The Gift of Acupuncture. Guest post by Austin Dixon, L.Ac.

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This time of year is one of the best times to talk about how beneficial acupuncture is for mental health. No matter how much we love or hate the holidays it is likely we will all experience some stress and overwhelm. There are more parties, more food, more drink, more expenses, and more opportunity for feelings of joy and gratitude as well as grief and sadness. Regardless of your outlook on the season, the holidays can be a lot to handle. One way to help hold onto a normal cool attitude towards life (or experience it for the first time) is through regular acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture is great for maintaining balance and good mental health. In Chinese Medicine we view the mind and body as a whole. What affects the mind will affect the body. Have you noticed that when you are stressed and feeling burdened by life’s twist and turns, your neck and shoulders may feel tight? Or maybe your stomach gets upset? These are physical manifestations of our mental health.

Acupuncture helps regulate the body, calm your nervous system, and clear your mind. It is a great form of self care, especially during times when emotions are running high and wild. If you find yourself among the stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed this holiday season take a deep breath. Give yourself the gift of mental peace and come in for acupuncture. I look forward to seeing you.

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Why Should I Take Private Lessons? Guest post by KimLien LaFitte

Guest post by KimLien LaFitte
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Many people have only taken classes. That’s how they started Pilates…that’s what they love… and let’s be honest, classes can be more affordable when you have a tight budget.
If you’ve taken classes for years and haven’t sprinkled in a private here and there, here is what you are missing!
  1. One on One – You get special attention! You can have your favorite teacher all to yourself.
  2. Observation – You have the opportunity to have a keen eye watch you move and help you make small adjustments to enhance your pilates practice.
  3. Q&A – It’s a good time to ask those burning questions you’ve had in class and haven’t had a chance to ask them.
  4. Tame the Beast – If you’ve struggled with that one exercise that never feels quite right, (Teaser anyone?) you can find out why and how to improve on it.
  5. Mindfulness – In a class it can be harder to focus just on you and your breathing and your awareness of your movement. A private can give you the opportunity to sink deeper into knowing your body and your movement habits – those that are helpful and those that are not so helpful.

Private lessons are rich with possibilities and now is a wonderful time to take advantage of this special and buy 1, 3 or 15 privates!

6 Reasons We Love Pilates Equipment Classes

Walking into a Pilates studio for the first time might be a little intimidating… Archaic looking structures made of wood, leather and metal with springs, straps, and fuzzy loops attached.  WEIRD. But, once you get to know the Pilates equipment, I promise you will understand and LOVE it!

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Today is the 1st day of the 12 Days of Specials at InsideOut and the special is on Equipment classes.  So, I thought I would share a few reasons why we love Pilates equipment classes!

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  1. Support- The equipment will support you, making the exercises a little easier…well maybe not easier, but easier to do with good form and alignment!  People who find Pilates mat or yoga classes too challenging or painful, often really enjoy the equipment. In a mat class, it’s just you, the mat and gravity!  The equipment will support and assist your body in an amazing way.
  2. Resistance- The springs provide resistance, but in a smooth and supportive way.  They act similarly to our muscles as they stretch and then recoil with our movements.  The resistance can be light or heavy, but the springs allow for smooth, graceful movement.
  3. Versatility- You can do SO. MANY. THINGS. on the equipment!  From beginner to highly advance, ANYONE can benefit.  There are hundreds of exercises in which you might be lying on your back to standing on your head.  The Pilates system of movement is so diverse and complete!  All body parts and types of movement are worked during each session!
  4. Challenging- You must be present during class as you have to focus on the exercises, breath, the equipment AND your movement.  This is challenging for the body AND mind, but is often a welcomed change from our daily stressors!
  5. Camaraderie- In a class, you have the support and sense of community from fellow classmates…whether they are cheering you on as you come up in Teaser on the reformer, or while joining in on a communal eye roll as the teacher says “3 more” after you have already done nearly 200 Hundreds!  We love seeing the friendships that form in our studio!
  6. Fun- It starts to look and feel like a playground for grown ups.  Have you been in the studio when someone suddenly flips upside down or stands on her head?  These things might sound impossible, but we have people of all ages and fitness levels doing fun, gymnastics-like exercises!  Only if you want…but the option is there! And even if you aren’t flipping around, the equipment is still really fun!

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Don’t let the flipping and headstands intimidate you- ANYONE can take equipment classes!  At InsideOut, we just require you to take a minimum of TWO private sessions to get familiar with the equipment before starting a class.  We have classes for people just coming out of Physical Therapy (check out our Back to Health program!) as well as classes from Leveled from 1 (beginner) to 5 (advanced).  Check out our website for more information on our classes and to find the schedule. We hope to see you in class soon!

 

Early detection saved my life. Pilates saved my sanity.

Guest post by Lori Ginsberg, PT, MPT

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Early detection saved my life.

As dramatic as that sounds—it is true.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 4 years – Christmas Eve 2012, since I found the lump that rocked my world.  I am here today, CANCER FREE, because I took that suspicious lump to my doctor on January 1.  I insisted on a mammogram and ultrasound when she said “let’s just watch it”.

I listened to my inner voice, the one that told me that something was not right.

So yes, early detection of breast cancer saved my life but Pilates saved my sanity.  I was diagnosed with Stage 2a “triple positive” breast cancer—“the GOOD kind”!  Which meant that after a double mastectomy, 6 rounds of chemo and a future of estrogen deprivation, I am cured!  But guess what?  There is no “good kind” of cancer.  The physical, mental and emotional toll of the battle is hard to quantify but is immense.

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For the first time as a Pilates-based physical therapist, I had to practice what I preach and I hoped I’d been right.  I was.  I felt the benefits of Pilates as a gentle, efficient and effective rehab tool for regaining motion and strength.  I felt the power of the Pilates principles— breath, control, flow, concentration— to help me simply get through every day, no matter how crummy I felt.  Some days I’d do a few minutes of footwork,  some days I’d spend an hour moving and sweating and focusing on the work, some days I’d simply lie on my back and breathe.

I always, ALWAYS, felt better afterwards.

So now, almost 4 years later, I’m finally at the point where some days I forget I had cancer.  When I remember, I tell someone my story so that one day maybe she can forget too.  October is breast cancer awareness month.  The perfect time to start a routine. Check your breasts, today and every month.  Schedule your mammogram.  Listen to your inner voice—she’s smarter than you know.

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Schedule a Pilates-based Physical Therapy evaluation with Lori or one of our other Pilates-based physical therapists by calling the studio at 919-361-0104. 

We Could Make Beautiful Movement Together…Guest post by Lori Ginsberg

Guest post by Lori Ginsberg, PT, MPT

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The human body was designed to move with ease and efficiency: our bones stacked to support our weight, our muscles and connective tissues attached to those bones to provide appropriate forces to maintain stability and allow mobility, and our central nervous system the communication center that coordinates these forces.

Movement is complicated business. Simply walking takes a tremendous amount of work from our bodies—our bones, muscles and brain all working together to keep us upright and moving forward. Not to mention that we are texting, talking and trying to solve the problems of the world simultaneously.

Yet we manage to walk… some better than others. Some faster, some with pain, some with pain long after walking.  It’s complicated. But improving functional movement doesn’t have to be.

First, imagine an orchestra… Shiny, well cared for instruments. Dedicated musicians who practice for hours.   Tones and sound and power that come from the different instruments. And the variety of sounds that come from a single instrument based on how the musician plays it.   Picture the conductor…the coordinator of these sounds. The one responsible for combining these sounds to create harmony and ensure a lovely well coordinated melody. The instruments, the musicians and the conductor are all critical to the outcome of the performance and the success of the symphony.

Now imagine your body… your bones and joints the instruments that will be played by your musician muscles. Your central nervous system the conductor that leads these musicians. All working together to create beautiful, harmonious, fluid movement.

I consider physical therapy at IOBT sort of like a music camp in this regard.

First, we teach you how to care for your instruments. How to improve the alignment of your spine or the mobility in your hip. Next, you practice playing your instrument. Teaching your glueteal muscles to fire or your upper trapezius to relax. Finally, you practice playing them together, with all of the other instruments of movement to create harmonious, pain free, functional movement.

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One of my favorite new tools for teaching this movement musicality is the Core Align. Similar to other Pilates equipment, the Core Align is designed to challenge stability while providing appropriate and varying levels of support. The goal is to create harmony between controlled stability and dynamic mobility, resulting in a strong, healthy and vibrant body.  Most of the exercises on the Core Align are performed standing and closely mimic functional movements from the most basic (getting up from a chair) to those that would challenge the most elite athletes (handstands on a surfboard). Feedback to the body is instantaneous, and correct positioning during the exercises improves alignment, ensures correct muscle recruitment and demands core control. And using the Core Align provides opportunity to practice the complex, coordinated movement patterns that lead to beautiful, harmonious movement.

Come see a PT at Inside Out Body Therapies and learn to make beautiful movement for yourself!

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Lori Ginsberg, PT, MPT has been a physical therapist for 17 years, specializing in Pilates-based physical therapy since 2006. While working at the University of Minnesota and the University of Chicago orthopedics clinics, she developed a solid foundation of skills and experience with complex musculoskeletal issues. She brought those skills into smaller clinical settings since, sought after by “puzzling” patients who have tried, and failed, traditional PT. Since becoming Pilates certified through Balanced Body she has combined her expertise in human movement, manual therapy and innovative Pilates exercises to help patients achieve optimal strength, stability and function. Her passion is in helping people clearly identify, and then achieve, their health and fitness goals. She has recently become trained on the CoreAlign, an innovative piece of equipment that emphasizes upright posture to improve strength, balance, alignment and functional movement.

A breast cancer survivor, Lori is uniquely qualified to work with those undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and/or post- mastectomy. She credits Pilates-based movement for much of her success in the battle against cancer.

Lori earned her Masters of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate degree at The University of San Diego. She lives with her husband and 2 daughters in Cary and enjoys spending her free time driving soccer carpools.

Healthy Mamas: Postnatal Pilates (Part 7)

Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work.

~Joseph Pilates

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I said yes without really thinking about it- which is not uncommon for me.  Some of our Pilates trainees wanted to see a Level 3 Flow…would I do it?  Yes- of course! Wait…can I still do that?!  It has been seven months since Naia was born.  I have been taking regular private Pilates lessons and am feeling pretty good.  Sure- let’s do it!

So with Deborah guiding me and Samantha, we flowed at a decent pace, through the full Level 3 Reformer sequence.  And it felt great!  My body did not fail me and my mind and heart were so happy.  Being on the reformer and doing this work feels like home.  My mind can focus solely on the movement and my body is able to dance.

And I am completely at peace.  Sweaty…shaky…PEACE.

Level 3 Reformer:

Footwork
Hundreds
Short Spine
Coordination
Stomach Massage Series
Swan
Pull Straps
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Backstroke
Teaser
Short Box Series
Long Stretch
Down Stretch
Up Stretch
Elephant
Arabesque
Long Back Stretch
Semi Circle
Chest Expansion
Thigh Stretch
Arm Circles
Long Spine
Knee Stretch Series
Running
Bottom Lift
Side Splits
Front Splits
Front Splits Kneeling
Russian Splits
Jumpboard

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Real Men Do Pilates

It happened at an event just a week ago.  I was talking with a gentleman about our studio and he seemed very interested, but said:

            I would feel uncomfortable coming into a studio and doing Pilates with a bunch of women.   It’s not for men.

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Baseball: MLB Season Preview: Portrait of Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta demonstrating Pilates workout on Reformer equipment during spring training photo shoot at Sloan Park. Mesa, AZ 2/27/2016 CREDIT: Robert Beck (Photo by Robert Beck /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: SI-215 TK1 )

More and more athletes are using Pilates as a supplement to their training program.  Chicago Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta, recently talked to Sports Illustrated about his use of Pilates. “What I noticed from Pilates last year was that I have much better control of my body,” Arrieta says. “I repeat my delivery consistently. My balance is much improved. And the mental and physical toughness Pilates requires to complete movements the correct way have directly helped me on the mound.”  He reportedly gets on the reformer for about 20 minutes before every game.  (See the full article here)

And he is not the only one.

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Tennis legend, Andy Murray used Pilates to recover from back surgery in 2013. (WSJ)

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Kobe Bryant

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And it’s not just for athletes.

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Chef Ryan Pera uses Pilates to help keep his back strong for long shifts standing on his feet in his popular Houston restaurants. (Check out the article here)

And if you still aren’t convinced, check out these pics!

Let’s also remember that Pilates was….wait for it….a GUY!

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Pilates (originally called Contrology) was named after Joseph Pilates, a boxer and gymnast from Germany who was an inventor and physical fitness expert.  He developed this system of exercise, along with all of the Pilates equipment, and was a pioneer of the health and fitness industry.   He encouraged and taught people how to move and be healthy so that they could go out and enjoy their lives!

So if you want to

  1. Build Strength
  2. Improve Flexibility
  3. Cross Train
  4. Prevent Injury
  5. Discover New Muscles
  6. Build Core Strength
  7. Decrease Stress
  8. Improve Posture
  9. Increase Body Awareness

you might want to join the ladies and take up Pilates!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see what our male clients are doing in the studio and what they have to say about why they choose Pilates.

#RealMenDoPilates #brolates #DudesDoDoPilates

 

Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity: one of my favorite songs from the musical, “Wicked”, and the title of one of Amy Alpers’ fabulous workshops.  As I sit at my desk or try to figure out a good way to be on my iPhone without getting a neck cramp, I hear that song playing in my head and think of ways I can do just that: defy the pull of gravity.

One might think that since I talk about and teach posture and proper alignment all day, I would have perfect posture all of the time.  One might think.  BUT with spending nearly 4 years of my life either pregnant or nursing, toting around two kids, and squeezing in computer work at the end of the day when I don’t have much left in regards to energy, my posture definitely takes a hit.  Recently I have been noticing my shoulders rounding forward and my upper back getting weaker and weaker.  So I have decided to take a stand to actively counter the effects of kids, chairs, smart phones, computers and general LIFE stuff to work on defying gravity.

On the left I am in my “comfortable” sitting position.  That is until my back, neck and shoulders start aching!  At which point I assume the sitting posture shown on the right.

Here is a “four point posture check” that I teach my clients and use for myself:

  1. Sit up on your sitz bones
  2. Pull your abs toward your spine
  3. Roll your shoulders back and down
  4. Pull your face back into your head (weird but try it…did your head stack back over your spine?!)

With less than optimal posture, here are a few things that might happen in the body:

  • head sits forward on the spine causing the neck muscles to have to work harder to keep it on
  • shoulders round forward causing the pecs (chest) to tighten,
  • the upper back rounds, causing those muscles to be over stretched and weak
  • there is a greater load on the low back (lumbar spine) as all of the weight of the upper body sits on that area

The Pilates system is perfect for helping to counter the daily strains on our body.  The equipment in particular, is amazing in promoting decompression of the spine and helping to defy gravity! I highly recommend getting in a Pilates studio anytime you can, but, if you don’t have access to a reformer, cadillac, low chair, or ped-o-pull, you can certainly do things from your office or home to help improve your posture.

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Press your arms back behind you to tone the triceps and open the front of the chest.

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Start with elbows bent and hands forward (like you are in a bicep curl). Squeeze your shoulder blade muscles as you rotate your arms out to the sides (as shown above).  Add light weights for added challenge.

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Look to the right and then nod your head down (chin to armpit) to stretch the side of your neck.  Take your right hand to your head to add a gentle stretch and reach the left shoulder down and away from you for an even greater stretch.  Repeat on both sides.

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Reach one arm out to the side and pull your hand and fingers back.  Gently look away from that arm for a greater stretch down the front of the shoulder, arm, and hand.

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Tricep and shoulder stretch. Keep abs in and try not to over arch your low back.

We can’t avoid carrying our kids, sitting for long hours, and being on a computer, but we can combat the negative changes they have on our body.  So give these exercises a try and see if your posture improves and if you notice a difference in how you feel.

Interested in Defying Gravity at InsideOut Body Therapies?   Call, email, or schedule online. 919-361-0104         info@insideoutbodytherapies.com         www.insideoutbodytherapies.com

10 Reasons to Do Pilates

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a new body” ~Joseph Pilates

 

In honor of Global Pilates Day this year I thought I would share a few of the reasons I think everyone should do Pilates.  I know there are many more, but this is my short list of reasons why Pilates is so life-changing.  Yes,  Life. Changing.

  1. You time– Who doesn’t need an hour of “me time”?!  For an hour the focus is on YOU: your body and your movement.  Since Pilates is fairly detailed, your mind doesn’t have the space to drift off to the grocery list, bills, kids, etc.
  2. Posture– Through the Pilates system, we work all areas of the body, even the ones that might be neglected in daily life.  A big focus is on opening the chest, working the upper back and strengthening the core, which all lead to better posture!
  3. Flexibility-  You do NOT have to be flexible to start Pilates, rather doing Pilates will improve your flexibility.  Through the Pilates exercises you will actively stretch AND strengthen your body at the same time versus focusing on passive stretching.
  4. Core strength- As you might have heard, we do focus a lot on the core in Pilates. The core goes beyond just the abdominals (although you will strengthen them for sure!).  The core includes the abs, hips, and even the shoulder complex as all of these areas help to keep us strong and balanced.
  5. Balance- Improved core strength helps us improve our balance.  We need balance in order to be able to do all of the other things in our lives, whether it is holding a baby and four bags of groceries in the rain, climbing a mountain, skiing, or just walking across uneven terrain.
  6. Breath- We focus a lot on the breath in Pilates.  Breath is imperative for life.  Tight ribs, necks, backs, and jaws can all lead to restricted breathing patterns.  Many of us can optimize our breath for greater lung capacity, improved oxygenation of the blood and healthier tissue.  When we breathe better, we feel better.
  7. Sleep- And when we breathe better and move our bodies during the day, it can help improve sleep at night.
  8. Injury prevention- One of the Pilates principles is to promote uniform development of the body (and mind!). This means that all muscles have both the strength and flexibility needed to create balance in the body.  When there is balance in the body, there is less chance of injury.
  9. Happiness! As you get stronger and more flexible, breathe better, sleep better and give yourself some quality time, an added benefit is HAPPINESS!
  10. Fun- Even when your instructor makes you hold Teaser for what feels like hours, Pilates is generally FUN!  The Pilates system, with the playground-like equipment and 100s of exercises is never boring!

One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Pilates’ book, Return To Life is this:

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”

The goal for most of us is to stay healthy so that we can do the things that make us happy.  Why not choose a fitness program that brings about joy and happiness along the way?!

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Happy Pilates Day from InsideOut Body Therapies!

Call or email the studio to schedule a class or private session.

919.361.0104

info@insideoutbodytherapies.com

www.insideoutbodytherapies.com

Beyond TRX

Guest post by IOBT personal trainer, Adam Decker.

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I hadn’t heard of Pilates before 2010 and I honestly hadn’t thought much about fitness in general up to this point.  Sure, I went through several different phases of “cutting weight” and “beefing up” in the gym to get ready for a tour or reality TV gig, but I didn’t do any of it for health purposes.

Flash forward six years…I now have a wife and two kids and a strong practice at InsideOut doing personal training based in the principles of Pilates.  I teach using the TRX®, BOSU and weights, among other things, but my focus is on so much more than just building muscle or losing weight.

My gym days started in 2007 when I was prepping for America’s Got Talent with my a capella band, The Fault Line.  (Aca-awesome, I know….) Before this I never had the urge to lose the “baby fat” as everyone called it.   Now it was just about looking great on TV!  I significantly cut calories, downed protein drinks and was in the gym A LOT.  I felt good about myself for the show, but this just perpetuated an all too common pattern of weight loss and gain, which I had struggled with since my teen years.  And I wasn’t thinking about how I was doing the exercises.  I even got a hernia during this time and have no idea how it happened.  I definitely wasn’t doing any kind of mindful movement.

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America’s Got Talent Semifinals Round 2 The Fault Line

You’re welcome for that pic…

After the first phase of my singing career fizzled out, my whole life took an overhaul, including my health and fitness.  I became certified in personal training through The National Academy of Sports Medicine and trained with the amazing folks at IOBT.   I also started really thinking about movement and balance- balance in the body, being able to balance in the most literal sense, and the act of finding balance in life as well.

When I really thought about how and why a movement was performed, things started to come together and stay consistent for me. I became intrigued by the anatomy and physiology of movement and a passion formed in finding healthy movement patterns and creating challenging exercises to promote healthy movement.  I took these ideas to my clients and they started to see results come to life.

I guide people through movement that is physically and intellectually challenging while keeping them safe through detailed cuing- a skill I learned by working at IOBT.  I can’t express how much I have learned and absorbed through daily discussions with the PTs, body workers, and Pilates professionals about healthy movement and the clients that we share.  I feel so lucky to work in a collaborative environment with so many knowledgeable professionals!

My approach is to not to have you stop what you’re doing, rather make what you are doing better and more efficient.  Whether you are a 12 year old in tai kwon do, a healthy and fit 35 year old, an inactive 50 year old, a 70 year old Pilates addict or anyone in between!  I have built a diverse community of clients that challenge me and allow me to grow on a daily basis.  It is not about doing 50-100 reps of an exercise with questionable form, but to do a few high quality reps that will make lasting changes for healthy, functional movement.  That is what keeps me stimulated in the profession: to watch my clients and myself grow, change, progress, and function better in daily life.

Call (919-361-0104) or email (info@insideoutbodytherapies.com) the studio to schedule a personal training session with Adam and check out his full bio here.