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Why Rowing Is Toronto’s Next Big Fitness Trend

Fitness trends are cyclical, and sometimes the old-school methods are the most effective for creating a brand new physique.

Núcleo Fitness (862 Eglinton Avenue E.) has just introduced Indo-Row®, a new system that has reinvented an old standby: rowing. The water rowing machine’s unique WaterFlywheel (a cylinder of water with a spinning paddle) mimics the dynamic resistance of a boat gliding across the water. It allows you to manage your pace while enjoying the power of water without getting wet.

We chatted with Marlene Kadin, owner of Núcleo Fitness & a certified Indo-Row® and Power Pilates instructor.

SDTC: Why is rowing (combined with Pilates) such a potent workout?

MK: Both water rowing and Pilates focus on strengthening your core. Most people think of their core as their abs, but actually, the core of your body is your abs and back, including all the muscles surrounding your abs, the muscles on the side of your body, and the musculature around your spine. Rowing works the larger muscles and Pilates works the smaller muscles. Together, the two activities provide a balanced approach to muscle development and strengthening, with Pilates also offering flexibility and lengthening benefits. Additionally, both activities train your mind to enter a zone of focus that is therapeutic for your brain. Throw in the intense cardio work that rowing delivers, and you have the perfect sixty-minute workout.

Any eating tips to go in conjunction with Indo-Row workouts?

You must fuel your body in order to have enough energy to sustain the class and also recover. Rowing is about managing your tank – if the tank is empty, getting to the finish line is going to be tough, if not impossible. Depending on the time of day that you are taking a rowing class, consider the following foods/snacks:

a. If you’re doing an early morning row, eat a bowl of hot or cold cereal sixty to ninety minutes before the class – oatmeal, or cooked wheatberries, or a cold cereal that is not loaded with sugar but contains whole grains.
b. For a late afternoon rowing class, consider snacks like half an avocado, some nuts (a scoop of almonds that fills the palm of your hand), a hard boiled egg, or some fruit – preferably berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
c. For an evening row, include lean meats in your dinner like chicken or turkey, or try some fish (not deep fried), or a bowl of brown rice and veggies.

And HYDRATE. Rowing is an intense cardio workout – there’s a lot of sweating. For peak muscle performance, hydrate several hours before the class – water and electrolyte replacement fluids are the best choices.

What are your top three tips for rowing newbies?

1. Avoid the “death” grip – as newbies to almost any sport that require holding something, we tend to hang on for dear life. Do not over squeeze the handle – doing that offers no benefits; it will make your shoulders tense and could cause cramping in your forearms.

2. Use your legs – they are very large muscles that produce great power and can help you to cover the distance very efficiently. About 60% of the stroke comes from your legs, so push hard.

3. Visualize – in your mind’s eye, imagine crossing a finish line – see it, feel it, and go for it – it will totally lift you!

4. Be patient – it takes a bit of time to get the sequence of movements right in your head, but it will come for sure.

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