Behind the Oar: From Softball Pro To Mastering Her Row

Leanne Yenush

For Moni Armendarez, a shared love of sports connected her to the Hydrow Athletes from day one.

“I played softball at Indiana, so I felt that immediate sports connection with all the Athletes in my first few rows,” Armendarez tells Hydrow Athlete Mac Evans. “I was like, “Look at that, this is pretty cool.””

“After college, I went on to play professional softball for about five years. I got to play against some big-time Olympians; that was my claim to fame back in my day,” she chuckles.

To stay connected to fitness, Armendarez coached CrossFit after her softball career. It was there that she first rowed on a rowing machine. She loved it. 

“I don't know if my form was right, but I liked it. It beat running; I hate to run,” she says. 

“A spaceship-looking machine”

When Armendarez’s family relocated to a small beachside town, she notes that the disruption threw a wrench into her day-to-day fitness efforts.

“I totally became disconnected with exercise. I love the gym, and I love having a community. But I just didn't want to drive so far to the gym, right? I explored different ways to work out at home." 

Armendarez says that Hydrow was an impulse purchase of the best kind.

“One day we walked into Best Buy in 2019 and there was this spaceship-looking machine. I was like, “Wow, look at that, that thing is cool.” It was Hydrow. My wife was like, “Well, just buy it.” I was concerned that it was a big investment, but my wife pointed out that I loved rowing and wanted to work out more from home. 

“The best part about Hydrow was discovering a community and listening to the Athletes tell stories while working out at the same time. It’s like watching TV, it doesn’t feel like you’re working out,  and then all of a sudden 30 minutes have gone by. All the different fitness games and challenges kept me coming back, especially during COVID. All of a sudden, I was probably in the best shape that I've been in within the last five years.”

Early bird gets the row

Armendarez notes that the convenience of having Hydrow in her home and available to her at all times is huge. 

“I don't want to drive to the gym in the mornings and add a ten or 20-minute commute each way. I like to get up early in the morning, work out, get it done, and then go to work, because I do one-on-one softball lessons in the evenings when the kids are out of school. It’s nice to be able to roll out of bed, change clothes, and be already working out a few minutes later.”

Hitting Hydrow in the mornings has not only helped Armendarez find a community but has also led to a dramatic physical transformation as well.

“Since December, when I started the journey, I’ve been able to drop 50 pounds,” says Armendarez. “It’s really, really cool. It’s one of those things where, again, I wanted to work out but just didn’t have that desire, that push. And one day I sat back and thought to myself “Here you are, you’re working with athletes, you've been an athlete all your life, and you're just letting your body go. You're supposed to be an example for these young ladies and young men."”

“One of the biggest things that Hydrow has given back to me that I continue to use on a daily basis is that push, the drive to stay on that journey and continue to be better, not just as an athlete, but also as a human being.”

Millions of meters, on land and on water

Armendarez’s consistency shows: She’s logged over 3.6 million meters on Hydrow and is part of the Million Meter Club.

“The equipment is amazing, it's like a luxury liner, but it's the coaches, you guys, that make all the difference,” she tells Mac. “You’re keeping us engaged, bringing us different types of experience, and nurturing a community. Without you guys, it would just be rowing; Hydrow is more than that.”

Armendarez notes that her love of the sport has led her to try out rowing on the water.

“How do you like being on the water?” asks Mac.

“I love it,” Armendarez says. “And – I’ll put it this way – you guys are amazing at what you do. When I’m out on the water, I’m like, "Uh-oh, I don't want to go into the drink right now! It’s a great challenge.”

Overall, she’s excited to continue her journey forward – and have fun along the way.

“We get so consumed with analyzing where we’re at and where everyone else is at that we lose sight of our own journey. I can only be the best me that I am today. Tomorrow I might be different, and the day after that I might be different again, but today I can only be where I am today, and that may not be breaking records all the time.”

“To be a part of that team as a whole is pretty cool, though. The community keeps me coming back.”


Follow Moni Armendarez on Hydrow. Screen name: @moni

Learn more about the Million Meter Club here.

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