The very first time I tried [solidcore] back when they first started expanding in 2015 (the first one opened in November 2013 in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in DC), I knew it was going to be successful. It was the hardest workout I’d ever done besides CrossFit, but they are totally different. CrossFit intimidates a lot of people, but since I started doing it over 8 years ago before it became the sensation it is today, I wasn’t intimidated by it and was up for the torture session that was [solidcore].
All of 2015 and half of 2016 I did CrossFit regularly (4-5 days a week when I wasn’t traveling). I did it for many reasons, but mainly two — I lived right across the street from my CrossFit gym and my husband coached classes there. I liked it. I got a good workout. I definitely gained muscle, which I desperately needed, but when we moved I was ready for a change.
There are two types of classes that I like the best in addition to activities like hiking, biking, sports, tennis, and anything active outside — those things are yoga and [solidcore]. I’ve tried a lot of fitness studios and I like a lot of them, I just like these two the best so far. I need yoga for the stretching and flexibility. Doing CrossFit made me tight and a lot less flexible and I haven’t done yoga regularly in way too long, so now I’m having to make up for that time of lost flexibility. It’s really frustrating not being able to do poses that I used to be able to do easily because I lost the flexibility.
The first few times I did [solidcore] I was slightly intimidated because it was so hard and I knew I would have to do the modified versions of everything, and boy was I sore. It’s the type of sore that’s like I didn’t know I had a muscle there… But I loved it at the same time. It’s like torture you know is worth it. But because I had the proximity of CrossFit (and the cost was lower for the wife of a coach at my former CF gym) it was just the most affordable/easiest workout for me to do, but I would always think about, yearn really, to do [solidcore] and yoga. Is that weird to yearn for a workout?
At my CrossFit we didn’t do much core work. The level or core work all depends on which CrossFit gym you go to but ours wasn’t very core focused, so basically I’m telling you that I have a weak core. Really weak. Like embarrassingly weak. Like I’m not sure if I have any lower core muscles at all. Or if I’ve ever had them. So here I am, 34, trying to make muscles outta nothing. I’m telling you, it’s fucking hard.
After doing CrossFit for so long, I thought in going back to [solidcore] that I’d be SO MUCH BETTER at it than I was before. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I still sucked at it and had to do a lot of the moves modified and had to take a lot of breaks. I did notice that I was much better at the leg portion, but that was about it. Basically it showed me how much more work I really have to do.
Young people, if you are reading this, please take my advice and start building muscle NOW. It gets so much harder to do as you get older. I know you don’t understand because you don’t believe your parents when they tell you your metabolism changes, and parts of your body hurt for no reason, but I’m telling you THEY ARE RIGHT. So start a workout routine NOW and make it a habit. And eat healthy, but this post isn’t about that…
So here’s the deal — I’m done with CrossFit for now and I’m going to be working on my core (and a lot of other muscles) — at [solidcore]. I am partnering with them and will be going regularly and will be sharing with you how it goes. I’m going to tell you how doing [solidcore] consistently changes my body, my muscles, etc. I will also be doing some cardio and yoga, but mostly [solidcore]. I’ll be going about 4 times a week for a few months.
I don’t know about you, but I need a class. To successfully push myself physically — I need someone else pushing me. I just can’t do it on my own very well. When I ran my half marathon, it was my husband who would run the long runs with me, keeping me accountable to doing them, and also he would push my pace. If it were up to me, I probably would have ran them at a 9:30/10 minute pace — basically SLOW. He pushed me to run around an 8:30 pace during an 8-mile run and for someone who has really never ran consistently since middle school track — that was a challenge. It was also the best training run I did my entire training.
Which is why I need a class. I need someone to tell me what to do, how long to do it, and push my intensity. So I’m really excited to see what a few months (or hopefully longer) of consistent [solidcore] will do for me. I asked, and they recommended going 3-4 times a week.
If you’ve never done [solidcore] this is how they describe the workout: [solidcore] is 50 minutes of high-intensity, low-impact, slow & controlled movements on our resistance-based [sweatlana]. Classes are intense and purposefully sequenced to work your muscles to [failure]. [solidcore] may resemble other Pilates classes, but we assure you, we are unlike any workout you’ve experienced before. Each move at [solidcore] has the foundation of a plank, squat, or lunge, with a plethora of variations to help strengthen your entire body.
The [sweatlana] is the machine, and you are on it the entire class. There is a max of 14 people per class, and you are working out the entire 50 minutes. It’s intense, but you just break or modify the move whenever you need to. The instructor will tell you how to modify or you can just do it on your own. If you are new, usually before class they will talk to you and show you the machine and demo the moves and sometimes they’ll try to put you next to someone that has been a lot so you can watch them and use them as a guide to the moves.
What you should know about your first class is that you will be a little confused about the moves, but if you stick with it and take a few classes, you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Also, almost every move can be modified, and even though they encourage you not to take a break, you can at any time during the class.
What I love about it is you don’t have to bring anything besides yourself and water (although they have water there too). No equipment, not even shoes! You do the workout barefoot and they have sweat towels for you. And yes, you will start sweating probably within the first 5 minutes of class!
There are all types of people that go to [solidcore] so don’t be intimidated! Both men and women (although it is majority women, especially at my location, I’m sure some locations have more men), all body types, all fitness levels. I have worked out regularly for several years and this workout is still very hard for me. It’s hard for everyone! Trust me, everyone is so focused on what they are doing, no one is watching you (besides the coach) unless they are just trying to figure out the move!
So let’s chat a little about where I’m at so you know where I’m starting from, and if you watch my Instagram Stories throughout the process you’ll have a better idea of where I’m coming from.
Like I said earlier, I put on some muscle with CrossFit and totally thought I’d be so much better at [solidcore] than I was before. While I am a little better, and especially at the leg portion, I’m definitely still in the “beginner” stages doing most of the core moves in the modified version on my knees versus doing them on my feet. This is something I hope I will be better at in a few months.
The hardest move for me (well I mean most of them are super hard) is the bungee. Oh the bungee cord. I mean I can barely even keep tension on the thing. I think the bungees at my studio are new so they are really strong (and/or I’m weak AF).
I’m also just not great at plank and any move that is plank on your toes for very long. Ever since my biking accident my left arm/elbow has been sensitive, and still is. Also, plank is just hard for me.
All of the arm exercises I usually have to go down a spring of tension from what the coaches think I can do. Embarrassing, but whatever. I’d rather be able to do the move with less tension then not be able to do it at all.
I’m obsessed with most of the leg moves, besides the bungee. And it’s not that I don’t want to do the bungee or don’t like it, I want to! It’s just super hard for me, while all of the rest of the leg moves I actually feel like I’m not terrible at and I don’t have to modify them. But my core, arms, and hamstrings — weak!
I just started this collaboration two weeks ago (you might have noticed on my Insta) and I’ve already been to six classes in the past two weeks. Between those classes I’ve also been to two barre classes, two hot yoga classes, and one gym sesh. I will be continuing yoga and going to my gym (mostly for running and the sauna) during this [solidcore] collaboration, but the strength and toning over the next few months will mostly be from [solidcore].
I can’t wait to see (and feel) how my body changes and will be keeping you up to date. I’m also headed on a beach vacay in late March and I turn 35 in April, so I have some serious motivation.
Here I am with Kayla, the manager of the Old Town studio that I go to (and where all these photos were taken). If you see me in class, say hi!
Photos by Emma Weiss
I am partnering with [solidcore] for this collaboration. All opinions are my own.