Rise of the Megaformers: Solidcore and Sculpt Studio

Instructor Mary Farber, front, teaches on Megaformers at Sculpt Studio in Bethesda. (Dominique Fierro)
Instructor Mary Farber, front, teaches on Megaformers at Sculpt Studio in Bethesda. (Dominique Fierro)

Just about a week before the recent state dinner for the French president, Michelle Obama was spotted hard at work preparing for it — at solidcore (solidcore.co), the Adams Morgan fitness studio.

That seems appropriate: Snagging a place in a class at the sweat spot is almost as tough as landing an invitation to the White House. Clients can’t get enough of the workouts, which involve slow, controlled, muscle-zapping moves on machines called Megaformers.

Owner and chief motivation officer Anne Mahlum is grateful for the overwhelming response to the classes since the studio opened at 1841 Columbia Road NW in October, but she’s been worried about developing a reputation for exclusivity.

“I don’t want to become this pretentious place. We want to serve as many people as possible,” Mahlum says. “The business would suffer if we didn’t expand.”

So the business is expanding. On Saturday, solidcore’s second location opens its doors in Shaw (1805 Seventh St. NW). Mount Vernon Triangle residents won’t need to wait much longer for a branch near them — the third solidcore is slated to open at 433 Massachusetts Ave. NW in mid-April. Another solidcore could open in Clarendon before the summer, and Mahlum is eying three more locations come fall.

Not enough Megaformers for you? Head to Bethesda, where the machines are also in place at the new Sculpt Studio (4900 Auburn Ave., sculptpilatesstudio.com), run by longtime local instructor Mary Farber. After leaving a Megaformer class in New York drenched, she partnered with two of her students to bring the concept to Montgomery County, Md.

“You can still do classical Pilates, but you can also do so much more,” says Farber, who’s planning on broadening her schedule soon to offer specialized classes for beginners, prenatal clients and athletes looking for an additional challenge.

Potential clients should be ready for some sticker shock: It’s $35 for a single class at solidcore and $38 at Sculpt Studio. But curious folks can get an intro bargain — “like” Sculpt Studio on Facebook for a free class, or find an opening in the Shaw solidcore schedule. (New clients can take a class there for $15.)

At those sorts of prices, everyone can work out like a first lady.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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Vicky Hallett | February 18