Why you should buy the Hydrow rower on sale for $350 off, according to a real person who ‘hates’ exercising

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You know those people who wake up at 5 a.m. to exercise? And then feel energized enough to make it through the entire workday? Yeah, I am not one of those people. I don’t enjoy exercising ever, at all.

While I certainly appreciate and understand the health benefits of exercise, I just don’t feel comfortable in a traditional gym setting where I’m sweating and huffing and puffing in front of other people. It’s quite literally the opposite of an enjoyable experience for me. Running outside is just as unsettling. Plus, there’s the added dread of potentially tripping and injuring myself on a busy NYC sidewalk. No thanks.

Of course, I know exercise is essential; I get that I need to move my body and get my heart rate up. So for a long time, I’ve relied on long walks to keep me in shape and as healthy as possible. But the fact is, some days walking just isn’t possible. On days when my first meeting is at 8:30 a.m., and I’m working until 6 or 7 p.m., the last thing I want to do is go for an hour-long walk only to come home and still have to cook dinner.

That’s why I started thinking about at-home exercise equipment. Living in a city apartment, I’d always written it off because who has the space? Sure, some people are totally fine with having a spin bike in their living room, but that’s not me; I don’t want my living space to feel like a gym.

When I started seeing ads for the Hydrow rowing machine, I was intrigued. Chances are, you’ve seen them, too. According to the ads, the Hydrow is designed to be sleek, so it’s not an eyesore in your living space, but it still allows you to get in a full-body workout right from home. Pretty compelling, right? The catch? When the Hydrow is not on sale, it’s a whopping $2,495. Luckily, it is on sale for $350 off right now, so that’s definitely a huge plus.

Hydrow Rower, $2,195 (Orig. $2,495)

Credit: Hydrow

Curious but not quite convinced to spend more than a month’s rent on a rowing machine, I waited for a miracle. And as luck would have it, I got one. When the folks at Hydrow wanted a “real” person from In The Know by Yahoo to review the rowing machine as part of an ongoing partnership, I happily volunteered. Read all about my experience with the Hydrow below, along with my final assessment of whether or not the very fancy rowing machine is worth the investment. (Spoiler: It is, but more on that below!)

The Delivery

As far as shipping and delivery go, receiving the Hydrow was pretty seamless. Given that the rower is significantly larger than most packages I receive on a day-to-day basis, I was worried the delivery company might give me a hard time about delivering to a fourth-floor walk-up apartment. Amazingly, there were no issues. Once the Hydrow shipped, I received an email confirmation. A few days later, the local shipping company that would be completing the delivery contacted me to schedule a day and timeframe for the machine’s delivery. Three guys arrived and unpacked the rower in the lobby, and then two of them carried it up four flights for me while the third cleared away the packaging. Once inside my apartment, they asked where I wanted the Hydrow set up. The whole process took less than 45 minutes and was completely stress-free in the end.

The Setup

Because the delivery company unpacked the actual Hydrow machine downstairs, there wasn’t much setup for them to do once the rower was in my apartment. They attached a few parts, including the touchscreen control panel, fairly quickly and were in and out in less than 20 minutes.

Next, I had to set up a few things on the control screen. First, I had to connect the Hydrow to my Wi-Fi. Next, I had to create an account, which involved inputting my name, email address and some optional info like height, weight and gender. Lastly, you’re prompted to sign up for the Hydrow membership, which allows you to access the Live Outdoor Reality workouts filmed all over the world and track your progress. It’s $38 per month, and your card is charged automatically each month. You can input all the required details for each step right on the touchscreen, which is very convenient and easy to use.

I will note here that the Hydrow is nearly 7 feet long, and the screen is basically the size of a computer monitor. I happen to have a long hallway in my apartment that is out of the way and doesn’t get much use, which is how I was able to make it work. If you’re worried about the Hydrow taking up too much space in your home or apartment, the company does sell an Upright Storage Kit that you can use to store the rower vertically. Just keep in mind your ceilings will need to be high enough to accommodate this.

The Rower

Once I had the Hydrow set up with the basic capabilities, I decided to start by rowing on my own, without any guided instruction. I am totally new to rowing (and, let’s face it, to exercise in general), so I wanted to get a sense of the movements, the motions, and ultimately how it would make my body feel. To my surprise, the Hydrow is so smooth. The handle has a smooth finish that didn’t hurt the creases of my hands after about 15 minutes of rowing, and the seat glides so smoothly along the track. Even as someone who had only ever half-heartedly used a rowing machine one time before, I could tell the Hydrow was really good.

After I got comfortable on the Hydrow rower on my own, I decided to try a few of the workouts. There are more than 3,600 available, including rowing programs for use on the machine and even bodyweight exercises and yoga. Because this is a rowing machine, I started with a basic rowing workout that explained the fundamentals of using a rowing machine. It lasted about 15 minutes, and at the end, I definitely felt like I used every muscle in my body. I wasn’t sore exactly, but my heart rate was up, and my blood was flowing. It’s also worth reiterating here that my hands weren’t sore. In researching rowing machines, one common complaint is that they can cause calluses. I’ve used the Hydrow for just over a week now, and my hands are totally fine.

As I mentioned, in addition to rowing workouts, you can also access other instructional exercise videos on the Hydrow. I did a yoga routine and a pilates workout, and both were great. Truth be told, though, these are just nice perks. If I have a rowing machine, I want to use a rowing machine, so I’ve mostly stuck with the Hydrow workouts that involve using the rower.

So, Is The Hydrow Worth It?

So now that I’ve used the Hydrow for a while, you’re probably wondering if I think it’s worth the whopping $2,495 price tag, right? As someone who admittedly hates exercising, I have to say the Hydrow is absolutely worth the splurge. Between the convenience of not leaving the house to work out and the fact that you can use it whenever, it’s a really great option for people with busy lifestyles or who have gym anxiety like me.

Plus, if you look at the numbers, the Hydrow makes sense, too. An Equinox gym membership is probably the most comparable to the Hydrow rower, with all the classes and different exercises it offers. The priciest Equinox gym membership is about $500 per month here in NYC, so that’s $6,000 for an entire year. Factor in travel expenses to and from the gym, and you’re easily at $7,500. Given that the Hydrow is less than $2,500, it’s really a no-brainer. Even with the $38 per month Hydrow membership, you’re still spending way less than a gym membership. And again, there’s the added convenience of having access to all of these workouts right from home, so you can do them whenever you have time.

Simply put, if you have the money (and space) and need a way to make exercising easier and more convenient, the Hydrow is worth it.

Important note: For a limited time only, the Hydrow is on sale for $350 off. That’s not all, though. When you activate your All-Access Membership, you’ll receive a free 1:1 personal coaching session ($79 value). Deals like this don’t come around often, so don’t miss out. This offer ends on April 18.

More from In The Know:

Rowing is a great workout! Here's how one former Olympian stays in shape on and off the water

3 reasons why rowing is better than any other workout

3 reasons why rowing is a great workout for beginners

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