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The Essential Wellness Pyramid

Regular exercise, like Pilates, is an important component of our holistic health and wellbeing. Regular exercise improves muscle tone, and can make dramatic changes in our quality of life through changes such as improved confidence, increased self-awareness, and reduce the aches and pains that are commonly associated with aging.

That said, exercise is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to create room for balance in our day-to-day lives, even in the crazy hectic DC area.

Breaking Down the Essential Wellness Pyramid

Sleep

Sleep is, without a doubt, the most important component that goes into how we live our daily lives. Science suggests that most adults need somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It depends on the person – one person may be able to get by on 7 hours regularly, while others really do need a full 9 hours to function at their best.

That said, the CDC estimates that at least 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. This statistic is scary, because lack of sleep is associated with a whole host of increased health risks (not to mention, general irritation).

“Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.” – The CDC

Lack of sleep has also been associated with memory loss and decreased brain function in the areas of logical problem-solving, reaction time, and decision making.

In the same vein, getting enough **sleep has incredible benefits, including improved focus, mental health, mood, stress levels, immune system, and heart health, alongside decreased inflammation.

Sleep is your body’s best tool to repair itself – so let it do its job.

✨ “I often find it tricky to fall asleep when I’m anxious. When I need to calm down and get to sleep, I break the thought spiral cycle using this technique from the Navy Seals. Afterwards, I feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep!” – Reina Offut

Water

After sleep, water is the next, and perhaps most obvious, step in the pyramid of overall wellness. Water makes up the vast majority of our bodies – it is integral not only to our survival, but also to the optimization of our body as an operating system.

Even though we all know how important it is to drink water, 43% of adults drink less than four cups of water a day. In general, studies suggest that adults should consume somewhere between 2.7-3.7 liters of water per day.

“Mentally and physically, we’re better off being hydrated. The human body is about 70 percent water; we need it. It helps our circulation, makes us feel better, helps rid our bodies of toxins and prevents constipation. And drinking water before meals helps you eat less if you’re trying to lose weight.” – Paula Burke, clinical dietitian at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island

Water helps every single part of our body. Sufficient water consumption:

  • Supports healthy joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Supports the liver’s detoxification process
  • Protects key body parts, especially the brain and spinal cord
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces inflammation

Nutrition

Nutrition is probably one of the most talked-about health topics. In general, the most important thing to figure out is a way of healthy eating that doesn’t feel like a diet – because diets are often unsustainable.

Experts suggest building your diet around the 80/20 rule: roughly 80% of your diet should revolve around nutritious food, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and limited healthy fats. The other 20% should be foods that you truly enjoy, but might not have much nutritional value.

So many of us just see food as something that increases or decreases our waistlines. But food is also the fuel we need to operate our bodies. It’s critical energy. Nutritious foods make it easier for our bodies to process and consume that energy, and obtain the nutrients we need to power our mind and bodies throughout the day.

If you are thinking of altering your eating habits, or have a specific goal in mind, we always recommend working with a qualified nutritionist who can help you identify strategies and plans that will help you achieve your goals based on your specific lifestyle and needs.

“Fitness”

We use fitness in quotation marks above because, well, fitness can sound scary. When we think of fitness, we often think of long runs, push ups, and lots of sweat.

While moderate- to high-intensity workouts are an important part of our body’s health (like an RTR Pilates class!), fitness can also apply to the general level of activity that we have in our lives.

Maybe you don’t have time to work out 5 days a week – but with so many of us working in sedentary office jobs, it’s critical that we find ways to move our bodies throughout the day. There are some easy steps to increase your step count, such as:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Parking further away from the store
  • Taking a 10 minute walk at lunch

Our bodies are built to move – so let your body do what it does best!

In addition to daily activity, we suggest a balanced fitness routine that includes some forms of cardio, stretching, and strength training.

Pilates is an effective, efficient full-body workout that takes less than an hour a day. Try it out for yourself and feel the difference immediately!

Habits

Finally, at the top of the pyramid, our habits are the things that help us to automatically make healthy choices as we move throughout consistently inconsistent lives.

Habits are the unconscious decisions we make without thinking, and 40% of our daily behaviors are driven by habit.

Healthy habits are critical to lowering the barriers to the lifestyle choices that make us feel good, inside and out. When we make habits automatic, we create something called “habit loops.”

Habit loops are great ways to program our minds to reach for that 10 minute walk, 10pm bed time, and extra glass of water before our morning coffee.

Learn more about habit loops here

Small steps make a big difference

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to get things “right” 100% of the time – even 80% can be a stretch some days. When it comes to wellness, the goal is small, attainable changes that lead to a more well-balanced life.

Here at RTR, we’ve worked to remove as many barriers as possible to joining a class, so it’s easy to say yes to your health and wellness.

With five locations across the DMV, we’ve purposefully chosen locations that are 20 minutes apart. We offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm. All of our class packages apply to any class in any RTR studio location, and we’ve focused our membership pricing towards making regular classes affordable, with both monthly class packages and student pricing.

💡 No matter where you are or when you have the time, there’s a Pilates class that can work with your schedule.

Join us today and learn how RTR Pilates fits into your consistently inconsistent life.

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Pilates for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common issues that we encounter with our clients. Think of our backs are like the overachievers on group projects in school – when one part of the group doesn’t do the work, the back is the first one to pick up the slack. Our backs are the parts of our body most likely to overcompensate when there’s disfunction or underdevelopment elsewhere in the body.

Because the back bears the brunt of so many other parts of the body, it’s important to include regular full-body workouts in your exercise routine to protect your back and alleviate unnecessary aches and pains.

How Pilates Can Eliminate Back Pain

Back pain is increasingly common in for those who work in office jobs. Sitting at a desk all day, leaned over to stare at a computer screen, creates repetitive wear and tear on the body.

When back pain does appear, whether in the short-term or as a chronic condition, many people think that they just need to strengthen the muscles in their upper or lower back. In reality, the best way to reduce and prevent back pain is by activating other parts of the body – and that’s where pilates comes in.

💡 “So many times when people have back pain, they want to just focus on that area. But back pain is often an indication that there’s disfunction elsewhere in the body as well.”

Pilates focuses on the core to create a strong foundation for movement in the body. In every class at RTR Pilates, we work to build up the abdominals and surrounding muscle groups. Through pilates’ emphasis on alignment and mobility, our clients find greater mobility, improve their posture, and become more aware of their body throughout their daily lives, all of which alleviates joint stiffness and muscle tightness.

There are a number of muscle groups that we target in our classes to reduce and prevent back pain, including glutes, abs, and hamstring flexibility. While abs provide stability, the glutes can compensate for the back, while hamstring flexibility can ease tension in the lower back.

At RTR Pilates, some of our favorite exercises include planks, bridging, and doing hundreds in the table top position. All of these exercises, combined with techniques designed to enhance flexibility, can make a noticeable difference in daily quality of life.

In addition to being a fantastic workout, pilates also acts as an hour in your busy day when you are completely, solely focused on how you feel in your body. This awareness and concentration is a powerful tool that impacts how you feel not just in class, but throughout the rest of your day and week.

💡 “For back pain, I believe in bridges off the foot bar and inner thigh work with the ball between the knees. Lounges (scooters) alongside the carriage are great for opening up the hip flexors. And, of course, our wonderful leg circles with the feet in straps, and clamshells with the band around the knees. Then stretch and breathe.” – Lisa, RTR Instructor

Safe, effective exercises

All of our instructors are trained to assist clients with modifications to accommodate for any sort of ache or injury, including back pain. In addition to our fantastic instructors, our Allegra II Reformer enables us to provide assistance on exercise resistance until a client is strong enough to hold an exercise on their own.

From there, we can use the reformer to slowly build resistance and strength.

The result? You never become complacent or comfortable – with every single class, you have the opportunity to become stronger.

In order to build consistent, long-term results to reduce and prevent back pain, we recommend clients attend class 2-3 times per week, allowing 3 months in order to see results. As with any exercise, the more frequently you attend class, the more likely you are to see results.

“Pilates improves strength, flexibility, and suppleness of the muscles of the hip and shoulder girdle. […] The Pilates program also teaches awareness of movement habits that may stress the spine, and helps the patient change these habits to those that preserve neutral alignment. Awareness of excessive tension and the use of proper focus helps the patient[s] use the body efficiently.” – Beth Glosten, MD

See the results for yourself

Join our community at RTR Pilates and experience the power of pilates firsthand! Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.

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Pilates for Golf

What do Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, and Rich Beam have in common?

As professional golfers, these athletes all know the same thing: that pilates is a fantastic cross training tool for any golfer looking to improve their game and prevent injuries.

So how exactly does pilates help golfers improve their game, and how can you integrate it into your exercise routine? Let’s talk about it.

“Golfers of all levels find that consistent Pilates practice improves their games and reduces pain and injuries.” – the PGA

Rotation, strength, and stability

An effective full-body workout, pilates builds strength, flexibility, and control of the body through concentration, alignment, and breath work. This is incredibly important in any sport, but especially for golf.

Your golf swing is the result of a complex system of muscles working together to produce a force. It requires a tremendous amount of self-awareness and control in order to build muscle memory and precision in your game.

While golf is a relatively low-impact sport, it also stresses the body in unique ways – due to its repetitive and asymmetric force on the body, many golfers experience increased injuries on their weaker side. Common injuries in golf include issues related to the back, shoulders, elbows, hands, and wrists. In order to prevent injuries that would keep them off the green, many golfers turn to pilates.

Pilates is a full-body conditioning exercise centered around the concept of balance and alignment. Many of the movements in our classes focus on core strength, which is a key component not only to eliminate back pain, but also to provide a crucial foundation of control that can separate the amateurs from the pros.

When your core is strong, your back doesn’t take the brunt of your movement. You have better control and a stronger center of gravity. When you move from your core, you initiate every swing from the same place, which leads to a better, more consistent game.

When you have a strong core, you can increase the force of your shots without sacrificing accuracy.

And it’s not just about the force of your swing – pilates’ focus on posture can reduce lower back strain, and improved shoulder stability can alleviate common shoulder, wrist, and elbow pains.

“Pilates lengthens and strengthens muscles while building a uniformly developed balanced body, focusing on core strength – abs, gluteals, lower back, pelvic muscles, inner thighs, and intrinsic, deep stabilizers throughout all joints of the body. Pilates is whole body exercise just as the golf swing is.” – Mike Wright and Lynda Lippin, ‘Pilates and Golf: A Perfect Match’

Exercises that work

As in golf, pilates is not about having the biggest muscles. It’s about control – control over your movement and control over your mind.

In our classes, we help clients increase self-awareness and focus on creating a stable body. A stable body consists of everything from balance and coordination to posture, endurance, and muscle tone. We work to develop both sides of the body equally, and many of the exercises in our studios seamlessly integrate into any golfer’s workout routine!

Our bridging exercises strengthen the core, while standing leg splits improve balance. Rotational exercises can help with following through on your swing, and our rotator cuff exercises build strength in the rotator cuff.

No time, no problem.

One of the best parts about pilates is its efficiency – in just one hour, you go through an effective full-body workout that targets every muscle group. So whether your schedule is crazy or you prefer to spend all your time on the green, pilates is the perfect way to cross-train without taking away from the other priorities in your life.

Here at RTR Pilates, we offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm. So no matter where you are or when you have the time, there’s a class that can work with your schedule.

Join us today and go from bogey to birdie in no time! Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.

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RTR Pilates featured in Bethesda Magazine’s Women in Business issue

Across the DC Metro area, only 10% of businesses with 5 or more employees are owned by women.

That’s just wild.

There are a plethora of systemic and historical factors that go into this statistic. According to the DC Policy Center, women entrepreneurs are more likely to be denied bank loans ****or receive lower levels of credit when they first try to establish their business (and these barriers to entry are even further exacerbated for women of color). Until 1988, many states would not let a women apply for a business loan without a male relative as the co-signer.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition also found that COVID-19 disproportionately affected women business owners, who were more likely to take on the majority of child-rearing responsibilities during the pandemic than their male counterparts.

At RTR Pilates, we are so proud to support our clients across all walks of life, whether they’re a small business owner, student, CEO, or full-time parent. We believe in creating supportive communities where individuals can thrive.

As a business deeply dedicated to our communities, we are thrilled to be included in Bethesda Magazine’s “Women in Business” **September issue, alongside other incredible women-owned businesses in the DMV area.

Get the full issue here!

Our founder and CEO Reina Offutt started RTR Pilates in 2006. While she normally loves to work behind the scenes and let her classes speak for themselves, we’re so proud to see her recognized in the community, amongst so many other amazing entrepreneurs. And with 15 years of experience and a business with 5 studio locations across the DMV, we agree that Reina’s worth celebrating!

Alongside her profile in Bethesda Magazine, we sat down with her to talk about how RTR Pilates began, how it evolved, and the most important things Reina learned along the way. ✨ “I was raised by a single mom whose perspective was ‘let’s figure it out.’ I learned early on to see opportunities instead of obstacles.” – Reina Offutt

How RTR Pilates Began

Reina founded RTR Pilates more than 15 years ago as Potomac Pilates. As a young instructor, she observed the lack of studios in the Potomac area, and saw it as an opportunity to fill a hole in her community. So with her undergrad in electrical engineering and a passion for Pilates, Reina merged her systems education with the science of anatomy and Pilates in order to achieve the most efficient full-body workout possible, and leased a studio space in Potomac that would become RTR’s first location.

Every small business has its challenges (or, in Reina’s words, “opportunities”), and that includes RTR. Reina experienced first hand the struggles and nuances of success as a woman business owner. When she signed the lease for her first RTR studio, she couldn’t sign the lease on her own – her husband had to co-sign.

Early in her business, she struggled to balance the community-minded goals of her business with the concept of a profit-driven business. But as RTR grew and more studio locations opened, Reina found that smart business practices supported not only her family, but her entire community. A financially-sound business could do more to support its employees, give back to the community, and plan for the unexpected.

This became especially apparent in the past few years.

Between 2020 and 2022, 30% of fitness studios in the United States closed due to COVID-19, and more than 1.5 million industry professionals lost their jobs.

Creating a brighter future

Despite fitness studio closures across the DMV, all of our locations survived throughout the pandemic, and today RTR Pilates is now thriving and growing into a stronger, more mission-aligned brand. ✨ “You can teach a lot of things, but you can’t teach kindness. So when you find someone who is kind – whether it’s a peer, employee, or friend, hold on to them. The right people with find you if you lead with kindness” – Reina Offutt

This is also demonstrated in Reina’s efforts towards building a culture of growth and aspiration in her team. RTR Pilates has a comprehensive training program to prepare and empower instructors to succeed from day 1. Even after instructors graduate and begin teaching, Reina is dedicated to helping them succeed and build a sustainable career.

Moving forward, Reina anticipates an increased focus at RTR to foster upward mobility for her staff, including more benefits, higher pay, and a path towards growing a well respected fitness career.

Success is more than just one thing

✨ “As a woman and a mother of two teens, my success isn’t all financial. I  will always measure my quality of life by  the time I get to spend with those that I love. And I measure the success of my business by the happiness of my clients.”

We love that for Reina, success isn’t just one thing. It’s not just profit, or studio locations. It’s about the happiness of her clients, her ability to help her community, and the quality time she gets to spend with her family.

Like so many others in the DMV, Reina is really, really busy. To stay on top of her hectic life, Reina’s a big proponent of healthy habits, strong boundaries, so she’s not always accessible after work and on the weekends, and always has the tools on hand to adapt to a consistently inconsistent life.

Check out Reina and other women in business in Bethesda Magazine’s September issue!

Rock the Reformer With Us

Join our community today, and discover how RTR Pilates can help you thrive!