By Carrie Buckle | Photography by Zev Starr-Tambor
“On Saturday, we had a bunch of people over for dinner and I baked two cakes,” says Tracy Anderson of her weekend at home in Sag Harbor. “One was a vanilla caramel cake and one was chocolate. I really like to bake.” Then she laughs and says, “They were gluten-free, but they were definitely not sugar-free!” This is not what you might expect from fitness guru Tracy, who has built a global wellness empire and is known for sculpting the bodies of everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jennifer Lopez. But once you get to know Tracy, you discover that not only does she have a sweet tooth (she always carries a stash of organic chocolate with her), she firmly believes that wellness is all about balance.
Living in Sag Harbor is integral to this balance. Tracy’s busy schedule takes her around the world, but she always returns to her happy place. When we sit down for our interview on a gray, balmy Monday morning, the mother of two has just spent the weekend with her five-year-old daughter, Penny, along with Panda, their long-haired Chihuahua puppy, at her Hampton’s home. The workout expert cherishes her weekends here because her weekdays are often jam-packed. Straight after our interview, she’s heading to Philadelphia, then New York City the following day, and Los Angeles on Friday. “Spending time with my family is the most relaxing thing to me,” says Tracy, 42, who also has a son, Sam, 18. “I probably filmed Penny dancing for a straight hour and a half on my phone yesterday. That was like meditation for me.” She continues, “We like to paddle board and do things outside, like go on little hikes, but mostly we pretty much stay home and just have fun.”
The summers are especially busy for Tracy because she has two studios in the Hamptons – one in Water Mill, which she’s had for many years, and a second in East Hampton, which opened two years ago. “It’s off to a very busy start,” says the entrepreneur, who is most famous for developing the Tracy Anderson Method. “A lot of people who come to the Hamptons in the summer, they really take off from work. That’s not my reality because I work all summer, but it’s nice that my team and I can actually work outside on our computers.”
The big news in Tracy’s world is her new East 59th Street flagship in Manhattan – housed in a former movie theater; it debuted in March this year. “What we’ve accomplished is really stunning,” she enthuses, frequently crediting her team who developed the studio. “It’s like an amazing ‘wellness haven’ where you get everything in a really authentic way. It’s my favorite studio that I’ve ever opened.” This will be the model for many more studios opening over the next few years. “We’re really setting the stage,” says Tracy.
As well as offering classes and private training, the space has TA Café, which serves up organic coffee and smoothies as well as salads, soups, sandwiches and pasta. “The café is really exciting for us because we have the fitness perfected, and how you eat and how you move go hand in hand,” says Tracy, who recently launched two new flavors of her organic TA Ultimate Clear Bars in Target. For the TA Café menu, she teamed up with her long-time friend and business partner Gwyneth Paltrow, who helped develop the menu. “The nice thing about Gwyneth and I, it’s like when you’ve been married to someone for a decade – you know if they don’t like mayonnaise,” she laughs, explaining that she can often predict what Gwyneth does or doesn’t like.
Another significant woman in Tracy’s life is Jennifer Lopez, who is her only celebrity private client these days. They train together as often as possible, and Tracy always has one of her trainers travel with the 47-year-old singer. Just last week, Tracy trained with Jennifer in New York City, and she also works with her in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “I train her all over the place, and she comes to the Hamptons in the summer,” explains Tracy. “She’s a sweetheart, and she’s so giving and smart. She’s such a good mom and really nurturing; she’s kind of just the ultimate woman.”
Don’t be surprised if there are some big names on Tracy’s new radio show on SiriusXM, launching June 19. “I really don’t ever pimp out my clients on Instagram or anything like that. It’s just not my style,” she says. “But we are booking a lot of people that I have worked with over the years who are pretty influential.” The Tracy Anderson Show will air on Mondays at noon with a different guest and topic for discussion each week. It’s the first time that Tracy has hosted a show, and she’s excited about having a new voice. “I hate elevators more than anything because I’ve had very bad experiences with them. And they were like, ‘Listen, we want to offer you this show, but you’re going to have to take an elevator.’ When I agreed, I realized that I wanted to do it pretty badly,” she says.
Penny actually brought into my life the one lesson that I was never able to learn: she taught me to stand up for myself
What has made Tracy a stronger person is having her daughter, Penny, who recently celebrated her fifth birthday with “a massive kids’ dance party” at Tracy’s Water Mill studio. “Penny actually brought into my life the one lesson that I was never able to learn for myself: she taught me to stand up for myself,” says Tracy. “I’d always been bad at it; I’m not a confrontational person – up until having Penny. But there’s nothing like bringing a little daughter into this world… She really made my voice get strong.”
Penny is well versed in Tracy’s Hamptons morning routine and often asks, “Mommy, are you going to go dance with the ladies?” For the past couple of summers, Tracy has changed up her workout gear. This began when her teenage son, Sam, who is graduating high school and preparing for college in New York City in the fall, asked her, “Mom, do you think you can not wear bikinis around my friends, please? Because it really bothers me when they say you look hot.” Tracy went and bought several one-piece bathing suits and started wearing them to classes with sweatpants over them so she could run home and jump straight into the pool with her kids.
During the summer, Tracy enjoys hosting close friends at her home. “It’s kind of like a day of swimming turns into a barbecue,” she says. “Or we love to go out to eat. We have a few local spots that we like.” Her favorite place in Sag Harbor is Italian restaurant Dopo La Spiaggia, where her go-to dish is the poached Branzino. Back in New York City, Tracy’s new favorite place to eat is Cosme, world-famous chef Enrique Olvera’s contemporary Mexican restaurant. “I ate everything, I think! Their guacamole is beyond, and every single gluten-free dish is so good,” says Tracy, whose only two diet rules are gluten-free and organic when possible.
Looking forward, Tracy is taking her first vacation for as long as she can remember at the end of July. “I am taking a total check-out vacation for the first time in so long,” she says of the eight-day trip to an undisclosed destination. “I cannot tell you my last proper vacation. Everything is work-cation for me, for many years. It was a big deal for me to take three days at Easter and go see my brother. I legitimately have been out of balance in the vacation department for a really long time.”
While Tracy is certainly in need of some downtime, don’t expect her to be slowing down anytime soon. Her growing brand encompasses six studios in New York and Los Angeles (with more in the pipeline), dozens of fitness DVDs, sportswear and exercise equipment, a line of nutritional bars, the new radio show, and, of course, her global real-time video-streaming service, which reaches subscribers in more than 50 countries worldwide. However, her aim during her 18-year career has never been to take over the world. “If anything, I would like to be connecting the world through health, being a supporter and a leader,” she says passionately. “To really help people let their own light shine. My mission is not to take over anything, but to take it on.”