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Solidcore founder Anne Mahlum shares her longevity routine, from $10,000 red light therapy to a gallon of water every morning

Gabby Landsverk   

Solidcore founder Anne Mahlum shares her longevity routine, from $10,000 red light therapy to a gallon of water every morning
  • Anne Mahlum, founder of Solidcore, is focusing on longevity through an optimized fitness regimen.
  • She practices hydration, cold plunges, red light therapy, and varied workouts for peak performance.

The founder of one of the most influential Pilates-inspired workouts in the fitness industry has set her sights on the latest trend: longevity.

Anne Mahlum, who sold her business Solidcore last year (for a cool $88 million, CNBC reported), told Business Insider she's tapping into her years of insight into the fitness industry to optimize her own routine for a long, healthy life.

"Maximizing the function of my body as much as possible is number one for me," she said.

Mahlum opened her first location of Solidcore in 2013, after she took a Pilates class and immediately realized its potential to change how people exercise. An avid athlete, she was struck by how the low-impact workouts use slow, challenging movements to build strength, in contrast to exercise that involves getting sweaty and gasping for breath.

"I didn't know you could work out like this, I thought you had to beat up your body," she said.

Solidcore found success in helping people sculpt lean muscle, particularly a strong, svelte core.

A decade later, Mahlum shared how her routine has changed over time, emphasizing her ability to keep doing the things she loves — like beach volleyball — rather than aesthetics.

"As a girl in my 20s and early 30s, I was focused on the vanity. Don't get me wrong, I want to look good now," Mahlum said. "But if I looked a certain way, and couldn't play volleyball, I wouldn't do that. I get so much joy out of using my body."

Now she's prioritizing performance and longevity, mixing up her workouts and investing in her recovery with habits like strength training, getting plenty of sleep, and using NASA-developed tech that's now marketed for antiaging benefits.

"I want to stay as healthy and as youthful as I can for as long as I can," Mahlum said.

Starting every morning with a gallon of water

Mahlum said her morning routine includes coffee and the news, catching up on Morning Brew and CNBC.

She also gets a head start on hydration by drinking a gallon of water through the morning, and aims for 100 ounces or more of water throughout the day.

Good hydration is key to helping your mind and body perform their best, although the amount of water you need a day can vary based on factors like your activity level.

A daily cold plunge

As a fitness trend pioneer in her own right, Mahlum is still very plugged into what's buzzy in the wellness world and swears by the wildly popular cold plunge habit. She's even invested in a company, Ice Barrel, that makes tubs for cold plunges and has her own cold plunge set-up at home.

Once a day, she immerses herself in icy water (around 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for five minutes.

Some research has linked cold plunges to benefits like boosting metabolism, easing muscle pain, and improving mental health.

While the discipline to stay in the frigid temperature isn't easy, the rush of endorphins after is worth it, according to Mahlum.

"It just makes you feel good. It's such a mental challenge," she said.

She's a big fan of recovery tech like red light therapy

Another staple in Mahlum's at-home wellness routine is red light therapy, a high-tech tool linked to antiaging and recovery benefits.

It isn't cheap — Mahlum said her full-body red light therapy mat was about $10,000 — but she's willing to buy into the potential benefits, embracing up-and-coming wellness strategies with a philosophy of "what's the harm?"

The tech originated in NASA experiments on wound healing in astronauts. Current research on red light therapy is somewhat mixed, with early evidence showing promise for healing tissue and reducing inflammation, and it's safe to use, but more research is needed, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Her exercise routine includes lifting heavy weights and sprints

You might expect that as the founder of a hit pilates brand, Mahlum would be all about pilates, all the time in her own workouts.

You'd be wrong.

While she does work out about 90 minutes a day, it includes a wide range of activities, all focused on antiaging benefits and boosting performance, particularly in her beloved beach volleyball.

"Everything I do has a purpose," she said.

Where she once may have used the treadmill to burn calories, Mahlum said she's now doing sprints to get faster and more explosive.

She lifts weights five days a week, isn't afraid to go heavy on movements like deadlifts or leg presses, and loads up 80 pounds for sets of walking lunges.

It's a persistent misconception that women shouldn't lift weights for fear of injury or gaining too much mass. In fact, lifting weights is helpful for building a lean, athletic physique, according to science. Strength training is linked to living longer and staying healthy as you age, too.

"So many times, women are afraid of getting bulky and it's so hard to get bulky," Mahlum said. "Having a good amount of muscle is going to continue to keep your body as youthful as possible and functioning for as long as possible."

Sleep is non-negotiable

One essential part of Mahlum's routine doesn't require any special equipment or life hack, just some discipline and good planning.

She sleeps eight to nine hours a night, every night, no excuses, and typically keeps a bedtime between 9 pm and 10 pm.

"If I'm going to bed later, I'm not skimping on sleep and I'll sleep later," Mahlum said. "Recovery for me is massively important."

It may not be glamorous or exciting, but research suggests sleep is one of the most important factors you can control in your overall health, influencing everything from muscle-building and weight loss to your mental health and longevity.

As such, no amount of loading up on other trendy supplements, wellness tech, or fancy workout routines will help if you're not resting well, eating well, and otherwise nailing the simple healthy habits.

"People try to cold plunge, but they're eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, getting five hours of sleep. These are the basic foundations. You can't cold plunge your way out of skipping them," Mahlum said.