If you follow along with me on Instagram, you know by now how much I love ( and talk about how I love) Health House! I post little snippets of the workouts and I get so excited when people ask me questions about it – especially if it’s from someone who has never been but who wants to try it! I think the comment I receive the most is how nervous someone is to try it for the first time. And I get it! Rowing isn’t like a treadmill, or cycle class in that many people aren’t familiar or never tried it (I was in the same boat before I tried my first class!) It’s always intimidating to start a new workout class – ESPECIALLY if the class format is completely new and different than anything you have tried before! I have been taking down frequently asked questions from anyone and everyone who has sent me a comment or question on Instagram and wanted to start by sharing an overview of a Health House class. And I am hoping that by reading it, it helps knock down a bit of the barrier you may have to try it – by helping you get an idea for what you will be doing before even stepping into a class.
The class is made up of two different components: rowing and weights. The room is designed so that each rower matches up with a bench and mat directly across from the rower that you will switch back and forth on several times throughout the class. You can choose to start on a rower, or choose to start on a mat – it depends on your preference on where you would rather start your workout. In essence, you are “partnering up” with someone who you will share your rower and set of weights with. No matter where you start, you will go through both circuits several times – as directed by the coach, so don’t worry about where you start, you will get the same workout either way, the only thing that changes is the order that you do them!
Each day of the week works different body parts and is designated on the name of the class when you go to sign up on the app. For instance, Mondays are typically Chest and Legs, Tuesdays are Bis, Tris, and Abs. (check the schedule for all the days and the muscles you will focus on each day!)
On the Rower:
Throughout the class, the trainer will be telling you the distance to plug into your rower. It depends on the day and the class, but a longer row circuit might range from 800-1,200 meters and take several minutes to finish, or you might do a few back to back shorter rows anywhere from 400-200 meters each. Most classes you get a good mix of both long and shorter rows. But always just listen to the trainer, they guide you on the distance, you just have to worry about plugging that distance in, and watching it countdown as you row.
On the Weight floor:
Regardless if you start on the rower, or “on the floor” you will need to grab free weights before the class begins and set them on your mat. (when the coach is instructing you, they typically refer to the weights side as “the floor” so when they are calling out exercises listen for if they are saying “on the floor” or “on the rowers” since both sides are going at the same time, you need to listen for the distinction!) Weights start out at 10 lbs, and then goes on to 12.5 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, and then 25 and up. It depends on the class and muscle group you are working on to how heavy of weights you want on your mat. On days where we work bis and tris, for example, I grab a set of 10’s, and 15’s (if you can lift more- great! I am working on getting stronger, but this is what I am able to lift currently!). When you get to class, trainers typically tell you what mix of weights you will need, whether that be light or heavy. But if you aren’t sure, ask the trainer!
Exercises on the floor with weights are things like lunges, squats, chest press, bicep curls, etc. Coaches always demo the move you will be doing before you start, so my suggestion is to just always listen to the instructions and watch the demo. If I somehow missed the move we should be doing, I just look around at others. If I am not doing the move correctly, a trainer will typically come help by making some adjustments. They are super helpful and just want to make sure you are targeting the right muscle groups the move is intended for!
Class is broken down into Circuits:
Most of the time you will switch back and forth from rower to weight floor 3 times (sometime 4 including a warm up) So you will have around 3 sessions to row and 3 sessions to lift weights.
Active recovery activities:
There are a couple of activities the coach might add on to the end of a row when you finish. Sometimes you may do med ball slams behind your rower, or Russian twists on your rower with the med ball. It varies from class to class, and sometimes there won’t be an active recovery activity – again just listen to your coach guide you!
Okay so now I have outlined the structure of the class and what you will be doing – I have some tips for newbies that are coming into class for the first time.
I would recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early to your first class. Let the front desk know it is your first time and they will help you with whatever you need. Someone can walk you through how the rower works and how to plug in your distances, how to choose your weights etc. I would make sure to ask them proper rowing form if you are unfamiliar with a rowing machine. Ask them any questions that you may have. Everyone is helpful and knowledgable and want to make sure you are comfortable!
Don’t worry about your speed or how fast you finish compared to others. (No one is paying attention to you, everyone is focused on their own workout, so no shame in any speed you go at!) At your first class you don’t want to burn yourself out at the beginning of class, especially when you don’t know your endurance level for 45 minutes of rowing and weights. Push yourself but don’t feel obligated to go all out. (I took Brandon to his first class and he burned himself out on the first couple of rows not knowing his limits on the rower! Be careful not to do this! Take it easy the first round of rowing just to get a feel for it!) On the weights floor choose light weights and don’t worry if you feel like you need to drop to something lighter as class goes on. Always know you can modify – take it slow or take breaks if you feel like your muscles need them!
No need to keep up with someone next to you on the rower, and absolutely no shame at all if you finish toward the back of the pack. Like I mentioned before, no one is judging or paying any attention to you as we are all focused on our own workouts!
I get how that very first workout can be daunting when you are new. You are just trying to get used to the equipment, the class format and listening to the trainers instructions. Know that it just takes a few workouts for you to feel familiar and that you know what to expect. It took me a good 5 or 6 classes before I felt like I could go in and put all my energy into my workout without worrying about if I was doing something right, or what to expect next. Now each and every workout I look forward to! I love the music and the trainers and just the entire experience!
Let me know if you have any more questions, Always here to help!!