Last week, I took my first beginner’s class at [solidcore]. This morning, I took my first real class. I have one word to summarize both experiences: Sweat.
My volleyball friends know that I’m not much of a sweater. I never have been, really. I’m not sure why, but it’s never bothered me! I know that I have worked super, duper, DUPER hard in a workout if I have any visible sweat — even if it’s just a couple of beads of sweat. When I tried [solidcore] last week, I was dripping with sweat. Like, it was really gross. I thought it was going to be easy, but boy was I wrong. I didn’t learn my lesson from when I took Pilates reformer at my gym, so maybe I’ll never learn to stop underestimating workouts?
I thought [solidcore] was basically just like the reformer classes I had tried. Boy, was I wrong! This was more like the Soulcycle of Pilates. It was intense, the lighting is like you’re in a rave, and of course… there’s “Sweatlana.” (This is what they call the sled/torture device you use throughout the class.) It was also a bazillion times harder than any Pilates I’ve ever done.
Time to back up, because you guys know I love getting ahead of myself. I have only taken classes at their Wildwood Shopping Center in Bethesda. This one is closest to where I live, and has free parking, so it was an easy choice.
It’s bigger than I was expecting, but it’s not very big (it’s in a store front). I’d say it has about a dozen or so “Sweatlanas” in the location, plus a small reception area and restrooms. In the lobby area is the front desk, where your instructor checks you in prior to class. There are little pull-out cubbies where you can store your belongings, and a coat rack for hanging your coats during the Windmageddon. There’s also a little “shop” area where you can buy cute [solidcore] branded clothes and water. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles outside of the workout, which I honestly appreciated. No need to baby you when you’re about to get your butt kicked!
And about that butt kicking…
It is 50 minutes of brutal core work and an all-over-body workout. As I sit and type this up, my abs are already starting to feel sore, and I know my booty is going to curse me in the morning. After my beginner class, everything hurt. The DOMS was real, and I still don’t know how I played in a volleyball tournament two days afterwards. Fortunately, I didn’t have to put too much stress on my shoulder, otherwise, I might not have made it to that tournament!
The biggest challenge for me with the [solidcore] class was understanding the correct positioning once I tried an all-level class. The beginner class does a really great job of breaking down the terminology and the positioning for you, though there was some demonstration during my all-level class (we had a small class this morning, and I was the only newbie). You use a lot of different parts of Sweatlana, and I didn’t do any of the same exercises in the beginner class as the all-level class, which was surprising to me, but it was welcome. I love mixing it up!
The teachers are very encouraging, and I loved that they walked around the entire time and helped folks set up and correct their form. They can’t help everyone during every exercise, so I think you just start to get used to the terminology and form once you go a few times. I think of it like when you’re first learning yoga: You might not know the names of all of the positions when you first start doing yoga, but as you practice, it starts to come to you naturally.
It helps that there are motivational phrases all over the studio. In the photo above, you can see a phrase that is found in the “pit” of Sweatlana (the area that is left open once you move the sled part of the machine).
I really loved the [solidcore] workout, and I plan to go back. I would say it’s definitely in my top 3 hardest classes I’ve taken in the last year. I highly recommend it for folks whose doctors have cleared them for exercise and who are up for the challenge! You can see if there’s a studio near you by checking out their studio listing here. Now, excuse me, as a crawl to bed…
What’s the hardest workout you’ve done in the last year? Are you a sweaty Betty? Have you ever underprepared for a tough workout?