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Meet A Life Fitness Employee Who Rows At The Highest Levels

Life Fitness employees strive to provide active and healthy lifestyles for others around the world. We also realize that vitality is essential in our own lives. When Finbarr McCarthy isn’t working as a manufacturing engineer for Life Fitness in Ramsey (MN), he’s rowing. He competes at a high level, and in order to do so, he stays extremely active all year long.


McCarthy (third from the left in the photo) has rowed competitively at the legendary Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts for nearly 20 years. And in 2018, his team from the Minneapolis Rowing Club placed fourth in Men’s Masters Fours (40+). The two-day racing event doesn’t happen again until fall 2019, but McCarthy’s training lasts all year.

“I’ve been rowing for more than 27 years,” said McCarthy. “My training is all year round and really doesn’t stop. It just changes, depending on the season. In spring, we prepare for rowing season. After a winter of cross-country skiing and (indoor rowing), I’m usually antsy to get on the water. During the winter I use the erg (indoor rower) a lot, at least one hour per session, five days a week. I’ll usually row about two million meters a year on the erg. My cross training, in winter, is cross-country skiing where I’ll ski about 50K a week. The sports of cross country skiing and rowing are very similar, with regards to being all-body, technique proficiency orientated and the level of cardiovascular effort required to train and race. Skiing season usually ends with me doing the 52K Birkebeiner skate race. Then the cycle begins all over again."

McCarthy is clearly busy in the winter when he does more cardio than most exercisers do in a year. When the weather warms, the training regimen for McCarthy doesn't necessarily get any easier. His workout schedule is a mix of the following:

  • Intervals of 5 minutes on/5 minutes off at higher strokes per minute (SPM) outputs (between 28 and 32 SPM).
  • Two, 19 minute intervals that start at lower intensity (around 22 SPM), work up to higher intensity (28 or 30 SPM) and finish at a moderate intensity (24 SPM).
  • Intervals of 1 minute on/1 minutes off at a high level (36 SPM) for 14 minutes.
  • Long race pieces of 2K or 5K once a week.

“I usually try to get on the water five mornings a week,” explained McCarthy. “This entails getting up at 4:30 a.m. and beginning with a 20-minute warm up on the (indoor rower), before hopping in a single or other team boat and completing the prescribed workouts and (spending) at least one hour on the water.”

Activity is a big part of Life Fitness. It's hard to be any more active, or dedicated to exercise, than Finbarr McCarthy. We wish him luck at this year's Head of the Charles in October.


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