As someone who enjoys high-intensity workouts, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with slower-paced classes such as yoga and pilates. That’s why when I decided to try out Solidcore, a Megaformer-based pilates class, I was a bit apprehensive. I’d taken reformer classes in the past and I never left a studio loving it enough to want to come back. Much to my surprise that wasn’t the case after giving Michelle Obama’s go-to Megaformer class a chance. Solidcore was created by Anne Mahlum, a devoted athlete turned entrepreneur who has opened over 41 studios (and more to come in 2019). The class is 50 minutes of high-intensity, low-impact, slow & controlled movements on a resistance-based Megaformer known as ‘Sweatlana’. What makes the class unique is that it’s a Pilates boot camp programmed to work your muscles to failure.
“You’ll notice that at Solidcore our goal is to create an inclusive community and we do so by taking interest in your fitness goals,” explains Mahlum.
Upon arriving at the studio, I did see the camaraderie Mahlum was referring to and felt right at home. Once in Mahlum’s class, we were instructed on how to set up Sweatlana and shown the main exercises we would be doing. Solidcore’s main exercise is the plank, but a plank feels A LOT more challenging on the Megaformer than it does on the floor. Within the first five minutes, I could feel my body shaking as I did my best to keep up as we transitioned between exercises. Although my abs were on fire most of the time, nothing compared to the workout my glutes went through. From lunges, squats, and exercises targeting my adductor muscles, my legs were sore for days post-workout.
I couldn’t stop raving about Solidcore to friends because it felt like the challenge I was looking for and just what I needed to change up my workout routine. But is it for everyone?
“No matter what anyone says, no product is for everyone,” says Mahlum. “If you don’t like intensity or to sweat, Solidcore isn’t for you,” she confesses. “But if you are up for it, you’ll feel accomplished after a class, and if you’re consistent you will see changes in your body.” One person who doesn’t shy away from the tough workout is former First Lady, Michelle Obama. In fact, Solidcore is her go-to when she wants to get a good workout in. “She’s a big fan of any of the exercises that involve planks,” says Mahlum.
Mahlum also knows a thing or two about workouts, having been an athlete since she was a teen and a marathon runner for most of her adulthood. But there came a point in time when she decided it was time to take her workouts down a notch.
“When I started taking Pilates reformer classes I realized that they displayed my weaknesses, which made me more aware of my body imbalances, and that I’d leave with a good kind of sore,” says Mahlum who used to be a high-intensity junkie. She found that although the reformer classes were low impact, they still helped her get in an athletic and intense workout that gave her results in a slower paced way.
“I saw changes in my body In a matter of 30 days while taking classes three times a week,” she says which also kicked off her idea for Solidcore. Although Mahlum maintained a healthy lifestyle, she revealed that her father’s fight with addiction inspired her to create a running charity that helped homeless people known as Back on my Feet. “I felt close to those I met in homeless shelters because it reminded me of the addiction struggles my dad went through, and giving back helped me after my parents’ divorce,” she explains. To this day her Solidcore studios across the country host their own events to raise money for Back on My Feet a well as for other charities.
Most importantly, Mahlum believes it’s key to educate clients who walk into her studio. “So many women get hung up on cardio, but they don’t realize that resistance training is the best way to boost their metabolism and burn more energy,” she explains. She adds that doing the same monotone movements also prevent them from seeing the results they’re looking for. If there’s one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that a Solidcore workout is anything but boring and is a challenge worth trying. If you’re looking for a fitness class to add to your routine in the new year, look no further, Solidcore may be your golden ticket.