There’s the virtual workout, and then there’s Tracy Anderson’s new online studio which, after launching today, aims to give Anderson’s diehard fitness fanatics that much more of a real studio visit feel, all from their homes.
“I think that my whole career has been about being the future of things, really being forward thinking in health and wellness, and recognizing where we’re falling short or where we could do better,” Anderson says over the phone from New Hope, Pa. “My personality has always been, ‘Well, let’s make solutions.’”
The online studio aims to closely mimic the experience of going to a Tracy Anderson workout class in person. Clients arrive to the studio lobby, where they are greeted by an avatar of Anderson herself (the exact look took many attempts to get something Anderson and her family felt resembled her) who gives updates on the studio’s latest developments. From there, clients can visit the prescription office, where an avatar of Anderson’s chief training officer Maria Kelling awaits to guide guests through a member profile, virtual body consultation, body check in quiz and feedback. The classrooms are where the workouts take place, which feature new workouts with the real Anderson (not her avatar) uploaded every Wednesday night and post-class conversations with Anderson each week. There is also a virtual locker room, which aims to mimic the sense of community Tracy Anderson diehards have become accustomed to; still to launch is a virtual cafe with weekly recipes and an online store with apparel and beauty.
“I think the big thing with this launch is for people to understand that the technology of streaming is not new, but for fitness it’s very generic. There’s only a couple of platforms that anybody can be on and they’re not user-friendly at all,” Anderson says. “We always felt like it was off brand for us and we really wanted to make it better, but it’s a huge endeavor to create your own — but that’s what we’ve done.”
The online studio has been in the works prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, but she and her team kicked things into high gear come March. Anderson spent the first three months of the pandemic in lockdown in Florida, after traveling to Palm Beach for a birthday weekend in early March (where her now-fiancé proposed) and deciding to stay put after the pandemic hit. She set up an outdoor stage to stream workouts from while in Florida, and is doing the same now from Pennsylvania.
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“I shut [my studios] down really quickly, but you can’t shut down the way you serve people, especially right when they need it the most, because this is a big emotional shocker to people. It’s a big physical threat to our health,” Anderson says. “As we watched it unfold and get more and more out of control and spread more, I felt that much more passionate about bringing people together without bringing them [physically together]. By keeping them emotionally connected without having them next to each other.”
The virtual locker room is one of her favorite features. “We made it a real world where every time you go into it, you’re not just going into it like a video game. You can actually have an experience with other people. You can go into a locker room, you can upload pictures, you can talk to people, there’s a full community in the locker room. You can go up to the prescription office and meet with my head of prescriptions. We’re launching the simple quizzes, but in about eight weeks we’re launching insanely comprehensive quizzes where we can literally take so much in about your health, your journey. How even the psychology of your journey has affected your ability to care for your health,” Anderson says. “We’re able to create these highly customized programs and experiences for you. It’s an incredible use of technology and it’s been such a labor of love and also a huge investment for the company, but for me, it’s always been about investing in people.”
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