Behind The Oar: How This Physician Juggles Newborn Twins, Patients, And Meters

Leanne Yenush

Anticipating a busy next few months, Sean Bresnahan and his husband first looked at Hydrow as a way to stay active once their newborn twins arrived.

“We had been going through the surrogacy process for a couple of years and were working with a wonderful woman who had changed our lives,” he says. “We were about two months out, and while visiting Boston I saw a showroom for Hydrow and thought it would be a great solution for staying healthy with new babies at home.”

“We purchased right before the pandemic hit. In fact, since the babies needed a little time in the NICU post-delivery; the day they came home was the same day our Hydrow arrived.”

Bresnahan, a physician, recently joined the Million Meter Club, an impressive feat while also juggling babies and patients along the way. He sat down with Hydrow Athlete Laine Maher to discuss his experience being a healthcare professional over the past year.

Pandemics and paternity leave 

Bresnahan’s original plan was to take family leave after the twins came home. Once COVID-19 took hold, however, he needed to get back to the front lines as soon as possible to treat  patients.

“Unfortunately, the paternity leave I planned to take when the kids showed up couldn’t really happen,” he says. “I took about a week off, just that first week when the kids came home. I did telemedicine at that time to try and help meet demand.”

“We didn't know a lot about what was happening. We didn't know a lot about COVID, how it was really transmitted. It was really a very scary time, there were a lot of unknowns. But we still wanted to take care of our staff and try to help and support them. We couldn't just abandon everyone.”

“I can't thank you enough for all you've done in this crazy year,” says Laine. “People like you are the true heroes of the year and your work doesn't go unnoticed. We appreciate your service so much!”

“Every week is a new adventure”

Bresnahan notes that Hydrow’s short workout options and variety are really helpful while having newborns because his schedule is constantly changing.

“Every week is a new adventure. ‘What are the kids doing this week? How do I squeeze in a workout?’ What I’ve liked about rowing and Hydrow is that 20 or 30 minutes is a substantial workout. If you do 30 minutes on the Hydrow, you feel it the next day.”

Cardio was a change of pace for Bresnahan, whose usual fitness regimen is resistance training and weightlifting.

“I know you used to do a lot of powerlifting,” notes Laine. “How do you feel about cardio now? Has Hydrow changed your view on endurance or exercise?”

“100%,” replies Bresnahan. “You can mix it up. I like the fact that if I've got more time on my hands and I want to do something more endurance-oriented, I can sit down and do a Journey row or one of the 45-minute workouts and really crank out some meters. But if I'm wanting some strength training, where you pump yourself up and do the short bursts, there are options. It’s fantastic.”

Bresnahan is an active Hydrow community member and loves interacting with other members through on-screen features like the leaderboard.

“Some of the usernames are hysterical! It's fun to see the same names over and over again. There are a few users I'm consistently hovering around on the leaderboard with. You start to recognize them and can follow them; it creates both motivation and camaraderie which is great.”

Humble beginnings, epic endings

“Even with everything going on, you’ve still reached one million meters on Hydrow,” says Laine. “You realize you’re a superhero, right?”

Bresnahan chuckles. “Funny story: The first time I ever tried rowing, I got on an erg at the gym next to this little old woman. You do that thing where you kind of look over to see what they're doing, but not make eye contact. I saw that she was 30 minutes in and crushing it, so I was like, ‘I got this. Piece of cake. I'm a weightlifter.’" 

“Two minutes in, I had to fake a phone call so I could go downstairs and puke because I couldn't keep up with it anymore. It was awful! I've gotten a bit better since then. My husband and I have a little friendly competition going, which is good motivation. I like to finish strong, even when that means I’m on the ground for a bit after the workout!”

Bresnahan has also noticed that his experience on Hydrow has carried over into the way he practices medicine.

“As an osteopath, I know the way the body functions. A lot of my conversations with patients are about healthy aging. If you went to a gym prior to COVID, you know there's always someone trying to put up 500 pounds who has no business throwing that kind of weight around. It’s a muscle tear or crippling injury waiting to happen.”

“Healthy aging means low impact exercise as well as mobility. I love Peter’s mobility classes and the new yoga offerings. I probably bring up Hydrow to patients at least twice a week. Staying active as you age is so key.”

Between new dad life and serving as a physician during a pandemic, Bresnahan needs a hobby that keeps him energized and can fit into his crazy schedule. With classes available on-demand, inspiring world-class Athletes guiding you through every stroke, and a vibrant community, Hydrow gets the job done.

And with two perfect little faces staring at you like this when you hop on, who can resist?