Rowing! Now with pixels.

I tried an Apple Fitness + workout this morning. The fruit company’s exercise streaming service launched this week and I got it as part of my bundle. Don't you judge me. I was the only person subscribing to Apple News in Australia and cos of all of my other Tim-adjacent services and content it was cheaper to simply buy the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Also, look, yes, I was curious. I had the strange experience earlier this year of increasing my fitness and dropping weight during lockdown. Totally because all of my favourite bars and cafés were closed. As soon as they reopened, the blubber eel wormed its way back onto my tummy. I've been stepping up my gym visits and trying to cut back on bakery treats and mid week bottles of wine, but I had been sort of hoping that Tim Cook could just make it all go away for one reasonably priced monthly subscription.

Turns out, yes!

Or at least, I think so.

I tried a rowing workout this morning, because I hate rowing. I know it's a great all round workout, but OMFG it's even more boring than running on a treadmill. I usually get about six or seven minutes in before my eyes roll back in my head and I fall off the equipment from tedium. It was a hard ask to make of Fitness+, but so is hitting up my credit card every month, Tim.

First up, don't try this at home unless you are an absolute Apple gimp. You need a watch and a screen and although it's not entirely necessary, it would be nice to have some Airpods Pro too. (The noise cancelling cuts out the terrible gym music).

I had everything but the pods with me, having left my spendy little plastic ear blobs on my bedside table. Luckily I keep a cheap, shitty pair of Bluetooth earphones in my gym bag for just such incompetent shitfuckery.

I had some problems pairing to my phone, but I doubt that was the phone's fault. After a couple of frustrating minutes I got audio. This occasioned more frustration because when I started the basic rowing workout the app kept telling me I needed to be wearing my Apple watch. Reader, I was. After a couple more minutes of faffing around I solved that problem by turning Bluetooth on and off, the modern equivalent of whacking an old cathode ray TV upside the head.

Finally. I was ready to row.

Luckily for Tim and the gang, this is where things got better.

I think my trainer’s name was Josh, a wiry little surfer dude who apparently rowed for America at a national level. Josh, if that really was his name, seriously, I've forgotten and I don't have my phone nearby to check on the app… Anyway, Josh provided a pretty good introduction to the basics of using a rowing machine which, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover I'd been using wrong.

Technique corrected, phone perched on the machine (next time, Blutac!) and Apple Watch stalking all my biometrics, we kicked off.

It didn't suck.

That's not faint praise. I've never done a rowing machine work out that sucked any less than the cold hard vacuum of deep space. Josh was engaging and encouraging. In a very American way. A very Californian way.

This was not the Australian way, and I did indulge in a little eye rolling to begin with. But as the workout went on, and I synced my own movement to the action on screen, dropping in and out of intervals, doing all sorts of weird shit it would never have occurred to me to do, I started to get into it.

By the end of the workout I was all “FUCK YEAH" and “BOOYAH” and “ATTACK THE MACHINE!”

I will, of course, have to find a new gym.

But I did enjoy the workout and I was tempted to start another one immediately afterwards.

It won't be for everyone, and not everything in the app is for me. You can't choose the music, for instance. And I don't like Dance, which is one of the nine or 10 exercise forms. Also, yoga. Not for JB.

But I'm sitting here late in the afternoon, thinking, "If I blew off my deadline right now, I could go do some intervals in with Josh."