with stress better."

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