The Essential Wellness Pyramid

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

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

Breaking Down the Essential Wellness Pyramid


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Learn more about habit loops here

Small steps make a big difference

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

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

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

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

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