Dos and Don'ts for the Midnight Exerciser

Woman running at night
Getty Images/Stanislaw Pytel

Have you ever been to a gym in the middle of the night? Probably not, since most people do their workouts somewhere between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The people you see in the gym each day are fairly predictable and basically have one aim: Get in, work out, go home.

Not so with the other end of the fitness spectrum: night owls or people who work different work shifts. Follow these rules below and you'll make it through your midnight workout without a scratch.

Do

…use caution when traversing the parking lot. It's dark and probably empty, so be aware of your surroundings and consider carrying mace or a whistle to alert people in the gym if you think something is wrong.

Do

…wear appropriate workout attire. Your undershirt and boxer shorts may seem appropriate at 1:00 in the morning, but it will only cause trouble among the bodybuilders currently bench pressing your body weight times four.

Do

clean off the machine when you're done. This appears to be a no-brainer, but how well is your brain really functioning at this hour?

Do

…brush your teeth before you come. No one cares if your clothes match or your hair sticks up in wild clumps. However, death-breath is not acceptable even at 4:30 in the morning. If you're too tired, simply eat some toothpaste before you leave home.

Do

…bring something to read while you're stepping to nowhere on the stair-stepper. Otherwise, you'll end up watching infomercials for spray-on hair and exercise in a bottle (and NO, it really doesn't work).

Do

…put your weights away. Just because club employees aren't there see your little rebellion doesn't mean some poor soul won't have to come in behind you to clean up.  Give the gym employees a break.

Do

...take advantage of the empty club to have a little fun with your workout. At this hour, you have the run of the place, so why not try out that machine you've been too embarrassed to use in daylight hours?

Don't

talk on your cell phone while you're working out. No one will believe you're on a business call at 2:00 a.m.

Don't

…sit naked in the public Jacuzzi. You may be the only one there, but the elderly folk will start pouring in well before dawn for their morning soak. You'll be stuck in that thing for hours and no one will know where to look for you when you don't show up at work.

Don't

…try to pick up strangers.

In the middle of the night, the usual rules don't seem to apply and you may be tempted to slide over to that young lady by the free weights for a little love chat. Don't. She'll avoid you like the plague in daylight and, at 3:30 a.m., she'll most likely call the police if you so much as glance in her direction.

Don't

…harass the front desk guy. Just because you're tired and his annoying demand to see your driver's license irritates you is no reason to resort to violence.

Don't

sing to the music. You aren't aware of this, but you sound like a strung-out Britney Spears being strangled by Eminem. A half-empty fitness club is no place to fulfill your secret rock star fantasy.

Don't

…come to the club drunk. A workout might sound fun in your inebriated state, but no one wants to see you staggering on the treadmill. Go find a Taco Bell, you drunken slob.

Don't

…try out your new neon pink spandex thong with matching leg warmers.

'Nuf said.

Don't

…park in the handicapped zone. No one's there to see you, but it's still wrong and there's every chance someone genuinely handicapped will actually want to use that spot. Besides, how lame is it to park in the closest parking space when you're about to run six miles on the treadmill anyway?

Don't

…try to steal the equipment. Sure, it's the middle of the night, but the front desk guy will probably notice you and your drunken pal lugging that weight bench out the front door. A night in jail will not endear you to your boss.

Don't

...skip your workout just because you work weird hours.  Take advantage of whatever time you have to get that workout in.

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