I recently had the opportunity to try out a new piece of home fitness equipment, the Aviron Impact Series Rower. It arrived on a Tuesday morning and I was immediately a bit intimidated by the need for some assembly but turns out I’m handier than I thought; start to finish I was done in about an hour. First impression, it looks good and it folds! I already own a Peloton Tread, so it was a good addition to my home gym setup.
Second impression, either I’m not in as great shape as I thought, or this is a really good workout. I’m not a rower and I use the rowing machine at the gym sparingly, but I do work out on a regular basis. My dad is a personal trainer and I have some pretty vivid memories of learning how to do pushups when I was about 4 years old.
I’ve never seen a workout machine with full on animated video games, so I start with “Shark Bait”. 30 seconds in I’m already breathing hard, but this is fun. I try not to laugh as my 12-year-old son starts to cheer me on in the background. After about 10 minutes and a couple more tries, I’m tired but intrigued.
Next, I try “Lighting Lap”, it’s a Tron-looking futuristic race where I’m trying to beat my own time with each new lap.
Then I move on to Texas Two Step, mostly because I like the name, I choose Medium difficulty and complete 10 minutes. I like how it automatically adjusts the resistance and tells me when I need to go faster or slow down. After chugging some water, I try Ultimate Upper Body, this time I choose Easy, because I’m losing steam. As I’m catching my breath, I realize it’s been an hour and I have to move on with my day.
For the rest of the week I take a different approach, I jump on for short workouts throughout the day – usually right before meals – on average 2 but sometimes 3 times a day. I created a profile so it’s easy to keep track of what I’m doing.
On Friday I invite my dad over to try it out – I select Full Body Circuit, a full body workout that guides you through exercises like bicep curls, back rows as well as off the machine exercises like prisoner squats. There’s a little animated person doing every exercise along with you which I really like.
My dad loves it and I’m not surprised. He starts in on a lecture about how rowing is a full body workout as well as low impact so it’s a good break for my knees. My usual cardio is running on the Peloton Tread and I mistakenly complained about my knees starting to bother me once.
After he leaves, I jump online and do some research – Aviron describes themselves as high intensity with a focus on the trending HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. Now I understand why there are so many options for short but high effort workouts and why the resistance level goes up to 16 – HIIT focuses on intensity and efficiency, not long drawn-out workouts.
The benefits of HIIT include strength building and the most effective workout for fat loss. HIIT can also improve cognitive ability and slow the aging process. A quick google search brought up articles like “the most effective anti-aging workout”. Without going into the nitty gritty science, HIIT improves mitochondrial function leading to a reduction in cell decay which is a contributor to aging. For most of us, better physical fitness (i.e. fat loss) is always high on the priority list but a workout that will also help me beat brain fog? I’m sold.
Saturday morning, I walk out of my bedroom and see that my kid has discovered Aviron. He started with Last Hope, a game where you’re being chased by zombies (of course) but he’s playing something that looks like a throwback to the old school Pong game. It’s still a screen but it’s a definite step up from the ipad, so I’m happy.
The machine itself looks pretty sleek and is quieter than I expected. I’m used to the rowing machine at the gym with the heavy-duty metal chain but Aviron uses a nylon belt. The rowing motion itself is nice and smooth as well. When I tried the Virtual Rows, I thought this is probably a pretty good imitation of the on-the-water rowing feel, based on my limited knowledge of water rowing.
The following Tuesday Aviron is picked up. My first thought as I wake up on Wednesday is I’m going to miss it. If you are considering a home fitness purchase, something challenging yet motivating that doesn’t require a lot of time each day, I would recommend Aviron.