My Current Exercise Routine

L.L. Bean Cozy Pullover | Updated Fitness Routine

I’ve continually teased a post regarding some major changes in my fitness/wellness routine, so here we are! If you’ve been keeping tabs the past few months, I quit Orangetheory (OTF) in November and was trying to figure out a new plan that was sustainable both budget and health-wise. Like anything, I’m sure there will be some tweaks and adjustments along the way, but after stressing over my self-imposed “fitness crisis,” here’s where we’re at…

Why I quit OTF

I’m going to address this first because it comes up a lot, which makes sense because I was a very vocal supporter of the workout since I started about a year and a half ago! (Remember this post?) I’ve had a weak core and back pain for the past few years and knew I needed to do a better job addressing that discomfort since it affects me on a daily basis. I’d heard great things about pilates and after doing a two week trial at Flow last May, decided to get an unlimited monthly membership which was about $50 less than my OTF membership. I kept this up till the fall but hated consistently paying $250 a month on fitness–it was an especially tough pill to swallow during busier weeks when I couldn’t even make it to a Flow class. My back had also been acting up on the rower and that’s a third of the designed OTF workout. I would sometimes modify with the bike but love rowing so would push myself to do it and end up in a lot of pain before and after class. My new job + the holidays made it a good time to drop OTF, so I switched over to just having my Flow membership (they’re a yoga studio but have a few pilates + HITT classes, which are what i take the majority of the time). However, I do still highly recommend OTF–it served me so well and I’d definitely still take a class here or there!

Trying out Barry’s + Solidcore + 305 Fitness

Get ready for three mini reviews!

Earlier this year, I signed up for the free month of Classpass (that’s my referral link–we’ll both get $40 off if you use it!) to try out a couple new studios in the area–namely Barry’s Bootcamp and Solidcore. Barry’s is similar to OTF and there were things I liked, and things I didn’t. I loved the studio itself, the dynamic treadmill, the smoothie bar, that they assign you a machine instead of a free for all, and that it’s a challenging workout that leaves you sore and covered in sweat. I didn’t like that they ran out of time to stretch at the end (crazy after that heavy cardio), there seemed to be little attention to existing injuries or new people in the class, and I didn’t see the instructor correct someone’s form a single time. I would try Barry’s again because I appreciated being able to do the whole class without worrying about an alternative for part of the class, like I did with the rower towards the end of my time at OTF. But my two “didn’t likes” really stuck with me and are almost deal-breaking when it comes to determining whether something earns a spot in my regular fitness routine!


Solidcore, on the other hand…I loved! A former coworker and friend has been trying to get me to go for years but I was always battling back pain, the class seemed intimidating, and it was way out of my budget. Earlier this year, they were running a deal where new clients get 10 classes for $240 so I bought that package after going to my first two classes via Classpass. I’m currently almost done with the 10 classes and will have to pare down how often I go, since the pack lets me go to peak classes that would normally cost way more than I’d like to pay (more on this below). It’s an extremely challenging class that uses a reformer-like machine to help break down and tone + strengthen your muscles… it works them in a way that no other workout does. I literally asked J if arms looked different after two classes because I thought they seemed stronger and more toned. I’ll do a full post on Solidcore soon–I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it since it’s relatively intimidating if you’re new that type of workout. The plan is to incorporate two or three classes a month!


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me post about 305 Fitness, which is basically a cardio dance party with a live DJ. It’s literally one of the hardest but most fun workouts I’ve ever done, and I was out of breath by the time we got through the warmup. I’m just as sweaty as I was after an OTF class and it’s just a really good time. I danced for a few years growing up but am no means very good, and you definitely don’t need experience to come to this class! I do recommend being in relatively good cardio shape and wearing the right footwear because it’s a lot of continuous movement with jumping, but I can’t recommend it enough. They have beginner classes that break down the dance moves clearly, so I’d try one of those if you’re nervous about going!

My current exercise routine

It’s a little confusing, but the tricky thing is that Solidcore and 305 both have peak and off-peak rates, so I really only want to go off-peak since the price difference is significant (Solidcore is $27 vs. $37 if you go off-peak, and 305 is $19 vs. $29). That’s a lot of why I’m keeping my unlimited membership at Flow–my full-time job has traditional hours and most weeks, I’d only be able to make peak time classes since I don’t like exercising late in the evening and don’t want to go to a 6am class. But I can make a couple ~7am, 6pm, and weekend classes at Flow, so it’s easy to pick from there most weeks and see how I can fit in Solidcore and 305! I also do currently have the “lite” plan on Classpass that gives me a few credits a month, so I’ll throw in a Barre3 class at a low number of credits every few weeks.

L.L. Bean Cozy Pullover

Non-workout wellness

One of the biggest changes I’ve made as of late is starting acupuncture for my back pain and allergies. It’s something that came highly recommended from so many people who have tried it and had success with its impact on various physical and mental strains. So far I’ve been to seven or eight sessions–I definitely do not feel equipped to write more about the effects of it right now since it’s still so new to me, but I definitely see the potential for it to address some of the discomfort I’ve felt for years and am really optimistic about what’s to come! My acupuncture center also offers cupping and I’ve tried that once–so here’s hoping that helps deal with some of my perpetually tight muscles in a more effective way.

I’m also going to omit dairy and gluten from my diet for two weeks starting today…multiple doctors have recommended I try this and while I’m not committing to the Whole30, am hoping to get a better sense of how my body responds to these groups. More to come on this, too!

And a quick note about this outfit…

If you’re a regular around here, you know by now that L.L. Bean makes up a large portion of my wardrobe. This cowl pullover is the coziest! It’s lined with a thin fleece-like fabric and I’ve worn it with long sleeves underneath on cold days. Now that temperatures are trending up, I just wear it over a basic tee or workout tank. I love that it’s longer (perfect for leggings!) and has thumb holes, which to me are basically the equivalent of a formal dress having pockets (i.e. the best thing ever). I’m wearing a medium and would say it’s TTS or runs a bit small, so consider sizing up if you’re between two or want to make sure you’re getting the length + room to layer. The gray color is currently marked down but considering the going rate for similar tops on the market, this is a steal!

I also wanted to mention the AirLight Pullover because it’s another wonderful layering piece, particularly for over the next few months–it’s so lightweight and breathable! I first tried it on when we were in Maine last year and spent months thinking of how it would fill a gap in my athleisure wardrobe. Our apartment gets pretty humid so we keep it cold, meaning I’m always wearing some kind of lightweight long sleeve top over a tank when I’m home on the weekends. It’s perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or running, and if you’re in a climate where the temperature fluctuates 20 degrees throughout the day, it’ll be your best friend :) While the AirLight is shorter than the cowl pullover, it’s a good length for jeans, running shorts, or still leggings if you don’t mind showing a little more! I got a medium to keep the length on the longer side but could have definitely worn a small.

L.L. Bean Cozy Pullover


L.L. Bean pullover (c/o)
Zella leggings (size down; I wear an XS and am usually a 26 in pants–my exact style is sold out but these are nearly identical and 40% off right now!)
Adidas ‘Ultraboost’ sneakers

L.L. Bean Cozy Pullover

L.L. Bean Cozy Pullover

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  1. Brigid wrote:

    If you like Solidcore, you should try the Balance Burn class at Balance Gym in Glover Park! I have been using the megaformer for about 4 years now (first at Sculpt Studio in Bethesda, which I LOVE and now at Balance) and it’s an incredible workout. Their machines vary slightly from the Solidcore machine in that it’s on a ramp that can go up to a 45 degree angle. They have some great instructors and people in general find the classes to be a bit more total-body than Solidcore. And they’re on ClassPass! I alternate between buying packages and using ClassPass, but even their packages are significantly less than Solidcore. Worth a shot! Let me know if you try it and I can let you know which instructors I love :)

    Posted 4.8.19 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      That’s a great tip! I may give it a shot…I hate commuting to work out so don’t know if it could be a regular thing, but I feel like doing a class here or there on Classpass and justifying a nearby brunch would be a great weekend activity :) Thank you!!

      Posted 4.9.19 Reply
  2. Ashlee wrote:

    Loved reading about all of your workouts! Glad your back is starting to feel a bit better! I agree that Solidcore is one of the most challenging but effective workouts I’ve ever tried. I loved it, but also agree that the price is crazy expensive, especially for peak classes.

    Miss you! Loved this post as a little catch up on your life lately!

    Ashlee |

    Posted 4.9.19 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      Haha I feel like this is the exact conversation we’d have had IRL! I wish we’d overlapped with Solidcore…I’m determined to figure out how to keep it part of my routine!

      Posted 4.10.19 Reply
  3. I wish fitness boutiques weren’t so expensive! It’s the main reason I gave up OTF. The classes were awesome, but I just couldn’t justify the price. Especially when I know there are so many affordable or even free options!
    And I can see exactly how OTF would be hard for you with pain! It’s not something you can modify a whole lot. I enjoyed this post!

    Posted 4.9.19 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      I know, right? What helped with OTF is that I couldn’t motivate myself in the same way (and didn’t have enough experience with interval fitness to try and replicate it on my own) but I feel like once you’ve been a bunch, you can kind of create a similar workout for yourself or follow along with whatever people post online and almost do it yourself. I do like how they help you with some floor moves, though!

      Thanks so much, Kristen!!

      Posted 4.10.19 Reply
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    Posted 8.28.19 Reply