I’m a self-proclaimed morning person most of the time. During the week, I usually wake up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.—just because I love getting my day done early. I can usually function pretty well that early, too, so it’s not like I force myself to wake up early and then suffer all day. I like to throw in a day where I sleep in once a week so I don’t burn out, and that’s been a really great schedule for me.
One of the main reasons I love waking up early is that I can get my workout out of the way when the gym is quiet. I wrote an article at the end of April of this year about how the lack of space in the RecPlex is causing students to lose a place where they can destress. After January of this year, the gym was practically unusable. This happens at pretty much every gym in January because of the “New Year, New Me” mantra, and I am by no means shaming new gym-goers. I’ve always been a big advocate for people who are new to the gym because I understand how anxiety-inducing it can be, and everyone starts somewhere. I think the issue lies with gyms not being prepared for the yearly January rush.
Due to the increase in people last semester, I found that the only time when the gym isn’t packed and unusable is right when it opens at 6 a.m. That had its own separate issues, including the fact that I would wake my roommate up accidentally every time I went to the gym. Looking back, if I wasn’t a morning person and my roommate was waking up before sunrise every morning with the creaky dresser and doors, I would be annoyed, too. But now, I don’t have a roommate, so going to the gym early and enjoying the empty machines has been easy.
However, now I don’t “have” to get up early for the gym (Though I would say 6:30 a.m. is still early) because its new operating hours shifted from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. This is because intramurals are playing until midnight, so they decided to keep the gym open for the extra hour.
I believe the latest class Fairfield offers goes until 9:30 p.m., so even if you left class and went to change, you still have at least two hours to workout, which is more than enough time. But the people that prefer morning classes and take mostly 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. classes are limited to an hour at most, especially if you want to be able to go back to your room and shower and change before class.
Even if an hour sounds like a lot, knowing you have a class in an hour, you’re more inclined to rush through your workout and not enjoy yourself. My earliest class right now is at 11 a.m. and I can confirm that even I still feel rushed to finish everything. The later opening poses a challenge for people who function best in the morning.
This later opening time also means the quiet mornings I loved were almost nonexistent. This is easily explained by the fact that now, the people who are okay with being up early but not at 6 a.m. for the old opening time are now coming to the gym for opening or a little after. After being the first one inside this Monday, I lasted five minutes at a squat rack before the first person approached me and asked when I would be done. Ten minutes later, another person approached me and asked when I would be done. The gym had only been open for 15 minutes! I couldn’t even do what I had planned for the day because I counted 12 people crowding around the last two machines I wanted. This never would have happened last year. Last year, there were five people maximum in the gym in the morning. Plus, the chances of someone wanting to use the same machine as you almost never happened because there was space.
The argument here would be, with the extra hour, why don’t you just go later? One for me, I have night classes, and I would never want to immediately go to the gym for an hour and a half after five hours of back-to-back classes. The second is that the gym is at its peak hours from the late afternoon to 8 p.m. As a self-proclaimed morning person, my day is over by 8 p.m., and I’m asleep by 9 p.m. So am I expected to give up what I used to love as my morning time just to get a slightly less busy gym? And honestly, it’s more likely for college students to be up past 10 p.m. than up at 5 a.m., so I doubt that it’s quiet.
I understand the thought process of staying open an extra hour. If intramurals are there for an extra hour anyway, why not keep the whole place open? However, I find that specifically catering to the time of intramurals is unfair to students who like to work out early in the morning, and it is not inclusive. There was nothing wrong with their hours, and they were inclusive to both morning and night people. The gym now is undoubtedly more useable than it was in January, but these new times pose aggravating inconveniences for those who enjoyed the early hours.