A pulsing, relaxing rhythm brings me out of my slumber. I hit the snooze button. The CD screeches quietly to a halt. 5:00 am. This hasn’t been my wake-up time in over a decade.
I started waking up early when I decided to study the business side of fitness: sales, marketing, profit margins, and systems for taking care of members. Then I started the general manager position, and found that I wasn’t going to get consistent exercise unless I did it before work. So now my morning starts with meditation, some journaling, and mindset affirmations before I head to ZŪM for a workout. I get up early to take care of myself.
Going to ZŪM this early has it’s advantages: light traffic, few cars in the parking garage, and the quiet early morning vibe. But I’ve also found the morning ZŪM experience to be nourishing and enjoyable, with that same energetic feel that it has through the rest of the day.
I turn the corner on 7th and Olive to see blue light emanating from a window half way down the block. The handle feels cool in my palm as I push the door open. Todd gives me the run-down: busy morning, a situation that makes me see that our staff needs more effective communication, and the music system working fine (thank God).
I feel the ZŪM Morning Buzz as I head up the stairway. Seth’s CrossFit class is super-setting deadlifts with push press throws against the wall. Roy steps up to a barbell, sets his deadlift position, fortifies his spine, and drives with his hips. 1… 2… 3…. Upstairs is full but not crowded. I hear weight plates ringing as they slide onto a barbell, rhythmic foot strikes on a treadmill. The smooth, steady pulse of the music is just loud enough to drown the quiet drone of the HVAC system. Bill guides a client on the track, “Lower your hips to decelerate. Change direction. Drive to accelerate. Good”. I walk by Crisitn and Mo, who work quietly with clients in the Pilates studio. Cristin targets Jorge’s abdomen with some classic Pilates movements.
Today is an aerobic day. I get on the treadmill for an incline walk. I feel pretty good as I work my way up to a 10% grade, relaxing into my stride, feeling the air flowing in and out of my nose. After a while I think about ZŪM affairs. I have another 30 minutes to let the innovative juices flow; to think of solutions to problems, and stumble upon ideas to better serve our members. Sometimes I worry, then I put my attention back to the breath. The breath is steady and stride efficient as I feel the cool collecting of sweat on my forehead. I get an idea of how to improve communication between staff members. Ideas tend to come when I’m exercising.
Throughout the walk I enjoy brief connections with members and trainers, some with eye contact and a smile, others with a warm “Good morning”. Tony is teaching Weigh Crazy in the classroom. The top of his head gleams with beads of sweat as he whirls a towel and booms his rallying cries, “C’mon Y’all! Work it! 3… 2… 1… re-lax!” Molly, a dedicated class participant, is focused and determined. She looks like she’s in that sweet zone of being completely absorbed in what she’s doing. I look around the room and see that many people are tired but pushing on. Some are smiling and laughing. Others look like they’re in the same flow Molly’s in, following Tony’s calls to action without hesitation, ready for the next one as the time comes.
I step off the treadmill and catch up with Katrina and Stephanie. They just finished taking Tony’s class, with faces beaming and glistened with sweat. They love ZŪM like I do. Satisfied members. Happy general manager.
Originally I started coming early to ZŪM to take care of myself. But the inspiration, morning buzz, and gratitude I feel have turned me into the 5 am-er I never thought I’d be. When I start my workday, I’m alert, clear-headed, and feel a great sense of connection and satisfaction that only a great community can foster. I’m ready to take on the challenges and enjoy the successes of a new day. Good morning, ZŪM. And thank you.