It was just another afternoon in Philadelphia when Kyle Merker realized he hated going to his local gym. Between the constant throwing of weights, lack of guidance, and overall intimidation — it just wasn’t a fit. He was in need of something new and less . . . unappealing.

“In my neighborhood, there was this place called [solidcore], and I kept walking by it having no idea what it was,” said Kyle.

And he never really planned on learning more, until one day when he passed by and noticed a large group of people walking into the studio.

“I just walked up to someone and said, ‘Hey — what is it like in there?’ And immediately they said, ‘Please, come on in.’”

After a brief introduction with the person behind the desk, Kyle felt a warm, welcoming presence that he hadn’t felt at a workout environment before.

“The coach behind the desk really just said she’d help set me up with class, mentioned something about a new client discount, and then we could re-evaluate if it was something I wanted to stick with. She was really great — there was no pressure or intimidation. It was about me and how I felt,” said Kyle.

gaining confidence with each [solidcore] class

Before he knew it, Kyle was under the blue lights for the first time and immediately came face-to-face with a new type of challenge.

“I got in there the first time and just kept thinking I was going to die because it’s hard! But that’s what I like about it,” he said. “And that’s how I knew this type of workout was for me. With each class, it’s not that it gets easier, but you progress with it and gain confidence along the way.”


Confidence is not something Kyle is unfamiliar with. As a volunteer firefighter for the past 30 years, he has had to gain trust in his body and what he’s capable of at age 62.

“If you’re going to be a firefighter at my age, you have to be in good physical shape,” he said. “ [solidcore] has helped me do just that. As chief, I have to be confident in order to lead my team and help them to get the job done.”

a reformer workout that works

On top of the confidence it gives him, Kyle credits his time under the blue lights for his ability to be in the physical shape he is in at the age of 62. Because of its high-intensity low-impact manner, he doesn’t experience any back, knee, or joint pain — something that he couldn’t say about other strength training workouts he tried.

When it comes to failure, [solidcore] is one of the only places that encourages it. Failure under the blue lights ultimately means getting stronger – an idea that Kyle resonates with.

“Failure give us the opportunity to self-assess and work on our vulnerabilities so we can come back stronger,” he said. “There is no reward without sacrifice – each failure allows us to achieve a more significant reward by facing our shortcomings so we can overcome them. It only makes us stronger.”

His advice to anyone who hasn’t tried a class?

“I would say the same thing that person outside the studio said to me: come on in. Just give it a try. Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s so much fun, and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can do. Because once you show yourself that you can do it, you’ll want to come back and do it again, and again, and again.”

If you’re ready to find your [strength] within and experience a total transformation in mind and body, explore our [solidcore] memberships and learn more.