It’s almost like we belong to some mysterious (and some would say, delirious) club, but Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 5:40 in the morning, vehicles converge in the parking lot beside Mountain Glass and Mirror and a committed crew of clients line trundle into the side bay of the shop to gather a collection of free weights for the day’s workout routine.
These are the women (and a few men) who attend Early Risers Fitness with trainer Lindsay May.
Spring, summer and early fall, we spread our workout mats on the sidewalk in front of Bog Fabrics and the other businesses in that strip mall, then start into our warmup routine.
Usually this consists of walking or running towards the sunrise over the mountains at Lillooet Lake. Along the way, we greet each other quietly and take in the morning sights: recent views include cherries ripening, new blooms on the roses, and sprinkler systems starting up. We are still in our own little worlds at this time, waking up slowly as we cruise towards the hotel. After a few trips, Lindsay calls us in and dispatches our first set of exercises.
Today we began with walking lunges across the parking lot and gradually our muscles loosened up and the conversation began. Someone in the group was all excited to drive to Old Yale Road to pick up three boxes of baby chicks – new laying hens, eventually.
We switched to squats with bicep curls and discussed the various colours of the eggs these chickens will lay, then finished the set with tricep kickbacks peppered with analysis of how the shells might be different colours and surprisingly, different strengths.
After a trip to the Yellow House ( conveniently located 250 meters up a thirty degree incline) we returned to our mats, blood pumping smoothly, for a set of side lunges. Now the topic switched to massage therapy – the various techniques employed, the new therapists in town, and the reasons we might need these services.
Our Early Riser’s Karma held as we sprinted over to the glass shop and back; somehow, in the seven years that the class has been running, it has only rained on us about three times.
Small weights in hand, we complemented our overhead presses with debate about the UK’s EU referendum. Effortlessly, the topic switched to mountain biking, then Tough Mudder and finally American Ninja Warrior.
After a double trip to the Yellow House a silence descended on the group as we caught our breath. Down to the mats we sank, preparing for what Lindsay calls, stretchy boat pose. Gently correcting our techniques, if necessary, our trainer launched into an anecdote about her little ones, which triggered remarks up and down the sidewalk about children’s books, air turbulence, quilting fabric, father daughter dances and strawberries.
Occasionally, someone would say something so funny that I would have to collapse onto my mat in laughter, bathed in the wash of serotonin from the workout and the humour.
By this time, we could watch the sun change the sky to shades of pink and gold as we grunted through thirty side leg raises. Flipping to the other side we gazed up towards the forests behind the fire hall then witnessed the arrival of the crows in their morning ritual of gleaning the building for insects while dodging the attacks of the white crowned sparrows protecting their nests.
As we began some stretching, silence fell over the group as each of us contemplated the day ahead – minds cleared and muscles primed – bathed in the exhilaration of shared exertion.
And then as we dispersed, Lindsay called out, “have a great day, everyone – great workout today; I’m impressed.” I felt a glow of pride as I got into my vehicle and thought about Googling egg shell strength when I got home.
What happens at Early Risers, sustains me throughout my day.