At 5am, the sky is still black and the streets of the Hamilton CBD are eerily quiet. Victoria Street is devoid of its usual patronage (mostly white collar or hipster -but these days, the difference is barely discernible). Instead, it is dotted with the high-viz orange vests of street sweepers, who ensure spotless surrounds in time for early-morning joggers and hardcore caffiends.
Most unusually, at this time of morning, it is the north end of Vic Street that is a buzzing hive of activity. Brave the dark and the quiet and keep walking north, past London Street, and you will come across one of the more interesting architectural creations in Hamilton City: the new Les Mills complex.
Even from a distance, the distinctly-shaped building exudes a special kind of energy. It is not difficult to understand why: the fluorescent colour scheme, the pumping music and the sight of people swinging upside down from monkey bars is enough to rouse even the weakest of morning people.
I enjoy my Les Mills mornings. Crossing the threshold from the street into the foyer has a transient quality, as though passing into a completely different world full of energetic morning people. It is little surprise that the facilities are modern and superior to most and that the staff are friendly and professional. It is a world-class franchise, so one would expect nothing else.
The best part about my Les Mills mornings is actually the post-workout routine. Growing up, changing rooms -especially at school- were the bane of my existence. I have memories of holding my nose amidst the smell of sweaty gym socks and furtively getting changed in a corner, careful not to make eye-contact with the perfect bodies around me, lest they notice my teenage imperfections.
In contrast, I look forward to the changing room experience at Les Mills. The sauna (conveniently located inside the changing rooms) is a refreshing respite from real life, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. The softly dancing neon lights along the wall provide an interesting contrast to the comfortable wooden benches, and allow space for relaxation and quiet contemplation.
There are enough well-lit dressing tables to accommodate everyone for their post-shower routines. The hair straighteners (free of charge!) and hair dryers at each dressing table are a godsend. It makes me giggle to imagine that throngs of working women all over the city, when asked, would credit Les Mills for their immaculate hairstyles.
The music videos playing on screens all around the changing rooms are a welcome distraction from any body woes (in fact, I have on occasion caught myself in the mirror, dancing in my underwear along to the latest pop video!). Despite the many carefully-crafted gym bodies floating about, it is hard to feel in the least insecure when there is so much else to enjoy. All the little things add a luxurious feel to the otherwise mundane routine of getting ready in the morning. You walk out feeling fresh, pampered and ready to take on the day.
I feel lucky to experience this every morning that I choose to. Clearly our little city is moving up in the world -and it’s taking us all with it.
Guest post from one of our longtime followers on #lovethetron who would prefer to remain nameless because she claims to be a little shy about her writing. No prizes for guessing who!