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Rachel Pitts: The Art of Success

At the age of five, Rachel came home from her first dance class and announced, “Mommy, I am going to be a dancer!” When it was time for high school, she convinced her parents to send her to the Virginia School of the Arts to pursue her dance career. She worked very diligently and after graduation, she immediately started her professional career in Chicago, dancing with modern and jazz companies. She also had an exciting gig on a cruise ship as well as some movie and TV stage work in Montreal. She had a fun, healthy career of traveling and then eventually made her way to the Grand Strand in 1997 to work with Myrtle Beach’s Legends Theater.

Later on, she received her real estate license and had a successful career, but she never lost sight of her true passions. Dance is her favorite form of fitness and as of August 2021, Rachel is the Artistic Director of Litchfield Dance Academy, located in Pawleys Island. “This very well thought out and cared for studio, thanks to Ilka Doubek, has been successful since 1995 and after my fifteen years of teaching for and learning from Ilka, I was so proud and finally ready to step into this position,” she continued, “and thankfully, Ilka is still teaching because she is such an asset. Having her as well as the help from her husband, Tom Fox has been a blessing during this transition!”

Rachel has certifications in Progressing Ballet Technique, Pilates, Piyo, and other forms of functional corrective exercise modalities. She is also an Ultra-Fit Lifestyle personal trainer. From her studies at her dance school, she learned early on about how the human body moves and how to efficiently make all the kinesiology work, so her vast knowledge gave her the opportunity to be an inspiring personal trainer. As a fitness and health coach since 2012, Rachel explains that “being a personal trainer is so much more than counting reps. The nutrition side is huge, and so is understanding the right mindset. To me, that’s what Ultra-Fit lifestyle really means!”

As a Level 3 Certified Mental Management Coach, she explains how a lot of the work for trainers, athletes, and anyone wanting to improve their health means doing work internally as well. Based on her studies of the Mental Management System, a structure that is used for Olympic athletes, statistics show how important it is to manage one’s mindset before, during, and after any and all tasks – a system that Rachel has carried into all aspects of her life. She explained, “Being healthy and fit is not just about the hour you spend at the gym – It’s the way you live your life by always seeking the best version of yourself. How you do one thing is how you do everything!” Wellness shows that all aspects must work together which is a teaching that Rachel is constantly explaining to her students and clients.

When I asked what dance means to her, she replied, “Everything! There are impressive rewards found in the result of dance and the discipline found in the motion of dance. It’s a very cognitive sport along with the perks of physical fitness, creativity, teamwork, confidence, and critical thinking – especially when learning combinations and coordinating arms and legs. There’s a lot of research showing how substantial dance can be for diseases like Dementia and Parkinson’s, and it can also be a low-impact sport.” Rachel encourages everyone to try dancing and is sure that Litchfield Dance Academy has a suitable class for any level as they now offer adult ballet and hip-hop.

Another component to dance that is so vital to one’s health (even if you are not a dancer) is stretching, and the benefits go far beyond just achieving flexibility. She explained, “I am not a doctor, but I do know how powerful the art of stretching is for the human body. You would be amazed how many people who have been told they need surgery for things such as carpal tunnel, knee surgery, etc., can actually solve their issues with stretching. It takes a lot of consistency because you are essentially untangling muscle fibers, but it is definitely a longer solution.” Whether you want to work on stretching or any other physical or mental aspect of your life, Rachel lives by the motto that “consistency, repetition, and structure are always the key.”

Consistency for Rachel starts with her morning routine. She puts her phone in the bathroom overnight, so that she has to physically get out of bed to turn off her alarm. She puts on her clothes that she already laid out the night before, takes her dog outside, and then takes her pre-workout supplement. After a few hours spent at the gym, she comes home to eat and journal. Part of the Mental Management System is to write down what you did, what you learned, and what you did well. She explained, “You are supposed to specifically focus on what you did well because doing so increases the probability of you performing well again. I believe there is real power in journaling and writing. It’s a well-known way to cope and untangle the emotions bouncing around in my head. I even jot thoughts down in my phone in between sets at the gym when I feel myself out of focus.”

On top of journaling, Rachel is also into meditating and focusing on her breath while exercising. She uses the rhythm of her music to zone in. While her playlist is her favorite thing to listen to, she also enjoys audible books and podcasts. She suggests listening to Dave Asprey’s The Human Upgrade which is all about optimizing the human in all forms – physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, etc. Another podcast suggestion is actually one that Rachel produces with one of her friends called Women Your Mother Warned You About which caters to women in business who want and need support from other women who are also trying to break the glass ceiling. Being the creative that she is, Rachel is also working on writing a new book, but has already has one published titled, The Gift of Wreckage: Take Responsibility for your Amazing Life, which is all about taking the challenging parts of your past and instead of letting them control your future, using those hardships as tools to catapult you into the next level of who you can become for the better.

Rachel stays motivated by constantly setting goals and always having something in the future to drive her. For anyone trying to accomplish new goals, Rachel suggests making affirmation building a priority. In association with mental management, there’s a directive affirmation practice for when you want to shift a behavior. It must be very specific, and the actionable steps need to be done for twenty-one days in a row to become a real change. For example, one of her goals used to be to get up early in the morning, and now that she has accomplished that, she has moved on to others, but she always focuses on one goal at a time and uses detailed metrics to effectively master the goal.

For the year 2022, Rachel’s personal goals involve her bodybuilding competitions. She is excited to switch into a new category that includes a lot of dance and control, the fitness division, and her first goal is to earn her pro card within this new division. For her business, she hopes to increase class enrollment as well as get started on her ultimate vision for the studio. She is hoping to start the Litchfield Arts Foundation and expand the studio by fully utilizing the space and land. She hopes to shape the studio into a place that nurtures artistic talent by bringing in regional and national creatives as well as establish Litchfield Dance Academy as a local, community spot to showcase all types of art. When Rachel puts her mind to work, she follows through by using all of her strength and passion to guide her, and that is the art of her success.

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