in partnership
I finished my month-long experiment (three times weekly for one month) with the workout, and can without a doubt tell you it was the hardest thing I have done. Yet, I immediately bought a package to continue when my trial ended. (Image: Amanda Andrade- Rhoades)

30 days of Solidcore: Surviving and Thriving

The last time we chatted, I think it was pretty obvious I had drank the Solidcore kool-aid. I was not shy about the fact that I was addicted -- and nothing has changed. I finished my month-long experiment (three times weekly for one month) with the workout, and can without a doubt tell you it was the hardest thing I have done. Yet, I immediately bought a package to continue when my trial ended.

Honestly, I think Solidcore is the reason the phrase "love/hate relationship" exists. In 30 days, my feelings towards the resistance training workout ran the gamut, but in general here is how I'd feel from class to class:

1. Book class -- feel like a goddess for even thinking about my abs
2. Morning of class -- the butterflies are churning and I'm wondering how I can get out of this
3. One minute to go before class begins -- immediately regretting my decision and seriously questioning whether I'll survive the next 50 minutes
4. Seven minutes into class -- WHAT HAVE I DONE??
5. Complete class -- high-five my neighbor with as much energy as I can muster
6. Three hours later -- booking my next class because I swear I can already see a six-pack in my future
7. The next day -- walking (hobbling) around with such swagger because I'm a total BAMF

My advice to anyone considering Solidcore is not to underestimate the workout! Don't be fooled by the slow, purposeful, controlled movements and think it will be a walk in the park -- slow and steady wins the race has never been more applicable. Sure, it can be tempting to race through the movements and think you are "winning" by doing more reps than anyone else in the class. But you will truly get more out of it if you work to the beat of your coach, doing the move on their count. Remember, you are working your muscles to failure, where the muscle fibers are actually ripping, which causes leaning and toning as you recover.

Everyone always wants to know the numbers behind a workout, so, of course, we have those for you. After 12 Solidcore classes in a month, I lost four pounds, one inch off my waist, half of an inch off my hips and 1.25 inches from each leg. On average, I burned 681.5 calories per class, according to FitBit.

But I am far more interested in what I gained from this workout -- the non-quantifiable benefits that may not be visible to the naked eye. First, I haven't seen this kind of definition and tone in my arms and abs since I was a competitive swimmer. I have more energy throughout my day, particularly the day after a Solidcore workout. Yes, I'm sore from the class but my energy level feels naturally higher. I am far more conscious of what I put into my body, food wise as I want it to be fuel for my workouts later. And, perhaps most importantly, my confidence in my own strength level is higher than it has ever been.

With one exception, I absolutely loved all my instructors but there are two who truly stand out in my mind: Jacob Griffin and Sarah Haskins. I found that they were the instructors that motivated me the most because they never let me slack; they intuitively knew when we would be reaching breaking point, and that's when they encouraged us to "push through" or "hold for five" or "fight for your toes." They also both have a great volume so that I can hear their instructions over the music; plus, they are funny! Jacob loves to remind you that he knows "you want brunch and a big old mimosa" right when you're in the middle of a particularly hard plank to pike, but he follows it up with a motivational "but remember why you are here and what you came to accomplish!" How can you not finish strong after that??

My only gripe with the program whatsoever is the price. Even with their package deals, the price per class still hovers between $29-$35 a class; the off-peak classes are a better option, with prices ranging from $24.75-$27 if you can make the class times work for your schedule. I understand the idea that Solidcore classes are small in size and thus more akin to personal training sessions (for which the national average is $50 per session), but I've taken numerous HIIT classes around D.C that cap at around 13 people and those classes typically range from $17 to $25. Personally, I think the inaccessibility of the pricing format runs counterintuitive to the all-inclusive, welcoming environment you encounter within the Solidcore family.

If you have never taken a Solidcore class, I would highly encourage you to give it a shot. They have a great intro rate for newbies -- $34 for two classes. And before you go, check out one of coach Jacob Griffin's amazing playlists below to get you in the Solidcore mood!