Friday, February 13, 2009

Building on the Abs of Madonna and Gwyneth

“To spend an hour working out with Ms. Anderson, with an iPod blasting and the heat cranked up, is to get a taste of what it’s like to prepare for a grueling concert tour, striving for that sinewy muscle tone. Or so you can tell yourself. Maybe this is how it feels to sweat like Gwyneth Paltrow, bopping around your blond-wood home gym in the Hamptons, losing the pregnancy pounds with Ms. Anderson’s mat exercises and dance routines. ‘You really are how you move,’ Ms. Anderson said. Ms. Anderson, 33, worked out with a reporter recently in a rented space in Midtown, demonstrating her signature muscle strengthening and cardio dancing, which have won her two devoted clients in Madonna and Ms. Paltrow. With those celebrity names lofting her reputation, she is preparing to open a high-end $900-a-month workout studio in TriBeCa. But those who join probably won’t be grunting and lunging alongside Ms. Paltrow or Madonna — Ms. Anderson trains them privately — and her employees will lead most workouts, not her. Looking as if she subsists on birdseed, the pixie-ish trainer said she actually has ‘a big appetite.’ (Don’t all thin people say that?) She is partial to cupcakes — anything with butter cream frosting — and, while she is now very mindful of nutrition, maintains that when she started out in the fitness business she was still a junk-food junkie, dunking Oreo cookies in containers of Pillsbury icing. ‘I was kind of like a doctor who smoked,’ Ms. Anderson said. It was about three years ago, while running a studio in Los Angeles, that Ms. Anderson came to the attention of Ms. Paltrow, who then told her friend Madonna. Now the bulk of Ms. Anderson’s time is devoted to the two stars: she essentially moves in with one, depending on whose career is in higher gear, while working with the other through video chats and custom DVDs, or by dispatching one of her associate trainers. People with limited finances may have to keep on chasing. In addition to the monthly dues at the new studio, members must pay an initiation fee of $787.50 for six months or $1,500 for a year. Ms. Anderson’s publicist, Julia Cuddihy Van Nice, said that ‘the studio is not disclosing any numbers’ but that the response has been positive. CHARTER members — the first 150 people who commit to a year and pay three months up front — will receive a 30-minute consultation with Ms. Anderson. The other members will work out with her staff. Or you can spend $29.95 to watch Ms. Anderson on one of her three DVDs available on her Web site, Whether this kind of a niche workout studio can succeed in the current economy remains to be seen. Big gyms like Equinox and Reebok (where membership is $215 a month with a $1,200 initiation fee) are hustling for new members. And people who join Ms. Anderson’s studio might come with outsize expectations: counting on looking like Madonna or Ms. Paltrow, when those stars are putting in two hours a day, six days a week and have Ms. Anderson personally pushing them to do yet another set of crunches or one more cardio routine.”

No comments: