I'll admit I don't like gyms. They can be intimidating to work out in, and many have competitive atmospheres where big muscled men try to outdo each other.
But I don't like working out alone either. I need a trainer and a friendly community of people to work out with. And lastly, I need variety. I've tried weights and treadmills, and both bore me.
That's why Energy X Fitness caught my eye. Located on Broadway in Alamo Heights, it combines functional equipment like the TRX Suspension Trainer and Kettlebells with a WaterRower that helps create dynamic high intensity, but low-impact workouts.
I had never worked out on a rower before, but this sounded like fun, so I decided to join for a month to see how it went.
Why combine rowing with workouts?
Alison Galvan is the owner of Energy X Fitness and saw the opportunity to bring a new fitness option to San Antonio.
"I've been in the Fitness Industry my whole career and felt a calling to bring something new and exciting to the San Antonio community. At the time, 2015, rowing was becoming one of the fasting growing fitness treads in the US and we knew if done right, it could fill a void the San Antonio fitness scene" Alison Galvan
There is a wide range of fitness classes (nine) to choose from, and being a newbie to both indoor rowing and San Antonio decided to try them all out.
These ranged from pure rowing (Indo Row) to a class combining WaterRowers, TRX Suspension Trainers, and Kettlebells (Power Row) to what seemed like the odd combination of rowing and athletic-based yoga (Row and Flow).
Enthustiacally I decided to try them all out and plotted out my schedule around these.
The COVID pandemic badly hit fitness studios, and Energy X was no different. Alison was forced to adjust.
" During COVID we moved online. We rented out our equipment, set up live stream classes and an OnDemand channel, and did our best to keep providing our clients with workouts! It was hard, and we definitely lost clients. But we were lucky that Texas allowed us to open back up only 3 months after closing. Once we reopened we kept classes at 25% capacity and continued our online options. It has been a struggle getting business back to normal but we've seen a huge increase over the last couple of months as people get vaccinated." Alison Galvan
Nervously I entered my first class, which was IndoRow. This was 45 minutes of pure rowing. For someone with the upper body strength of a small child, I have to admit I was very apprehensive. Taking the class was Alison's husband, Danny, who could almost get a gig as a Dwayne Johnson body (and hair) double.
I told him I was a rowing virgin, and he spent some time making sure I warned up and got my technique correct. He broke down the movement into simple terms.
Pushing back, I was to use legs, core, arms.
Returning to the handlebar was the reverse — arms, core, legs.
At the start of the stroke, I was told to extend my legs, hinge my core, and then use my arms to row the handle toward my chest. On the way back, I reversed it: extend my arms, let my core hinge forwards, then bend my legs.
Using this gave me a full-body workout. Upper body, core, and legs. Perfect!
The post-workout recovery
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a caffeine addict. Luckily for me, Energy X is just a short walk to my favorite San Antonio coffee shop- Merit Coffee.
Having successfully survived IndoRow with Danny's help, I headed for a coffee. (In case you are wondering, as I'm an Aussie, I always go the flat white- which was invented in Australia).
I asked Alison what her go-to treat was after a good workout.
"If we're talking healthy treats, I love a good fruit smoothie! But if we're going a bit more unhealthy, I love a good glass of wine or a refreshing beer. " Alison Galvan
Making working out fun
Over the next few weeks, I tried all the classes. During this time, my rowing improved, and I could notice some changes in my dad bod. More importantly, they were fun.
Doing different things in each class made them seem fresh and actually made me eager to attend. The classes are small enough to get to know the instructors and your classmates well, which builds a community feel. Energy X also runs several social events across the year.
"Our most popular fun event is Kettlebells & Kegs. We bring kettlebells to a local brewery, lead a workout, and enjoy a cold beer afterward (like I said, it's my favorite treat!). We love to partner with other small businesses for fun workouts and community events! Alison Galvan
Beer and rowing! Is there a better combination? In addition to Kettlebells & Kegs, they have events that you can bring your children to, special challenges, and even fundraising events.
Energy X certainly changed my attitude to working out, and the fact they work closely with local businesses and retain a community aspect is even better.
If you are looking for a great workout with a friendly workout crew, I recommend giving Energy X Fitness a try. They have two locations.
5162 Broadway St
623 Hemisfair Blvd
They also run live stream and on-demand workouts, which you can check out on their website.