Meet Our Founders: 21 Questions with Nadav Ben-Chanoch
1. What inspired you to create Rowgatta?
It didn’t take me long after becoming a lawyer to figure out that it wasn’t for me. Somehow, I stuck it out for almost 4 years before quitting and flying to Hawaii with my bike to train for an Ironman race. My plan was to take at least 6 months off to recover from my years in captivity. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be because before I could even make it to a Luau, Kenny calls me with the idea for Rowgatta. I put up a fight as best I could, but it wasn’t long after that I was on a plane back to NYC.
2. Why rowing?
I was first introduced to the erg through CrossFit and always liked seeing it come up in the workouts, but my appreciation for rowing grew tremendously after I herniated a disk in my lower back. I found myself unable to do a lot of the things I love, and it was really difficult for me at first, even more so mentally than physically. The erg became my go-to piece of equipment because it let me turn up the intensity and push myself without putting pressure on my spine. I’ve spent many mornings over the last year finding new ways to utilize the rower along with other low impact movements to maintain my strength and endurance. If only someone created a class for this!
3. How did you become passionate about fitness?
I’ve always liked playing sports growing up. Unfortunately, I’m not naturally athletic, so I was more of a spectator than active participant. I worked out to stay in shape, including a lot of benching and curling in high school and college. I mean, who needs leg day, amirite? Not to sound like a broken record, but I really became passionate about fitness when I started CrossFit while in law school. I loved the community and constantly challenging myself. Soon after, I started running marathons, then Ironman races, and fitness has now become a huge part of my life.
4. What makes Rowgatta special?
We’ve really invested a lot of time and thought into creating an amazing experience for our Athletes. Our goal is to create a place where people of all shapes, sizes, age and ability feel welcomed and inspired. All we ask of our Athletes is to bring a positive attitude and desire to improve themselves. We’ve designed the workout to be equally fun and effective, and accessible to everyone. I always welcome feedback from our Coaches, Staff, and especially our Athletes, so please shoot me a note and let me know what you think!
5. Favorite thing about your co-founder?
His endless optimism.
6. Most annoying thing about your co-founder?
His endless optimism.
7. What are you listening to strolling through the streets of NYC?
Probably a podcast, my favorite is How I Built This.
8. Coolest place you’ve recently visited?
Swimming with the orcas in Norway last January.
9. If you didn't live in NYC, where would you be?
Miami, where I grew up, with frequent travel destinations.
10. Favorite movie?
Anything Pixar. Disney classics. Step Brothers, Wedding Crashers, and those type of movies. Big rom-com guy – How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, anyone? Since this is for a fitness studio, on the more rugged side, I’m always down for an epic tale like Gladiator, Braveheart, or Scarface.
11. Celebrity doppelgänger?
At least once a week someone asks me if I’m Prince Harry. True story.
12. Your last meal on earth?
Without a doubt my mom’s schnitzel.
13. Go-to karaoke song?
Piano Man by Billy Joel or I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys… don’t judge!
14. In a second life, you would be...
15. Describe yourself with 1 emoji...
16. Quote you try to live by?
Song lyrics are a basically a long quote, right? I was born in Israel and listen to a lot of Hebrew music. My favorite artist has this one song that really captures the way I try to live (sometimes more successfully than others). You can listen to it here. Here is a rough translation of the lyrics:
Before It Ends
By: Idan Raichel
Be not afraid to fall in love,
That your heart will break,
Be not afraid to have lost along the way,
To get up each morning,
And go out into life,
And to try everything, before it all ends,
To search for where we came from,
And in the end, always coming back to the beginning,
To find more beauty in everything,
And to dance until overcome by exhaustion,
Of all the moments in time,
Finding one to hold on to,
To say that we've made it,
Always remembering to stop for a moment,
To be grateful for what we have and where we've come from,
Holding her at night,
When she falls asleep,
The whole world settles down,
To breathe her in deeply,
And to know that forever,
I'll be there for her
17. Favorite weekend activity?
Anything outdoors, preferably with family or friends.
18. Best advice for those who ask "should I go to law school"?
Don’t do it.
19. What are the lessons you've learned through fitness?
I’ve learned discipline and that challenges are much more fun when tackled with other people.
20. A fun fact about you that may surprise people?
Ummm… I’m an avid scuba diver, I’ve been to all 7 continents, and I love Harry Potter.
21. What are you most proud of?
The amazing support system I’ve assembled. I’m sure everyone feels this way, but I think my friends and family are the best out there.