Cassandra Padovani is a Wisconsin-based member of our TAmily, a supportive community of Tracy Anderson Method devotees who strive to design a life of balance. Connect with Cassandra (@sass.time on Instagram) and follow us (@tracyandersononlinestudio on Instagram) to stay up to date on all things TAM.
Cassandra Padovani’s Tracy Anderson Method Journey
Real talk: I first came across Tracy five years ago via some definitely pirated videos of Metamorphosis on YouTube. The no talking, the interesting free arms, the blurry Russian subtitles—it was confusing. I’ve always been a “workout person,” but for all the effort, I was never happy with how I looked. But there I was, paying closer attention to the angle of my foot/knee than I’d ever assumed would be necessary, and I could feel the difference.
Eventually, the bootlegged videos got dragged and I ponied up for the Meta DVDs and a few others. I didn’t fully commit until I finally got tired of everything else (running, spinning, barre, kickboxing, weights, HIIT, yoga), leaving me either skinny-fat or too bulky to fit in my pants. I started streaming in summer/fall 2018, and I haven’t missed a single day since. I started lurk-following #TAmily around then too, but it took a few months to muster the courage, and the right camera angles, to post myself.
Mind, Body, and Soul
I think that with Tracy, people come for the abs, and stay for something else. For me, it’s the sense of grounding. I spent the better part of my twenties consumed by an eating disorder, and the shame, isolation, and desperate need for control that comes with it. I was past the worst of it by the time I found TA, but it casts a long shadow, and the darkest of our habits die hard. I will never have a completely normal relationship with food, exercise, or how my body looks or feels. But recovery doesn’t mean life without your demons, it means life with them. The Method helps me cope. Wake up, work out, eat well, sleep well. Repeat. Seems simple, but consistency is everything for someone who wasted years in an exhausting cycle of starve/binge/overexercise. It also happens to be great for building overall resiliency, something that came in handy in 2020.
“I came for the abs, but I stick around for a lot more.”
The community is half of the equation. It’s a unique group drawn together, I believe, by the appreciation of a method that doesn’t make empty promises and that demands the best of you. This is no “20 minutes a day, three times a week” gig. I never forget there are people practicing for more than a decade who still grow and learn every week. We can argue about whether humans are meant to be monogamous or not, but we all know the brain craves novelty. Every Thursday, there’s something new and exciting. It challenges us to see our bodies, and therefore our world, in new ways. Am I only meant to move in one plane or can I somersault on a diagonal, flip back over my shoulder, then perch in a headstand? Tracy asks us to think like kids, before the years of experience and what we believe to be true about our bodies held us back. I still fear the somersault. But I’m not afraid to try, and the shift in perspective is everything.
That’s where the #TAmily comes in; if there’s one thing we’re all bad at, it’s seeing the beauty and potential in ourselves plain to everyone else. You may not believe in yourself, or not yet, but someone here already does. The space to be myself, or maybe more to the point, to see myself, I owe to the community. That and wearing a bodysuit as workout clothes. If not for the #TAmily, I definitely wouldn’t have embraced Dance Cardio. Just a short note here, because everyone’s already sick of hearing about it. I will say it to anyone who will listen: If I can, you can. I’m not by nature athletic or graceful. Sometimes I watch basketball and think, how? How does anyone negotiate their body and the ball at the same time? Dance is an incredibly cerebral activity. It’s not enough just to move your arms in space. Do you know where your arms are in space? Consider this: Dance has managed to make me more athletic at everything, including not being athletic. The other day I tripped on something and sort of artfully cradled my body into a roll midair as I fell to the floor and my partner was like, “Whoa, good fall. Two years ago we’d be in the emergency room for sure.” So yeah, I came for the abs, but I stick around for a lot more.