What’s wrong with the 3am workout?
Model and actor Gaurav Sharma (27) lives in Andheri. He is devoted to his workout routine, and makes time for it four days a week. Unlike most gym-goers, Sharma hits the treadmill in the dead of the night, between 1am and 3am at a 24-hour gym facility. “I have long shoots that end late at night. Being in a profession that demands fitness, I cannot afford to skip my workouts,” he says. The fact that his workout schedule helps him avoid traffic jams and exercise freely without having to fight for the treadmill is an added bonus, he says.
Sharma is not the only one burning the midnight oil for a toned body. Across the city, 24-hour gyms are reporting a rise in the number of people exercising between midnight and 6am. Badal Makwana, manager at the two-year-old gym chain Anytime Fitness, has seen the average number of people who exercise late at night double from 17 last year to 35 this year.
It has also led to more gyms operating round the clock. Five-star hotels, including Grand Hyatt and JW Marriott Sahar, offer similar facilities, and they can be utilised by non-resident members as well. Most don’t charge extra for use at night.
Leena Mogre’s Fitness in Bandra was one of the first 24-hour gym facilities in the city. While its Dadar branch is open till midnight, the one in Bandra — home to hipsters, actors, and models (ones who can afford the rentals in the suburb, that is) — has stayed open round the clock for the last nine years. “We were clear from the beginning that we would focus on lifestyle management and being open all night is an extension of that. That way, there’s no excuse to avoid working out,” says Mogre.
The flip side
But is it good for your health? “It alters the sleep patterns and the diurnal cycle of the body (internal body clock) can be impacted. It can have an adverse effect over the long-term leading to an increase in blood pressure levels and stress hormones,” says Dr Shalini Suralkar, consultant physician, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital.
Sachin Kavankar, manager at Malad-based fitness centre Elgymnasio, cites his own example, where he developed a throat infection, dark circles and a skin ailment due to exercising late at night. The effects subsided over time. “At night, the body is in sleep mode. The body slows down at night thinking it is time to go to bed, but exercise makes it active,” he says.
Night owls might be better off though as their body cycles are attuned to more activity late at night. “Working out late at night can be unhealthy as it affects your regular metabolism; but if you are attuned to working at night regularly, it is a different scenario,” says Dr Behram Pardiwala, coordinator, department of medicine, Wockhardt Hospital. For those who are not attuned, the effects can range from exhaustion to mood swings and irritability, which can lead to chronic illness over the long-term.
But Mogre reasons that the fact that people get to exercise at all is a plus point. “If you can go out to eat and drink at night, then why not exercise? Any exercise is better than no exercise,” she says.
24/7 gyms in the city
> Leena Mogre’s Fitness
At Crystal Paradise, 33rd Road, Bandra (W)
Call 2648 1795
At Evershine Mall, Link Road, Malad (W)
Call 70453 75885
> Anytime Fitness
At 404, Land Mark building, New Link Road, Andheri (W)
Call 90049 33112
At Crystal Point Mall, above Star Bazaar, Andheri (W)
Call 2636 4848
> Club Oasis Fitness Centre and Spa
At Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Off Western Express Highway, Santacruz (E)
Call 6676 1144
> Spa by JW
At Juhu Tara Road, Vile Parle (W)
Call 6693 3000
At Nirlon Knowledge Park, Off Western Express Highway, Goregaon (E)
Call 8108 422288