By: Caley Crawford
Director of Training & Experience, Row House
What I can't tell you is exactly how many calories you can burn in a Row House class. I know that's what you came here to find out, so let me explain…
There are many factors that affect the speed at which you burn calories in a workout, or in daily life. The number of calories burned in a Row House class ranges between 200-1,000 depending on the rowing class length, class format and the biggest factor, which is you. Your height, body mass, age, weight, muscle mass, overall conditioning and heart health all play a role in why the “same workout” may produce a different caloric output for different people.
So, it's really more about understanding what you can and can't control. It's challenging to control the speed at which your body burns calories, however, you can control your effort within your workouts that will allow you to burn more calories. In order to get the most out of your Row House workouts (and burn the most calories) it is crucial that you learn the proper form on the machine. Proper form will allow you to recruit the most (and right) muscles. Rowing works 86% of your muscles in every stroke, but that's if you're rowing properly. The Row House coaches go through rigorous training to ensure they can get our members rowing well. Muscle recruitment is an important factor in caloric burn because your heart has to work harder when you work bigger muscle groups, and when you're working more muscles at once. So, yes, you heard me right! Choosing a full body cardio option like rowing will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than a cardio option that only works your legs, for example.
The rowing machine is an effort based piece of equipment. This means that the effort you put into your workout will dictate your output. For instance, let’s talk resistance. In order to increase your caloric burn, you should look to increase your resistance. The wind resistance you feel in the Concept2 rowing machines is dependent on how hard you push. So, if you're looking to maximize your caloric burn, you'll need to stay motivated and push with your legs!
At Row House, another way to maximize your burn is to leverage the variety of class type offerings our studios have. We have five class types, and each serves a unique purpose.
Signature (Cardio & Sculpt)
Full Row (Cardio Endurance)
Strength (Cardio & Strength)
Intervals (Low-impact HIIT)
Restore (Cardio + Stretch & Core)
If the goal is to maximize caloric output and burn, you'll want a blend of formats in your routine, and you'll need consistency. Strength will be a crucial class type to weave into your routine because the more muscle mass you have, the higher the burn. Muscle burns fat. Intervals class is a series of heart rate rowing intervals combined with full body resistance training which is a great choice for fat burn and caloric expenditure. Full Row, being that it's endurance focused, is your full cardio class where you're focused on a more consistent effort over a longer period of time. The endurance, conditioning and mental control you'll gain from this class will allow you to find new highs in the other classes. Signature is the catch all; A blend of all of our class types in one. And finally Restore… Believe it or not… You need Restore. Long term weight loss and body composition changes take time and consistency. In order to be consistent over a long period of time, your body needs to be healthy. Your joints mobilized and muscles stretched. Your core needs to be strong. Restore is an important class to allow your body to rejuvenate and realign. To reset. Rowing is low impact and non weight bearing so your joints will naturally be protected, but the additional stretching, core, mobility and stability we do in Restore is crucial for overall longevity.
To maximize your benefit and results from our classes, try taking 5 classes a week, consistently for at minimum 4 months. One of each class type is ideal, with two rest days during the week. It may sound daunting, so start small and build from there. If you can only start with 3 classes a week then I would suggest Signature, Full Row and Strength, with the occasional Restore mixed in. If 2 classes a week is your only option then Full Row or Intervals, and Strength.
In summary, our caloric expenditure varies greatly from person to person. Things we can do to increase our burn is to build muscle mass, have a balanced workout routine with a blend of full body cardio & strength, and maintain our overall health so we can stay consistent for longer.