It’s no surprise to anyone these days that people are looking for long-term home fitness solutions. Let’s face it, my own gym has been closed for almost a year now, with my membership indefinitely paused. Even so, do I really want to go back? The drive to the gym, waiting around for available equipment, and wiping it down because the previous user just walked away – all things I’m not missing.
Deciding to take advantage while I can, I pulled the trigger on an Aviron Impact Series Rower. It was fairly priced, is packed with versatile programs outside of the standard live classes, and they provided excellent customer service. What really sold me the most were the games, races, and workout programs which I learned were designed by fitness trainers and athletes.
My first impression of the rower was that it was sleek, fit in nicely in my 1-bedroom apartment, and had a user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate. The quick start button brought me straight into a standard workout, with my metrics filling the 22” screen. Let’s face it though, I bought an interactive rower for more than just a standard workout. It was easy to navigate between the six categories that Aviron’s workouts are filtered by; there are performance programs (this is where I found YouTube, yay!), competitions, video games, Races against Olympians, strength programs and rowing destinations from around the world for the more relaxed workout days. Needless to say, there’s a lot, luckily there are handy search and filter options that helped me find what I was looking for from the hundreds of options. Some of my favorites are the 10 minute programs that I can do in between zoom meetings.
I’ve used the Concept2 at my local gym in the past, so I had concerns that my workouts would be loud. I was impressed by how quiet the machine was which I assume is in large part thanks to the nylon belt vs. the classic chain.
I clicked through the workout program category to see what I’d get my sweat on with today and was pleasantly surprised to find: Arm toning, and Abs. I pressed start and set the resistance to the highest level (16 with Aviron), I immediately realized I overestimated myself. I remembered the Aviron rep I had a call with prior to purchasing, explaining that the resistance on the machines was designed to go as high as 100 Lbs. so that (even very strong) users could do bicep curls. Now it all made sense!
Knocking it down a few levels, I managed to complete a workout consisting of bicep curls, high rows, back rows, and tricep extensions. The next day I skipped my Aviron workout because I couldn’t lift my arms, let alone attempt to row. It was like I never left my gym routine! Thankfully, I managed to easily fold the rower and roll it away, so I could do some light stretches and yoga in my space.
I was sufficiently recovered and better prepared the next day. I wheeled Aviron back to what I have now dubbed my workout nook, unfolded it, and decided to give each of the program categories a go.
Exploring the Performance Programs, I found I could easily maintain a pace in the My Routine workout, or set target goals to achieve. I clicked on YouTube briefly to see the interface and was happy that I could easily search and watch videos, while also tracking my progress with the metrics at the bottom of the screen.
After that, I hopped into an online 5-minute race with other Aviron users. It was nice seeing people’s avatars as we raced and definitely helped me get competitive. Somehow I managed to finish in 3rd place, woohoo! A camera popped up and gave me the option to take a victory shot that the other race participants would see. I was sweaty and gross but feeling the endorphins so I went for it! This is a very cool feature.
I browsed the games which varied from werewolf chasing games, to some old school looking ones. I chose Row Breaker, because it brought on the nostalgia of owning a Blackberry and playing Brick Breaker. I can see why the Facebook community members rave about it, it’s almost impossible to tear yourself away when you have just a single brick remaining, and I wound up rowing for far longer than I planned.
Feeling a little wiped out, but still dedicated to trying the other 2 categories I navigated to Pros vs Joes. Trying to find an easy way out of an intense exercise, I chose Isatu, a world- champion sprinter, mostly because the race was only 45 seconds long. Seeing her video in the top-right portion of the screen was cool but of course I came in second place (ha!)
Last, but not least, Virtual Destinations. Finally, I could row at my own pace, with no time constraints, or automatic resistance adjustments to push my body. I stuck at resistance level one and chose to row through a sunset in Australia. I sat around for a minute waiting for it to start, but it wasn’t moving. That’s when I clued in that I had to row for the on-screen row to begin! I thoroughly enjoyed my leisurely row, it was a great way to cool down and I’m glad that this is how I rounded out my exploration of this machine.
I’m thoroughly impressed with not just the Aviron rowing machine, but also the community that they have! The employees that I interacted with are passionate and well informed about their product without being pushy, I was made to genuinely feel like an important customer even though I’m sure I’m just one of many they chat with each day. They even introduced me to their Facebook community, where I met people to connect with about workouts and also add as friends on the rowing machine for future workouts and races. Great work Aviron!