Hi Hayley,

So I've recently started using Tracy Anderson's mat workout DVD and I'm really enjoying it.

My question starts with the fact that Ms. Anderson states that a woman should never lift more than a three pound weight; otherwise she'll end up looking "bulky."
I have an autoimmune disease and because of it I was on prednisone a number of years.  A side effect of which is osteopenia (think pre-osteoporosis).  My endocrinologist said it was reversible and I’m now on a vitamin and diet regime but she also recommended lifting weights (not anything crazy, like 5-10lbs to start out with) explaining that it really good for your bones.

I seem to remember a rumour that Gwyneth Paltrow had osteopenia (Lainey can probably chime in here about whether it’s true or false). I guess my question for Hayley is where do you stand on the weight lifting issue? Can women lift without creating a “bulky” look?  Is Ms. Anderson full of sh*t?  Should we as women be lifting weights especially since we’re more susceptible to bone issues later in life?


Don't get me started on how much I disagree with what Tracy Anderson stands for and preaches to women. 

I believe that people like Tracy Anderson are a big part of why women today are not happy with their bodies. She has made fitness about looking a certain way, one way, and it’s why so many women feel that looking strong and having muscles is not sexy.

I'm sorry, have you ever watched the summer Olympics, or any other female athletic competition? You can't tell me that athletic females are not sexy. Remember that Russian pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva, from the 2008 Beijing Olympics? Guys were losing their sh*t over her. And check out this video of Meaghan Mikkelson. Tell her she should only lift 3 lbs.

I get the exercises that Tracy Anderson prescribes and they are great for targeting the stability muscles, like your glutes and transverse abdominals, but women can and should lift weights, and those weights can be more than three pounds.

Yes, lifting weights will put on muscle, which some people will call “bulk”, but strength training also has so many other benefits, one of the most important being increasing  bone mass, which you need. Other benefits include increased metabolism, decreased body fat percentage, disease control and disease prevention, increased muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed and power.

You should continue with the Tracy Anderson DVDs as they are a good workout, doing very similar things as a Pilates or Yoga workout would. But where Tracy fails is she is solely focused on how your body looks, where most other forms of training are about making you healthy, strong and confident.

Also, have you seen what she prescribes in her diet? It's not surprising people are losing bone density eating like that.

Listen to your doctor and start hitting the gym and lifting, your bones will thank you. And I would be lying if I said you won't put muscle on because you will. And you will not look bulky but you will look strong, confident and sexy. Promise.