In April 2021, a new video cropped up on the Concept2 Facebook Community page. It was posted by Corey Brown and he had a simple question: how does my rowing technique look? The response was tremendous. Not only did the Concept2 Facebook community answer his question, they provided him with additional links, information and, maybe most importantly, encouragement.
Corey’s fitness journey started many years ago. As a kid, he tried every sport available, but when he finished high school, he went straight to work and his physical activity stopped. He was already slightly overweight and, without sports, his weight increased to 480 pounds. A visit to the doctor shook him to the core. “When I really seriously started getting back into sports was when a doctor told me basically, you better have your will in order,” Corey says. “This was back in 2010, at that time I had two daughters and my health was failing drastically in multiple ways. The doctor asked me point blank, do you have a will in order? Because as it is, there’s nothing we can really do.”
The message hit Corey profoundly and he knew it was time to get to work. He started by addressing his diet and then adding in body movement exercises. Corey also added one key ingredient: knowledge. “I study. I take things, I love to learn,” Corey says. Eventually Corey completed his personal training degree and was managing gyms in his home state of Iowa. He could apply his personal experience in everyday life. “The town where I started at, there was a population of 5000 people. Within one year of me being there, we had over 10 percent of the population coming to the gym. I ended up collecting people across that platform because I can relate to them,” he says. It’s not surprising; Corey’s enthusiasm is contagious. And his knowledge about fitness, training and weight loss is extensive.
After his original visit to the doctor, Corey managed to lose 200 pounds; but then "life happened," and Corey started gaining weight back. A serious injury to his knee further derailed his progress and surgery was not an option at his weight. With his knees failing him, Corey went in search of a better option. He found the Concept2 RowErg. “After the first row I realized that I could get a workout, I could feel my quads, I could feel my core, I could feel the workout. But when I got off the machine, I could still walk,” Corey says. His knees had deteriorated to the point that the majority of physical exercise—exactly what Corey knew he needed to do—caused him excruciating pain. “To be able to actually work those muscle groups that usually have to incorporate strain or stress on the knees, but not to have pain. That’s amazing,” Corey says.
Corey was impressed with the RowErg for several reasons. “It is able to hold up to 500 pounds,” Corey explains. “And, at over 400 pounds, I break things. You look at every kind of weight machine out there and it’s max weight of 250 pounds, or 300 pounds.” And Corey says that being able to work muscles in the back can be transformative for people with obesity. “Most anybody who is obese, if you look at them, they are hunched,” Corey explains. “Most people don’t realize, but if you take an obese person and you get them to an open posture, all of a sudden their life changes in a lot of different ways because they can breathe better.” Most of all, the rowing machine provides a low impact, full-body way to get moving. Corey says that overweight people shouldn’t be afraid of giving it a try because it provides a better workout than what the average person will get in the gym.
In addition to the advantages of the rowing machine, Corey found the Concept2 Facebook community beneficial. “The group is amazing,” he says. “I am part of multiple support groups, but I’ve never had one with so much helpfulness and willingness, it’s something special. We get into our own shells and we don’t realize how helpful some people are in today’s society. There’s still a lot of people out there that care.” The thing is: Corey is not afraid to ask. It's his willingness to do so that has helped others to exercise as well.
As a gym manger, Corey helps inspire all types of people to improve their fitness. Sharing his experiences online has already helped many people who are struggling with some of the same questions. "I am always striving to do better because you can’t sit still, sitting still is sedentary and sedentary makes you fat,” Corey says with a laugh. Then he adds, “we have so much more than what most people ever tap into. If you can still take another step, you need to.”