Why You Should Buy an Indoor Rower

With snow season creeping in soon I started to feel like I needed to find an indoor alternative to my early morning run. I wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank and that wouldn’t take up much space but had an equally impressive calorie-burning capacity as a morning jog. Shaun T’s Insanity workout crossed my mind, but then I thought I’d prefer not to dance around in front of the television in my socks at 6 am. Purchasing a treadmill is an option, but they tend to be bulky, noisy and expensive. And what happens when your treadmill breaks down, how the heck do you get someone in for maintenance?

I’ve been looking at indoor rowers for about a year now. Searching online for used ones and figuring out if it’s worth it to purchase new. Before I started CrossFit about 1 ½ years ago I had never used a rower before. And within any random CrossFit workout, you might find a short (or long) row intertwined. Rowing is an intense cardiovascular workout, and mixed in with CrossFit exercises makes it even more extreme. Ultimately my mind was made up and it was time to pull the trigger. So we did it, we purchased a Concept 2 rower!

Here’s why you should buy one too!

1. Your machine will last forever. I got a used rower off Craigslist that is about 10 years old. It rows just as good, if not better than the brand new models at my gym. If you go with a Concept 2 then you’re definitely purchasing a high quality product. “Concept 2 rowers are built to last.” Whether brand new or used, your purchase is for the long haul. You can find a new rower for about $950 including shipping. Check Ebay and Craigslist often as we got ours for a measly $300! Well worth it.

2.  Work every muscle group at once. Simple enough – rowing requires pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms and back. Don’t forget about stabilizing your core for a strong pull. Just a few minutes of easy rowing is enough to get you huffing and puffing. It’s an excellent total body workout.

3. Burn loads of calories. Using your entire body to row exercises not only your muscles but also your cardiovascular endurance making you a calorie-burning furnace.

4. Cut your workout time in half. A 10-15 minute row session is plenty to get your metabolism revving. Amp it up for a longer duration and a bigger calorie burn.

5. Options are endless. Hop on the rower any time of the day or night for an intense full body workout; or switch things up with a CrossRow style workout incorporating bursts of rowing with other exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, pushups, burpees, box jumps, lunges, and the list goes on. You can even workout during a storm because indoor rowers don’t require electricity.

I’m excited for the winter season to begin. What excites me most is knowing that I have no more excuses to skip my morning workout. No matter sleet, rain, snow or ice – row on!

To find out how I kept up with my workouts during Hurricane Sandy, check out my guest blog post at UCanRow2.com

Do you have a favorite indoor workout? Tell your story and leave a comment below.

3 Fat-Burning Cardio Workouts to Throw in to Your Routine

Plain old cardio can become monotonous and boring. Running on the treadmill or climbing the Gauntlet (step mill) to nowhere is not my idea of fun.  Burning calories is important so skipping cardio is not an option. And whether you prefer getting in your cardio sesh before the sun has a chance to rise, or you fit it in after your evening workout, switching it up often is the secret to breaking cardio boredom.

The best thing about cardio is that you can find ways to get it in without equipment or a gym, so there's no excuse. Here are 3 high intensity cardio workouts for you to try. Challenge yourself, you may be surprised at what you can achieve.

1.  Tabatas.  Tabatas are a Japanese form of high intensity interval training (or HIIT). Your basic interval is a period of all out effort, followed by a short rest. For instance, a simple interval would be 1 minute of running followed by 30 seconds of walking at a quick pace. Intervals are great for fat loss because they burn more calories in a shorter period of time, which means more time for you to spend at home relaxing. The freedom in Tabatas is that you can choose whatever exercises you'd like and the amount of exercises you perform. The interval timing of Tabatas is 20 seconds of all out effort (as many reps as possible) followed by 10 seconds of rest. You'll repeat each interval for a total of 8 rounds (4 minutes). Once you've reached the last round, you'll then move on to the next exercise, and so on and so forth until you've completed the workout. If you choose 4 exercises, you've got a 16 minute workout of nothing but high intensity intervals. Give it a try, it will be over before you know it!

Basic Tabata (or CrossFit's "Tabata This")

8 rounds each of the following - 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: - Pushups - Pullups - Situps - Squats

2. Rowing Intervals.  Ok I lied, you'll need equipment for this one, particularly a rower. This machine is often overlooked at the gym and left to collect dust. Dust that thing off and give it some use! There's not much explanation involved here, hop on and start rowing. One thing you will notice is that watching the meters you've rowed go up is like watching water boil - it seems to take forever to reach your desired distance. Rowing is a calorie blasting cardio workout and a great stray from the norm. Here's a simple interval workout to try. Aim for 6-8 intervals to start. Try to increase the amount of intervals you do every session.

Rowing Intervals - set the rower lever to level 5 - press the menu button - select "custom workout" - choose "30/30 intervals" - perform 6-12 intervals, rowing for 30 seconds at all out effort and resting for 30 seconds

3. Running Intervals. As I mentioned before, intervals work wonders on fat loss. Incorporate them in to your workouts wherever you can, including running. Here's a challenging interval workout you can do outdoors or on the treadmill:

Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushusp Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes

What's your favorite cardio workout?  Do you prefer outdoors or in?

3 Reasons to Do Morning Cardio


Getting up in the morning is rough, especially when you know you have a long day of work ahead of you.  Who in their right mind would want to get up earlier than necessary to get ready for work?  I’ve always said, if you want something bad enough, you’ll do what you need to do to get there.  And if that means waking up 45 minutes to an hour early every day for a morning cardio sesh then that’s what you’re going to do.  For those of you that love the snooze button, this article is for you.  Here are 5 reasons to get up before the birds for morning cardio: 1.    Feel the Energy Buzz:

Getting up early and starting with a 30 minute run awakens the senses.  Accomplishing more before 7:30 am than most is something you should feel good about, and the high you get from your run will boost your energy for the start of your day.

2.    Boost Your Metabolism:

Whether you get up and go or have a bite to eat beforehand, any form of cardio will boost your metabolism.  Aerobic exercise in general will keep your body burning calories for hours after you’ve finished your session.  Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, cardio is a great way to build your fitness and stay healthy.

3.    More Time for Yourself:

People often complain there’s not enough hours after work to get a cardio workout in.  Waking up early to get it done gives you the rest of the day to do what you wish without having to worry about when you’re going to hit the gym or the trails.  You’ll have more time in the evenings to lift weights, make dinner, prep for the next day, enjoy some ‘me’ time and see your family.

One way or the other, cardio is a good thing in your life.  If you’re not a morning person, become one – you’ll reap the benefits of a speedier metabolism, more energy for the day, and more time for yourself!

Are you a morning person?  When's your best time to get a cardio workout in?