I’ve always had to be a morning person, whether or not I wanted to. My work for the last 18 years has been as a neurosurgeon, starting most days in the operating room at 7 or 730. I used to get up and leave the house with about 45 minutes budgeted for a slow morning commute that would often leave me irritable on arrival. I don’t remember exactly my reaction to my friend’s suggestion nearly four years ago that I consider joining him for a class at Ryders on Colfax, but it was probably along the lines of “you want me to meet you at 5am? On Colfax?” I had just started working on my fitness a few months before turning 40, and thought I was doing pretty well, until I met Chris Lindley, Nick Spinosa, and fellow neurosurgeon Rod Lamond that morning. After the healthy dose of humility they prescribed, I remember seeing the virtues almost immediately: I arrived at work with endorphins flowing, feeling physically and mentally primed for the day ahead. Best of all, the morning traffic had magically vanished at 4:30am. My commute would never be the same.
The other virtues of Endorphin that I enjoy are well known to those who attend. First, a person can only push him or herself so far when exercising alone, and sustaining a regimen is less likely in that setting. At Endorphin, the assembled community of remarkable individuals who make up the corps of instructors and fellow students provide an atmosphere of friendly competition and accountability which motivates me to show up and push myself harder. Second, enduring physical stress early in the morning breeds resilience in the face of the physical and mental stress we all face later in the day. Finally, as a parent I have seen a clear effect of my commitment to fitness on my children. They’re prone to adopting my habits, both good and bad, so its nice having some good habits.
I remember a quote that read: “Don’t play your concert and then tune your instrument”. For me, Endorphin is about keeping myself “in tune” for all of the personal and professional performances that follow those 5am sessions. I’m grateful for the fitness community Endorphin has created, and plan to stay with it for years to come.