While you were watching “just one more episode…” of Netflix, I was in the weight room.
Why? No, I didn’t do it for the Instagram (or the blog post). That summer, I had to fast for thirty straight days for religious reasons. The custom is to refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, eating only while the sun is down.
Through this time, I was determined to stay active. I had goals for at the gym that meant a lot to me; and since religion meant a lot to me, too, I decided to attempt to keep up with both. I knew that I couldn’t workout without eating. That made my daytime workouts not an option. So I managed to fit my workouts in after sunset and before sunrise.
A lot of people are sleeping at midnight. A lot of people are eating, watching, showering, and texting, on Instagram and Facebook. But not me– I was at the gym. For the summer of 2016, I challenged myself in a whole new way.
Here’s what I learned in the process.
1. There are some pros.
I’m sure those who have been to the gym during peak hours understand how crazy it can get. Now imagine how many people are actually in the gym at midnight. I mean, for someone searching for an open squat rack, the view was absolutely breathtaking. All of them were free.
I walked in like:
Really, the perks were unbelievable. Empty gym. Empty saunas. Not a single person within a 10 foot radius of me. I could grunt, sing out loud, dance, flex in the mirror, and admire myself… or anything else I so desired, with no one near me.
2. There are some cons.
Actually getting there at midnight wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. Or, it was about as difficult as you would expect. At 11:45 pm, sometimes the last thing I felt like doing was walking into a workout.
But it’s all about the motivation–getting yourself to walk through those doors so you can walk out an hour later knowing you put in 110%, ever rep and every set.
And let me tell you, at 11:45 pm, my mind could get pretty creative with excuses to skip it. You can’t even imagine the extent of excuses I came up with.
3. Sometimes, the hardest part isn’t just getting there.
One I arrived, I figured this workout would be easy, right? Wrong.
There were times when I went in and just wanted to get my workout over with. For me, this was unusual; I’m all about enjoying my workouts and keeping it interesting. But with my body not used to giving that much energy so late in the day, I was struggling. I cheated on sets by doing three instead of four. I cheated on reps by either using less weights or performing less reps.
My body just wasn’t used to this time. This was the time of the day when my body was ready to fall asleep and my mind was tired form the day’s work.
Here are some of the ways I kept the energy up through those late night workouts:
1. I used pre-workout.
Pre-workout supplements worked really well for me, but don’t feel like you have to use them. They aren’t for everyone. In my case, one serving shocked my brain back to life and back into gear. My awareness, energy, and alertness were sky high.
For those of you who aren’t into pre-workout, you could try another source of caffeine. My workout partner, for instance, would always have a cup of coffee before our gym sessions.
Though taking pre-workout or caffeine could make it hard to sleep if you’re taking it so late at night – don’t forget how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle.
2. I had a workout partner.
Speaking of my workout partner… A workout partner is so important, whether you’re a newbie to the weight room or have been going to the gym for years. Whoever you are, big or small, you can benefit from going with a friend.
There are some things in life that can’t be measured, and one of those is having a partner by your side. Nobody else can motivate you, keep your workouts challenged, help you finish sets, and make the workout experience more worthwhile and fun.
I always say: Before you leave your house for the gym, check for your keys, your phone, and the ETA (estimated time of arrival) of your gym buddy. Then, you’ve got all you need.
3. I pumped up the music.
Make sure you have music with you at all times. Music is what pumps you up, gets you hyped, and resonates throughout your body.
Like a natural pre-workout, it makes you feel jumpy and excited to get to the iron paradise and to start putting your body to the test. Personally, I can never get through a workout without a little Evanescence and Jonas Brothers by my side.
Every hour is a good hour as long as you can make it work for you! If your schedule allows for late workout and in turn, late starts to your morning, then by all means try it out. I wouldn’t suggest working out at midnight if you have a 8am class. You don’t want to end up like this baby….
All in all, those midnight workouts taught me a lot about myself and fitness. They taught me that there is never a time when being active, however you want to, isn’t an option. You should never feel like you can’t put in your hour of fitness a day just because it’s late in the day or the gym is closed.
And if your gym does close before midnight, there will always be great workouts to do at home or even in your small dorm room.
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