Rock The Reformer


Pilates Exercise Spotlight: Why We Love Our Lunges!

Lunges are a powerhouse move. Lunges work an incredible range of muscles in the body, and even people with incredibly strong lower limbs can struggle with lunges.

We love to work different types of lunges into class because the reformer provides so many opportunities for lunge variations! With reformer Pilates, we can get all the amazing benefits from lunges, without the boredom that comes from doing the same set of lunges over and over again.

What muscles are involved in lunges?

Lunges engage almost every part of your body from the core, down.

“My favorite exercise is lunges because there are so many ways to add variations and challenges to them. Having a strong lower posterior chain can be very beneficial for your spine!” – RTR Instructor Helena

With proper form, during a lunge, you’ll engage your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core.

The Human Performance Lab at the University of California – Davis explains that lunges are “a multi-joint exercise that is used for injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, and improving sports performance.”

Over time, lunges can strengthen the muscles that protect the hip, knee, and ankle, and improve your balance and core stability.

The benefit of integrating lunges into your Pilates routine

In addition to building up the muscles in your core and lower limbs, lunges are kind of the gift that keeps on giving! Regular lunge exercises will help you:

1. Improve Balance and Stability

Lunges require a lot more coordination than many other exercises that target the lower limbs. During a lunge, your front foot takes the brunt of the load, and you engage your core to stay balanced.

By exercising your lower body unilaterally (on one side), you get to work on each side of your body separately. The single-leg exercise can improve your posture and balance because you are activating your core!

2. Develop your muscles evenly

As we mentioned earlier, lunges are a unilateral exercise. It’s going to affect the forward leg. This is super important because we typically favor one side of our body more than the other. One side is almost always stronger. But in other leg exercises like squats or deadlifts, your dominant side can overcompensate for your weaker side. This means that your weaker side is never forced to develop evenly.

But underdeveloped muscles can cause a bunch of issues! It forces other parts of your body to overcompensate, which causes unnecessary wear and tear, and can increase the risk of injury.

Lunges, on the other hand, ensure that you develop each side of your body evenly. This protects your body, improves posture, and reduces any overcompensation happening in the body.

3. Boost your flexibility and range of motion

Lunges are a fantastic way to boost your hip flexor flexibility and range of motion. Especially for office workers who sit all day, hip flexors need some extra love and attention. Lunges are a great way to work your hip flexors and give them the TLC they need for a full range of motion.

Like most exercises, improper form in lunges can actually increase your risk of injury. In class, our instructors are there to help ensure that you perform exercises safely, and with the proper form! This helps us to ensure you get all of the wonderful benefits of lunges, without straining your hip or your knee.

If you have questions about your form during lunges or any other exercise, always check with your instructor.

“When planning a Pilates class, I always look to incorporate all the muscle groups and create a flow that keeps you moving around the reformer. I hope my clients take away a sense of accomplishment and feeling stronger after class than when they walked in.” – RTR Instructor Dolci

Feel the difference for yourself!

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


Want to become a better swimmer? Try adding Pilates to your fitness routine!

Professional athletes everywhere know that Pilates is one of the best cross-training workouts to level up their game. For swimmers, regular Pilates can be incredibly effective for injury prevention, core strength, and agility in the water.

Swimming is one of the most popular exercises in the world, and it’s also an exercise that truly engages your entire body. Whether you’re a casual or competitive swimmer, you need body awareness, control, balance, and mental focus in the water.

Luckily, these are all things that we also practice in Pilates!

“I grew up a competitive swimmer and have always been an athlete, when I retired from swimming I really struggled to find a workout that I loved and could do every day without dreading. I tried everything; yoga, bootcamps, personal training, spinning, and just couldn’t get into any of it. I finally found RTR and took my first Pilates class and fell in love at first class!” – RTR Instructor Lindsey

For swimmers looking to move more efficiently through the water, develop key muscle groups, and prevent injuries, Pilates is an ideal addition to your exercise routine.

5 ways Pilates can help you reach a new PR in the water

1. Strengthen your core for better form

For Pilates, core strength forms the bedrock of every exercise. Our core is the foundation of almost every movement in our workouts and our day-to-day activities.

Our bodies are an interconnected system of muscles, and most movements engage the core in some way. When our core is underdeveloped, it can cause other muscle groups to pick up the slack (especially our lower back). A strong core provides balance in the body, reduces injuries, and helps create more efficient movement – that means faster movements, with less energy expenditure!

A well-rounded core workout can lead to big results for swimmers. A 2020 study found that 6 weeks of core workouts 3 times per week lead to improved performance for swimmers. Similarly, researchers in 2023 found that adolescent swimmers who performed core exercises 4 times per week for 8 weeks experienced not only better performance in the water but also better results on Functional Movement Tests, which indicate a lower risk of injury.

2. Move more efficiently through the water

Both Pilates and swimming emphasize the need for efficient movements. At RTR Pilates, we build our classes around the concept of efficient, effective movements to strengthen the body.

Swimmers are constantly pushing their bodies against resistance in the water. In reformer Pilates, we work through resistance in the form of spring loads that help strengthen our bodies.

For swimmers, increased efficiency in the water can stem from multiple benefits that we see in Pilates. First and foremost, a strong core is key to moving efficiently and reducing the energy it takes to perform any given movement.

But posture and alignment can also play a large part in efficient movement. By strengthening the spine and building awareness of our body in Pilates classes, it becomes natural for swimmers to stay aligned in the water for reduced resistance.

3. Control your body with increased awareness

Connection with your breath and your body is a huge component of Pilates. We focus on building a mind-body connection and connecting breath to movement. Coordinating breath with movement is central to Pilates, and swimming as well. In the studio, we think about our breaths with every movement – the same can be said of swimming!

At RTR, we emphasize awareness, control, and connection to our bodies. This helps us stay present in the moment, and it also serves to activate our core to stabilize the body.

Swimmers who build a greater awareness of their body, in and out of the water, will be able to move more efficiently.

4. Improve your reach and range of motion

Swimmers rely A LOT on their shoulders. For optimum performance, your shoulders need to stay flexible and strong, with a full range of motion. With other cross-training exercises, such as weightlifting, swimmers can build the strength that they need, but they may not get the full range of motion. In weightlifting, people will often build up the middle of the muscle but fail to develop the full length of the muscle (especially the muscle near the joints!).

Pilates strengthens the shoulders and stretches the muscles and joints through a full range of motion.

Beyond the shoulders, Pilates also improves the range of motion in the hips, which is essential for your breaststroke.

5. Reduce injuries – especially in the shoulders

In general, any type of repetitive movement is going to cause some wear and tear on the body over time. We over-develop some muscle groups while under-developing others. Repetitive movements, without the proper counter exercises, can also damage the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Swimming is one of the most repetitive sports when it comes to how the body moves.

In swimming, most injuries occur in the shoulders from rotating the arm out of correct alignment, but other common injuries include knee pain from breaststroke and hip and pelvis injuries.

Pilates plays a big role in injury prevention by strengthening the body as a whole. By strengthening the full length of the muscle, protecting the joints, building a strong core, and encouraging increased awareness of the body, swimmers reduce the risk of injury and can even see a reduction in chronic pain. A systematic review of research found that people with chronic pain who practiced regular Pilates experienced significant improvement in pain relief and functional movement.

“I want clients to feel challenged while also having fun. I hope they feel stronger &, better than when they came in.” – RTR Instructor Rebecca

See the results for yourself!

With more than 300 classes/week across 5 studio locations, RTR Pilates has classes for every level and lifestyle.


How Regular Pilates Classes can Help Reduce Chronic Pain

Earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published research estimating that more than 51 million people – that’s more than 20% of US adults – suffer from chronic pain.

Let’s repeat that one more time. An estimated 20% of US adults are living with chronic pain. That is absolutely wild.

In the study, researchers also found that only about 10% of adults recover from chronic pain and become totally pain-free year over year. This is incredibly significant because long-lasting chronic pain increases the risk for depression, Alzheimers, dementia, substance abuse, and suicide.

If you have chronic pain, you know that it makes a huge impact on your life every single day, ranging from what types of jobs you can have to how you can play with your grandkids.

For anyone experiencing chronic pain, consulting with a licensed medical professional should always be your first step. Depending on your type of pain, exercise may lead to significant pain reduction, and can even lead to a completely pain-free recovery.

For many chronic pain conditions, research shows that Pilates is an incredibly effective tool to reduce and eliminate chronic pain.

How Pilates can Impact Chronic Pain

Now, there are many different types of chronic pain. Chronic pain, in general, just refers to pain that lasts longer than 3 months. Some of the most common types of chronic pain in the U.S. include lower back pain and arthritis. Back pain makes up an estimated 10.1% of all chronic pain cases each year.

When it comes to musculoskeletal or inflammatory chronic pain, Pilates can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to recover.

“As an athlete and professional ballet dancer for many years, Pilates has always been a part of strength recovery for me in school and in my professional career. After having multiple injuries, Pilates helped me to get back my strength not just in my muscles but in my overall wellbeing.” – RTR Instructor Katya

Pilates is fantastic for chronic pain because of the types of exercises and areas of focus that we focus on in the classroom.

Low Impact Exercises

Pilates exercises are low-impact, which means that it puts less pressure on your joints. This means that you can enjoy all of the benefits of Pilates without putting further strain on vulnerable joints. For anyone with chronic pain, this can provide a safe way to exercise without exposing your body to unnecessary wear and tear.

Improved Joint Mobility

While general strength training, like weight lifting, builds muscles mostly in the middle of the muscle, Pilates focuses on strengthening the full length of your muscles. This means that people who attend Pilates classes regularly strengthen the muscles around the joints. This provides a greater range of motion and improved mobility.

Strengthening the muscles around your joints can also take pressure off of those joints and relieve much of the pain associated with that specific part of the body.

A Stronger Core

Most of the movements in our bodies draw on our core, and when our core is underdeveloped, other parts of the body end up overcompensating. This can be a big source of back and neck pain, as well as increased risk of injury.

Core strength stems from well-balanced core development. At RTR Pilates, we spend a lot of time focusing on overall core strength, which directly contributes to stability and injury prevention. Because your core is the foundation of movements in other parts of your body, developing your core can protect and reduce pain in other parts of your body.

Better Posture

A big part of Pilates revolves around our awareness of our bodies and guiding our bodies into better posture and alignment. Posture and alignment have a huge impact on musculoskeletal pain.

Good posture and alignment can:

  • Prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Promote effective and efficient use of the muscles of your body.
  • Prevent abnormal positioning of your spine.
  • Reduce abnormal wear and tear on joint surfaces.

Reduced Risk of Future Injury

While reducing the risk of future injury isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when combating chronic pain, it is still an incredibly important component of protecting your body and building upon compounding gains.

When you live with chronic pain, you’re already operating at 70%, 60%, 50% or less every day. If you already live with a significant health issue, then an additional injury can be disastrous for your quality of life.

As a low-impact exercise, Pilates strengthens your overall body to build a stronger system and reduce the risk of future injury. This can make it easier to recover from existing chronic pain and feel more in control of your body, which is critical for your mental health and resilience.

Improved Mental Wellbeing

Research shows that Pilates is fantastic for so many different aspects of our mental wellbeing. Studies show that regular Pilates classes can have a positive impact by:

When you are battling chronic pain, your mental wellbeing is crucial to living with and recovering from chronic pain.

“I love what I do and feel very lucky every time I am able to be in front of a class. Making people feel good about themselves is an honor that I take to heart.” – RTR Instructor Jean Marie

What Does the Research Say?

Over and over again, research demonstrates that regular Pilates classes can have an incredibly positive impact for individuals living with chronic pain.

Back Pain

There have been a number of high-quality studies that examine the relationship between Pilates and chronic pain, especially lower back pain. A systematic review of these studies showed a distinct pattern:

“Patients with chronic low back pain showed statistically significant improvement in pain relief and functional ability compared to patients who only performed usual or routine health care…In patients with chronic low back pain, Pilates showed significant improvement in pain relief and functional enhancement.”


A 2022 randomized controlled study looked at the impact of Pilates-based exercises on individuals with osteoarthritis. Study participants attended 1-hour sessions 3 times a week for 8 weeks. The participants were separated into a control group and a “Pilates” group; the control group attended isometrics classes, while the Pilates group performed Pilates-based exercises.

Researchers found while both groups showed a reduction in pain from osteoarthritis, participants who regularly attended the Pilates classes demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in terms of pain and physical moment compared to the control group.

Remember – Always Consult Your Physician!

Every body is different. If you suffer from chronic pain, always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise plan. They can help you understand what types of exercises will need modification to protect your body.

Start Reducing Your Chronic Pain Today

Our ultimate goal is to make chronic pain conditions as asymptomatic as possible. Pilates is a great tool to build an overall stronger, more supported body.

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


RTR Pilates’ Costa Rica Retreat – Everything You Need to Know!

Join RTR Pilates’ first annual Costa Rica Retreat February 10-14, 2024 for a week of yoga, mat Pilates, adventure, and connection in the beautiful landscape of Nosara, Costa Rica!

Whether it’s deepening your practice, relaxing on a pristine beach, making new friends, or escaping dreary winter weather, there’s something for everyone.

The details

Join us Saturday, February 10 to Wednesday February 14, 2024 for a Pilates & yoga retreat in the beautiful seaside town of Nosara, Costa Rica.

💡 What: A 4-night, 5-day retreat hosted at the relaxing Norte Nosara boutique hotel.

💡 Who: Join RTR founder Reina Offutt, alongside our tenured (and amazing!) instructors Jordan and Alex as we relax, connect, challenge our bodies, and explore a beautiful coastal community.

💡 How: Email retreats@rtrpilates.com by October 1 to reserve your spot. Visit https://rtrpilates.com/retreats/ for more information!

💡 Price: $2,200 per person

What’s included

  • 4 nights and 5 days at the Norte Nosara Hotel, a small boutique hotel just steps away from pristine beaches and a friendly town with plenty of shops and restaurants
  • 3 mat Pilates and yoga classes per day
  • Breakfast & lunch every day
  • Welcome happy hour
  • Farewell dinner
  • A Pilates gift set sponsored by MoveActive
  • Conservation activity to support the local environment

Not included: airfare, travel from the airport to the resort, dinners aside from the welcome happy hour and farewell dinner, and optional excursions to be priced separately

Make the most of your adventure

  • Join optional planned excursions (or plan your own!) to experience:
    • Zip lining in the lush surrounding jungle
    • Surf lessons
    • Coffee plantation tours
    • And more!

Imagine the possibilities

We’ve designed this trip to be a guided yet flexible retreat suitable for individuals at any level in their Pilates practice.

Our optional daily Pilates and yoga classes take place in the early-morning, mid-morning, and at sunset, allowing you to pick the classes that work for you.

Use the remainder of your day to relax on the beach, learn how to surf, explore the local community, join a pre-planned excursion, or plan your own solo adventure!

Get away from a hectic (and cold!) time of year to bask in the warm sun in a lush tropical landscape.

Have extra days off? Feel free to extend your trip for some solo time exploring Costa Rica before or after our retreat.

Connection + community

This Costa Rica retreat is years in the making for our team, and we are beyond thrilled to invite you to experience the laid-back yoga/Pilates/surfing culture of Nosara.

Take this time to build community, connect with fellow Pilates enthusiasts, deepen friendships, and create space for balance in your life.

Community is an integral part of the RTR family, and we can’t wait to bring our community together in a new and exciting way.

Jordan, Reina, and Alex – your retreat instructors!

How to sign up

Email us at retreats@rtrpilates.com to sign up!

Sign up by October 1 to reserve your spot or visit https://rtrpilates.com/retreats/ to learn more.

We are so excited to host this incredible retreat for you. With that in mind, we do need a certain number of confirmed attendees to properly plan the retreat. If we do not receive the necessary number of confirmed attendees by October 1, then we may move the retreat to a later date, when more people can attend.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can sign up for the retreat?

Anyone. This retreat is designed for Pilates practitioners of all levels – whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced pro.

No matter how long you’ve been with RTR, or how often you come to class, everyone is welcome. Want to bring a friend who’s never been to a class? No problem. There’s something for everyone.

Which instructors will teach during the retreat?

Reina, Jordan, and Alex will lead Pilates classes during the retreat, so you know you’re in good hands. Yoga classes will be led by Alex.

Will reformer Pilates be a part of the retreat?

Full-sized Pilates reformers don’t travel well on commercial flights, so all Pilates classes during this retreat will be mat Pilates. But don’t worry – they’ll still challenge you, no matter your skill level.

“People sometimes think that reformer Pilates is harder than mat Pilates – but that’s not the case. Not only are there plenty of hard exercises and movements, but by switching things up, we can get a better understanding of our muscular anatomy and engagement. We are so used to having the resistance of the reformer do a lot of the heavy lifting for us. For example, just try doing leg circles without feet in straps! – Alex, RTR Retreat Instructor

I can’t stay the full week. Can I come for part of the retreat?

Absolutely. While we can’t price partial stays separately, this retreat is built for you. So if you can only stay 3 nights, you are still more than welcome to join our team for as long as you can.

Which city should we fly into for the retreat?

Attendees should fly into either San Jose or Liberia. We will coordinate with our attendee’s flight schedules and help arrange for transportation to our retreat location.

Can you tell me more about where we’re staying?

The recently-opened Norte Nosara is a boutique, family-owned and operated hotel just steps away from Playa Guiones, a beautiful tree-lined beach famed for its surf and lush coastline.

Norte Nosara offers daily yoga and movement classes taught by world-class teachers in a relaxed and stylish atmosphere. The location also offers a pool, bar, and access to a neighboring restaurant.

Are there things to do in Nosara?

Absolutely! Nosara is famous for its laidback surfing and yoga community, and there are countless ways to explore the area. From incredible restaurants to hiking, kayaking, and wildlife sanctuaries, there’s something for everyone.

While we will offer optional group excursions, you are completely free to structure your trip around the things you want to explore during your time in Costa Rica.

Why host the retreat in Costa Rica?

We have been dreaming of hosting a retreat in Costa Rica for years now, ever since our amazing instructor Alex moved there in 2018 to immerse herself in the yoga, surf, and Pilates lifestyle famous in Nosara. Alex has stayed an amazing part of the RTR community, returning to DC every year to help guide our instructor training programs, and has been an integral part of planning this retreat for our community.

We are so excited for our clients to experience this incredible destination to relax, recharge, and reconnect with our bodies and our community.

Have more questions? Email us at retreats@rtrpilates.com or visit https://rtrpilates.com/retreats/ for more information.


Are You Ready for Sweater Weather? Cozy Up With These Amazing Brands at RTR Pilates Retail!

Whether you’re picking pumpkins, roasting marshmallows, or running from Pilates to the school pickup line, fall is when you want your wardrobe to triple duty. Your clothing shouldn’t just be comfy and functional – it should also make you feel your best.

Across RTR Pilates’ five studio locations in the DMV, we feature brands that provide comfortable, fun, and quality athleisure pieces for every lifestyle. We love curating a wide range of brands, from small, women-owned businesses to sustainable and eco-friendly lines.

“RTR Pilates is more than a Pilates Studio. We are a supportive community that I’m super proud to be a part of.  It truly is a Place to Thrive!” – Debbie, RTR Pilates Customer Relations Manager

But you don’t have to shop in person to see our favorite picks for fall. You can also shop online at RTR Retail to find the perfect style for your needs!

Whether you shop online or in our studios, keep an eye out for these 4 amazing brands to freshen up your wardrobe this fall.

1. Tavi Noir

We love everything from Tavi Noir, but we especially love their grip socks. Grip socks are critical to Pilates studios for safety and stability, but Tavi Noir shows that grip socks can also be playful and fun!

Whether you want a pop of color or to bring out your inner dancer, Tavi Noir has styles for everyone. We also love that Tavi focuses on eco-friendly and sustainable techniques for their fabrics.

There are plenty of things we pick up shopping that we never wear again. But for Pilates-goers, grip socks are pieces you’ll need every week. So why not go for a quality grip sock that will make you even more excited for class?

2. Spiritual Gangster

Spiritual Gangster is just one of those brands where every piece makes you go “Ooooh, look at that”. Their clothing is beautiful and functional, but they also add style that makes each piece a statement item in your wardrobe.

This brand is perfect for building light layers in fall that will help you move from errands to the studio to your child’s soccer game without missing a beat. Plus, they have an ongoing partnership with Feeding America, and have donated more than 15 million meals to date.

3. Year of Ours

Meet your new favorite brand for athleisure staples. Year of Ours’ is a beautiful female-created and led activewear and lifestyle company out of California. They focus on providing multi-functional pieces in a wide range of sizing (currently XS-2X). We also love that they produce 80% of their pieces in their own headquarters and factory location in El Monte, California, and focus on ethical working conditions.

Not to mention – their sports bras are really comfy.

Self magazine named Year of Ours’ Ribbed Gym Bra one of the best medium-impact bras, and for good reason. It’s stylish, functional, and comfortable.

4. Free People Movement

Free People Movement has something for everyone. From eclectic and bold items to the comfiest sweaters you’ll ever find, Free People brings their style to athleisure wear and we love it. This brand is perfect for autumn layering with beautiful jackets and sports bras with gorgeous details.

Find your favorite pieces in our studios, or online at RTR Pilates’ online store!

Look and feel your best with RTR Pilates!

At RTR Pilates, we focus on helping you become the best version of yourself. We want you to feel confident, strong, and ready for wherever life takes you. Pilates is a powerful tool to build that confidence, but so is your wardrobe! The right clothes can empower, inspire, and bring joy into your life.

Visit RTR Pilates’ online store or any of our five studio locations across the DMV, and discover studio-to-street pieces that will have you ready to take on the world.


Meet your new RTR Instructors!

We are thrilled to announce that six graduates have passed our training program with flying colors, and are ready to join our studios as certified RTR instructors! These fantastic instructors excelled in RTR’s rigorous training program, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.

The newest members of the RTR team

Pictured from left to right: Shay, Yara, Camilia, Andrea, Sara- our fabulous Director of Training!, Daniella, Yolanda


Shay’s journey into Pilates started with a personal quest to find a workout that focused on her overall well-being. She took her first class at RTR in 2023 and instantly connected with the workout and atmosphere. She is a passionate fitness instructor who believes that a strong mind and body are the foundation of a vibrant life. Shay’s motto is everybody and every body can benefit from Pilates.


Yara’s journey to become a Pilates instructor was driven by a desire to share the transformative power of movement. Drawing from her dance experience, she prioritizes precision, grace, and discipline in her teaching. Her approach is to empower clients, whether beginners or experienced enthusiasts, to discover their inner strength, improve flexibility, and cultivate a balanced, functional body.  She is always excited to make new connections with those she works with and uncover their limitless potential!


Camilia began her fitness journey in her early adolescence. She was always very physically active growing up; participating in sports and running 5k races whenever possible! Going to university during the Covid-19 pandemic really opened her eyes to the myriad of issues regarding health in American society.

Upon her graduation from Vanderbilt University in 2022, she decided to look further into a potential career path that would allow her to be a part of the solution. When gyms were closing down, YouTube mat Pilates became a regular part of her fitness regime and has stayed ever since!

In addition to Pilates, she loves to cross-train with weightlifting, yoga, and running. Health and wellness have become a growing passion of hers and through her classes, she hopes to foster the same joy and love in her clients!


Andrea is an enthusiastic practitioner of Pilates and has been a loyal RTR client for the past two years, and now she’s also an RTR instructor! She brings her passion for healthy living and teaching to her clients.

Raised in Brazil and fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, Andrea found an inspiring balance of traditional and contemporary approaches to Pilates at RTR. When not teaching Pilates classes, Andrea serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Leadership Coaching program at Georgetown University and coaches leaders in the Private and Government sector.


Daniella’s love for teaching Pilates comes from her desire to help improve people’s lives, and the joy she gets from the practice. When she was little, Daniella wanted to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, which led her to many different sports and ways of exercising.

Also certified as a Yoga instructor, Daniella loves to help others cultivate a deeper than physical, healing connection with themselves and the rest of the world.


Yolanda’s Pilates journey began when she was a Yoga instructor teaching at a studio that primarily offered Reformer Pilates classes. She began taking classes at the studio and fell in love with it.

After going through a challenging pregnancy with her son which had her on bed rest from 19 weeks on, Pilates was a huge component in her post-pregnancy recovery.

Yolanda sought her first Pilates certification through Peak and began teaching in Rockville, MD. After a couple of years away from teaching, she and her family moved to Great Falls in 2021 and she discovered RTR Pilates. In 2023, Yolanda had the opportunity to become an RTR Instructor and has loved being a part of the community!

About RTR’s training program

The RTR training program teaches instructors how to help people transform their bodies and their lives. While most instructor training programs only focus on teaching exercises by muscle groups, we take that focus and add in the a bit of engineering to optimize each class. The program is taught by our Director of Training, Sara L.

Through our unique training program, we empower instructors to create programs that integrate their own style and personality with efficient flows and effective exercises. The result is a group of instructors prepared and empowered to lead fantastic classes from day 1.

We offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm, across our 5 DMV locations, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet our new team members!


What is Pilates? Things to Know Before You Start

Pilates is a fun, amazing workout for people of all ages, genders, and levels of physical fitness. But it can also be intimidating to try Pilates when all you know about it are the fitness models you see on Instagram.

Make no mistake – Pilates is for every body. Whether you’re new to exercise or an athlete looking to take your game to the next level, Pilates will always challenge you in the best way.

So if you’re curious about Pilates, or ready to dip your toes into your first studio class, here’s everything you need to know about Pilates before you start!

What is Pilates?

Pilates is more than 100 years old. It’s a mind-body exercise that focuses on improving muscle tone, flexibility, and strength while also improving injury prevention and recovery.

Pilates uses precise moves and specific breathing exercises to bring awareness to the body and help people develop better control of their bodies.

In general, most Pilates exercise programs are built around developing muscles evenly, strengthening the core muscles, and improving alignment in the body for more effective and efficient movements.

But why does this even matter?

Your muscles, joints, and bones don’t exist in isolation. The body is a system of interconnected parts that work together to help us navigate through the world. When one part of the body is underdeveloped, other parts tend to overcompensate, which can lead to increased risk of injury, chronic pain, and underperformance in sports. This can often manifest in chronic back pain or knee pain.

Pilates is a type of low-impact strength training, which means that it strengthens the muscles without taxing your joints, which is critical for injury recovery and prevention. Over time, Pilates builds a strong foundation for the workouts, sports, adventures, and everyday activities that bring us joy.

With a strong mental component, Pilates also helps build emotional resilience, reduce anxiety, and develop a greater sense of self-confidence.

A Very Brief History of Pilates

Today, Pilates tends to be an exercise overwhelmingly associated with women (specifically, ballet dancers), but there’s nothing “dainty” about it.

Joseph Pilates created Contrology – what would eventually become Pilates – during World War I. And at the time, he wasn’t thinking of ballet dancers at all.

Joseph Pilates was a boxer and self defense trainer before the war. While working in a hospital during the war he helped patients who were going through significant injury recovery. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance. It was this innovation that led to his later equipment designs, and eventually to Pilates as we know it today.

But where does the dancer stereotype come in?

Well, when Pilates’ first studio opened, it shared an address with the New York City Ballet. Dancers saw the potential of the practice, and it eventually evolved to support injury recovery and strength building for many of the dancers. From this early development, Pilates grew as a stereotypically female exercise.

But come to an RTR studio today and we’ll show you – there’s nothing easy or “feminine” about Pilates classes. Today, athletes from Tom Brady to Cristiano Ronaldo use Pilates as a cross-training exercise for their fitness routine.

Bottom line: Pilates is a whole-body workout that improves strength, mobility, and core control. These are all amazing things that lead to a healthier you, regardless of age or gender.

Mat Pilates versus Reformer Pilates

The two largest schools of Pilates programs are mat Pilates and reformer Pilates.

Mat Pilates is a type of requirement that requires zero equipment, aside from the mat. It relies on body weight to create low-intensity strength training. In general, mat Pilates is much easier to do from home, especially if you’re a bit intimidated to come to a studio (but if you are intimidated, we promise we don’t bite!).

Reformer Pilates uses a reformer machine that has several types of springs and straps to create a wide range of potential movements with different types of resistance to target specific muscles and prevent any type of fitness plateau. Because the reformer can change weights and resistance levels, the exercise stays challenging no matter your fitness level, which makes it a sustainable option for anyone looking for a long-term workout.

Both mat and reformer Pilates are great options! We’re a little biased towards reformer Pilates (obviously), in part because the reformer creates so many fun exercises and ways to vary a class, so people never get bored in their workout routine.

Classical versus Contemporary Pilates

If you are looking at different Pilates studios, you might also want to consider the type of Pilates class you’re looking for. Most studios practice either “classical” or “modern” Pilates.

Classical Pilates is the practice of the original system created by Joseph Pilates. It generally consists of a specific flow of exercises. It has a very organized and structured flow that generally stays the same from class to class.

Contemporary or Modern Pilates is a kind of fusion between Joseph Pilates’ original exercises, and moves influenced by all of the physical therapies and research on the body that’s developed in the last few decades. It includes a variation of exercise that allows instructors a greater degree of creativity, and every class is a little different.

At RTR Pilates, we practice Contemporary Pilates. We love the original moves, and use the foundations of Pilates to create an efficient, whole-body workout engineered for maximum impact (and we like to switch things up!).

What to Know About Pilates Before Your First Class

With everything in life, from your first time cooking a new recipe to your first date to your first Pilates class, it’s going to be a little awkward at first, and that’s okay! In your first Pilates class, you’ll be moving your body in different ways, and working parts of your body that you are not used to feeling.

Here are a few things that can help you prepare for your first reformer class, so you can come ready to rock the reformer!

1. Tight, high-waisted clothing is best.

Of course, you should always wear what makes you feel comfortable. In Pilates classes, we’re moving our bodies on the reformer through planks, bridges, squats, and all sorts of activities. Tight clothing will help you focus on your moves, and less on pulling up your pants or pulling down your shirt.

2. Grip socks help to prevent slipping.

Grip socks are mandatory! If you have time, pick up a pair before your first class, or you can purchase a pair at the studio. Grip socks help prevent your feet from slipping on the straps, moving carriage, and foot plate. We stock Pilates equipment and outfits, including grip socks, in the retail sections of each studio location.

3. A heavier spring doesn’t necessarily mean that the exercise will be harder.

There are a number of springs on a reformer machine that help determine resistance for specific exercises. In some circumstances, a lighter spring load can actually be more difficult, because it requires your core to compensate for balance. Your instructor can help you adjust your spring levels throughout class to best help you meet your needs.

4. Your body will be sore

Pilates may not have explosive movement like soccer or deadlifts, but you are working so many muscle groups in every reformer class! In most cases, some of your muscles will be underdeveloped when you first come into class. So you may end up shaking, sweaty, and feeling the burn in weird places (who knew your inner thighs could get so sore!).

And if you don’t walk away from your first month of Pilates classes sore, you may be moving through movements too quickly, using incorrect form, or using the wrong spring load. When in doubt, always talk to your instructor if you have any questions!

Learn more about common Pilates mistakes here.

5. It should be fun!

We love Pilates, and we hope you do, too. It can always be intimidating to show up at a new studio and work out in a room full of strangers. Here at RTR, we focus on building a supporting community. We hope you find the joy, strength, and empowerment that comes from Pilates classes, however you build your practice!

Sign up for your first class at RTR Pilates

We’re here to guide you no matter where you are in your Pilates journey. We offer more than 300 classes/week, varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm, across our 5 DMV locations. Start today and get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129!


Pilates Exercise Spotlight: Inner Thigh Series

We don’t often think about our inner thigh muscles in everyday life. Sure, we think about how our abs look, or if our arms have gotten stronger. We think about our quads and glutes when we take a few too many stairs. But our inner thighs? Not really.

But these smaller muscles make a big difference, and that’s why we love to focus on them in Pilates!

All about the inner thighs

Your inner thigh muscles are actually five different muscles: the gracilis, pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus. They start at the pelvis and extend down the length of the femur (the thigh bone).

Your adductors are a lot more important than you might think.

Strong inner thigh muscles:

  • Support your core and pelvis
  • Support and lessen the load on your hip flexors, IT bands, and quads
  • Improve balance
  • Stabilize the leg for a healthy stride
  • Enable lateral (side-to-side) movements, like lunging and side-stepping
  • Support the knees
  • Improve mobility
  • Help recruit core engagement for movement and posture

These muscles work overtime to support your body, which is why we make sure to exercise the inner thighs.

Our favorite inner thigh exercises

While we always have variety in our classes, we also have our old favorites. Keep an eye out for these inner thigh exercises in your next class!

  1. Leg Circles: This feet-in-straps exercise involves lying on your back, legs extended, and making controlled circles with one leg at a time while attached to the reformer springs. Leg circles engage the inner thighs while improving hip mobility and stability.
  2. Frog Press: During feet-in-straps series, the frog press exercise targets the inner thighs as you press the carriage out and then draw it back in using the resistance provided by the springs. This exercise strengthens the inner thighs and engages the glutes and core.
  3. Inner Thigh Slides: Standing on the reformer, this exercise involves pressing the carriage out and then bringing it back in using your inner thigh strength. Side splits work the inner and outer thighs, as well as the stabilizing muscles in the core and hips.
  4. Kneeling Inner Thigh Slides: like the inner thigh slides, but switching it up for variety! The kneeling inner thigh slides strengthen the thigh muscles, as well as other stabilizing muscles in the core and hips. Kneeling inner thighs is also great for hip mobility and flexibility.

“Adductors are usually a weak and underused muscle group. Training them contributes to hip strength and hip mobility which helps with injury prevention!” – RTR Instructor Regina

See the results for yourself!

With more than 300 classes/week across 5 studio locations, RTR Pilates has classes for every level and lifestyle.


5 Ways Pilates Can Benefit Your Mental Health

We always talk about how Pilates is great for your body and your mind. We see it in ourselves and others. But it’s one thing to hear it anecdotally, and another to see the science.

Guess what: researchers agree! Exercise in general is great for your mental health, and Pilates offers additional benefits beyond what we see from general physical activity.

Here are five ways Pilates can benefit your mental health, according to science.

1. Improved memory

The hippocampus is a part of your brain that is vital to certain types of memory. We know that a bigger hippocampus usually means improved memory function, especially as it relates to spatial memory (i.e. navigation and object location).

Unfortunately, we also know that the hippocampus gets smaller with age, and that process coincides with cognitive decline.

The good news is that University of Illinois researchers found that there is a strong correlation between fitness and the size of your hippocampus, even in adults aged 59-81. According to the study, adults with stronger physical fitness had larger hippocampi on average, which indicated better spatial memory.

2. Reduced anxiety and depression

Regular exercise in general has a number of benefits that can lead to reduced anxiety and depression, including the release of endorphins in the brain and improved self-esteem. But did you know that Pilates specifically has demonstrated a correlation with reduced anxiety and depression?

A 2017 study followed 63 participants over eight weeks as they attended three 60-minute Pilates classes per week. After eight weeks, the Pilates attendees demonstrated reduced levels of anxiety and depression and improved quality of life.

3. Reduced stress

We spend a lot of our days in some degree of a flight or fight response due to external stimulation and stress. Extended periods of stress can lead to a number of side effects including:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Decreased fertility
  • Poor digestion
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of addiction
  • Increased risk of eating disorders

So…it’s not great. But how do we escape this cycle, especially if we have a stressful job?

One way to get out of that fight or flight response is deep breathing. In Pilates, we focus a lot on deep breathing and synchronizing our breaths with our movement, which has significant long-term benefits for your body and mind.

Multiple studies indicate that deep breathing can be life-changing when it comes to stress reduction.

Deep breathing activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe and don’t need to be in fight or flight. An active PNS supports your mental health, digestion, and metabolism; increases cognitive function; and decreases your risk of cardiac arrest or stroke.

TLDR: Deep breathing helps you stay relaxed, which is the state that your body WANTS to be in! Almost everything in your body and mind works better when you’re not stressed out.

4. Increased emotional resilience to stress

Pilates doesn’t just reduce your overall stress levels. It can also increase your resilience in the face of acute stress. A 2014 study found that individuals who reported physical exercise at least once per week exhibited more emotional resiliency during stressful events. While physical stress responses didn’t differ between the exercise group and the control group, the exercise group was less emotionally affected by stressful events.

Regardless of individual personalities or baseline happiness levels, the group who exercised was able to maintain a more positive mood.

On top of emotional resiliency, which is great for mental health, positive moods are also associated with decreased mortality, so it’s a win-win scenario.

5. Increased energy levels

Even if exercise might tire you out at the moment, regular exercise is associated with increased energy levels overall.

Exercise increases the production of mitochondria in your muscle cells, and we all remember from middle school science call that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria creates fuel for the body from glucose and oxygen, so more mitochondria increase our overall energy levels.

Exercising also boosts oxygen circulation, which allows your body to use energy more efficiently.

Numerous studies have examined the relationship between exercise and fatigue or energy levels, and they all suggest that there is an association between physical activity and a reduced risk of experiencing feelings of low energy and fatigue.

Support your mental health with RTR Pilates!

Join the RTR Community and start creating a stronger mind-body connection today. Get your first month of unlimited classes for $129.


5 Reasons Why Runners Love Pilates

Running is a high-impact sport that can put a lot of pressure on your body – just consider the phrase “pounding pavement”. Even if you love to run, your body might not like hitting the pavement (literally) for miles every week.

Our bodies thrive under new conditions that break through our routines. Cross-training is a fantastic way for runners to strengthen their body, protect it from injury, improve their time, increase mobility, and practice breath control.

And we’re not just saying that – it’s science.

In 2018, a randomized controlled trial found that runners who participated in a 12-week Pilates course (attending two classes per week) significantly improved their 5K time.

Need more motivation for class? Here are 5 reasons why runners love Pilates.

1. Improved core strength

Most runners only work out the superficial ab muscles, like the obliques or rectus abdominals. But your core is comprised of a series of interconnected muscles that all contribute to a strong core. It’s not just your abs – it’s also the stabilizing muscles in your back and neck.

A strong core is essential to improving performance and decreasing pain during physical exercise. Your core is the foundation of movement for your back, arms, and legs, and a weak core can cause discomfort in other parts of the body.

Research published in the Journal of Biomechanics found that weak deep core muscles can lead to “abnormal spinal loading, muscle strain, or injury to spinal structures, all of which have been associated with increased low back pain (LBP) risk.”

In other words – if your core isn’t strong, then the rest of your body will try to overcompensate, which leads to increased pain and risk of injuries.

This is why so many runners turn to Pilates to cross-train.

“Pilates really helps with cardio as it builds up muscles in a very low impact way, and most importantly, helps with core strength.” – RTR Instructor Jenna

Pilates focuses on building core strength, stability, and flexibility. By strengthening the core and lower back, a regular Pilates routine can build foundational muscle groups that are instrumental in supporting a runner’s body. Over time, these exercises can improve posture and alignment and prevent common aches and pains.

2. Injury Prevention

In any type of sport with repetitive movement, you’re going to experience wear and tear on certain parts of your body more than others. For runners, that long-term repetition can cause serious injuries that may sideline you from the race.

In particular, runners often experience pain and injuries related to the :

  • Lower back
  • Hamstrings
  • Knees
  • Ankles and feet

While injury prevention isn’t the most exciting part of a training regimen, it’s critical to maintaining the long-term health of your body.

As a low-impact exercise, Pilates strengthens the muscles and joints to build a stronger system. For example, knee pain is often a result of underdeveloped muscles, which put undue pressure on the knee joint. Exercise series like footwork, side lying, bridges, and assisted lunges strengthen muscles that are often underdeveloped in runners, like the hamstrings and IT band.

3. Better Mobility

Whether you run on a treadmill or through Capital Crescent Trail, your running gait is essential to your comfort and endurance. Part of an optimal running gait is adequate joint mobility, especially around the hips. Tight hip flexors are a common issue for runners, and inhibit stride length (and probably cause a bit of pain, too).

Pilates exercises improve the joint by working the entire length of muscle groups, not just the middle of the muscle you work in weightlifting. By working muscle groups through their full range in a low-impact environment, Pilates targets these joints to increase mobility and flexibility for better performance on the treadmill or the trail.

4. Stronger breath control

In Pilates, we focus on controlling our body and our mind. We focus on staying present through our breath, and synchronizing our breath to movement. But what does that have do with running?

Every runner knows that controlling your breath is critical to long runs and endurance. But surprisingly, research indicates that most of the impact from your breathing rate is mental.

A review of evidence-based breathing strategy studies found that your breath rate has significant psychological benefits.

“Since breath rate (BR) reflects the physiological response to cognitive and environmental stress at rest, slowing BR during exercise may improve mental performance and calmness. As slow BR is known to positively impact autonomic nervous system balance and vagal tone at rest, it is possible that there is a similarly “optimal” BR during running that enhances the pleasant feelings of exercise. One study that manipulated BR during cycling found lower RPE, suppressed sympathetic and increased parasympathetic activity when breathing at very low BR of 10 bpm vs. unconstrained BR.” – Harbour et. al, Breath Tools: A Synthesis of Evidence-Based Breathing Strategies to Enhance Human Running

5. Enhanced Performance

In addition to all the wonderful injury prevention and mobility, Pilates also enhances performance for athletes. From runners to football players, many professional athletes cross-train with Pilates for improved performance at game time.

For runners especially, improved core strength alongside pelvic support and stability helps individuals run more efficiently, with a more balanced and even stride. Pilates’ focus on improving posture helps runners maintain form for better time, even miles into a long run.

As an added bonus, because Pilates is a low-impact activity, runners can fit it into their schedule whenever they have time, without worrying about how it will impact their run the next day.

Hit your stride with RTR Pilates

Pilates is a fantastic exercise for runners, so why not work towards your new PR in a fun and welcoming environment?

RTR Pilates offers more than 300 classes/week varying from 6:15am – 7:15pm, across our 5 DMV locations. So no matter your schedule or workout routine, there’s a class for you!

Get your first month of classes for just $129.


Gina is the Director of Retail for RTR Pilates. Her expertise lies in retail management, buying, and the customer experience. With her experience in both large and small settings, she has a passion for visual merchandising, client relations, business development, and community outreach.


Gina is the Director of Retail for RTR Pilates. Her expertise lies in retail management, buying, and the customer experience. With her experience in both large and small settings, she has a passion for visual merchandising, client relations, business development, and community outreach.


Yolanda’s Pilates journey began when she was a Yoga Instructor teaching at a studio that primarily offered Reformer Pilates classes.  She began taking classes at the studio and fell in love with it.  After going through a challenging pregnancy with her son which had her on bed rest from 19 weeks on, Pilates was a huge component in her post-pregnancy recovery.  She sought her first Pilates certification through Peak and began teaching in Rockville, MD.  After a couple of years, she stepped away from teaching to take a position as a Health & Wellness Coordinator at a Software company then later chose to become a stay-at-home Mom during the Pandemic and had her daughter. She and her family moved to Great Falls in 2021 and discovered RTR Pilates as she was looking to get back to taking classes.  In 2023 she had the opportunity to become an RTR Instructor and has loved being a part of the community since!


Yara’s journey into Pilates was driven by a desire to share the transformative power of movement. Drawing from her dance experience, she prioritizes precision, grace, and discipline in her teaching. Her approach is to empower clients, whether beginners or experienced enthusiasts, to discover their inner strength, improve flexibility, and cultivate a balanced, functional body.  She is always excited to make new connections with those she works with and uncover their limitless potential! 


Shay’s journey into Pilates started with a personal quest for a new workout that focused on overall well-being. She took her first class at RTR in 2023 and instantly connected with the workout and atmosphere. She is a passionate fitness instructor who believes that a strong mind and body are the foundation of a vibrant life. Shay’s motto is everybody and every body can benefit from Pilates. 


Daniella’s love for teaching Pilates comes from her strong-willed desire to help improve people’s lives and the joy she gets from the practice. When she was little, she wanted to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, which led to her trying many different sports and ways of exercising. While also certified in teaching yoga, detoxing, and as a psychic, Daniella loves to help others cultivate a deeper than physical, healing connection with themselves and the rest of the world, even though Pilates.


Camilia, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Class of 2022, began her fitness journey in her early adolescence. She was always very physically active growing up; participating in sports and running 5k races whenever possible! Going to university during the Covid-19 pandemic really opened her eyes to the myriad of issues regarding health in American society. Upon graduation, she decided to look further into a potential career path that would allow her to be a part of the solution. When gyms were closing down, YouTube mat Pilates became a regular part of her fitness regime and has stayed ever since! In addition to Pilates, she loves to cross-train with weightlifting, yoga, and running! Health and wellness have become a growing passion of hers and through her classes, she hopes to foster the same joy and love in her clients!


Andrea is an enthusiastic practitioner of Pilates and has been a loyal RTR client for the past two years and now, starting in 2023, an instructor. She brings her passion for healthy living and teaching to her clients. Raised in Brazil and fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, Andrea found an inspiring balance of traditional and contemporary approaches to Pilates at RTR. When not teaching Pilates classes, Andrea serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Leadership Coaching program at Georgetown University as well as coaching leaders in the Private and Government sector.


Michelle is a full time Realtor and when she’s not busy closing deals, you’ll find her in her role as a RTR Pilates advocate. Her commitment to health and well-being extends beyond the real estate world. She believes in the transformative power of Pilates, promoting physical and mental wellness for all. Michelle’s friendly and supportive approach makes her the perfect guide for newcomers to the pilates world. Michelle is bilingual, loves connecting with other Spanish speakers and embracing their rich culture.


Lauren joined RTR in 2023. She has had a passion for fitness since 2012. She loves strengthening her body through movement which was very helpful during her pregnancy and the birth of her son in March 2023.


Katharina started combining her hobby and passion to move and work out with work during university. It was a great way to stay balanced, meet new people and earn some extra money. At that time she taught aerobics, dance, strength classes etc. Getting people to move, strengthening and mobilizing their bodies and having a good time feels very rewarding. As a psychotherapist and a mom Katharina knows how important exercising is, mentally and physically. She has been doing Mat Pilates every now and then for years. At one point they offered Reformer classes at the gym she was working at. She took a class and loved it. When she moved to the USA, the RTR studio in Chevy Chase was within walking distance. Still unpacking stuff, Katharina needed some me-time and took a class. It was amazing. So far she was more used to classical reformer Pilates – the combination of classical and contemporary Pilates at RTR let her become a regular client. A year later Katharina became an instructor and never regretted it. In fact she continues to get further certifications and loves taking workshops and getting new inspiration.

Helen O

Helen is our Director of Operations here at RTR Pilates. Before coming to RTR, Helen was an Operations Manager for several commercial cleaning companies and staffing companies, as well as, a Hotel General Manager. Helen was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She fell in love with RTR Pilates on her first visit, she says that, “clients, instructors, and admin are lovely and provide a great atmosphere!” 


Hi there! My name is Ceara, and I’m a Pilates enthusiast-turned-instructor. I’ve been practicing Pilates for over 10 years, and it has been a passion of mine ever since I first discovered it. Recently, I decided to take a leap and turn my passion into a career by becoming a certified Pilates instructor.

One of the reasons I love Pilates so much is because of the way it benefits both my mind and body. It helps me feel centered and focused, while also improving my strength, flexibility, and posture. As an instructor, I’m excited to share these benefits with others and help them achieve their own health and wellness goals.

I currently teach at RTR, where I have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside other experienced instructors. I’m grateful for the supportive community and the chance to continue deepening my knowledge and skills. If you’re interested in joining me for a Pilates class, I’d love to have you!


I discovered Pilates just by chance! Several years ago my mom was raving about the wonders of pilates after dealing with back pain for almost a decade, and stubborn me needed a good push before I tried something new. However, safe to say, I have not looked back! Thanks mom! 

I love the feeling Pilates gives you during and after. I struggled for so long to find a movement that wouldn’t leave me feeling drained and weak. In Pilates, the core challenges in every movement make me feel so much more confident in not only my intentional movement but also my day to day! 

Outside of teaching, I work as a licensed dietitian supporting clients recovering from eating disorders by building a long lasting relationship with food and their body. Working at RTR is such a beautiful compliment to all my work!



Although a native Bostonian and diehard Red Sox fan, Anna has now lived in DC for more than 20 years. A former college swimmer and Ashtanga yoga devotee, she has always enjoyed athletic pursuits. Anna discovered Pilates after a shoulder injury in 2017 and quickly became hooked! She did classical Pilates for a couple of years but missed the energy of group classes and was thrilled to discover RTR in 2019. Anna became an instructor in 2023 and hopes to pass along her passion for precise movement and balance challenges (among other things).


When not doing Pilates, Anna loves all kinds of live music (but especially Pearl Jam), walking her dogs, traveling to just about anywhere, and spending time with her husband and three kids. She is currently learning how to play tennis and bridge and her goal is to ski and do headstands until she’s at least 75.


Growing up in Potomac and being a health and fitness enthusiast it was inevitable that I eventually found and fell in love with RTR. I started coming to RTR (when it was Potomac Pilates) back in 2012 and was instantly hooked. The classes left me feeling strong, motivated, mobile, and rejuvenated and I knew this was something that will be long lasting. RTR was always there to help me recover from injuries and imbalances caused by heavy lifting and high intensity group workouts so once the timing and opportunity arose I knew I wanted to share my love of RTR by becoming an instructor and help others feel strong and challenged while still being functional and balanced.  When I’m not focusing on my health and fitness, I can be found deep into a Netflix binge, cozied up with a good book, or walking around downtown Bethesda with my giant sheepadoodle, Henry.


Genevieve got her start in the fitness industry through sales and management in 2018. Having tried various workouts, she finds that low impact training is best for her body. During the pandemic, she started mat pilates and barre at home -with time, she hoped to get on a reformer. After researching studios, she found that RTR provided the uplifting and supportive community she had been looking for in a fitness environment. In Genevieve’s free time, you can find her spending time with family & friends, baking, or learning how to play tennis.


Monika started at RTR Pilates as a client, and soon discovered that Pilates is not only a great workout — it can also be a way of practicing mindfulness and self-awareness through movement. Hoping to share this experience with others, Monika joined the RTR Pilates instructor training program in Spring 2023. In class, she strives to create accessible routines that can be challenging as well as relaxing — with the hope that clients will leave her class feeling stronger and more relaxed.

Aside from Pilates, Monika practices as a health coach, and runs her charity-driven, sustainable womenswear line.


A native of Charleston, SC, I moved to Washington, DC by way of Boston to attend graduate school. Nearly 30 years later, here I am still! I met my husband and raised a daughter here (and a couple of awesome dogs too), and enjoyed a long career in communications with a focus on environmental and social justice issues. I first tried Pilates on the Reformer about 5 years ago at another DC gym and fell in love with its unique combination of strength training, balance, flexibility, and mental focus. I truly believe it’s a form of exercise that people of any age and fitness level can benefit from throughout their lives. I’m so excited to take my career in a healthy and challenging new direction with RTR Pilates.  Mad respect & gratitude to all the amazing and supportive RTR instructors I’ve had the pleasure to train with, and to my fabulous fellow graduates of the Spring 2023 Training Session.


DC native Aimée Rose discovered her love of Pilates after a serious dance fall. When her injury required dedicated physical therapy and rehabilitation, she looked for a gentle re-entry into movement. Pilates was an obvious choice to regain her fitness while simultaneously allowing her to heal. Stronger than ever thanks to her practice, she along with the rest of the Customer Care Team [and the entire RTR Squad] are passionate about helping others love their body’s strength and live well as their best selves! She’ll see you at HQ reception and in the email inbox or be the friendly voice at the other end of the phone. Stop by and say hello!

Alyson A

Alyson has always had a love for movement and balance training. While living in New York City in 1998, she found her way to the reformer and began using Pilates to minimize stress and offset the stiffness that came from sitting at a desk all day long. That’s when her love for Pilates officially took hold and began to be woven into the fabric of her exercise routine. In 2003, she moved to the Washington, DC area with her husband and stumbled upon a Pilates studio in Bethesda. While pregnant with their first son, she found Pilates to be extremely helpful with her growing body and shifting center of gravity. In 2018, she took her first RTR class and fell in love with the style of Pilates being taught as well as with all the RTR instructors. Then finally in 2022, Alyson decided she was ready to go from a client to an instructor and enrolled in the fall training class. She is excited to be part of the RTR family where she can continue to follow her passion and love for movement, balance, and focus.

Regina D

Regina joined RTR as a client in 2020 soon after moving to Northern VA, and then jumped at the opportunity to become an instructor in 2022. She fell in love with Pilates during her years as a former Professional Ballet Dancer after suffering from neck and shoulder injuries and hypermobility. After trying many different forms of cross-training, she always returned to Pilates because it promotes strength, flexibility, balance, and connects the mind and body. She is originally from Cincinnati OH, where she attended the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music for a BFA in Ballet Performance. Regina loves the inclusivity of Pilates and looks forward to teaching clients of all levels!

Rachel B

Rachel joined RTR as a client in November 2021 looking to build strength and mobility. She found Pilates not only offered both but was also incredibly engaging – she couldn’t get enough. Rachel became certified in Fall 2022 and is excited to help others’ gain functional strength useful for everyday life.

Quintus C

Quintus, a native Washingtonian, comes to RTR with a background in teaching, coaching, and personal training. For the past 10 years, he has coached soccer, basketball, and baseball at several local independent schools, and youth sports organizations. A RTR client since 2017, who found pilates to strengthen his core and prevent injury while playing high impact sports. He believes Pilates is for everyone and enjoys making classes both accessible and challenging.

Mufeng L

Mufeng’s first encounter with Pilates was through reading scholarly articles about the components and effectiveness of this system of exercise. When she was intrigued by the literature that there were benefits from this method, she went into the RTR Pilates studio to give it a try. To her surprise, she started to feel stronger than ever, both mentally and physically, after only a few months’ practice. She inevitably became a true enthusiast for Pilates and wanted to help others achieve the same results. Mufeng designs every class to be a balanced mind-body workout that incorporates the six principles of Pilates: centering, concentration, control, precision, fluidity, and breathing. She wants to help clients achieve balance, strength, and health through fun classes. When not wearing her Pilates instructor’s hat, Mufeng is busy juggling between being a scientific officer and a mother of two girls.

Danielle B

A native Washingtonian, Danielle joined RTR as an instructor in the Fall of 2022 after ten years as a client. It took just one class for her to get hooked, and over the years she has found Pilates to be a crucial practice benefitting both her physical and mental health. Danielle attended Georgetown Visitation in DC and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, and also works in marketing and interior design.

Barbara B

Barbara started teaching at RTR in 2022 after becoming certified through RTR’s in-house training program. She was drawn to reformer Pilates in 2014 as a way to strengthen her core while completing yoga teacher training in Miami, Florida. She aims to make every client feel simultaneously challenged and supported. Before moving to the DC area, Barbara taught English as a Second Language (ESOL) at the University of Miami and in Japanese public schools. She currently runs training programs for the federal government. Outside of Pilates, Barbara enjoys spending time with her husband, stepdaughter, and two chihuahuas. She is an Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) certified health coach who is passionate about yoga (yin and power/vinyasa), cooking, nature, and travel.

Lorena RD

Lorena loves Pilates because it’s a fun way to stay in shape, working out on the machine makes every exercise enjoyable. Her favorite Pilates exercise is long spine. She hopes clients leave her classes feeling good about themselves.

Quyen T

Having done mat Pilates on and off since she was 14, Quyen finds that she always comes back to it no matter how many other types of exercises she tries. She felt that it was one of the few things she can do that will improve her energy, strength, and durability. When she discovered RTR Pilates during the pandemic, her passion for mastering reformer Pilates began as it was true therapy for her. She found that reformer Pilates allows her to push herself further and find more trust and strength in her mind and body. Her goal as an instructor is to help clients do just those things: learn to trust their own minds and bodies and find their limits. She also moonlights as a software product manager, and, in her free time, Quyen can be found eating and laughing with friends and family in many corners of the world.

Tiffany L

Tiffany discovered Pilates in early 2019 when a new studio opened up near her house in San Diego and fell in love with the way the exercises transformed her body. When Tiffany found RTR near her house in McLean in 2021, she immediately signed up for a membership. She knew right away that RTR was a supportive and encouraging place to call her new Pilates home. Intrigued by the way the mind and body work in concert, and eager to share her love of Pilates with others, Tiffany trained with RTR shortly after joining the studio. She hopes her clients enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after each class as well as the benefits Pilates provides to a person’s mental health and physical fitness. Tiffany looks forward to meeting new clients each week and helping them grow stronger with every class.

Debbie M

Debbie is our Client Relations Manager here at RTR Pilates. She handles and oversees the administrative duties of RTR and keeps all of our members happy. Before coming to RTR, Debbie worked as a Territory Manager Assistant for Weight Watchers International. She loves working with people and providing the best customer service she can on a daily basis. Born and raised in Maryland, and now residing in Delaware, she enjoys traveling to the West Coast and loves hanging out with friends and family whenever she can (preferably on a beach).

Ulrick R

Ulrick has a lifelong passion for fitness and has dedicated 15 years to all aspects of the profession. He is a strong advocate for an active lifestyle and healthy nutrition. Prior to becoming a fitness professional, Ulrick earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Management Information Systems from The American University. Ulrick quickly realized that Pilates was the missing piece in his comprehensive training regimen and could only benefit his background and help with clients. His positive outlook on life and training allows him to seek many different aspects of the fitness world. He is the founder and owner of URFitness and has worked as a fitness trainer at health clubs throughout the greater DC area. Ulrick’s background includes expertise in group training, boot camp programs, boxing classes, sport specific conditioning, and rehabilitation exercises. Ulrick’s certifications include: Balanced Body Pilates Mat and Reformer, Fitness Instructor and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength Professional Association, and Post-Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist with the Pink Ribbon Program.

Tom B

Tom enjoys creating new Pilates classes with different balance and symmetry challenges, focusing on proper form and safety.
He loves to travel and play golf, enjoy spending time with his family, and walking his dog.

Susan D

Susan joined the RTR instructor family in 2021! Susan’s Pilates journey started when the Great Falls studio opened up. Following her retirement as an executive at a major telecommunications company, she could be found almost daily at the studio. Pilates erased years of sitting in front of a computer and Susan was hooked! A native to the DC area, Susan has been an avid athlete all of her life – swimming, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball – and now alternates her athletic pursuits between golf and Pilates. Susan’s other passions include her family and friends, her numerous pets (cats and dog), cooking, and Virginia Tech sports, especially football and the tailgates.