Week 11: 24 Hours at 24 Hour Fitness

Have you ever wondered who works out in the middle of the night? If the gym is open 24 hours, it would be safe to say there are people working out all 24 hours, right? Well, I always wondered… so I thought, what the heck — I would stay 24 hours hours at my 24 Hour Fitness gym.

I am already a member, so that wasn’t a problem. And when I told them what I was doing, it didn’t seem like a big deal, they would just note it on my account so that the staff would know. Okay, I thought, now it was up to me.

I’m not a big fitness, workout everyday type of person. I usually go twice a week for the morning yoga class, sometimes I’ll take a Zumba or Pilates class, and sometimes I’ll use the machines or weights. But primarily I take classes, I need someone to tell me what to do. And I love those walks around the neighborhood and at the beach.

So, on the 24th of January (get it – 24 hours at 24 Hour Fitness on the 24th), I pack my backpack with extra workout clothes (I have to look good), gatorades, water bottle, snacks, sandwiches, toiletries, my journal, and a Travel & Leisure magazine. My friend Gigi picks me up to start the day with the 8:00am Yoga class at the UTC 24 Hour Fitness. I don’t want a car there just in case I get tempted to leave. Here we go.


8:00 Yoga – my usual class which relaxes me and gets the day off to a good start, Gigi takes the class with me and my EdUCate! board buddy Tim comes by to give me an encouraging high 5.

9:00 Zumba – my first time with this instructor. I love Zumba but I feel like a little lost learning the steps each time with a new teacher. Some in the class look like professional dancers. Showoffs. Even the one guy in the class knew the moves better than me, he even had that S-move torso thrust thing down.

10:00 Core Workout – tough workout and I’m getting tired already, yikes.

10:30 Pilates – okay I’m really tired now. Instead of doing things double time, I’m doing them at negative double time, I would repeat the movements every other time and just lay there in between.

11:30 Silver Sneakers – I decided to skip this class. I’m not quite a senior yet. Actually I was afraid of those folks. They came in early and started talking during the wind down period at the end of Pilates and the instructor asked them to quiet down and they were arguing back. Those cranky seniors. Well, I know I’ll be one of them eventually.

Lunch – I find a comfy bench and eat my egg salad sandwich and drink Gatorade. I plan to be snacking a lot to pass the time. Dave, one of the Little League dads saw me and gave his encouragement, what does he do to workout in the middle of the day? There really are lots of people there in the afternoon. Not as packed as it gets in the morning or after work hours, but a good steady group of people. Well I walked on the treadmill for hour, had another snack, bought some earphones since I forgot mine, bicycled for an hour.

I watched some awesomely built guy exercising and jumping all over the place. He was hanging from the bars and did reverse sit ups, and then got on top to stretch. Who was he? I tried to take pictures of him for my friend Lacy, who was sick in bed and couldn’t join me for the day, because he was definitely her type. But he kept moving around and it would look stalkerish if I tried to follow him to take pictures. During this late afternoon period, I notice quite a lot of young (for me that’s late 20s/early 30s) dudes here. And I don’t mean to be a creepy cougar lady, but wow, these guys are some great eye candy. I can sit in this bicycle for a long time, and I do.


Okay, time to get up, I exercise with some hand weights…and another rest period. I sit and read through my social media and emails, played games on my phone, ate another snack – this is not a lose weight day. More bicycling, listening to music makes it go by much faster, and watching the cute buff guys in front of me sure helps the time go by nicely.

4:30 Body Combat – I get here early as I’ve never taken this class, it’s boxing mixed with martial arts moves. I thought it was a very effective class as I got really sweaty, and now my legs are killing me. I really need a better sports bra, my breasts are moving around way too much, I don’t need to add to the eventual gravity pull.

5:45 Athletic Training – normally I would be fine with these exercises, lots of calisthenics and running, but halfway through I was done! I walked out after 30 minutes. The others in the class probably thought I was some weakling middle aged woman, but hey I’ve been here since 8:00am!

So I sit and charge my phone, waiting for Gigi to bring me my Rubio’s dinner. By now the gym is packed again, you can smell the difference.

7:30 – after Gigi brings me food, I lay down in the group exercise room for about 30 minutes. Then time for my jacuzzi, sauna, steam room hour. I love the heat. Afterwards I take my time showering. I know we have a water shortage, but I’m trying to use up time and long hot showers do feel good. I’ve actually never taken a shower here. As I dress, I do what I hardly ever do, blow dry my hair. Yes, I gave myself a blow job at the gym. I also take a selfie that you see posted. I hate taking selfies, but how tired do I look in the picture? I also put on makeup, changed my clothing, and eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for energy. It’s like I’m ready to go clubbing. Don’t you think that would be a good idea for the gym: open up the exercise room, throw on the disco lights and play music for club freestyle dance exercise nights (what do you think 24 Hour Fitness?). Of course we need to think of a catchier name than that. Ahh, off for more treadmill and bicycle work.


2:00 (am) – I spent the prior hour trying to sleep while listening to music, I really, really wanted to sleep. I walk another hour on the treadmill. I think my legs are officially done. I could have walked a marathon by now. There’s hardly anyone here. I count three women and about a dozen guys, plus the cleaning ladies. My eyes are getting tired.

photo photo(7) photo(8)

3:30 – two other people besides me and the staff are here.

5:30 – what a difference a couple hours makes. I go in for another jacuzzi, sauna, steam room session and after taking another leisurely shower and primping, the place is alive. You can feel the energy. I had chatted with some women while in the sauna, it was nice because they complimented me and said I didn’t look my age. It’s always an ego boost to hear that, but hey, we were all sweaty and I think everyone looks younger without makeup.

7:30 – I’m ready to go. I’m just hanging out until Gigi picks me up. I write in my journal, and watch the time to make sure not to leave until exactly 8:00 am, although I did arrive a little before the 8:00 am yoga class and I was actually up at 5:00 am.

Ahh, my bed…ready to take a two-hour nap before going to watch my sons’ games for the day, my legs are dead.


What did I observe?

  • regulars know each other – even in the middle of the night

  • there’s lots of people sitting around on the machines – especially in the middle of the night when no one is waiting on the machines

  • guys play basketball at midnite

  • this 24 Hour Fitness really should have a smoothie/juice bar

  • all ages come at all times

  • I didn’t see bouncers working out at 2:00 am, which is who I was expecting to see

  • saw more couples working out together at off hours

  • there sure are a lot of runners

  • lots of neon colors designed into exercise attire these days, especially in shoes

Now, I knew I wasn’t going to work out the full 24 hours, and when I was working out, that I would take it easy. I didn’t want a repeat of back pain I experienced when I tried to do too much at the gym that one time months ago (acupuncture worked great). And it’s a good thing because afterwards only my legs were really sore. I was surprised I wasn’t sleepier, and I was able to watch my kid’s ball games without falling over, and I actually carried on coherent conversations. I did poop out on a night out with the moms.

The next day I go on a nice long walk on the beach and benefited from a fabulous massage at Massage Envy (I get them monthly) which helped my muscles relax. Wow, no real side effects from my 24 hours, except for sore legs. I’m amazed. Monday morning back to the gym for Yoga. At the office in the afternoon…I trip over a step and sprained my ankle.

I have spent the past few days icing my ankle, keeping it elevated and wrapped, and using up lots of Icy Hot cream. How is it that I spend 24 hours at the gym, get hardly any sleep, continue to exercise by walking and taking yoga, then I’m out of commission by tripping over a step? All I can say is…I’m a klutz. Also, note to self: my next house will be a single story one – these stairs are killing me!

The thought to remember here, as a good friend texted me, is “the ironies of life!”

Notebook: 24 Hour Fitness, www.24hourfitness.com

I was at the UTC Super Sport location at 4425 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122. They have a pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, full basketball court, and an outdoor workout area with those big tire things. And a Kids Club daycare center – although my son is old enough to workout and is a member, but there’s no way he would work out with his mom!

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