The 5 am Work Out


Happy New Year! Another calendar is turned to January. When I worked in an office, I always loved those desk calendars. I’d make notes all over it. By the end of the month, the page would be covered in notations, squiggles, or whatever. But when I ripped the page off and found a blank month waiting for me, all possibilities were open again. I’m in love with the blank page. Hence, my career choice as an author.

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We all know I like to exercise. Naturally, I try to encourage the Noodges to exercise too. Noodge 2 does. She works out with a personal trainer for fitness reasons and to help with a medical condition she has. Noodge 1 will exercise, but usually with a little persuasion from me. I want them both to be healthy and happy. Exercise aids in both of those things.

Teens today have pretty tight schedules. The advanced classes they take so their college applications look good require hours of homework. They have extra curricular activities, jobs, and a social life. Noodge 2 wanted to increase her cardio time, but didn’t know how to fit the workouts into her busy schedule. I suggested to workout before school.

I’m an early morning exerciser. In fact, I’m a morning person. My best time for everything is early. Noodge 2 is a night owl like the Coffee King. My early morning exercise suggestion was met with an eye roll.

We belong to the local YMCA. I offered to go to the Y twice a week with her at 5. She agreed. A new habit was formed, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’m honored my teenage daughter wants to work out with me. Teens usually want nothing to do with their parents unless money is involved.

I will say, getting up at 4:45 (the Y is three minutes from our house, thankfully) to the alarm clock in winter is no easy task. I might do mornings, but I don’t do cold and dark very well. But I won’t bail on her or on Noodge 1 on the days he joins us. (When both of my kids come to the gym, my heart swells.) If they want to skip the gym, that’s fine, but I won’t cancel.

I’ve made encouraging my children’s interests part of my mothering goals. I attend the opera because Noodge 1 wants to go. I’ve attended the Pride Parade in NYC with Noodge 2 and three of her friends because she wanted to see that parade. Have you ever been to the Pride Parade? I have certain images burned on the back of eyelids I can’t unsee. Growing up in my house our whims weren’t exactly indulged. I wanted to do things differently for my kids.

Hence, the 5 a.m. workout.

aruba2018beachchairsRecently, we vacationed in Aruba. I love Aruba. “One Happy Island.” Put a visit there on your bucket list if you haven’t been. You won’t be sorry. Of course, the resort had a gym. And Noodge 2 and I found ourselves on the treadmill several times that week. Me and my girl. I grew ten feet tall when I looked over and saw her working out – with me.

That’s the key. She wants to be with me. My children are about to embark on the real world. Noodge 1 is only months away now. Even though he must go, I will miss him dearly. In the meantime, while they are still mine, I get to soak up the small moments in their company. And if that company is 5 a.m. in the gym, bring it on.

With this new year in front of us, remember to hug your kids a little more. Make time for the things they like to do even if you don’t. Tell them they are amazing, because they are. And if you have to, set the alarm clock and go to the gym. At 5 a.m.

Happy New Year. Love to all.


4 thoughts on “The 5 am Work Out

  1. Here in L.A., I hit the gym first-thing every morning (and by “first-thing,” I mean 8:00, not 5:00!), which is right around the corner from my apartment.

    Having just spent the holiday in New York, which was experiencing polar (sometimes literally subzero) temperatures the last two weeks, I realized how much less frequently I’d get to the gym if I had to gear up for the cold every morning in the winter. Don’t get me wrong: I love the winters, and I certainly hate the sameness of L.A., but what L.A. lacks in seasonal variety it does make up for, I grudgingly concede, in convenience and reliability! I tip my hat to you, Stacey, for hitting the gym every morning despite the vagaries of East Coast weather!

    By the way: My wife’s family is from Aruba — her mother grew up there. I’ve never visited myself, but I’ve heard all the stories about it!

    1. Let me say, I only go to the gym at 5 am twice a week. That’s the schedule that works for my kids, so that’s when I go. It’s too darn cold to be outside this time of year more often than necessary. Unlike you, I hate the cold. However, on the days I don’t go to the gym, I work out at home at 5 am. Because my life revolves around my children’s schedules, my fifteen year old still needs me to drive her places, my work day needs to start by 8 because it ends at 3. If I waited to work out for a reasonable, sun in the sky, hour I’d never get any work done. Everyone has to find the schedule that works for them. If someone wants to work out at nine at night, have at it.

      You need to go to Aruba! Does your wife go and visit family? Find any excuse. Put Aruba on your bucket list. You won’t regret it.

      1. I do love the cold, I admit it. After I dropped off my rental car on New Year’s Day at the Enterprise in Fort Lee, I walked back home to the Bronx — across the GWB and into Washington Heights! It was something like 12 degrees out and my family thought I was batsh!t crazy, but I knew I was headed back to the Land of Perpetual Summertime, and couldn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the arctic air. I’ll say this: The day was crystalline, and the views both up and down the Hudson were breathtaking.

        My wife went to Aruba all the time as a kid, but hasn’t been back in the over two decades that we’ve been together, funny enough. Someday, though…

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