Bite This: Candy Themed Halloween Workout

Candy-themed Halloween workout

Candy-crazy season has begun! You can’t walk into a grocery store without seeing row upon row of delicious-looking treats, all of them perfectly packaged with Halloween shapes and colors, and in tantalizingly small servings.  Those fun-size Snickers bars and Reese’s pumpkins couldn’t have THAT many calories, could they?

Well, not if you only eat one or two, but who does that??  We’re more likely to “parent-tax” the heck out of our children’s Halloween candy stashes, sneak two or three or four pieces every day, day after day, and before you know it we’re full-on into the Holidays and it’s Christmas candy calling your name.  We’re not saying don’t eat the candy (ok maybe don’t eat ALL the candy), but a Halloween workout featuring candy that also makes us think first? We’re down for that!

Stop the Madness!

UCanRow2 to the rescue, for Halloween and beyond to help you make smarter choices, or at least think before you bite.  Below we offer two variations on candy-themed Halloween rowing workouts.  One can be done as an individual rower or with a group, the other is a partner workout.  Both will help you burn off a few fun-size bars, or fend off overconsumption with good reminders of how hard torching those calories really is.

Prep the Workouts

For both workouts you’re going to need some Halloween candy wrappers.  Either use the wrappers themselves or tape them on a piece of paper.  That way you can make multiple copies, particularly useful if you’re doing this with a group.  Then you can cut the paper in strips and write the calorie count on each one.

To help you plan and time the workout, know that a 10-second change in 500m split is equivalent to about 100 calories per hour: A 2:30 split is about 650 calories per hour, while a 2:10 split works out to about 850 calories per hour.  A fun-size Snickers has 160 calories, so it will take about 15 minutes to burn at 2:30 and 11 minutes at 2:10.

NOTE: As we’ve mentioned before, we don’t usually like to use calories to track our workouts.  That’s because we don’t want our athletes thinking that the number they see on the screen is an exact reflection of the calories they’ve burned.  The erg’s monitor is more accurate than a treadmill but it’s still more of an educated guess than an exact reading (You can get a better read if you use a heart rate strap, but that’s not completely accurate either.).

Let’s begin!

Halloween Workout #1

Pick one or two pieces of “candy,” either choosing them blind or grabbing your favorites.  Total the number of calories in each piece, then row to that amount on your monitor (press the “change units” button on the monitor until the screen shows calories).

When you’ve hit the calorie target, get off the rowing machine and do:

10 push ups
31 sit-ups

Repeat the above for 2-3 additional rounds if you want more work.  Obviously you can vary the off-erg moves, too, depending on how much variety and challenge you want.

Halloween workout #2 – partner rowing workout

Partner A chooses 1-2 pieces of “candy,” and rows to the total number of calories (Hit “change units” on your monitor until it shows calories.).  While Partner A is rowing, Partner B does a series of moves for a total number of reps that equals the number of calories.  For your fun-size Snickers you might do:

40 sit-ups
40 push-ups
40 air squats
40 jumping jacks

Or if you want to ramp it up you could do:

50 sit-ups
40 burpees
40 air squats
30 push press

 

Sounds fun, right?  And it should certainly help people think carefully about how much candy they really want to tear into. Try the workouts and tell us how you did in the comments.  Did you do them as prescribed, or make up your own variation?  We’d love to hear, too, if you have another favorite Halloween workout.  Need more SkiErg or indoor rowing workouts? Go here and grab one, or find a certified indoor rowing instructor in your area who can take you through an awesome rowing workout.  Happy Halloween, and don’t bite off more than you can chew!

Rowing Recovery Workout – Burn Fat, Get Back on Track

Three rowers working hard at the Concept2 indoor rowing instructor certification at Seattle's Pocock Rowing CenterIf you’re a regular reader you know that many of our indoor rower workouts involve getting on and off the Concept2 rowing machine or SkiErg.  The idea is to give you a high-intensity workout that will build strength and burn as much fat as possible in the most efficient amount of time.

As The New York Times has noted, intensity is a critical component of an effective workout.  Not to mention lots of other benefits research has found from high-intensity training: reduced appetite, better stress management, possibly even a longer life span.  And if it takes less time you’re more likely to be able to do it consistently, right?

True, one would hope.  But we all have times during the year where we can stray from an otherwise stellar fitness program.  Vacation, the Holidays, a busy time at work, summer at home with the kids, can all move fitness to the back burner temporarily.  Hey, it happens to the best of us!  Just get back on the rowing machine as soon as you can and you’ll be back up to speed in no time.  Read on for a couple of rowing recovery workouts that will help you get there.

 

How to Get Back On the Rowing Track

 

Before you even get back on the erg, take your fitness “temperature.”  Have you put on a few pounds or feel like you’ve lost strength?  How’s your energy?  Are you raring to go or would you rather crawl back into bed?  You’ll be able to tell in your first 10-15 minutes of an erg warmup if you’re going to be able to hit your rowing workout hard post-break (or any day, for that matter).

Group rowing instructors, this is an important step for you to take every time your students come to class.  Ask them how they’re feeling, and be ready to dial it back if need be.  Maybe your energy and enthusiasm will be all they need to get through, but you need to also watch for signs that the intense workout you’d planned is too much today.  If your students’ mood and energy level isn’t picking up as you go through your warmup, for example, that’s a dead giveaway that today’s not the day for high-intensity intervals.

 

If you feel like the tortoise, start with a low-and-slow steady-state row.  Keep it to 20-30 minutes and go at a conversational pace, you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation.  22-24 strokes per minute, no higher. Side bonus: Slow rowing is a great time to practice technique.  Do rowing drills like the pick drill as part of your practice, or try rowing with your feet out of the straps.

If you find you’re feeling good and want to go a little harder at the end go ahead, but consider this permission to be done.  It’s OK if you’re not always in overdrive!  Pat yourself on the back for having moved and get yourself revved up for the next workout.

Drills for a More Fluid, Powerful Rowing Stroke from UCanRow2

 

If you feel more like the hare, try the Holiday Recovery Row below.  Longer, with more opportunities for effort, but still in the general mode of going lower and longer than you would in a high-intensity workout. NOTE: This workout assumes that you were able to row longer distances before your break.  If the longest row you’ve ever done is 5000m, coming back from a break isn’t the time to try your first 10k, no matter how slow you go.

Rowing Recovery Row

Row for 20-30 minutes at a stroke rating no higher than 24 strokes per minute.  Your goal is to stay at a conversational pace, where you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation the whole time.  Throw in some rowing drills if you like.  The pick drill, pause drill, and rowing with your feet out of the straps are all good choices for working your technique, but leave the sprint intervals and Power 10s for another day.

 

Holiday Recovery Row

Row, SkiErg or a combination for a total of 8000-10000m (24 spm on the row and a comfortable but challenging pace on the SkiErg). Add 10 hard strokes at 26 spm every four minutes.

10 pushups (or more)
1 min. plank core hold

Stretch and DONE!

If you need help with any of this, find a certified indoor rowing instructor near you, or get in touch with us.  Don’t see an instructor near you?  Maybe it’s time for you to get certified, or take our certification course to ramp up your own rowing.

Did you try one of these workouts?  How did you do?  Share your results – or questions about the workouts – in the comments.

Biggest Loser Rowing Offer: Home Users, Buy an Erg, Get Trained Free

Logo of The Biggest Loser After a long hiatus the Concept2 rower is back on The Biggest Loser for the current U.S. season.  And this season you’ll be seeing the SkiErg as well. Great news!  For the most part…

If you saw the first episode you saw some rowing (not on Concept 2 machines), but unfortunately virtually none of it with good technique or cuing from the trainers.  And viewers noticed.  Twitter users, for example,  had a lot to say about it: “It kills me watching people erg on The Biggest Loser,” wrote @kdbug313.  “Like that’s not how you do it.” “I truly cannot watch people on the biggest loser erg because they all have the worst form and do it wrong,” said @laurenndriscoll.

It’s a shame that the Biggest Loser contestants don’t get a better chance at learning and using proper technique.  Properly done, there’s no better machine for fitness and weight loss than the Concept2 rowing machine. But it’s like everything else, you have to do it right to get the best results.

So to support Biggest Loser viewers across the United States and Canada,  and as part of our mission to Stamp Out Bad Rowing we’ve created a new deal: Buy your Concept2 erg or SkiErg from us and we’ll give you a free Skype training session with a master instructor to get you set up and rowing/skiing right.

Here’s what to do to get the deal: Contact us, either by email (info@ucanrow2.com), or phone (906-482-8748) during business hours, mention that you want the Biggest Loser deal and let us know if you’d like to buy a rowing machine or a SkiErg (or both!).

Money saved on a UCanRow2 remote training session: $65.  Weight loss and fitness results from learning to erg correctly: Priceless.

Questions?  Post ’em to the comments.  Row on!!!

 

 

Candlelit Rowing, Hurricane Sandy Style

waves in motion Guest post by Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN of ShoDelicious, Superstorm Sandy survivor and a new Concept2 indoor rower

You know what really stinks about storms like Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy? Being stuck in your house without power, light, or cable entertainment. Back in my Florida days we’d have hurricane parties to pass the time. Friends would bring over any and all alcohol they could find and we’d just get drunk. Things are much different now that I’m a grown-up and past my college drinking days. I no longer look forward to missing class due to a storm. Instead I worry about how I’m going to get in a workout in the dark.

Home workout equipment comes in handy when the lights go out. However, if you’ve got a treadmill you’re pretty much out of luck as most have to be plugged in to the wall. Not so for rowing machines, though, they don’t have to be plugged in to anything. Score – I’ve got a rower!

This year I got the chance to take advantage of being stuck at home to get on my Concept2 Rower. And think of the positive, if we had been flooded out, my strength and skills I’ve gained from my rower would have allowed me to row to safety (if I had a canoe or kayak) in the event of an emergency.

So with winds howling, trees blowing and rain coming down – I got on my rower for a quick but intense, weight-loss-in-mind cardio workout. Here’s how my candlelit workout went:

5 minutes of rowing
Hop off rower and stretch for a few minutes, grab a drink of water
5 minutes of Power 10s (every minute pull as hard as you can for 10 pulls, then row easy for the rest of the minute)
Hop off rower and stretch for a few minutes, grab a drink of water
5 minutes of rowing

Note: Keep in mind that I’m a new rower. I’ve owned my C2 for about a week and have been using the rower at my gym for about a year and a half. My goal is weight loss and improved cardio endurance. The workout I did here is a tough one (for me) and can be easily added to for a longer workout.

Another option that’s great for those without power (whether by design or circumstance) is the Deck of Cards workout.  It’s great for getting a great workout that’s always varied. I’ve added rowing workout options to mine.

Row on!

Want more no-electricity-needed rowing workouts?  We’ve got lots on our workouts page. Ever rowed by candlelight, either with or without electricity? Tell us your story in the comments!

 

Sweat This (Rowing), Not That (Other Cardio Stuff)

Great to see Men’s Health magazine and the terrific Eat This, Not That series recognizing the calorie torching benefits of rowing in a Sweat This, Not That post.  “Rowing burns the most calories and works the most muscles, including muscles in your back, and also improves posture,” the magazine notes, and it even references a Brazilian study that indicates you can burn more than 25 percent more calories if you’re rowing on the water.

Either way, rowing and weight loss are a natural combination, and it’s a non-impact, total-body activity that you can do throughout your life.  Want some good rowing workouts to get you started?  We have them for you here, and if you’d like to read how it worked for one person check out Sarah’s Story.

Want to learn how to row better and get more out of your rowing workouts? Find a certified instructor near you or attend one of our Indoor Rowing Foundations trainings.

Bob Harper’s Six Weight Loss Rules

Say what you will about The Biggest Loser (and we’ve definitely got our opinions about the show and the extreme levels of exercise it prescribes, along with the quality of the rowing training), trainer Bob Harper has had great success helping people on and off the show lose weight over the years.

He’s out today with a new book — and judging by how much he’s out there promoting it already he must be needing all his CrossFit strength just to get through it!  He was on NBC’s Today show this morning giving a quick overview of his rules.  Watch the video link and you’ll get the gist.

Anyway he’s got some good, commonsense ideas about what he calls the “non-negotiable” rules for losing weight, including drinking lots of water, eating lots of protein, and going to bed hungry (not eating within three hours of bedtime).  It’ll be interesting to see if what he’s done is also compatible with the Paleo diet, which is a such a big part of so many CrossFitters’ life.

Anybody planning on reading the book? How do you see this fitting into the lifestyle of rowers who want to lose weight? Is it realistic with early mornings, heavy-duty workouts and intense erg sessions?  Tell us in the comments.

Biggest Loser Rowing: Get Certified and Be the Biggest Winner

Concept2 instructor certificationIt was a big night of rowing last night on The Biggest Loser.  It’s about time!  First the contestants had to row a 10k piece for their challenge, then the last chance workouts included a number of meters, too, most courtesy of recent CrossFit convert and Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper.

This kind of exposure would be great for indoor rowing (although they should have been on Concept2 ergs) EXCEPT for two things:

1. The contestants’ technique left a whole lot to be desired and in some cases was downright bad and potentially dangerous.

2. The rowing machine was portrayed only as a torture tool, even leaving one contestant panting on the ground with a medic looking over her.

Those of us who row for a living or for love or for fitness know that one of the great things about the erg is that it responds to you and your effort level: The harder you row, the more resistance; back off and the handle is easier to pull.  And it is one of the best exercises for weight loss.  There is no better workout for total-body non-impact cardio fitness that can lead to significant weight loss.

BUT – to get good results on the rowing machine you have to have good technique, and the best way to learn it is from a certified rowing instructor.  The basic rowing stroke is easy to learn but, like golf, the quest for the perfect stroke is eternal. And if you or one of your clients is overweight or obese it’s even more important to do it right.  What’s the quickest way to get there?  GET CERTIFIED!

What did you think of last night’s episode? A good or bad thing for rowing?

 

Is Using Calories to Track Your Workout a Good Bet?

 

Three rowers working hard at the Concept2 indoor rowing instructor certification at Seattle's Pocock Rowing Center

We often hear people say they go into the gym with a goal of burning X calories on the cardio equipment, be it on the treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical or in a CrossFit WOD.  And we often tell them, that’s great, as long as you’re a 5’10”, 150-lb. man.  If not, you’re probably getting inaccurate information.

 

According to an article from the Huffington Post, research at San Francisco State University has (re)confirmed the unreliability of calorie monitors on exercise machines, and says they can be as far off as 25 percent.  The story quotes Mark Gorelick, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at San Francisco State University says that if you’re desperate to know how many calories you’re burning in a workout you’re better off using one of the products you can wear on your body (like FitBit or Bodymedia Fit), which are more accurate because they use many more parameters to calculate your calorie burn than a cardio machine monitor.

In our experience, though, wearable monitors are notoriously finicky about calculating calorie burn and effort in a cycling or indoor rowing workout, just as they are about calculating “steps” taken in a workout.  Our advice, ignore the monitor on the machine and use the wearable monitor if it’s a motivator, but use the sweat on your shirt and the fit of your clothes to help you track your fitness progress – not the readout on any machine.