Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rowing Machine Challenge at my Gym

It’s that time of year again. The rowing machine company has promised to donate to a selection of charities (International Rescue Committee, Challenged Athletes Association, and others)  on behalf of people at the gym who row. But this year, they want rowers to complete 100,000 meters in 26 days  before they will make a donation.  If you are a challenged athlete, 50,000 qualifies.

I asked at the desk, they said my artificial hip qualifies me as challenged.  I felt like a wimp asking, but while I want a challenge, I don’t want to do that much rowing.

I usually row for 8 minutes, in which time, the machine says I’ve rowed about 1300 meters. I set up my schedule to row for 15 minutes for the next 25 days.  Today I rowed about 2500 meters in 15 minutes.

I forgot to get up 15 minutes early, so I had the same amount of time at the gym.  Wednesday is usually treadmill day. I’ll have to do treadmill tomorrow. Today I did chin-ups and hip flexors, which don’t take as much time as the treadmill.

When I sat down at a rowing machine, the one next to me was already occupied.  The man rowed over 4000 meters in 21 minutes.  He’s in better shape than I am.

One of the most valuable things I’m learning at the gym is that you can’t tell who works out by just looking at them. Plenty of men and women who are soft-looking and / or overweight are able to work out longer and harder than I can. They can lift heavier weights, move more quickly, stretch more deeply, do more repetitions.  I find it odd to look fit and yet I’m unable to do what these folks can do.

Meanwhile, the gym caters to both ends of the spectrum. They placed a sign on the data screen of the rowing machine.  If you row 1000 meters a week for 4 weeks, they’ll give you a ribbon. I’d way rather get a donation to charity.


  1. What do you do for your hip flexors? Is there a picture you can point to? Mine are very short.

  2. I found a picture of yoga bow: It was pain city when I started, but now (2.5 years later) it feels like a good stretch.
    And these are good: Be patient, and try it every other day.