(This article first appeared in the May 17, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)
Stationary bikes are yesterday’s news as a new wave of rowing machines are occupying the East End. Making its debut in May 2016 with a location at 33 Hill Street in Southampton, East End Row conducts low impact training on The GX WaterRower. The machine is a water-filled flywheel that adds natural resistance and a tranquil “swoosh” sound that emulates the sound of rowing in nature. It’s a workout that can burn up to 1000 calories in a single class, so sign up fast!
Arriving on a rainy Saturday morning for my debut 50-minute class with instructor Albee Rogers, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Rowing seemed to be a straightforward workout only for back and shoulder muscles, with a preppy connotation to it. I imagine scenes out of Dead Poets Society or The Skulls.
After receiving my complimentary water and fresh towel, as instructed, I prepared a mat, medium weights, and resistance band next to my row machine for weight-based strengthening in between our “waves.”
Similar to sprints in a cycling class, “waves” are high intensity row intervals to heart pumping music at your own pace. After several minutes of adjusting to the motion, which Rogers so kindly helped me with, the first wave hit.
“Legs, abs, chest. Chest, abs, legs.” Repetition became second nature as I envisioned myself in one of those movies rowing with my team towards the finish line. The waves began. 300 meters. 200 meters. 100 meters. How far can you get in 45 seconds? Now 20 seconds. Go! By the last wave I had won my imaginary race against the Winklevoss twins.
Teaching with East End Row since its opening, Rogers has been a professional health and wellness coach for almost ten years. As a dietician, the transition from observing her clients progress, to taking an active role in their lifestyle, seemed natural.
“Rowing is definitely a new trend,” Rogers explained. “I had already been rowing at Crossfit . . . when East End Row opened . . . I thought what better way to lean out your body . . . but still work on the cardio portion that everyone sort of hates.
It’s a fun setting that’s choreographed to music so the beat keeps you going throughout the entire class and you never want to stop because once that beat goes you want to go even faster for it.”
Rogers made training off the WaterRower as interestingly self-competitive as on it. While playing “Roxanne” by The Police the class was told to do a single burpee (you know, those wonderful full body jump, pushups) every time the name Roxanne was said. To be clear, it’s said roughly 26 times. At another point, the song “Flower” by Moby was used for squats. Fittingly so, as the lyrics say “lift and squat.”
Each time Moby brought “Sally down” the class squatted in unison, nearly 30 times. Finally, we used the weights for additional arm and shoulder toning in pulsating movements.
What I enjoyed most about this workout was the surprising full body benefit. Every row motion targeted lower glutes, along with arms and abs. Using the row handles and foot straps, there were added oblique techniques and core training. Of course, the next day I mostly felt a soreness in my back and shoulder muscles, but I recommend this class to all levels and all fitness types.
“Trust your trainer,” Rogers explained a common misconception seen quite often. “Know that they’re correcting your form or modifying your workout for a reason to benefit you most. Sometimes the best workout is very slow, but proper movements.”
It’s hard to believe that Summer solstice is upon us. My blog 28 Days of Awesome: Find Your Local Adventure inspired a movement within myself. Though the initial blog was 28 unique things in 28 days I didn’t want to stop there. Why not try new things each season? Hell, I’m making it a blog series!
In order to make the most of 2017 I vowed to optimize each day as the seasons continue with small efforts to live life as an adventurous journey (not one we simple begrudgingly walk through). Spoiler alert: it works! I feel happier and healthier.
Here are some new things I partook in (and highly recommend you do the same):
Eating at New Restaurants, Attending Yearly Events & Trying New Free Offers From A Variety Places:
– The Cuban, Garden City, L.I.- Feel, and taste, like you’re in Little Havana. From Cuban cuisine to Latin music, this restaurant transports you on the vacation you’ve been dying to take.
– Salinas, Meatpacking District, N.Y.C.- Bienvenido a España in this beautifully decorated restaurant next door to the Highline Hotel. In the true Spanish tapas style, plates are pequeña but a variety for sharing to get a taste of everything.
– Ayhan’s Shish Kebab, Port Washington, L.I.- The original of the chain where I drank a pomegranate martini, making me feel like I was one of the Gods.
– Left Coast Kitchen, Merrick, L.I.- I bow down to the person that created this Temple Burger. A spin on the classic bagel, lox & cream cheese deluxe, but replace the bagel with latkes and add some eggs. You read that right.
– La Fondita, Amagansett, L.I.- Under the same ownership as restaurants Nick & Toni’s, Rowdy Hall and Townline BBQ, this off-the-road location looks understated but its large personality matches the enormous flavor.
– Hampton Coffee Company, Hamptons, L.I.- I’ve never actually stopped at a brick & motor location for this coffee. Off route 27, it was an ideal pick me up.
– Kobrick Coffee, Meatpacking, N.Y.C.- In an intimate and swanky, yet surprisingly casual location, that serves an Affogato worth salivating over!
– Starbucks , All Over- I came, I bought and I loved the newly released Toasted Coconut Cold Brew.
– Douglas & James Ice Cream, Port Washington, L.I.- A quaint little parlor right on the water with a decor that makes you want to try it all!
– Carvel’s Free Cone Day, (once a year) All Over- I was the only adult on line, April 27th, but no way was I missing out! Mark your calendar for yours.
– Taste of Tuckahoe, Southampton, L.I.- This annual benefit supports local schools and provides delicious tastes from dozens of local fare!
As a self-proclaimed ‘fitness foodie’ my motto is that if you want to eat hard you have to work out even harder. As evident of the above, I had some hard work ahead of me. Listed below are some of the unique ways to keep fit:
– Glow Golf, Garden City, L.I.- It can still get chilly in Spring, so some outdoor activities remain on the back burner (like mini golf). But mention indoor, GLOW IN THE DARK mini golf and no questions needed.
– Aerial Silks, Riverhead, L.I.- I took an aerial fitness class in a hammock (what they use for aerial yoga) and became hooked. A slightly different, and more difficult, experience was the dual hanging silks! Full review here.
– Volleyball, All Over- I may be an athlete by nature but I had never played competitive beach volleyball before now. Turns out, while I certainly need practice, I’m not half bad (for a real review ask my teammates).
– Box + Flow, N.Y.C.- This summer Ruschmeyer’s kicked off #WavesandWellness. Based in NYC, Box+Flow made their east end debut with a class combining boxing & yoga. This was the best way, potentially the only way, to eagerly get me on a yoga mat. Read my review in full.
– Cryotherapy, Water Mill, L.I. & N.Y.C.- Can you stand to be in a tube filled with nitrogen gas at -250 degrees Fahrenheit? How about for 3 minutes? For the health benefits it’s entirely worth it. Read more.
Explored some new places: Some things I just stumbled into, or decided to experience for myself. In omnia paratus!
– Private Artists Exhibit, East Hampton, L.I.- Guild Hall held its 79th Artists Member Exhibition and I was fortunate to attend the initial private showing.
– Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor, L.I.- Sitting under heat lamps on the outside deck, sipping my last whiskey cocktail of the season, it was a pleasant reminder that winter had passed and Spring was blossoming.
– Long Beach Strip, Sag Harbor, L.I.- A different Long Beach, known as Foster Memorial. A beautiful strip on the bay side.
– Democrat Point, Robert Moses Beach, L.I.- I hit a few first with this one, including watching kitesurfers!
– Long Island Welcome Center, Dix Hills, L.I.- You’ve likely seen the obnoxious, blue I <3 New York advertisement signs on every major parkway. I stopped by the newly developed L.I. Welcome Center (eastbound on the L.I.E.). With all local produce it supports the entire community and gives back to those who make this island great.
– Montauk Salt Cave, Huntington, L.I.- I couldn’t make it to Montauk but I did get to experience my first salt cave at their secondary location in Huntington. Inhale salty benefits, exhale stress.
On a more personal note, I made a conscious effort to further my career: I’ve worked hard on building my ‘Nikki on the Daily‘ brand for years. Recently, by consciously making an effort to push harder, it seems things are finally falling into place. But I wouldn’t be where I am without some help.
– Started a Fitness Column, East End, L.I.- I’ve been writing for The Independent Newspaper for several years. Currently I am perma-freelance reporting on several topics. A topic I aimed to be fluent in is fitness & have earned the weekly IndyFit column.
– Modeled LIVE on TV, N.Y.C.- When I was in the studio audience of The Wendy Williams Show, back during my 28 Days of Awesome, I was asked to potentially return for a model segment. Thanks to help of style expert, Chassie Post, I modeled in a live TV segment called Look for Less.
– Hampton’s Modeling Debut, Southampton, L.I.- The wonderful Gabby Wild and Southampton Adoption Center invited me to walk in their ethical fashion show/benefit, Catwalk for Canines. I took a step in the right direction in the gorgeous fashion lines of Marita Wrong and Pelush, with a pup up for adoption.
– Bethpage Polo at the Park,L.I.- This season, as a manager to the VIP tent on the polo grounds, I am both humbled and proud to be able to contribute to a business community I strongly believe in. Come join us on Sundays.
From my adventuress to yours, may every moment be more awesome than the last!