move better, get strong.

Imagine not being able to run, sneeze, cough, jump rope, or jump of any kind without potential embarrassment. Well, we can tell you all about it. And we will tell you why this is so incredibly important to us.

Join Denise on Saturday, March 7th from 11:00 – 12:30pm for the Move Better. Get Strong. Workshop for $19.

Now, envision yourself competing at the college level in athletics, working at the highest levels in the Federal Government, delivering two beautiful babies and being told you’ve been moving wrong all along? And that you need to take a minimum of 6 months off of exercise!

How is this all connected? Here’s how.


Fitness on the Run’s “much better half” and co-owner Denise Dick ran cross-country at the college level. There wasn’t really an athletic feat she couldn’t approach with confidence. The Ragnar Races, 10Ks, marathons, getting a rigorous Kettlebell certification, Cross Fit Level I cert and all kinds of personal bests. And she completed them with envious times with little recovery.

While Denise was “winning” what she didn’t realize was she was not using her body correctly and this was leading to serious injury. Her body was losing the strength battle. In the spring of 2014, it all fell apart. The pain in her back became too excruciating to bear. She met with our favorite “soft tissue guy” Dr. Marty Skopp. Dr. Skopp suspected Denise had a torn labrum in her hip. ( She was also seeking treatment with Ann Wendel (, our favorite physical therapist. Ann was convinced Denise’s injury was actually stemming from pelvic floor weakness. Ann referred Denise to Dr. Carrie J. Pagliano a physical therapist at Georgetown University Hospital who specializes in the pelvic floor. ( Denise visited with a highly recommended hip surgeon to evaluate if the labrum tear required immediate surgery. Thankfully all her doctors agreed that focusing on “fixing” her pelvic floor may correct her movement patterns and relieve the pain. Denise decided to give what ended up being over 10 months of intense physical therapy a try before considering surgery. This was no easy task for a woman who owns a thriving fitness business. No intense exercise. No heavy lifting. Just pelvic floor therapy and corrective exercises were all Dr. Pagliano recommended. Frustrating is an understatement.

(Incorrect form: hinging mid-spine, no core stability)

Dr. Pagliano found that all of those years of athletic movements and simply the way her body moved contributed to a torn labrum in her hip. Worse, her pelvic floor had weakened and she wasn’t breathing correctly. Add to that she wasn’t engaging her abdominal muscles and wasn’t even sure what squeezing her glutes felt like. Running after her kids, sneezing, coughing, jumping rope, or jumping of any kind became an issue.

Where is Denise now? Typically, she is located at our super cool gym on North Lee Street in Old Town passionately helping handfuls of women resolve their own battles with pelvic floor conditions.

Where is she on her fitness? Almost one year later, she can feel her glutes, she’s slowly increasing the intensity of her workouts and back to her age-old favorites: handstands and pull-ups. She is pain free. She’s focused on getting strong: “inside” and out. She can help you too. Just contact us at

(Correct form: straight spine and core engaged)

Why is this story important for us at Fitness on the Run to share?

1) Because we see this condition happen more often than you can imagine. It takes us off of our “game”, “sets us back” and leads to some pretty bad habits if not approached with the right frame of mind.
2) We firmly believe in “corrective exercise” or movements that help parts of your body that are simply not firing and moving right. After years of moving a particularly way like slouching, not using your glutes, or simply being “hyper mobile” the body learns to compensate. Therefore you become asymmetrical and eventually something happens to take you off course.
3) Last, because we want you to learn from us and our community of clients: take your posture, your mobility and your flexibility as seriously as you do the rest of your fitness. It will pay off!

  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



1 Comment

  1. […] I read your blog post on Monday and learned that breathing is an important part of pelvic floor stability. I thought my pelvic […]

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