A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.


Not Another New Year, New You Post

Not Another New Year, New You Post

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I once read that only eight percent of us are still sticking to them come February, so it seems futile to me. I do, however, believe in finding ways to jumpstart my fitness routine in early January since the post-holiday letdown always leaves me feeling sluggish.

In Ann Arbor, January is cold. And so grey. Pulling on sweats is way more appealing than wiggling into Sweaty Betties. Thus, I try to tweak my fitness regimen just enough that if I slack, I suffer. It’s not so much a resolution as...a gentle scare tactic.

Two years ago, I signed up for the Shape Half-Marathon. Having never run that far before, I knew I needed to commit to a training regimen or I’d never reach the finish line in early April. It worked, motivating me to log miles, week after week, on slushy Ann Arbor streets—or on the treadmill at the community center across the street from our house. I did it again last year.

This year, I ponied up money for a package to a new Pilates-inspired studio class called Solidcore a.k.a. [solidcore] that opened in Ann Arbor right before the holidays. I’ve done Pilates a handful of times but have never worked out on a transformer—so, fear not, Pilates experience is not a prerequisite. Solidcore just draws from that small-class, machine-centric Pilates model (as well as the Lagree Fitness Method, if you're familiar with that)—then ups the fun factor with an overlay of Soul Cycle-esque thumping music, a high-energy instructor and dimmed lights. 

Solidcore founder Anne Mahlum demonstrating how to use the Sweatlana.  [Photo originally appeared in the  Washingtonian .]

Solidcore founder Anne Mahlum demonstrating how to use the Sweatlana. [Photo originally appeared in the Washingtonian.]

Like training for a half-marathon, Solidcore is not a workout I can do half-assed. My first class, taught by Jo Gomez, Solidcore’s trainer to the trainers, rocked me to my core, literally. The entire class was/is done on a resistance-based machine called the Sweatlana (watch a video of it here), and Jo focused primarily on working out our stomach, lower back and oblique muscles. I was shaking like a leaf halfway through the class (hello, muscle fatigue) and was sore for four days afterward. My family was under strict instructions Not. To. Make. Me. Laugh. Ouch.

My second class was taught by Amanda G., a recent University of Michigan grad who is also a certified yoga instructor. This class was also challenging but, having taken one session before, I was better at following cues, felt more confident on the Sweatlana, and, because we spent more time on arms and glutes (which on me, are fitter than my core), I wasn’t so shaky. Sure, I was sore the next day, but in a manageable, no-Advil-needed way. And it felt kind of good, like I was making my body stronger.

Still, this is a workout you have to show up for regularly and ready to work (there's no hiding on a back-row Spin bike with the resistance on low, like a “friend” has been known to do). And it's pushing me just enough to counteract my January slump. It's gently…scary.

Solidcore was founded in Washington D.C. by Anne Mahlum (D.C. resident Michelle Obama is a reported fan) and has spread rapidly across the U.S. There are currently 29 studios, with plans to open eight more in the next few months. Find out more about studio locations here. And if you live in Ann Arbor and want to join me for a class, email me at

Makeup That Makes the Most of Your Skin

Makeup That Makes the Most of Your Skin

A Beauty Ad That Speaks To Us. Finally.

A Beauty Ad That Speaks To Us. Finally.