For the uninitiated, Goop is Gwyneth Paltrow's weekly how-to-live missive, which I usually quite enjoy. It's good for snooping on the rich, on the one per cent. It allows me to check in with the me in a parallel universe where I'm worried about how my latest contemporary art purchase doesn't quite match the colour of paint in the hallway and then I smile at the ridiculousness of it before I wipe Ready Brek or whatever weird and wonderful combination I've given the baby for breakfast that day off the walls.
Anyway, contained in this email was a video clip from Tracy Anderson - fitness guru to the stars - and a list of Q&As. In these she says that doing repetitive exercise like running causes you to bulk up (I doubt she's met Paula Radcliffe) and she gives a series of exercises to help you attain Anderson's ideal of a 'teeny tiny dancer's body', which she seems to think all women want.
Tracy Anderson. Pic credit: David Shankbone
Physically, what she advocates involves calorie restriction and is - quite frankly - dangerous. The diet component to her regime is terrifying. I apologise that this link clicks through to The Daily Mail, but this article's actually worth a read. The pilates-based exercises (I've done pilates for years) could do more harm than good without proper instruction. I don't for a second doubt she gets results. If you cut out meals and work out six days a week for at least an hour at a time, you are going to become skinny. But why do I care? Because it's not just adults she's targeting now. Anderson is introducing her brand of fitness to teenagers.
But why? I don't see the point in tiny. Anderson's obsession with three pound weights - 'no woman should lift more than three pounds' - will do little to help with my seven-month-old son. It won't even help me lift shopping from the car. But what tiny does do is change what exercise is for - fitting a socially-ordained physical ideal rather than it being about health or pushing yourself.
Rebecca Adlington with Sir Chris Hoy. Pic credit: Nick J Webb
We don't want to lose those Olympic advances but Anderson's shaping ideology slots so brilliantly into the current body model, I can see why so many women do commit to her routines. As for me, I'm sticking to my running plan this year and seeking bitchy refuge in that I won't be lectured on it causing body imbalance from a woman who's blatantly gone under the knife for Hollywood-style breast augmentation.