Innovator Series: Annie Mulgrew of CityRow

This coming weekend, on Saturday August 9 and Sunday August 10, VIVE and CityRow will be hosting an exclusive pop-up event at Ruschmeyer's in Montauk, NY. Workout classes will take place at 9 am and 11 am. Purchase tickets for this one weekend only event here

In honor of our upcoming collaboration, meet Annie Mulgrew, the current Program Director of CityRow, the latest fitness craze that is taking New York City by storm. Prior to starting at CityRow in January this year, Annie taught Vinyasa flow-style yoga at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. I recently had the chance to speak with Annie about her work, beauty regime and personal fitness goals.

What originally appealed to you about CityRow?

I sensed from my first conversation with Helaine Knapp, our CEO & Founder, that there was something really special about her vision for CityRow. There was a void in the market for consumers who wanted a high-intensity but low-impact workout, and I immediately saw the opportunity that rowing presented. The facts about rowing are pretty mind-blowing - each stroke uses 85% of your body's muscles without over-stressing your joints. I knew we could make rowing accessible, fun, and bring it into the mainstream.

Annie demonstrates the correct posture to use on the WaterRower machine. 

Annie demonstrates the correct posture to use on the WaterRower machine. 

Why are rowing classes so hot right now?

Fitness consumers are becoming much more educated.  They want better results. They want a workout that's not only effective but also safe so that they can look and feel good for many, many years.  Rowing works your entire body - your legs, your entire core (front and back) and your arms with every single stroke. Compare that to spinning where you spend the majority of class bent over, working mostly your legs and it's really a no-brainer.  

People often show up to CityRow classes with their friends

People often show up to CityRow classes with their friends

How would you describe the vibe at CityRow?

The vibe at CityRow is work hard, play hard.  Our clients are looking for a smart, effective workout, but they also want to have fun with it. Working out has become a very social activity, and we encourage that. We're still small - we know most of our clients, and they know us. Most importantly, we want to know each of our clients! There's a huge sense of community that we're going to continue to cultivate even as we grow.  

How does your background in yoga influence your teaching at CityRow?

As a yoga teacher, I've studied alignment and breathing techniques that give me a strong understanding of how the body should function in order to work properly. I can see imbalances and weakness that clients present while rowing and sculpting, and I provide them with modifications, so that they don't continue to ingrain bad habits into their bodies. Studying and practicing yoga for years has also taught me the profound importance of connecting to your own body and breath from an internal perspective. I encourage our clients at CityRow to do the same because I truly believe it not only allows them to achieve their external goals more quickly (weight loss, toning, etc.), but also provides them with a sense of confidence and control that often is left uncultivated. This way, clients aren't just exercising to look better, but to feel better, and that's the most important thing. 

Annie (left) and Beth (right), another CityRow instructor, display their strength and flexibility

Annie (left) and Beth (right), another CityRow instructor, display their strength and flexibility

What artists are on your workout playlist at the moment?

I play a lot of up-beat party music and a lot of top 40 in my classes. Right now, I'm obsessed with Michael Jackson's new song and anything by D.Veloped or Girl Talk. 

What do you love most about your job?

The people. Our crew. The people that I work with, and the people that we do this for. We've seen this workout change people's bodies and lives, and that's really awesome to be a part of.

Annie is very dedicated to her workouts

Annie is very dedicated to her workouts

Who is your fitness role model?

I'm always impressed when I meet a strong female in the fitness industry who is creating her own product and is able to stand out against everyone else. Our team at CityRow is comprised of four females - Helaine, Ashley, Alexa and myself - and we all left our previous jobs because we believed so strongly in the CityRow mission. These women are my role models. 

What are your go to beauty products?

I use Cecilia Wong's entire line of organic and holistic skin care products. I also get a monthly facial with her. I wear Clinique's CityBlock everyday with an SPF of 45. Dry shampoo from DryBar has become my can't-leave-the-house-without-it product. I use it all day, everyday. 

How do you stay fresh and energized between workouts? 

A green juice, iced coffee, and dry shampoo!