°• Red Eyes
Early birds make a beeline
for the treadmills.
RUTH UTTPAANN STAFF WRITER
Early riser Eugene Weiss exercises on the "Gravitron."
David Deutsch pumps iron at the Center.
utside of locked doors, nearly 30
people await the opening of the
\Jewish Community Center in
West Bloomfield. They stand
every weekday, at 5:45 a.m., in
the dimly lit lobby.
Considering the early hour,
these exercise buffs are surpris-
ingly alert. At 6 am. sharp, they
make a beeline for the tread-
mills, stairclimbers, weights,
pool and aerobics classes.
"They have all the energy of
the night people," said aerobics
instructor David Elias. "Believe
me, I don't understand it; but
they're all fired up. The morn-
ing people get me going."
Are they fit or just fanatical?
Does it matter? The early birds
contend that there's no better
time to get in shape. Some only
regret that the JCC doesn't
open its doors sooner.
"I guarantee, if they allowed
people in at 5 a.m., people would
be here," said Alan Gold, co-chair-
man of the health club board.
"Do you know the meaning
of masochist?" said another
man as he headed into the lock-
Several years ago the JCC
health club opened at 6:30 a.m.
Some members, however, clam-
ored to get in earlier, so the
Center rescheduled to 6:15.
That still wasn't early enough.
Fifteen minutes can make a big
difference for people who need
to be in their offices by 8 a.m.
"The JCC is trying to do
whatever it can to accommo-
date members," said health club
co-chairman Ken Manko.
There might be some health
benefits to early morning sweat
sessions. Susan Kerwin, a per-
sonal trainer, said "some re-
search indicates that some
people find they lose more
weight if they work out in the
There's another benefit. Ger-
ry Kirschner of Bloomfield Hills
is a certified public accountant
David Elias teaches step aerobics at 6:30 a.m.
who exercises early to arrive at
his office by 8:15 each morning.
He describes his profession as
"very sedentary," and says an
a.m. routine is essential because
"it gives me the energy to enjoy
the rest of the day."
Balancing work and working
out can be, in itself, a lot of work.
It is easy to get sidetracked by
other responsibilities, but ex-
perts agree that exercise rou-
tines, to be effective, should be
Early birds say that morn-
ings provide a niche of "no-ex-
cuse" time. (What else is there
to do at 6 a.m. — except sleep?)
When evening rolls around, oth-
er duties take precedence; and
exercising easily can fall by the
When do the early birds
sleep? Most say they hit the
sack at 10 or 10:30 each night.
Early riser Mark Gantz admits
he sets three alarm clocks be-
fore going to sleep and presses
his snooze button about three
times in the morning.
`The only thing that's really
tough about coming to the JCC
early is that first move out of
bed; but after that, it's the great-
est," said Mark Chicorel of West
There's a distinct cama-
raderie among many of the ear-
ly birds. Not-yet-caffeinated
banter mixes with the whirr of
exercise bikes. Some dedicated
exercisers, like Ilene Beneson,
bring newspapers to read, but
often find themselves schvitz-
ing and schmoozing along with
the guy or gal working out near-
At 6:10 a.m., Roy Ceresnie
and Sam Wineman — decked
out in terrydoth headbands and
cotton T-shirts and sweat shorts
— already are going strong on
the stairclimbers. Both are ded-
icated to early morning work-
outs. Said Mr. Wineman: "It's a
way of life." El