As I lived in Philadelphia for medical school, I would walk along the river where the famous crew races would occur. Of course I would fantasize about returning to college, joining a crew team, and waking up at 5am to be on the water competing with my peers.
Well I can't go back in time, so for my wonderful present self thank goodness someone was awesome enough to bring the crew experience to me:) In this case, that person would be Josh Ozeri, one of the owners of Brooklyn Crew and Kimberly, the head instructor.
Brooklyn Crew located on the ever growing Broadway in Williamsburg presents a simple, easy going, almost west coast like atmosphere. There was nothing pretentious nor stuffy. I did not feel I was entering a class that would be competitive or uncomfortable. I walked into the class studio and to a nice surprise, they do not overcrowd the rowing machines. There was plenty of space to feel comfortable. And then there was Kimberly.
What a breath of fresh air. As a native of Brooklyn, for me it was great to meet Kimberly who exudes a west coast awesomeness that excites you for your adventure ahead. I think it was important for me not to have someone who felt "New York-ish." I never heard of crew growing up in Brooklyn. Kimberly created a sense that I was away from my Brooklyn life. I was now on a river about to crew with my fellow classmates.
So, it seems great, cool instructor, what about the workout? Brooklyn Crew was definitely one of the more unique workouts I have done. Doing cycling, boot camps, even cross fit, they all had variations of workouts I have done in my life. But Crew was different. I loved that the focus was on perfecting my posture (a problem all of us office workers have), strengthening my core, and doing a new move that was unique. The music provided a great beat and the light was dim enough that I was still able to see my reflection in the mirror. The highlight of the class was that I felt we were on the water working hard to keep the rowing momentum going strong. I could look at my peer through the mirror and though not feeling competitive, I felt we were racing. He inspired me to keep his pace and keep pushing through the water. It was a really cool for 45 minutes imagining I was on that river in Philly competing.
Crew is a cool, effective way of doing three great gym exercises in one that as mentioned above is done in a fun, exciting atmosphere. The first exercise is a seated cable row where you work on your biceps, chest, and back bringing the bar with resistance to your chest. The next move is (and what these machines do that separate it from just being a seated cable row) is the sliding foot mechanism. By strapping your feet into these and sliding back and forth as you row, you create a ab exercise similar to a hanging leg rase as well as a seated leg press when you push out. So with each "1,2" you are performing all three of these typical gym exercises in one. Posture is improved and core is being activated, all to an amazing beat while fantasizing you are actually doing crew. It's unusual to have an exercise class that literally "takes you away."
I caught up with Josh, the owner and he provided some feedback about his ambitions about creating Brooklyn Crew. Josh was looking for an effective way to bring a sport to the gym experience. He mentions (and this was after I had experienced the class) that the idea was the provide the realistic effect of being on water. Good job Josh, well done, because it did feel that way. Lastly, about encouraging folks to exercise and maintain healthy goals, Josh appreciates there are many options to add fitness to your life. Find one you can love. If you do, it will be easier to stick with and you are more likely to stay focused on reaching one's goals. My peer next to me while rowing in the class simply told me this was the best class he had found. I felt his passion for the class as we started and finished. He was having fun and was getting a killer workout. No doubt he had found his go to class.
Brooklyn Crew is a pretty cool alternative to the typical classes for a great cardio and muscle building experience. If you think you are bored with your routine or dulled by your trainer or simply just not having fun while working out, Brooklyn Crew is your spot. Check them out!