Btone Is Adding Group Rowing Classes

The classes are scheduled to begin in late-April.

Indoor cycling studios have been popping up around town for the last few years, but there’s one studio in town that’s ditching the bikes: Btone Fitness.

Jody Merrill has built a megaformer empire in the Boston area over the last five years. After discovering the Pilates reformer-like machine in Los Angeles, she opened her first Btone Fitness in Lexington in 2010—well before SLT, the New York megaformer empire that has garnered national media attention and thrust the workout into the spotlight. Merrill went on to open three other locations in Boston, Sudbury, and Wellesley.

Now, she’s bringing a new fitness trend to all four of her studios: group rowing classes. With only a few classes offered around town (Burn Fitness in the South End, Equinox gyms, and Row & Ride in Hanover), Merrill took matters into her own hands.

“Last year, I started to look into row classes for my own enjoyment and found that there were no studios doing it,” Merrill says. “Then Burn Fitness opened in the South End, and I fell in love with the classes. We first incorporated the waterrowers into our Wellesley studio and it was a hit. Ever since then all the other studios were feeling a little left out and jealous that they didn’t have them.”

Btone used to have RealRyder bikes it its Newbury Street studio and offer a combo megaformer/cycling class. Merrill says that she has always wanted to provide a cardio option in her studios that complements the megaformer workout. But even though indoor cycling studios were sprouting up around the city, Merrill realized it wasn’t the best option for her clients or business.

“I loved this class, but found that scheduling [the cycling classes] was tough, and we were not utilizing the bikes or the space that they took up,” Merrill says. “We are so limited since we only have 13 Megaformers [14 when renovations are done] and most clients all want to come at the same time. Building a second studio space within our own beautiful big space was the solution. Since there are so many quality spin studios not only in Boston, but in the Back Bay area, I thought that bringing something different was more beneficial for the studio and our members.”

Btone will have 10 rowers, and since they’ll be housed in a separate space, the studio will now be able to hold two classes at once. The 45-minute sessions will be on waterrowers, a unique machine that uses water for resistance and actually feels like you are gliding across a lake.

“On the rowers, it is more like a party, it’s a competitive party, but a party nonetheless,” Merrill says. “We work as teams and its extremely interactive, competitive, and fun. I knew right away that this was the perfect complement to the classes at Btone on the Megaformers. The whole idea that the classes are low impact on the body but a full body workout makes sense for Btone, since our classes are also low impact, total body.”

Three classes for $30 (introductory offer for new clients),