By Michelle Konstantinovsky
Adrian Ramirez could never have predicted that Pilates would flip his life upside-down. Almost 10 years ago, the Texas-born triathlete jumped ship from his corporate gig at Disney to care for his newborn son. Freed from the 9-to-5 grind and sidelined by an injury, Ramirez tried the fitness method at the suggestion of his partner, Peter. “At first, I said no way—Pilates is for girls,” he says, laughing.
Within two years, Ramirez rehabilitated his body and started teaching others to do the same. “I became a certified instructor and loved it, but felt like something was missing,” he says. Bored with the repetitive format, he brainstormed ways to spice up the structure and began testing out a unique take on the traditional routine in 2012. Now, five years later, five clients have turned into a thousand.
Ramirez operates two studios in San Carlos and San Mateo under the brand RockSalt, incorporating high-energy beats and choreographed routines into classes that focus on cardio, strength or stretching. Devotees dub it “the SoulCycle of Pilates” thanks to its addictive quality and supportive community. “I love seeing the change in people, and not just in their bodies, but their overall health,” he gushes.
With plans underway for a third location in Palo Alto, Ramirez continues to win over new acolytes of his RockSalt regimen. Here are some of his tools of the trade.
Sweet tooth: Ramirez discovered this wholesome confection, Lily’s chocolate bars, after a group of clients saw real results by forgoing sugar. “They did a ‘no-sugar, all RockSalt’ challenge, doing eight classes in a month,” he says. “They each lost at least seven pounds, and one lady told me to try Lily’s—I ate a whole bar in a day!” Ramirez’s favorite flavors of the Stevia-sweetened chocolate: almond and crispy rice.
Bone up: Ramirez isn’t the only one in his house who swears by the much-buzzed-about healing properties of bone broth. His seven-year-old son is a fan too. Ancient Nutrition’s chocolate-flavored bone broth protein powder creates healthy concoctions from smoothies and shakes. “I can actually feel the difference in my joints when I don’t have it,” Ramirez says. “It’s good for your skin and muscles too.”
Day to night: Racing between classes, meetings, daddy-duty and more leaves Ramirez little time for wardrobe changes. The answer for Ramirez, and increasingly for the rest of us who can get away with wearing yoga pants to work: athleisure! “I’m a Lululemon ambassador at their Burlingame store, and have every style of pant and short,” he says. “But the Commission Pant is super versatile. I can teach in it, work out in it, and if I don’t feel like wearing jeans, I can wear it on date night and it still looks great.”
That’s one way to drink coffee: Ramirez loves RockSalt’s signature water bottle for more than just its brand-appropriate hot pink hue. “It keeps things super cold and super hot,” he says. “You can put hot liquid in and still burn your mouth two days later! Sometimes I hate that, but it works!” Pick one up for $32 at a RockSalt studio.
Give good face: Ramirez first discovered Urth Skincare when he moved to LA and has remained a loyal fan. He says his go-to products, included in The Man’s Best Friend Kit, “smell great and keep your skin noticeably fresh and younger looking.”
Don’t be square: The Balanced Body Ultra-Fit Circle ($34 at pilates.com) is a prop perfect for busy travelers. “It gives you a good full-body workout and it’s super portable—you can just put it in your bag,” he says.
Sound asleep: Ramirez became intrigued by Healy’s herbal products when a friend reported significant pain relief from the menstrual cramp formula. After sampling the startup’s soon-to-be-released Sleep Aid, he started getting adequate rest at the end of jam-packed days. “As a business owner, there’s always something going on in my mind,” he says. “It’s almost like Ambien, but better—because there are no chemicals or anything potentially toxic.”