In November 2009, Shaun Quincey is embarking on the biggest and longest race of his life, rowing solo from Australia to New Zealand. Inspired by his father, Colin Quincey, who completed the first ever solo Tasman Crossing in 1977, Shaun will be the only other person to row the Tasman solo with no assistance.
To prepare for the journey, which will cover a distance of 2200km on one of the most treacherous seas in the world, Shaun has been training for up to 4 hours daily on the Concept2.
“I am glad I love the sport and my current day to day routine is certainly a test of how much I want to share the accolade with my Father. I am focussing very hard on enjoying the preparation for this adventure and I love it.”
Why did I buy a Concept2?
Well, I have always loved rowing, and particularly because it exercises so many muscles, is easy on the knees, and leaves you with such a great feeling of wellbeing, as well as fitness.
I hesitated, because of the price of course, but after some thoughtful consideration, I realized that it was, actually, anything but expensive. I was already paying standard gymnasium fees, my wife was also wanting to join the gym, and our three late primary school age kids (two boys and a girl) were talking about good body maintenance and training.
That was four years ago.
By now, it must have paid for itself several times over already – I would have paid more than the price of the Concept2 on gym fees for myself alone, let alone anyone else in the family. It is popular with all of us. I am not a fanatical rower, but I am now approaching the 2 million metre mark, and at the age of 63, have the blood pressure, general fitness and all-round well being of a man in his twenties. Our fourteen year old daughter is the second most frequent user, and really enjoys it. The other members of the family use it with varying enthusiasm. Family visitors also make good use of it.
The Concept2 has been a superb, intelligent investment. It folds and stows conveniently, and is always there to be used indoors or outside on the deck.
We can always say what we did, and encourage each others performances. And, best of all, when you have an “off-period” in your exercise programme, you don’t have to handle that nagging pressure that you are wasting your gymnasium fees by not going. Add to that the convenience of not having to drive anywhere, with clothes and towel – you exercise, shower and change whenever you want, with the minimum of disruption to family life. In fact, it has added considerably to the fun in our family life.
It still looks brand new, and total costs in running it have been four new batteries (one a year), and a new log card at $20, ordered over the net and arriving two days later my post.
I have not a single regret about my excellent investment in a Concept2.
John Lewins is one of our newest Million Meter Club members and when we asked him what motivated him to use the indoor rower he kindly sent us the following:
Why did I fall in love with a Concep2 Rowing Machine at 70 years young?
I am very competitive, so the chance to pit my rowing output against others was all the inspiration and motivation as well as perspiration (I.M.P) I needed to row 1 million meter’s. Before taking up The Challenge I had only rowed 1,000 and 2,000m with the odd 5,000 thrown in, therefore to build up to row 22,000 and 25,000 at a time gave me a real buzz.
I have always tried to keep fit, running 10k, ½ marathons and the odd marathon for fun! A few years ago I had a total knee replacement which stopped me from running, but gave me the opportunity to do those ‘we must do it next year’ walks that we had been putting off – the Milford and the Queen Charlotte Tracks were the most enjoyable and challenging.
Joining and working out at the YMCA Ellerslie helped me to reach and maintain a reasonable level of fitness. Unfortunately I suffer from neuralgia caused by a severe bout of shingles and this restricts what exercising I can do in the gym – no lifting weights for example but rowing is perfect, it doesn’t affect the damaged nerves in my back.
It is a good feeling to be cruising along on the rower with perspiration pouring off knowing that there goes another ½ kilo. I have lost 5 kilos since starting in June this year and now down to a trim 76 kilos. I just love a challenge and set myself a new one for each year.
In our May 07 newsletter we featured an article about North Shore YMCA’s Stan Brierly, a spritely 76 year old who had clocked up 25 million metres.
Well just to update you that in April 2008 Stan completed 31 million meters and has set a new New Zealand Million Meter Club record! Well done Stan!
Stan now has his own brand new Model D rower and we recently asked Stan for an update on his progress on his incredible virtual journey. Here is his response:
” I am very pleased with the new rowing machine and am certainly clocking up the kilometers.
I have, as you know, lifted my rowing distances up a bit and this year will be well over 5 million, perhaps 6 if I am able to carry on as I have to date.
|The one thing that impressed me is that our gym, the YMCA,has now a big list of rowers and many are now following my path round the world. All participants, like me, are pleased with the improvement in health and having such a worthwhile goal to pursue. I had originally estimated that it would take 3 to 4 years to cross the Pacific but this could well be reduced. I am looking forward to reaching 33 million when there will be less than 10 million to go (single figures).
At the moment I am fit and enjoying the challenge and have plenty of company and encouragement.”
We asked Stan about what keeps him motivated during his epic ‘adventure’ he said: ”My main aim is to keep my body operational and maintain a decent level of fitness and by undertaking this row around the world, it ensures that I will be active for at another least eleven or twelve years.” He went on: “There are many things in life that cause you to vary a goal and one of these came after I was recovering from a heart by-pass operation with post operational problems. As I was a formerly fit person, into running great distances, triathlons, harbour swims and Ironman events, it meant that I had to think about what I could do to recuperate. So I decided to join a gym and work my way back to physical health
“I commenced with rehabilitation classes and stuck at them for some time but felt I was not making any progress, still feeling unwell with frequent hospital visits. So I decided to try the gym circuit training and during one of these sessions I was introduced to the Concept 2 rowing machine.”
Stan started out by doing 600m and found it hard going but got back on a few times and became hooked! “I slowly increased my distances and eventually reached 4 kilometres and at that time I was encouraged by the gym to have a go at 5,000m non stop.” Stan was soon able to get through both 5km and 10km without stopping.
When Stan started indoor rowing, he had a shoulder problem that doctors had worked on for some time and despite X-rays, cortisone injections and exercises it didn’t get better and the pain was waking him up at night. Stan continues “however, as soon as I started rowing, instead of aggravating it, the problem soon disappeared. So I decided that rowing was going to replace my running, swimming and other sports and was soon clocking up 10km almost daily.
When Stan ran around the world he worked from the distance via the equator which is 38,898km. Averaging 10km a day it took him 11years and nine months to complete that journey.
Since Stan decided that health was a lifestyle, he decided to undertake the mission of rowing around the world which meant calculating a sea route from New Zealand to Australia, across the Indian Ocean, to the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean, Altantic, through the Panama canal and finally back home.
He worked this out to be 42,000 kilometres and Stan set off on his daunting journey on the 10th April 2000 which would take over a decade to complete.
Stan was clocking up the miles and soon did marathons, ultra marathons and a 100 kilometer row which he completed in 10 hours 37 mins which was only 2 minutes slower than a 100km run which confirmed to him that running and rowing were similar when it came to effort and time. He then completed the distance again and shaved 42 minutes off his time setting a world record for his age group!
Stan entered all of his work outs into his rowing log and was amazed to see how his progress was accumulating, his weight had stabalised and it was great to see the calories used. Stan comments “these were excellent motivational tools! But by this time I had decided to slow my rowing down to a steady 7 minutes per kilometre and in my mind this was equivalent to the jogging distances that I used to do when I was out on the road. I was aware of the fact that the distance from St Heliers Bay to Rangitoto was 4.5k and made it a daily target to row to Rangitoto and back across the Auckland Harbour.”
Stan arrived at Melbourne in June 2001 after crossing the Tasman and then took a year to arrive in Perth. Crossing the Indian Ocean diagonally came next – a rather daunting distance of 8,029 km’s! “By the 26th October 2005 I was going through the Straits of Gibraltar and then into the Altantic. I had clocked up 23,043 k’s and was over halfway through my journey.
The Atlantic seemed formidable as I believe the sea can be quite treacherous and in theory there is a lot of shipping crossing so mentally there was this to contend with. It’s an attitude thing with rowing, the same as a lone runner, you act within yourself and you frequently play mental games while on each journey. Each session is an achievement in itself and of course, entering details in the log becomes thrilling as progress is made!
There are now 83 rowers at the North Shore YMCA who have completed 1 million metres and many who have completed much more! Each of these rowers has improved their well being and health! Their companionship and encouragement in this field is incredible!”
Stan has clocked up 2,555 days with an average of 9.89k per day but has worked out that if he had been rowing continuously for seven days a week, twenty four hours a day it would have taken him 121 days to row this far! As of April this year Stan has used up 1,262,136 calories!
Stan wonders if it had not been for the rowing machine where would they be now!!!!
Allan Hallberg with his son, Frazer.
Following our interview with enthusiast Marian Deakin in the September 2006 newsletter she pointed us in the direction of Allan Hallberg, another indoor rowing devotee who she said was another interesting character! So we got in touch, and Marion was right.
Allan Hallberg, Waikanae Community Constable, was born in Dunedin 51 years ago and describes himself as “a competitive old bugger” but as well as being a medal winning and world ranked indoor rower, has also been a powerlifter, cyclist, endurance racer and duathlete!
It all started in athletics at the tender age of 12 when Allan found decided early on that running was not his forte. He made the switch to the field events and in time became pretty good at them – winning a New Zealand title for shot putt in 1982. A little later in his twenties and thirties he tried competitive powerlifting and won nine New Zealand titles in Squat, Dead Lift and Total, mainly in the 125kg class. In 1989 Allan finished sixth in the World Championships.
|In 1983 Allan came 8th in the cult global competition World’s Strongest Man and was one of only six competitiors to complete a dead lift over the ‘magic’ 1000lb (455kg).
After a stint at Tinwald Cycling Club, Allan moved to Waikanae in 1996 and got involved in some endurance races (Taupo, Mt Taranaki and Rotorua to Taupo) and ended up competing in duathlons. Jump forward to 2005 and during training Allan got injured and badly tore a calf muscle and wasn’t able to run for months so he used the rowing machine for warm ups as he could still cycle.
Allan says “after a few weeks I was bragging about a 5km row I had just completed and one of the guys said that there are races for indoor rowing and never being one to shirk from a challenge, I asked how to get into it and I was sent the Concept 2 2000m training schedule.” Allan entered all three distances in 2005: 5,000, 10,000m and the One Hour at the Long Distance Championships and did quite well. His times were pretty good (17mins 36secs, 36mins 09 secs and 16,179m respectively) and he decided to enter two further races and came out with a New Zealand record for the 300m race for 49.1 seconds.
Allan then says “I guess I lost interest in racing and enjoyed sitting on the rower and sweating it out so from October 2005 until February 2006 I would average about 100,000 to 110,000m per week maybe doing three half marathons per week which improved my hour row. I would set myself up with my MP3, fan, drink bottle and just row.” “Then in February 2006 my enthusiasm was rekindled by Marian Deakin who mentioned the CTC Challenge which is an international rowing team challenge with different challenges every month, so I joined the same team as Marian – the “Forum Flyers”. Since 1st May 2005 I have clocked up 7.8 million metres and should reach the big 8 Million by the end of March. I currently average between 80,000m to 90,000m per week with the next target being the Nationals in May, then the Worlds in September.
“I have found rowing to be great for my fitness and weight management while I have been using it. I actually read somewhere, tongue in cheek of course, that it was referred to as ”the poor man’s liposuction”, a great statement. I have also promoted it to others as a great cross trainer for other sporting codes”.
Allan’s advice to anyone starting out in indoor rowing is: “firstly don’t put in a fixed time or distance, set it to “just row”. Secondly, don’t go out too hard as the first few minutes are to get into a rhythm with both the slide and breathing and most of all be relaxed and thirdly, the power comes from the leg drive and not the arm pull. Better still, pick a machine with a flat battery so there is no read out. Sometimes on a long row (one hour plus), I turn the computer away and just work on technique with a slow stroke rate, which works for me”.
When we asked Allan about his 2007 targets, he told us: “They are to improve on all my times. I want to break 6m 30 for the 2km. I haven’t raced this distance since 2005 so it is long overdue, and eventually I want to compete at Boston in 2008/2009”.
Asking Allan how his family feels about him spending so much time on the machine, he says “Both my wife and 14 year old son, Frazer, have got interested in rowing as well. Frazer went with me to the World Champs and won all his races. The kudos he got from school mates especially after the local rag featured an article about him, his self cofidence has grown leaps and bounds. He is quite tall and once made the statement that he didn’t want to stand out, now he stands tall and gets into a lot of other school activities. He joined the music club and is now playing the drums, and there was no way this would have happened last year”
“I was once a reasonable sportsman playing club rugby in the UK but my mobility was impaired by a slipped disc which was untreated, because the hospitals were full, and the disc severed the nerves to my left calf which then withered. This means I cannot run, and as I get older walking is more difficult. So, to keep my heart and lungs functioning properly I bought a rowing machine having previously used one in the gym. Prostrate and kidney cancer, and arthritis have not helped my rowing ability either!
I also bought one for my son, Ben, who is 37 and 6ft 8” tall, a few years ago on which he trains for various competitions including a 100,000 Km (yes one hundred thousand km) race two years ago. He has rowed the marathon in 2 hrs 40 mins. His older sister Dr Penny Mitchell has rowed 2Km in 7 mins 20 secs but now has quit due to back trouble, a family failing. Nevertheless she still competes in running and cycling events winning three gold medals in last years’ Golden Oldies meeting at Dunedin.”
|When Geoff got his machine he was very enthusiastic but ill disciplined. He would row at any off time during the day, when he had nothing better to do, for 10 or 15 minutes, or one or two kilometres, whatever he fancied. Then he realised that his rowing frequency was dropping off as he was tired from working on the farm so he started to row 2k most days before breakfast. “My initial target was to beat 9.40 – which was elusive”. He then recalled his business experience (as a Management Consultant) and the three Essential Rules of Good Management:
With this in mind he looked at the Concept 2 memory for the listed 500m splits for his last ten 2km rows. Taking an average from these and with a target time of 9.40 he worked towards his goal. And on January 19th of this year, Geoff recorded a 2k time of 9.37 smashing his goal!
It just proves you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
||When Marian Deakin sat on an Indoor Rower for the first time, little over a year ago, she was determined to get in shape and lose some weight.
Twelve months on and the results have been amazing, and proof if it were ever needed that indoor rowing is a fantastic way for anyone of any age or ability to get themselves fighting fit.
Marian had tried other sports like swimming to help her get in shape, but she had been disappointed and decided to try indoor rowing when her local gym organized a million metre row for its members. The early months were successful, but not without some tiring moments.
|Marian quickly worked out her ideal training bands and got into a disciplined regime, meeting other people on Concept’s internet forums who were facing their own challenges and sharing ideas and opinions. Now she has an impressive weekly regime, which combined with a healthy diet, is still knocking off the kilos and helping Marian towards her goals.
Marian’s noticed benefits beyond impressive and consistent weight loss too. “Within a month or so my cardiovascular strength improved, I get asthma but I wasn’t getting short of breath at all with the erg. The erg really helps you regulate your breathing as you exercise.
A true devotee of the sport, Marian researches in advance hotels and places to stay that have a Concept 2 machine. “I now look for hotels that have a gym when we go on holiday. Before booking I send them an email asking them if they have an erg in the gym and if it is a Concept machine. We had a lovely hotel in Kuala Lumpur but it had some weird rower – not a Concept, I refused to touch it and my husband hated it and got off after three minutes.”
Marian’s weight loss has been staggering and puts her firmly in Concept 2’s worldwide list of the most successful athletes to use the Indoor Rower as part of their weight loss and weight management programmes. “In terms of weight loss I noticed when I’d lost the first few kilos but the real benefits really came faster when I got on the Concept 2 plan and stuck to it. At this stage I’ve lost 17.5kg since starting on the erg, but the most came off during the summer on the first interactive plan. My plan is to lose another 10kg over the summer months, at the moment I’m more into fitness and maintenance of weight. “
There’s little doubt an athlete as dedicated as Marian will achieve her goals and the final word of advice – for anyone thinking about using indoor rowing to help them lose or manage their weight – comes from Marian.
“Anybody can exercise and the lovely thing about the Concept 2 machine is that you are sat down all the time, it really is low impact and comfortable. The thing with rowing for fitness is it’s all about you – you aren’t in a race with anyone. Start by getting some lessons, I wish I had – it would have saved loads of time having to break bad habits later on. Don’t rush out and buy a Concept 2 after you’ve rowed your first 10 minutes at the gym, put some time in and decide if it is for you before you make the investment. Try one of the C2 interactive plans, you can tailor them to suit your fitness level and the amount of days you can commit to during a week. Show someone your intended plan – by showing it to my husband it made me even more determined to compete it. You will probably feel shattered at the end of the first two weeks, I wanted to sleep-in on my rest day as I was so tired. That feeling passes and you start feeling really good.
“And stick with it, the only person you are failing if you stop is yourself…..”
||Four years ago 39 year old rower Mark Obeney weighed 159 kilos and was struggling with his weight due to lack of exercise following a serious car accident. He was left with multiple leg fractures and had limited mobility making it difficult for him to exercise, especially as he even found walking very painful.
Following extensive treatment, Mark had his last operation to remove the pins, plates and screws from his legs in 2002. His doctor gave him the go ahead to start light exercise and in a bid to get his fitness levels back up again he began using the Concept2 Indoor Rower.
Mark had owned an Indoor Rower since the early 1990s so he already knew the benefits of the machine. Under strict medical supervision Mark began using the machine for five or 10 minutes a day and didn’t feel any pain.
|A year later and Mark was really beginning to feel the benefits of exercising again. He felt brave enough to join a health club where he set up a training programme with a personal trainer. Taking into consideration Mark’s improving but still limited fitness, he began a training programme of free and fixed weights alongside workouts on the Concept2.
Mark has steadily lost around one pound per week and today weighs just 120 kilos. Although he’s found the last few months pretty tough, he’s still training and aims to get down to 102 kilos. That would result in a total loss of more than 55 kilos. “My weight loss has recently hit a plateau but I’ve noticed that my clothes are fitting better than ever and in some cases are getting loose. It’s not just about the scales though, it’s about inch loss too!
|“I got started because my Dad was doing it, so I thought I should give it a try. It turned out that I liked it so I did it a lot. We have the RowPro software so sometimes I race people from around the world.
I normally row about three times a week, but I’ve got lots of other things going on as well, like touch rugby, swimming, soccer etc.
I would also like to (one day) row a million metres like my Dad has and beat him in a race.”
“I was keen for Cam to start rowing as not only would it be additional motivation for me, as I knew he would give me a hard time if I skip any rows, but I also think it is a fantastic exercise option for fitness and all over strength. I also think it is good to get into the habit of regular exercise, sure wish I did when I was younger…”