How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? Or, is that a delicate question?
According to research on the subject, more than half of us who make resolutions bail on them by January 31. So, don’t be too hard on yourself.
For much of the last several weeks, the number of articles and blog posts dedicated to making sure this was the year—finally—we stick to our resolutions seemed rivaled only by the impeachment coverage. Yet, with two-thirds of us pledging to exercise more (or at all), one vital piece of advice was noticeably absent in much of that positive talk: Make sure you enjoy it.
No matter how strong your resolve, an exercise regimen will inevitably become a grind. And if, when that moment arrives, the only encouraging thing you have to say about a workout is “it’s over,” you’re in trouble. So, instead of pushing the same boulder up the same hill, why not seek out another hill?
‘What do I know about rowing?’
Enter OAR Studio, in Lambertville, New Jersey. OAR is part of the growing wave of boutique fitness studios across the country that are offering high-intensity workouts that pair indoor rowing with full-body strength and mobility movements.
You may recognize the indoor rowing machine from your previous memberships at conventional gyms, where you probably walked past them on your way to the elliptical or treadmill. “What do I know about rowing?” you may be asking. Ah, but therein lies the beauty of the rowing workout, because you don’t need to know anything at all—not at first, at least.
Gradually, as you start to appreciate how small tweaks to your form deliver immediate dividends, you’ll also begin to see just how effective the workout is. Lots of studies have suggested that rowing builds total-body strength, whereas cycling and running mostly target the lower body. And unlike most cardio equipment, a rowing machine allows you to build power and stamina at the same time.
Almost effortless and downright enjoyable
Also: It’s a fluid movement (even with beginner’s form) that’s much less taxing on the knees and ankles than running, which could explain its recent surge in popularity.
Also unlike running, you can get an effective workout in in well under an hour. The workouts, as they’re designed at OAR, are not intended to be long, monotonous sessions. Just the opposite. They mix short bursts of pulling with familiar strength exercises. A typical circuit may consist of four minutes of fast-paced rowing followed by 10 kettlebell swings and 20 pushups, then another four minutes of sprinting on the rowing machine. It’s a dynamic workout that keeps your heart rate, but the impact on your joints low.
If that sounds a little intense, it can be. But it’s also not taking into account one of the central highlights of participating in a class at OAR: The momentum you gain by feeling your body and rower sync with those around you. In those moments, the rowing almost feels effortless—and downright enjoyable.