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Bremerton, Central Kitsap residents exercise past midnight
Recovering from four painful back surgeries, Bill Armstrong wants to go back to school and work again, so he’s pumping iron – at 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Armstrong, a Bremerton native, works out at Anytime Fitness in Silverdale three times a week in the middle of the night because that’s the time he feels most comfortable in the gym. He plans to study to become a biomedic technician, and in order to work full-time again, Armstrong has to exercise to fulfill that goal. For Armstrong, working out late means avoiding inevitable, and discouraging, comparisons with those in better physical shape.
“I don’t want to be around the muscle heads,” he said. “I just want to do this on my own. It’s great to avoid the crowds and have peace and quiet late at night.”
The accessibility of 24-hour fitness centers in Central Kitsap and Bremerton allows everyone from fitness gurus to beginners a chance to run, jog, stretch and lift on their own time. For some, arriving to the gym after midnight provides solace, and more use of the machines.
After working as a diesel technician for 20 years, Armstrong said his back took a toll, and exercising between 12 and 1:30 a.m. is therapeutic. He’s been a member of the 24-hour center since December, adding that facilities like Anytime Fitness provide options for people looking to schedule their workouts around work, school or family.
“You can literally do whatever you want,” said Armstrong, who trained alone Tuesday. “You can try all different types of machines and not look like a fool. Having the option to schedule at your own pace makes the difference.”
John Aguihon gets his exercise fix at Snap Fitness in Silverdale, another 24-hour option in the Central Kitsap area. Aguihon, a chef from Silverdale, lifts weights every day to tone his body, sometimes late at night. He still enjoys the occasional afternoon workout, but said working out at 2 a.m. opens the gym floor without distractions.
“Nobody can bother you,” he said. “During the day, trainers are working with other people to try and reach their goals, so you have to wait and share the equipment, and that can take a very long time.”
Having access to more equipment in a two-hour span leads to a better workout in a peaceful environment, Aguihon added. He also worked out Tuesday morning with Juan Galvan of Silverdale, who is currently training to become a U.S. Navy diver. Galvan currently works as a freight coordinator at a clothing store.
Working out after a long day of work can alleviate some stress, which is why it’s important to have a 24-hour fitness center that’s accessible when the mood strikes, Galvan said. He worked out Tuesday because he was feeling sick and wanted to sweat out the illness.
“Sometimes you’re stressed, and you just need to blow off some steam,” he added. “If you want to workout late and lift, you can. There’s no worry about the next day or having to wait because you can get it all done to your schedule.”
Michael Ortega, a self-employed Bremerton native, waited until 3 a.m. Tuesday to start his daily workout at Snap Fitness. He lifts at the Bremerton location, finding time after work, even in the dead of night. Ortega has adjusted his sleep and work schedules to make room for a late trip to the gym.
“I have to get a workout done, and this is the time to do it,” he said.
Jackie Carr, owner and operator of Silverdale’s Anytime Fitness, said Tuesday that her 24-hour center includes a select few of members who can’t find time during normal daytime hours to exercise. She added that mostly men occupy the gym between 12 and 3 a.m., while women generally begin pre-work activities at 4:30 and 6 a.m.
Carr also said that her location receives members of the U.S. Navy and employees from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who work odd hours.
“A lot of military personnel have free access to gyms, but those close early, so they’re left with limited options after that,” she added. “We’re able to provide them with all the access they need on a 24-hour basis.”
Ortega exercised alone, raising another question about late-night fitness – safety. Neither Snap Fitness nor Anytime Fitness have staff members or security guards after hours, but both centers take precautions in case of an emergency. Each center has 24-hour video surveillance, alarm systems and panic buttons on walls and necklaces that attendees are encouraged to wear late at night.
“I was reassured that it’s safe,” Ortega said. “I know my way around the gym anyway, so I don’t do so much that I strain myself, but it’s nice to know it’s there for us.”