Vary it up.
Credit: Photograph by John Loomis

Rowing out on a beautiful lake in Princeton, NJ or Eton Dorney, where the London 2012 Olympics rowing events are taking place, is one thing, but how do you stay interested staring at the wall on a rowing machine? "Erging is a lot like running on a treadmill – it's boring," says Giuseppe Lanzone (pictured in seat 5, on the left), a former football player and rowing machine veteran, having grown up competing at Crash-B while he was a high schooler in McLean, Virginia. Even though Lanzone says you only need to do it for 30 or 40 minutes to burn 900 calories, it can get tedious. "You have to vary it up with short-term goals instead of just a straight 5K," says the University of Washington grad of a distance that would take around 18 minutes. "We'll sometimes do 10 minutes at 20 [strokes per minute, or spm], five minutes at a 22, and come down to a 20, into an 18, into a 22, and so on."