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FROM ROW HOUSE MEMBER TO OWNER: Amanda Gruen discusses her passion turned into purpose at row house santa monica

Hey there, I'm Amanda, the proud owner and lead coach of Row House Santa Monica. My journey into rowing started during my college years at the University of Michigan, where I transitioned from competitive swimming to synchronized swimming and eventually became a coxswain for the women’s rowing team. It was there that I discovered my passion for guiding and motivating others, especially through challenging workouts like those on the erg machine. This love for rowing blossomed when I noticed positive physical changes within weeks of starting. So, when the opportunity to own a Row House presented itself, I, along with my husband, Adam, jumped at it. Despite Adam's lack of rowing experience compared to my background, we both found ourselves enamored after our first class. As entrepreneurs seeking a new chapter in our professional lives and fitness enthusiasts, we were thrilled to bring this transformative workout experience to our community.


How does you passion for rowing influence the culture and training methodologies at row House santa Monica? 


We LOVE taking Row House classes!  Most days you can find us in at least one class at our studio.  Many of our coaches already had a passion for rowing before coaching at Row House, and the coaches who were new to rowing have learned to love rowing as well.  Our classes are so fun and effective because there is so much joy in what we are doing in the studio.


WHat are the most significant benefits of rowing thAt you wish more people knew about, and how do you incorporate these benefits into your studio offerings?  


I wish more people knew the mental health benefits of our classes.  Aside from physically feeling better (which is huge), you will mentally feel better after taking a Row House class.  It’s so much more than just working out.  When we move together, in swing with other people, our brains release all sorts of good feelings.  It’s like when you are at a concert and everyone is moving together dancing to the same beat.  It feels good. We dance with the rowing machine and everyone else in the room while we torch calories and push ourselves to our limits.  It’s so special.


Can you share a memorable experience or achiEVEMENT FROM your rowing career that has significantly impacted your approach to runNing your Row House location? 


One memorable moment in class stands out to me: it was during the final sprint, the culmination of our session, and amidst the stress of personal struggles, I decided to channel all my emotions into this last effort. Pouring everything I had into that sprint, as soon as it ended, tears flowed uncontrollably. It was cathartic, exactly what I needed, leaving me feeling immensely relieved. I strive to foster a space in our studio where individuals can use our workouts as a form of therapy, hoping to inspire others to find similar moments of release. As for Adam, a standout experience occurred in July 2023, when our manager and team orchestrated a special event. Given the high number of birthdays in July among our team and studio members, we organized a birthday-themed class complete with a playlist curated by Coach Julia, whose own birthday falls in July, and celebratory signs. The atmosphere was familial as we snapped photos and embraced the essence of unity through an invigorating workout session, epitomizing the spirit of "PULL. TOGETHER."


How do you balance your time and energy between actively participating in rowing and managing your studio? 


Rowing and fitness are a huge part of our everyday lives.  Running our studio feels like it naturally fits into our everyday routine.  We love taking classes and spending time with our crew.  Enjoying what we do and seeing the positive impact we have on people’s lives makes the balancing act a lot easier.

Looking towards the future how do you plan to evolve row house santa monica to keep pace with the changing fitness landscape while stayiNg true to rowing roots? 


We believe in our rowing-based workouts.  We are excited to continue evolving our floor work, special programming, and overall experience to keep things fresh and exciting. So, why wait? Come join us for a class at Row House Santa Monica today—you never know, you might find yourself rowing alongside me! See you on the erg! Book Now





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