Hi Haley,

I'm hoping for your input on two different types of workouts.  I have been working very hard the last few years to shift my focus from what exercise will make me "skinny" and more on my overall health and on keeping active with things I like. I'm at a "the same old workouts aren't giving me the results they once did" stage, so I want to know if either of these is a useful change for me. I've tried and like both, but have read mixed things about how good they are for us. So, what are your thoughts on:

1. Barre classes
2 Tracy Anderson Method



Let’s start with this – there is not one style of exercise that is going to make you skinny. This is something that we all need to step away from, trying to become skinny. Exercise makes you strong, it makes you healthy, and it makes you fit.

It does not matter what style of exercise you are doing, whether it be yoga, CrossFit, marathon training, Pilates, Barre Fitness or spin classes, you are only going to see results when you are pushing yourself.  That is why when we first start exercising, or when we try something new, we see results almost immediately only to notice that in a few weeks the results diminish. Why? Because we have become comfortable and what was once a challenge for us is now easy and it is not taxing our body in the same way it used to. The challenge is gone. When you are doing the same thing, day in and day out (as some types of training have you do), results stop.

Now the thing with all these different ways of training is they all challenge our bodies in different ways.  Exercises that focus on heavy lifting and explosive movements are going to shape your body differently than movements that focus on flexibility and posture. What matters here is that one way is not better than the other and you are choosing activities that you enjoy and challenge you in ways that you like. 
CrossFit, for example, does not work for me. I tried it and I wanted to like it but every time I lifted heavy I would hurt the next day. In a bad way. So I had to stop. This does not mean that this doesn’t work for someone else, but it didn’t for me. Barre classes were the same. The sequence of movements and the large class sizes were something that I wasn’t into. However, some women swear by these classes and reap mega rewards.

When choosing what style of training you should do, you must consider a few factors. What are you wanting to get out of your training? Are you looking for stress relief, for cardiovascular fitness, for improvements in explosive power, or for postural changes? Are you wanting to become better at your sport? Are you wanting somewhere you can go and be active while at the same time catching up with girlfriends? Are you wanting energy and loud music or tranquility? Make sure there is a purpose to you doing what you are doing.

Once you have decided on how you want to spend your active time, (for you is that Barre or Tracy Anderson, or both) remember to constantly make it harder and as soon as something becomes easy find a more advanced version of it. I write about this all the time: upping the ante, getting comfortable at being uncomfortable, working hard and resting hard. This doesn’t just apply to one style of exercise. If you forget to do any of these things I can guarantee that after a short time you will not see a single result. Ever. And don’t forget about nutrition! Same rules apply here too. You don’t need to be perfect and swear that you will never put another french fry into your mouth again, but making the wrong choices at the right times is key. Without a proper diet you are kind of wasting your time.

There will always be new fads popping up in the workout scene. That is just the way it is. And they are going to tell you that this is now the best way to do something and everything that you have been doing up until this point is wrong. That is bullsh-t and don’t believe them. Don’t let anyone tell you one way of training is better than the next. Find what works for you, find a challenge you enjoy, that is specific to your needs, and continue to push yourself to the next level. 

Attached - Brandy out in LA after a workout.