LOS ANGELES—As summer rolls around, it is a terrific time to explore one’s options for summer activities and fitness. One excellent option to consider is rowing, and Iva Boteva’s iROW Fitness Studio is a great place to start.
Boteva’s resume is a highly impressive one. A former USC rowing recruit and rowing coach who began rowing at the age of 10, Boteva is also a San Diego Crew Classic winner, and a NCAA National Championship winner; she knows what she is doing.
The relatively new iROW Fitness Studio was opened by Boteva on May 15, 2009. “Prior to its opening, I had a private coaching practice that existed under the umbrella of the former Lions Rowing Club in Marina Del Rey, CA,” she explains. “In late 2008 I separated my practice from the club and was faced with the need for a space that could become the new home for my coaching activities.”
It was Boteva’s “passion for rowing coaching as well as the desire to create something of [her] own that is completely unique in the rowing world” that inspired the opening of the fitness studio.
“The uniqueness of our studio lies not only in the fact that we offer coaching services on the water as well as in the studio, but also, in that we can work with every person who would seek our services,” she points out.
“What I mean by that is, traditionally, a rowing coach would be employed by master or junior clubs, high schools or colleges, and a few would work on the elite level with National Team rowers. However, very often working with one population excludes the possibility with working with another (for example, as a collegiate coach I could not coach a junior rower, as that would be a violation of NCAA rules). “
“By opening the studio, I created a platform which allows me to work with people of all ages who would like to learn to row recreationally or to compete on the masters rowing level (ages 27-99). In addition, I can coach collegiate rowers who would like to keep in good shape when on summer or other breaks from school, as well as junior rowers who try to improve their 2k erg score in order to have a chance to earn a rowing scholarship for college as well as anyone else who doesn’t necessarily fit into any one of these categories.” (A 2k erg score is a measure of rowing ability, measuring an individual’s best time for a 2000m rowing test, as performed on a rowing machine.)
The studio offers a wide variety of fitness tips and a highly flexible attitude toward learning. With the goal of “promot[ing] rowing as a recreational and competitive sport by offering superior coaching and excellent customer service,” the studio caters to every audience. Group lessons are offered Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday. Private indoor and outdoor rowing lessons are provided, as are small group classes and lessons can even be provided at home and even over Skype. Additional ways by which the studio aims to promote rowing include through training programs, race support and video analysis and other custom tailored programs and services.
Teaching rowing to others and promoting passion for the sport drives iROW Fitness and Boteva. The core of Boteva’s philosophy includes a “desire for excellence, honesty and authenticity,” she explains. “Excellence is something I expect of myself and our instructors when it comes to the knowledge we possess about rowing, our ability to successfully communicate it to our clients, and the expansion of that knowledge through further educating ourselves.”
“As coaches it is our job to identify shortcomings and to suggest solutions for better performance. Furthermore, these suggestions have to be continuously reinforced in order for permanent changes to take place. Honesty refers to our ability to give constructive criticism to clients who are looking to improve their rowing skills in a way that is inspiring and motivating.”
“Finally, authenticity refers to staying true to the fundamentals or rowing not only on the water but also indoors. As rowing machines have become more popular among individual users and fitness clubs, we see a lot of misuse of the machines, and even in group indoor rowing classes led by instructors the focus is on burning calories and keeping the energy high by moving back and forward really fast on the machine. The final product as a result of that (in terms of how people ‘row’) is practicing a rather washed out version of rowing. Not only are people not getting the full benefits of the activity, they are actually at risk at injuring themselves by rowing without consideration for technique.”
“At iROW Fitness Studio we stay authentic to rowing, regardless of whether we row on the machines or outdoors. This insures smooth transition between indoor and outdoor rowing as well as minimized risk of injury.”
Many people may find rowing to be the perfect sport to take up this summer. Boteva notes that rowing is in fact a “very beginner friendly sport for people of all ages and abilities that can be performed individually or in a group.” However, would-be rowers should also be aware that the “technique” or rowing does not necessarily come naturally, and as such, “beginners should work with a rowing coach for at least a year in order to establish a solid base upon which they can continue to build eventually on their own.”
Another exciting thing to be aware of is that those who visit iROW Fitness Studio and learn the basics of rowing will find many opportunity to participate in rowing competitions for all ages and categories. Rowing, “when done with proper rowing technique, is a total body workout that is easy on the joints and can improve greatly strength and endurance,” Boteva adds. In addition, rowing may even help make college more affordable: “There are many partial and full rowing scholarships available in colleges and universities,” Boteva points out.
Lessons are offered seven days a week at iROW Fitness Studio and the first class is free for new students.
IROW Fitness Studio is located at 3560 S. La Cienega Blvd., Suite K (second floor) in Los Angeles.
Interested readers can learn more about iROW Fitness Studio by visiting iROWfitness.com or by calling (310) 895-5506. Readers can also “like” iRow Fitness on Facebook.
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