It’s not often that you go to the gym and have a world-class athlete teaching your group exercise class. But that’s exactly what you’ll find when you take Jill Lancaster’s Indo-Row class at 426 Fitness in Warren. Jill, a former world rowing champion, knows that rowing can be an expensive sport, and is typically seen as open mostly to the privileged. But because it such an effective workout, and a motivating experience when done in a group environment, she is passionate about introducing it to a much wider audience. And Indo-Row classes are the perfect way to do that. “It really is a full-body workout,” she says. “Rowing not a difficult movement, but a lot goes into it. With each stroke you’re working your legs, glutes and arms, and holding your core strong. And in class I encourage people to work off the energy of the people next to them. Feeling that timing and togetherness is very inspiring.”
A native of Zimbabwe, Jill traveled the world as a lightweight on her country’s national rowing team prior to coming to the United States. Now as an Indo-Row instructor, she is in the unique position to show her class participants “what real rowing is all about – the technique, listening to your breathing and staying together in motion.” Truly invested in spreading the word about the sport, Jill also works full-time at WaterRower, Inc. in Warren, the company that designs and manufactures rowing machines used around the world.
Jill’s classes are set to music and include students of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. She loves having this diversity, and asserts that, “anyone can do it. I’ve had three generations of one family in a class – that’s really incredible.” Many people don’t realize that they are burning so many calories and working all their muscles at once because rowing has a lower perceived exertion. “You don’t feel like you’re working that hard, but it’s great cardio and one of the best cross-training workouts for athletes involved in other sports.”
An avid swimmer as well, her fitness philosophy is about “listening to your body and what it’s telling you to do that day. If I’m having a hard time motivating myself to work out, I just get out there and try do something for at least 10 minutes. Usually I feel so good by then that I continue on.” See, even world-class athletes need an extra push sometimes, too.
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