A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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Inner Strength

with a Side of Juice

By Ami B. Cadugan / Fiddlehead Contributing Writer

Tilton, the well-known home of outlet malls and diners, is slowly transforming into a healthy lifestyle hub. During the last few years, businesses such as Pilates, Etc. and Raw Life Café and Juice Bar have started popping up. Conveniently located in the same building, they are just a few steps away from Awakening Chiropractic, the sister company to Raw Life Café.

Nola Rocco, owner of Pilates, Etc., purchased her studio last summer, after finding the business listing online. She and her husband, Michael, had been considering a move back to the East Coast for a while, as they both have roots here.

After teaching five classes in two days last spring, the deal was sealed. They picked up and moved their lives from Denver to Tilton, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

“At first, it was hard to keep up the momentum,” Rocco said. “This is a customer service-based business. As with any business, there are good days and bad days. But I’ve learned to roll with it.

“The previous owner had loyal clients. They stayed and I’m very grateful. It takes a while for people to embrace a new teacher and new teaching philosophy,” she said. “Wonderful things happen in this space. I’m happy to help people who want to learn to move more and move better.”

Trained as a dancer, Rocco has more than 15 years of Pilates experience, Franklin Method and fascial fitness training. Upcoming Pilates barre classes embody that training and help people to develop and improve balance, overall muscular tone, endurance and postural health.

All of that plays into Rocco’s “core-first” philosophy, which maintains that “training the deep core builds muscular endurance.” Thousands of crunches not required.

This fall Rocco will offer lower-intensity restorative barre classes and higher intensity cardio jump classes, with teen barre as well. There are cross-training options for skiers, runners, bikers, gymnasts, dancers and even equestrians.

Pilates, Etc. also offers customized individual sessions for those who choose to work privately.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Rocco works with clients who have physical challenges, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis and other joint issues. Her Pilates classes can also benefit pre- and post-natal women.

“The Pilates Reformer is the main piece of equipment that clients want to work on, so we have six of them, in addition to several stability chairs and a plethora of balance balls,” she said. “We use these for resistance, core training, stabilization, balance and coordination.”

Pilates is all about decompressing the joints (pulling to elongate them) while exercising. It actually uses the idea behind traction to do this.

“We all need more elongation and space, because our tech devices are literally folding us downward, and that goes against healthy posture,” she explained.

Prominently displayed against the back wall is a sign touting the Taoist proverb, “The journey is the reward.” Rocco’s had this sign in every Pilates studio she’s ever owned (this is the third one).

“It signifies how I feel about Pilates; it’s about finding your inner strength and breath,” she said. “It’s about a process. It takes a long time for chronic habits to be embodied and change them. If you can embrace the change, it will be a lot more fun.”

Before (or after) a Pilates session with Rocco, visit her neighbor Brian Roy at Raw Life Café and Juice Bar, and grab some “clean comfort food.”

Raw Life Café opened in November 2015, when there weren’t a lot of healthy options in the area.

“My wife and I (chiropractor Jilian Stogniew of Awakening Chiropractic) live this lifestyle,” Roy said. “We give people healthy choices in a sea of fast food. So far, we’ve had a great response.”

Raw Life Café serves a wide variety of fresh organic juices, smoothies, salads, soups and sandwiches. Detoxing juice cleanses are also available for those who want three-, four- or five-day options.

“As an added bonus, our other partners, Dr. Bethany Bilodeau and her husband, Jeremy, own Bilodeau Farms (Maine),” she said. “They supply us with our apples, rhubarb and squash. Norland Farms in Barnstead supplies us with seasonal berries.

“Repurposed woods and other materials were also used throughout the interior,” Roy said.

Both Raw Life Café and Juice Bar and Pilates, Etc., are at 570 Laconia Road in Tilton, for one-stop healthy shopping. Check out class schedules online or schedule a personal training session with Rocco at pilates603.com. Visit Raw Life online at rawlifecafeandjuicebar.com.