Tracy Anderson has spent more than 20 years fostering her reputation as the go-to fitness guru among the Hollywood elite.
Gwyneth Paltrow, J-Lo and Madonna are all among the A-list client base who have previously praised the 47-year-old for her regime.
But it seems that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the entrepreneur’s fitness empire, according to a new expose by Business Insider.
Many of her former employees have now started speaking out about what goes on behind closed doors to reveal a bombshell tale of legal threats, paranoia, and grueling working conditions.
One former employee claimed that Anderson was left paralyzed with fear that someone ‘smarter and better was going to steal her stuff,’ and had instigated legal proceedings against a handful of ex-trainers who she branded as ‘second-rate copycats.’
Tracy Anderson has spent more than 20 years fostering her reputation as the go-to fitness guru among the Hollywood elite
Gwyneth Paltrow (right), J-Lo and Madonna are all among the A-list client base who have previously praised the 47-year-old (left) for her vision
But it seems that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the entrepreneur’s fitness empire
Another source said that their bodies were pushed to ‘breaking’ point with the level of intensity demanded from employees, with the heat of the studios also leaving them ‘exhausted and dehydrated.’
But Anderson is no stranger to controversy after infamously falling out with one of her most high-profile clients – Madonna – back in 2009.
The singer had reportedly grown tired of Anderson’s ‘personal baggage,’ but the fitness guru would later slam Madonna over her ‘demands.’
FEMAIL has contacted a representative of Tracy Anderson for comment.
Over the past two decades, Tracy Anderson’s name has become synonymous with fitness and well-being among the elite of society.
She enticed the most affluent clients by setting up studios across Los Angeles, New York, the Hamptons, and Madrid, and soon TA memberships became a kind of ‘status symbol’ in their own right.
Patrons, who sign up as much for the prestige as the workouts, pay $900 per month to learn her Tracy Anderson Method – a dance-based workout in a room heated to 95 degrees with 75 per cent humidity.
The cost of her online studio memberships is more achievable, at $90 per month, but this figure is still much pricier than its closest competitors.
And, for an additional $40 a month, clients are given access to virtual ‘TA Live’ classes.
Gwyneth Paltrow was her first Hollywood client and, having been so impressed by the results, decided to invest in Anderson’s business.
She would go on to introduce the fitness trainer to a whole host of other celebrity clients including Madonna.
In 2009, the singer told the New York Times: ‘Tracy Anderson is my savior.
‘After two Caesareans, three hernia operations and one riding accident that left me with 10 broken bones, she was the only one who could pull my body back together into one piece.’
And other famous faces soon started to fill her roster including Alessandra Ambrosio, Nicole Richie and Kelly Ripa.
The fitness trainer has worked with a whole host of other celebrity clients including Madonna (pictured together previously)
Jennifer Lopez is also among the A-list client base who have previously praised the 47-year-old for her vision (pictured together)
Over the past two decades, Tracy Anderson’s name has become synonymous with fitness and well-being among the elite of society
But, although she may have created a harmonious, star-studded community on the surface, the happenings behind closed doors seem to tell a different tale.
Many of her former employees have started speaking out about the realities of working for Anderson.
And one thing that most seem to agree on is the mother-of-two’s own paranoia.
Her main fear was reportedly that the trainers would steal her method or get too close to her celebrity clients.
One unnamed former employee, who worked with Anderson for nearly three years in New York, told Business Insider: ‘Tracy is scared sh**less that someone smarter and better is going to steal her stuff.’
If trainers ever left to pursue careers elsewhere, Anderson would put them on a ‘blacklist’ and branded them as ‘second-rate copycats.’
And, desperate to protect her methods, she has not shied away from throwing her weight around when it came to firing off legal letters.
She frequently accused former workers ‘of stealing her movements and violating a noncompete agreement’ and even launched a lawsuit against Megan Roup, who founded The Sculpt Society in 2017, shortly after leaving Anderson’s brand.
Anderson accused Roup of copying ‘choreography movements, sequences, and routines’ as well as breaching her non-disclosure style agreement among other claims.
Nicole Richie has also previously been trained by Anderson (pictured at an event together in 2013)
But, although Anderson may have created a harmonious, star-studded community on the surface, the happenings behind closed doors seem to tell a different tale
Anderson launched a lawsuit against Megan Roup (pictured), who founded The Sculpt Society in 2017, shortly after leaving the TA brand
But Roup denied the claims and called the suit ‘a frivolous and unprovoked effort to bully a rising competitor.’
In December 2022, the judge dismissed Anderson’s false-advertising claim and unfair-competition claims, but the copyright and breach-of-contract allegations are still ongoing.
Anderson, who became a kind of celebrity in her own right, has always been very vocal with her thoughts on anyone she perceived to be replicating her regime.
Speaking to the New York Times in 2012, she said: ‘It makes me sad for humanity, actually, that people would take all my hard work and then pose like they have a method that they have tried and tested.
‘They’re not even lip-syncing what I do. They’re, like, karaokeing off my songs.’
Just last month, Anderson, who has more than 840,000 followers on Instagram, was still on a crusade.
Asked by the Wall Street Journal in January about what fitness trend she wanted to see disappear forever, she responded: ‘Every single person that steals my choreography and calls it a method. I would like for them to all disappear.’
Explaining where it all went wrong for Anderson, one former New York trainer told the Insider: ‘She was a big fish in a little pond when this all started.
After taking the tablets she bounces off to do one of her own workouts, which includes cardio-based dancing with a combination of light weights and isolated movements (with Alessandra Ambrosio)
Anderson, who has two children, has always been very vocal with her thoughts on anyone she perceived to be replicating her regime
Anderson (pictured leading a class in 2016) has started teaching less frequently, and she recently closed one of her studios in LA
‘It’s not just that similar methodologies have proliferated. The entire industry has grown by leaps and bounds.’
But paranoia and ill-feeling wasn’t the only thing that her former employees, most of whom were also professional dancers, claim they had to contend with.
Among the other accusations, many also claimed that despite the alluring front, they were made to work in grueling conditions.
Not only did they complain of an excessively competitive atmosphere and low pay, but said that they were forced to work their bodies to ‘breaking’ point.
Trainers were reportedly required to take part in at least four hours of classes per shift and, during these sessions, were never allowed to stop dancing.
The Insider reports: ‘The sweltering studios [left] many of them exhausted, dehydrated, and with ailments like back pain and heat cramps, several former trainers said.’
One trainer, who chose to remain anonymous, added: ‘You can’t pound your body into the ground like that every day. Things start to go wrong. Torn discs. Hemorrhoids. You can’t stand up. It affects everyday life.’
Many also cited that the humidity left the studios as a breeding ground for germs, but claim that their complaints to management were dismissed
Even Paltrow appears to have distanced herself from the business in recent years – but remains a ‘dear friend and dedicated client’
Some former employees also cited that the humidity left the studios as a breeding ground for germs, but claim that their complaints to management were dismissed.
And it seems the allure of the brand is starting to waver.
Anderson has started teaching less frequently in recent years, and she recently closed one of her studios in LA.
The fitness guru also had a falling out with Madonna after three years of working together, and the pair have been icy ever since.
The singer dropped Anderson after reportedly tiring of the trainer’s ‘personal baggage.’
A source told the New York Post at the time: ‘Madonna had grown tired of the baggage that Tracy always seemed to be carrying with her. Tracy had grown to be more of a distraction than anything else.’
Sharing her own take on the split, Anderson told The Times: ‘Madonna can demand whatever she wants to demand, she’s Madonna, that’s just what it is. It wasn’t working for me because my demands are, like, I have a kid.
‘When I missed my son’s saxophone concert because of a training session with her, I was like “I can’t do this anymore.” That was it for me.’
Even Paltrow, who was once Anderson’s business partner, appears to have distanced herself in recent years.
A source told Women’s Wear Daily in September 2022 that Anderson now owned her business outright but that Paltrow remained a ‘dear friend and dedicated client.’
However, in a statement to the Insider said: ‘It’s unfortunate that several former trainers, who have been using and profiting from Tracy’s proprietary content for years, would make false and defamatory claims against us while we are currently in active litigation to protect our intellectual property.’