Six Reasons To Add Rowing To Your Exercise Routine


You may not realize it, but chances are you are ignoring one of the single best exercises for maintaining a fit and healthy body. The benefits of running, biking, yoga, and lifting weights are all well known, but a surprisingly large number of people fail to recognize the calorie-burning, muscle-building power that can be achieved from rowing.

Here are six reasons you should add rowing on a machine like the WaterRower to your workout regimen:

1. A Total Body Workout

If you’re looking for a workout that uses nearly every major muscle group in your body, it’s time to try rowing. US Olympic rowing coach Mike Teti says that rowing machines “provide the best total-body workout of any cardio equipment.” He’s not exaggerating.

Total Body Rowing Workout

Unlike a spin class, where the workout is about 95% legs and 5% upper body, rowing involves about 60% legs and 40% upper body. Your quads, hamstrings, back, abdominals, arms, shoulders, and calves all take part in your rowing stroke to give you a total body workout. On average, rowing tends to burn 2-3x more calories than spinning.

Plus, rowing provides both an aerobic exercise as well as some serious muscle-building. A consistent rowing stroke will keep your heart rate elevated for a powerful cardio workout, while the leg presses and rows add a major strength-training component to the motion. Because rowing has resistance in both directions, this exercise will make you stronger and increase the rate at which you burn calories.

2. No Stress or Strain

If you’ve got bad joints or are still sore from a recent injury, running or weightlifting are probably not the best ideas. Instead, you need a workout with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

Enter rowing. From a seated position, there’s no impact on your joints like you would feel running (unless you’re on the impact-free Zero Runner, of course). And there’s no need to keep up with a pace set by the computer. Keeping your rowing machine at a low tension level allows you to maintain a high rate of speed with little resistance so you can reach your target heart rate and maintain an aerobic state without unduly straining your joints.

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3. Great for Weight Loss

Trying to meet that New Year’s Resolution and slim down to your desired weight? Rowing is one of the best and most efficient exercises to help you reach your goal.

Weight Loss

Because of the way rowing combines both cardio and strength training, your body will be burning calories at a rate you won’t believe. Rowing for 30 minutes at a moderate pace, a 150lbs person can burn roughly 238 calories. Row a little more vigorously and you could be burning 800 calories an hour on average. Talk about an efficient workout!

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4. Vary Your Routine

Once you’ve found a series of exercises and fitness machines that you like, it’s easy to fall into a standard routine. However, a stale routine not only makes it easier to get bored while you exercise, but it can also decrease the impact those exercises have on your body. Simply put, your muscles grow accustomed to exercises they’re used to.

Rowing is a terrific way to add variety to your routine. Running and biking are all things most of us are pretty familiar with. How often do you submit your body to the rigors involved in rowing? Probably not very. Because of this, rowing will add some much needed challenge to your routine, requiring more of your attention and focus than a typical run on the treadmill.

5. Improve Your Posture

Most people spend several hours a day, every single day, sitting hunched over their desk. In fact, you are probably sitting hunched over your desk right now as you read this!

Running and biking use the same sorts of actions you employ while sitting: running involves hip and knee flexion while biking recreates the rounded spine you have when you type away at your computer. Rowing, on the other hand, extends your legs, opens up your chest, wakes up your back, and thereby counteracts your day to day actions. Spend a few minutes every day on a rowing machine and you’ll quickly feel the difference in your posture the next time you’re at the office.

6. If It’s a Good Idea for Frank Underwood…

Frank Underwood on the Waterrower Rowing Machine

“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.” – Frank Underwood

Huge Benefits from Exercise Even Without Weight Loss


Exercise BenefitsWhen Americans diet and exercise, one of the primary goals for many is often weight loss. And although shedding unnecessary pounds is a worthy ambition, new studies demonstrate the enormous benefits exercise can yield even if you don’t lose a single ounce.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that overweight and obese people can enjoy significant health benefits by being physically active even if that physical activity does not contribute to weight loss. The study followed more than 300,000 Europeans over 12 years and recorded more than twice as many deaths attributed to lack of physical activity as those attributed to obesity. This study adds further “weight” to previous findings which demonstrate the value of exercise in improving health: even something as simple as a brisk 20 minute walk each day can increase life expectancy.

At present, a whopping 69% of adult Americans are either overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether due to bad habits, genetics, or a combination of both, Americans are significantly larger than they used to be. Although weight loss has continued to be overemphasized in popular culture and by the dieting industry at the expense of touting the benefits of exercise for people of all sizes, a noticeable change is beginning to emerge.  Photos on Twitter and Instagram of women of all shapes doing yoga abound, often accompanied with the hashtag #sizedoesntmatter. Online conversations catering to physically active yet overweight individuals, like choosing the best running shoes for heavier runners, proliferate. And “plus-size” models are increasingly gracing the covers of our magazines.

Clearly, losing weight is a worthy goal for overweight and obese Americans. Nevertheless, the benefits of physical activity regardless of an individual’s body-mass index are too huge to ignore. So stop counting calories and start counting miles. Get active and enjoy the improvements to your health that you will achieve, even if your waistline stays the same.

This article is a summary of a piece published in the Wall Street Journal. To read the full article, please click here.

Friday Fit Tip: Lose the Weight, Keep the Strength


How do you lose body fat without losing strength?

The answer is simple but tough. Belly fat, spare tires or muffin tops are attributed to diet, exercise and the increased presence of the stress hormone cortisol. So if you are not new to endurance sports and train consistently but still are dealing with a bit of a spare tire its now down to diet.

Abs are created in the kitchen. When you are working out more it is often heard not to eat more. You may have the mindset I earned “it” or I can eat as much as I want, I am training. Not true, especially as we age. Things that you can do to increase the loss of any unwanted body fat is to reduce stress, eat clean, remove processed foods, and learn potion control, how much you should be eating and when.

Keep a nutrition log of when, how much and what you eat to determine your baseline calories and macronutrients and then consult with a professional on what types of changes to make. You must be committed to those changes or else nothing will change.

Wendy Mader
MS, USAT Level II, TRX and ACE Certified
Winner, 2008 Kona 1st Overall Amateur

Wendy is co-founder and owner of t2coaching and has made a lifelong commitment to fitness, sports, coaching, and triathlon. From her youth as a competitive swimmer to her current career in the fitness industry, her dedication shines. Wendy is a former collegiate swimmer and has 20 years experience in triathlon including 13 Ironmans. She is the head coach for Rocky Mountain High School, and is a Colorado Women of Influence member & Affiliate of the Womens Sports Foundation.


Daily Tip: Stay the Course


I’ve had a lot of folks ask me why it takes so long to see results on the scale after they’ve started an exercise program. They also ask how to stay motivated if they can’t see results? Be patient, set some benchmarks and make sure you are measuring body composition and not just scale weight.

Most people believe that as soon as they start exercising, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Two things can happen that can cause the scale not to budge. Gaining muscle mass or overcompensating your exercise by eating too many calories.

So how do you distinguish between a gain in muscle or fat? You can either get a skin fold caliper test or be weighed underwater. Most personal trainers should be able to perform a skin fold caliper test. Some health clubs offer underwater weighing for a small fee or if you have a performance training facility in your area get tested there.

To stay motivated instead of focusing on your weight and body composition, start focusing on improvements in your fitness. If you are new to fitness training I recommend doing a cardio respiratory test such as the 3-minute step test, 12 minute run, 1 mile walk or test. Or depending on your sport, you can set your own benchmarks. These tests are easy enough to repeat regularly. You should see improvement in as little as six weeks, especially at the beginning of your exercise program. For people who have been training, you should measure your progress about once every 12 weeks.

Wendy Mader
MS, USAT Level II, TRX and ACE Certified
Winner, 2008 Kona 1st Overall Amateur

Wendy is co-founder and owner of t2coaching and has made a lifelong commitment to fitness, sports, coaching, and triathlon. From her youth as a competitive swimmer to her current career in the fitness industry, her dedication shines. Wendy is a former collegiate swimmer and has 20 years experience in triathlon including 13 Ironmans. She is the head coach for Rocky Mountain High School, and is a Colorado Women of Influence member & Affiliate of the Women’s Sports Foundation.


Stay Active During Winter Months


Discover ways to be active this holiday season by taking advantage of the many activities winter has to offer. From skiing to shoveling snow, there are many ways to be active during the winter months.

And sledding is more work than you think! Every time you take a ride down the hill, climb all the back to the top – you can burn more calories by pulling a few kids on the sled as you go up! Try sledding for 30 minutes, and you can burn as many calories as a two-mile run.

Here, Life Fitness breaks down potential calorie burn* of outdoor winter activities you can try this season:

  • Sledding for 30 minutes: 250 calories
  • Ice skating for 30 minutes: 230 calories
  • Cross-country skiing for 30 minutes: 300 calories
  • Down-hill skiing for 30 minutes: 210 calories
  • Snowboarding for 30 minutes: 250 calories
  • Walking the dog for 30 minutes: 125 calories
  • Shoveling snow for 30 minutes: 230 calories

And when getting outdoors isn’t feasible, hop on your home treadmill or elliptical trainer and indulge yourself in a favorite music playlist while sweating off some of those extra holiday treats!

*approximations based on an average 145 lbs woman for a 30 minutes of activity

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit or follow us on Twitter at or join our Facebook fan page at

Burn Calories Long after Your Workout is Over!


What many of us have heard in the past about cardiovascular exercise continues to be proven by exercise researchers. Researchers at Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, N.C., found that men who biked intensely on a stationary bike burned an extra 190 calories over the next 14 hours following their workout. This is in addition to the calories they burned during their cardiovascular exercise.

“This is the best evidence we have that a lot of calories are burned after intense exercise,” says the study’s lead author David Nieman, with Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, N.C.

These findings most likely also can be applied to other high-intensity activities such as running, jogging, rowing and playing high energy games of basketball, soccer and tennis. The workout needs to be intense enough so that “you’re sweating, your body temperature is up and your heart beats fast,” Nieman says. Other researchers have looked at more moderate activities, such as walking, and found no post-activity impact on calories, he says. An activity such as hill climbing or stair climbing, which are low impact but do get your heart rate pumping, most likely have the same increased calorie burn after the activity is finished, as running or jogging.

Researchers conducted the experiment using a hyperbaric chamber. The oxygen consumption of the 10 men, ages 22 to 33, was measured to determine the calorie expenditure of each person. They then spent a day with very little physical activity except stretching for two minutes every two hours and the normal activities of daily living such as brushing their teeth, eating, sitting and sleeping.

The second day spent in the chamber was identical with the exception of vigorous cycling for 45 minutes in the morning. The findings were reported in the September issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The men burned an average of 190 more calories during the 14.2 hours after exercising, compared with their rest day in the chamber.

They burned an average of 519 calories during the biking. Therefore they burned an average of 709 more calories on workout days than rest days. This would allow a person to lose 5 pounds after 5 exercise bouts if they resisted the urge to eat more, according to Neiman. “This shows that intense exercise can have a meaningful impact on your body fat stores if you don’t counter it with an extra piece of cake”, say Nieman.

Although this study involved men, Nieman says, “there is every reason to believe that the findings apply to women as well.”

Here is just another example of the positive effects of exercise and hopefully offer a great incentive to those looking to begin a regular exercise program!

The Calorie Bank


Many of us begin our quest to get healthy with the best of intentions. This will be the day, week, month, year we will finally get it together when it comes to our health. I hear folks all the time who confess to the “tomorrow” or the “starting Monday” workout program! Let’s face it (and I say this all the time), Life happens. It just does. And when it does, I see so many folks beat themselves up over it. I call it the WSC Syndrome (woulda, shoulda, coulda). Getting upset and down on ourselves does little to help us get motivated or stay motivated. What we really need is some creative motivation, maybe even trickery to help us get on and stay on track.

For most people who are overweight, there are underlying issues and reasons for their weight gain and overweight maintenance. It is important to recognize that. For many, regardless of how bad they feel about themselves now, change, even positive change, is scary and deviates from the norm, from who they know themselves to be.

This is tough stuff. One ploy I use with my clients is to look at burning calories and the weight loss that will hopefully come with it, as an investment. The greatest investment you will ever make …your health. Let’s say you want to lose 20lbs. Science tells that one pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories (energy). So, if want to lose 20lbs that equation would look like this: 20 x3500=70,000. That’s right you need to burn 70,000 calories to lose that 20lbs!

There are lots of ways to do this and to do it safely one should aim to lose 1-2lbs per week, using both strength training and cardio, but that is for another article. For now let’s just look at the fact that 70,000 calories can seem daunting when most people struggle to burn a just a few hundred calories per day. But what if we looked at it differently? What if we look at our weight loss as though it was a Piggy bank, and we are trying to put into the bank 70,000 calories?

I don’t know about you but 70, 000 calories makes me feel kinda wealthy. Instead of feeling restricted or limited, we are building something here. We are creating this awesome investment of calories burned. Create for yourself a real or virtual Piggy bank, which symbolizes your “Calorie bank”. This is where you will deposit all of the calories you will burn in pursuit of your weight loss goal. A little mind trickery? Yes, BUT it is important to realize that a restrictive life of any kind is tough to maintain for the long term.

Growing your calorie bank doesn’t take away from our lives, in fact it empowers us to find ways to move our bodies in an effort to start “banking” those calories! Once you reach your Calorie Bank goal, treat yourself to something special like new running shoes or a spa day. And don’t be surprised if those calories you’ve built up in the bank don’t translate to actual dollars!

Healthy on the inside most definitely translates into being healthy in other areas of our lives! You can also invite friends or co-workers to join you with their own investment project. If weight loss is family affair, think about how fun the journey of growing the Calorie Bank can be and plan a special family outing or event for when the goal is achieved! If you are not sure how to track your calories burned, invest in a Heart Rate Monitor that does this for you. I suggest the FT4 or FT7 by Polar to get you started. You will be amazed how fun it is to track calories burned throughout your day and during your workouts! Cha-Ching!

So, what are you waiting for? Create your Calorie Bank and starting investing in the greatest investment of all….YOU!

Tonja Hadley, MA, CSCS
Personal Trainer
HealthStyles Exercise Equipment

Bump Up Your Metabolism to Make Your Workouts Count!


If you haven’t started thinking about getting in shape for summer, you will the first time you take a look at your summer wardrobe or decide to put on a bathing suit! And if you are like many of us after a long, sedentary winter, you may have put on a few pounds that you would like to get rid of, and maybe you are not having as much success with losing weight as you would like, even though you are working out and watching what you eat.

It could be that a sluggish metabolism is keeping you from achieving your weight loss goals. If you are trying to lose weight, increasing your metabolic rate can enable you to lose more weight without cutting more calories. There is a lot of commercialism and inaccurate information out there on "metabolism-enhancing products" that makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction, but understanding what metabolism is and what influences it, is a starting point for figuring out what can, and cannot be done, to increase it.

What is it?

Metabolic rate is simply the rate at which your body burns calories. When your main source of energy (your blood sugar) runs low, the process of metabolism turns body fat into energy. If your blood sugar runs high, the process of metabolism stores extra energy by turning it into body fat to be used another time, or not to be used at all!

Not many people have a fast metabolism, but overweight individuals generally have a slow metabolism. Increasing your metabolism can help you lose weight. When you exercise, your body requires more energy and your metabolism speeds up. If your metabolism is increased, your body will continue to burn calories even when you are not working out – and that is the reason increasing metabolic rate is the goal of so many people!

There are many factors that affect metabolism, and the ones below we really can’t do too much about.

  1. Age – Metabolic rate decreases 5% per decade after age 40.
  2. Gender – Men generally have a higher metabolic rate and therefore burn calories more quickly than women. This is because men generally have more muscle tissue than women.
  3. Heredity – There is a hereditary factor that influences metabolic rate.
  4. Thyroid – Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can slow down or speed up metabolism. These conditions affect about 6% of the population.

Here are some things you can do to increase your metabolism naturally.

  1. Eat breakfast! This gets your metabolism going as soon as possible and keeps you from being hungry and making bad food choices later in the day.
  2. Eat Frequently – More (5-6) small meals is better than one or 2 large ones because it keeps your metabolism firing.
  3. Don’t Starve Yourself – Often people on diets eat too little and your metabolism goes into survival mode and slows down. Cutting calories a little and exercising more is a much more effective formula.
  4. Mix Things Up With Intervals – In one study, women who mixed intervals of sprints with steady pedaling on a stationary bike for 20 minutes, lost 3 times more body fat than those who went at a steady pace for 40 minutes! Bursts of speed may stimulate a fat burning response within the muscles.
  5. Weight Train – Weight training is the ultimate exercise for firing up your metabolism. Muscle burns calories while fat does not. That means that the more muscular you are, the higher your metabolism will remain. When you weight train you will get a good post workout increase in metabolism and burn for much longer.

New Dietary Guidelines – No Big Surprises


Federal regulators for the US Government issued new U.S. Dietary Guidelines at the end of January, outlining what is good for us and how to avoid making lifestyle and dietary choices that make us fat and sick.

The gist of the advice: drink water instead of sugary drinks, eat more fruits and vegetables, cut down on foods high in sodium, fat and sugar.

If your response is, "Hello! This is news?!", it echoed our response when we read the new guidelines. But before we discount the new information completely, it is important to note that these are the most specific and detailed guidelines ever issued (the last version was issued in 2005), and that these "official" guidelines that many of us have been aware of for years, may put additional pressure on the food industry to reformulate processed foods, and reduce portion size. With the obesity epidemic not going away any time soon, it is about time that the federal regulators stop skirting the issue of naming what specific foods not to eat due to fear of the powerful food lobby. This report seems to have taken some steps in that direction.

Specific Guidelines Included advice for most Americans to:

  1. Drastically reduce salt intake. The average person takes in 3200 milligrams per day and the recommended intake is 2300.
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  3. Avoid fast food (this will reduce sodium and fat intake)
  4. Substitute healthy oils for solid fats such as margarine
  5. Eat more fish
  6. Drink 1% or nonfat milk
  7. Reduce overall calorie intake (this is the first time the guidelines have ever suggested eating less!)
  8. Exercise more

The guidelines also list some of the worst foods for solid and saturated fats and added sugars:

  • Pizza
  • Regular cheese
  • Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  • Grain based desserts like cake and cookies
  • Dairy based desserts like ice cream
  • Fatty meats like bacon, sausage, and beef
  • Pasta and pasta dishes
  • Fried foods

There is also a focus in the guidelines on getting children to eat better and adopt a healthier lifestyle (i.e. be more active and sit in front of a TV or computer less!) Hopefully the dietary guidelines will trickle down to most school lunch programs which traditionally have provided lunches with very poor nutritional content.

And while none of these points seem particularly earth-shattering or new, that doesn’t mean that we actually follow them with any regularity. The report wisely suggests making small and gradual changes in your diet with the new guidelines as your goal so that you can live with them.

A full copy of the report and an executive summary are both available on the UDSA’s Website:

Full Report:

Executive Summary:

Video: Fat Burning – Fact vs. Fiction


When it comes to losing weight, many people find themselves wondering which method is best. From popular workouts to fad diets and fitness products, we often hear of different "fat burning" strategies, but how do you separate fact from fiction?

This video from American Council on Exercise contains some excellent information that helps separate fact from fiction in the jungle of weight gimmicks and remedies.