4 Fitness Accessories You Need For July 4th

Summer is officially here and with the 4th of July just around the corner, it’s time to show this incredible country of ours some love. Here are four  fitness accessories you can wear to your next Pilates class or on your next run. Rock the red, white, and blue this July 4th because patriotism never looked so good!

Full Toe Bella Grip Sox in Stars & Stripes, $16.00, Toe Sox

Power Y Tank *Luon, $52.00, Lululemon

Stars Stripes Sparkles No Dent Hairband 5-Pack, $14.00, Emi-Jay

Liberty Smoke Lense Sunglasses, $25.00, Headbro


5 Easy Ways to Eat Clean

Okay, so your healthy eating plan got a little off track over the weekend. Those summer treats were all too tempting. Someone served up some irresistible barbecue. But don’t give up and don’t punish yourself! Reboot your body from the inside out with these quick and easy clean-eating tips that will clean up your diet in no time.


Most people aren’t drinking enough water, even though our bodies are comprised of about 70% of it! Stick to this rule of thumb– try to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 130 pound person should drink about 65 ounces of water per day. And don’t forget to drink even more during and after a Pilates class to replace lost hydration during exercise.

Start your dat with a 6 to 18 ounce glass of room temperature water with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it to flush out toxins, aid digestion and provide essential nutrients like Vitamin C and Potassium.



Genetically modified foods are produced from organisms that have gone through specific changes in their DNA through genetic engineering, resulting in the introduction of new traits and greater control over genetic food structure. Studies have shown that the consumption of GMO foods can actually genetically modify your own cells, accelerating the aging process! The top GMO offenders are corn and soy, so try to cut back on these products and stick to organic whenever possible.


Sugar is an empty calorie food that can negatively affect the metabolism and contribute to various diseases including diabetes and liver disease among others. Replace refined sugars with natural sweeteners such as honey, agave, or stevia. Or satisfy that sweet-tooth with sweet fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or apples for a quick snack.


More than half the population  has a sensitivity to gluten and more than 55 diseases have been linked to it, but what exactly does gluten intolerance do to your body? Gluten sensitivity can lead to bloating, digestive issues, Keratosis Pilaris (i.e. “chicken skin”), fatigue, dizziness, inflammation or even mood swings. Try cutting gluten out of your diet for two weeks to see if you notice changes in the way you feel.



Fat gets a bad rep, but don’t fear all fats! Good-for-you fats containing Omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, avocados, almonds and walnuts provide nutrients to promote healthy brain function, energy, and healthy skin and hair. Plus, good fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Avoid saturated fats and stick to a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to feel good on the inside and look great on the out!


3 Healthy Summer Recipes to Love

Summer cooking should be all about simplicity. The warm weather and the fresh produce call for easy, light and flavorful dishes and a healthy summer diet paired with Pilates classes is the perfect recipe for a fit body. There’s nothing better than a summer barbecue, so take a look at some of my go-to meals ideal for your next outdoor dinner party this summer!

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Yellow Tomato Sauce

Ingredients: • 4 yellow tomatoes, halved crosswise and seeded• 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil• 2 garlic cloves, minced• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil• 1/4 teaspoon salt• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, each about 5 ounces• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme Preparation: Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Arrange the tomatoes skin side down on the grill rack or skin side up on a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil. Grill or broil until the skins begin to blacken, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam until the skins loosen, about 10 minutes.In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. Core and peel the tomatoes. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, the garlic with the oil, and the vinegar. Pulse until well blended. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the basil and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.Sprinkle the chicken breasts with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a shallow dish, stir together the parsley, thyme and the remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Dredge the chicken in the herb mixture, coating completely. Grill or broil the chicken, turning once, until browned on both sides and no longer pink on the inside, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken breasts to warmed individual plates. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of The Mayo Clinic

Cucumber, Tomato & Feta Salad

Ingredients: • 6 cups coarsely chopped English hothouse or Persian cucumbers (about 2 pounds total)• 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound total), coarsely chopped• 1 bunch scallions, chopped• 1 cup assorted pitted olives (such as Kalamata or Gaeta), halved• 1 7-ounce package feta, crumbled, divided• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Preparation: Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, olives, half of feta, and mint in a large bowl. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining half of feta over and serve. Recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit.

Grilled Fruit with Balsamic Vinegar Syrup

Ingredients: • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 4 wedges• 2 large mangoes, cored and cut in half• 2 large peaches, cored and cut in half• Butter-flavored cooking spray• 2 tablespoons brown sugar• 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar• Mint or basil leaves for garnish Preparation: In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mangoes and peaches. Spray generously with cooking spray. Toss and spray again to ensure the fruit is well-coated. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside.In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar over low heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.Place the fruit on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the fruit from the grill and arrange onto individual serving plates. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and garnish with mint or basil. Serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of The Mayo Clinic.

By Danielle Bolger



What do you think when you hear the word Pilates?  Maybe like I used to believe, you think Pilates is only for people your mom’s age who have too much time on their hands and aren’t up for a rigorous workout.  Wrong.  I want to disprove any misconceptions you might have about Pilates and explain the many benefits it has.

Five Positives of Pilates:

1.  Tones Your Body

2. Improves Strength, Flexibility, and Posture

3.  Develops Muscle Awareness

4. Prevents Injuries

5. It’s Fun and a Good Workout!!

I started taking Pilates classes at Potomac Pilates about a year and a half ago when I was 15.  My mom (who used to hate all forms of exercise) saw an ad for Potomac Pilates and decided to try a class.  She kept going back and my whole family teased her for becoming obsessed.  To be honest I was skeptical about how effective Pilates was, so we decided to test it.  I realized when she humiliated me by beating me in a planking contest that Pilates was really making a difference.  My mom could hold a plank for 2 minutes and 30 seconds after only going to Pilates classes for a few weeks.  I decided to give it a try so that I could show her who really had the stronger abdominal muscles.  I took my first class in the winter of 2012 and eventually found myself coming back every day… it didn’t take long for me to become totally hooked. 

I am a junior at the Maret School and I run track in the spring and cross-country in the fall.  I have become an avid pilates-goer and take classes whenever I can.  It is a great thing to do during my off-season to stay in shape.  Ever since I started Pilates I have noticed a change in my capabilities in both my running seasons. 

Now back to the list of Pilates Positives:

  1. Pilates helps to strengthen and tone each muscle group- biceps, triceps, glutes, calves, abs, chest, back, quads, inner thighs, obliques, shoulders, you name it.  After taking classes consistently for a few weeks I can assure you that you will notice a change in your body.  It’s a great feeling knowing that you can tone your body in such a fun and healthy way. 
  2. Reformer Pilates is a great way for your body to get stronger and more flexible.  The endless ways to use the machine and the limitless number of exercises always keep things exciting in class, and ensure that you leave feeling that you’ve had a good workout. 
  3. In classes you will often hear instructors talking about a “mind-body connection”.  I didn’t know this mattered until I started doing Pilates.  Through taking classes you develop more awareness of your body in general and learn how to use the right muscles in different daily activities. 
  4. Pilates is a great workout because unlike some more cardio-based exercise classes, Pilates allows you to get a full workout without putting a lot of pressure and strain on your body.  The resistance training is a great way to build muscle without over-exerting your body.  I noticed that after adding Pilates to my routine, my muscles became stronger so in track this season I was able to avoid those annoying injuries that I had gotten in the past that come from over use of muscles. 
  5. Lastly, Pilates is really fun while at the same time is a great workout for all ages of people.  I am one of the youngest people in classes but what is great about Pilates is that it helps everyone and can be done just for general fitness as rehabilitation, or to prevent injury. 

I guess you could say that I have become completely addicted to reformer Pilates… I want more people my age to discover the Positives of Pilates and I strongly encourage you to start taking classes.  I promise once you start coming to classes you’ll locate muscles you didn’t know you had, and will find yourself coming back for more! I’m really excited to start teaching and I hope to see you in the studio sometime soon!

Dinah Gordon, Teen Class Instructor


Gym Bag Beauty Essentials

Make it to the studio and back unscathed with our top five beauty essentials for yourpost-Pilates regiment, and never worry again about finding time to squeeze in aclass and look good afterwards. 

 1. Elastic Hair Ties Go gentle on your strands and avoid midday creases in your ‘do by throwing hair up in a thick elastic hair tie. We like Bop Basics Neon Elastic Hair Ties, $38, for a pop of color. Even better? Loosely braid your tresses or twist into a bun and fasten with these ties for added volume and gentle waves after your workout.

 2. Cleansing Facial Towelettes Cool off with a cleansing towelette that gently removes dirt, sweat and makeup residue, paying special attention to the hairline, neck, chest and back. We like Say Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes, $5.99, packed with superfood ingredients to naturally exfoliate, detoxify and rejuvenate the skin in a flash. 

3. Dry Shampoo Skip the shower and still keep tresses looking clean with dry shampoo, which absorbs excess oils and sweat after a workout. We like Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder, $21, ideal for on-the-go primping. A little powder goes a long way by massaging this lemon verbena-scented product into the scalp, cleansing hair and creating instant volume without water or a blow dryer. 

4. Tinted Moisturizer Work that natural post-workout flush and add a hint of sheer, natural color with tinted moisturizer, perfect for that “no makeup” look. We like Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, $43, for its easy application and variety of colors. Too much flush is easily evened out with this lightweight SPF 20 makeup/skincare combo, which hydrates and protects skin from environmental damage with an antioxidant complex of vitamins C and E. 

5. Cleansing Body Mist No time for a shower? No problem, with a scented cleansing body spray in your gym bag arsenal. We like Clean Shower Fresh Clear Radiance Mist, $29, to wake up skin and rehydrate with a refreshing and uplifting scent. This fragrance packs skincare benefits to clean and exfoliate, even skin tone and reduce the appearance of skin imperfections to reveal radiant and glowing skin all over. 


Mat vs. Reformer

Throughout the summer Potomac Pilates is offering Mat classes, the question on everyone’s mind is…WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAT & REFORMER??

Both workouts provide similar core strengthening and flexibility benefits so it can be confusing to know which is the best fit for your individual goals and capabilities.  There tends to be a hesitation on both ends and the answer is that you should do both to optimize your results and challenge your muscle groups! Here’s a breakdown to help you out:

The biggest difference between rolling out a mat and looping on up is resistance — A reformer provides weight that can be a challenge, but in some ways a cushion. Sometimes having a heavier weight allows one to push against their loops or bar, offering assistance in the workout movements. The springs and pulleys guide you, allowing you to find your core and balance more easily. Think about plank pose. A lighter spring will challenge the core because of the complete control required of your body. Similarly, with Mat Pilates, only your own body creates the resistance, making it possibly more difficult to hold positions.

Both Reformer and Mat Pilates will strengthen and elongate the muscles, but their difficulty varies. If you’re a beginner, Mat classes provide a solid foundation for the large variety of exercises presented on a reformer. However, advanced members may want to return to the roots of their workouts, or Mat classes, to delve deeper into specific muscles that are behind ultimate core strength. On the other hand, someone who is looking to stretch or rehabilitate the body and still get a good work out should focus more on Reformer Pilates, while more experienced members with relatively controlled cores should look into taking Potomac Pilates’ new Mat classes. Nevertheless, both workouts cater to any level and are guaranteed to help work muscles you didn’t know existed! Voila, this is the genius behind Potomac’s Performance Pilates! 


The Importance of Stretching

Your new lululemon pants shouldn’t be the only thing stretching this summer! Stretching the body improves muscle elasticity, which increases muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. I find that Potomac Pilates is a perfect way to start a stretching routine without even knowing you’re doing it! 

I have played soccer all my life, run almost everyday and certainly should understand the importance of stretching. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I do it. I have been trying to disregard my tight leg muscles, but reoccurring calf cramps encouraged me to seriously look into stretching. With a mother that teaches yoga you would assume I’d have no problem discovering helpful stretches and alleviating my pain. However, because of my active exercise history, I feel restless in slow paced yoga lessons. My mom (Lisa Johnson), also instructor at Potomac Pilates suggested I take more Potomac Pilates classes, which emphasize the recognized benefit of controlled dynamic stretching to reset muscle length.

I’ve learned that Performance Pilates classes use repetitions that both elongate and strengthen muscles, while still making you break a sweat. After only a few classes, I’ve noticed an improvement in my flexibility and overall muscle strength. So, I’d recommend you to loop on up at a Potomac Pilates class this summer to easily incorporate stretching into your exercise routine.