I assumed until recently that the 6 a.m. time slot was the earliest class available in some barre studios. To my surprise, not only do 5 a.m. classes exist, but some people swear by them.

I first discovered that 5 a.m. classes existed when I went on a trip to Orlando. It wasn’t until I started searching for studios near my hotel that I learned of Pure Barre’s 5 a.m. option. Gasp! 5 a.m.?! I must admit the first thought that popped into my head was, “but how?” To me, 6 a.m. seems early, and the times that I’ve tried to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to a class at that hour have been a real struggle. So how was someone supposed to wake up even earlier?

All that is to say that you shouldn’t knock something until you try it. So, in an effort to understand the motivation behind why someone would willingly choose this time slot to work out at, I surveyed instructors, studio owners, and students who teach, offer and take 5 a.m. classes, to understand their motivation. Here is what I found out.

 Early morning at The Bar Method’s Dr. Phillips location.

The first question I had to ask was of all the classes available throughout the week is 5 a.m. your most preferred time slot?

To my surprise, 100% of teachers who teach that class said that ‘yes’ it was their most preferred time to teach at and 75% of students said it was.

Well then, how early do you perceive 5 a.m. to be?

On a scale from one to ten, with one being ‘unreasonably early’ the average response was a 7, meaning that people did not perceive the 5 a.m. time slot to be that early, all things considered.

Early morning at Pure Barre.

What is the main driving factor for going to class at 5 a.m.?

“The community! We have had the same group of intense clients who support and encourage each other– we call this group ‘The Breakfast Club.’ They look after each other and hold everyone accountable!” – Mary Leonard, Pure Barre Hendersonville, TN

I started going to 5 a.m. to be able to double classes, one [Pure] Empower and one barre (classic) a day. After doing it once I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t bad and I got my workout in early.’ For others it allows them to get a workout in before the demands of their jobs… like teachers or people in the medical field enjoy that time.” – Danielle Uhlman., Pure Barre Orange County client

How often would you say you attend 5 a.m. classes?

The answers range from a few times a year to 4-5 times per week. It seems those that go to 5 a.m. classes, go often.

What other time slots do you usually work out at?

Responses for this question were really all over the map. Any other time you could think of was mentioned. Some liked early evening workouts, while others opted for 9 a.m. It really just depended on scheduling and availability.

Pure Barre Hendersonville

What time do you set your alarm for?

The earliest someone listed waking up for was 3 a.m! Though generally, most responses landed between 3:30 – 4:00 a.m., with the latest being 4:30 a.m. For a 5 a.m. class, I’m guessing they live close to the studio.

In order to be ready to jump out of bed and be out the door in a short period of time, most respondents said they packed their bags the night before, so they didn’t have as much to do when they woke up.

How easy or difficult is it to wake up for a 5 a.m. class?

On a scale from one to ten with ten being ‘incredibly easy,’ the average listed was 8 out of 10.

Approximately, how many other students are in the class with you at the time?

The average listed was 12.5, or about 10-15 students, which seems considerable when you think about how early it is. Mary Leonard, an instructor at Pure Barre Hendersonville, TN said she typically sees 14-16 students in her classes, with there being about 12 regulars on average! She also mentioned that her classes often have wait lists. Especially the 5 a.m. class on Friday morning.

How long have you been going to 5 a.m. classes for?

Responses ranged from one month to a few months, to a year, to a few years!

Do people usually eat before or after class?

Half of the respondents said they usually eat after class, with the other half answered that they eat before and after class.

“I go back to the house and grab a light breakfast and either watch tv or do anything that needs to be done around the house or for the day.” – Danielle Uhlman, Pure Barre Orange County client.

Have you noticed an improvement in your overall fitness/well-being as a result of going to this class specifically?

“I’m more motivated, happier, and have a feeling of accomplishment already by the time I get into the office!” said one respondent.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of going to 5 a.m. classes?

“Work out before your brain knows what your body’s up to, and before your body reaches its point of tiredness at the end of the day.”

“Do it! You’ll be awake afterwards with so much energy and you already got your work out in!”

Anything else you would like to share about your experience with 5 a.m. classes?

“Our 5 a.m. ladies are warriors! They are women who “want it all” and are attaining it with dedication and drive.” – Rachel Phillips, Owner, Village Barre

“These clients did not know each other before starting at Pure Barre. The 5 a.m. group have shared their stories with each other and have developed friendships beyond the studio walls. Out of the 9 clients who have reached their 250 class milestones, 8 of them are Breakfast Club Members! – Mary Leonard, Pure Barre Hendersonville, TN instructor.

Why did you decide to offer 5 a.m. classes?

“We wanted to provide options for all clients! 5 a.m. classes allow for enough time to go home, shower, and get to work or drop the kids off at school! Many of our clients love getting their workout done in the morning to start their day off right!” – Mary Leonard, Pure Barre Hendersonville, TN.

In Summary

After talking to studio owners, teachers and students, I concluded that there isn’t a sweeping consensus for why people like 5 a.m. classes. It’s hard to draw any conclusions when people attend for different personal reasons but I think Rachel Phillips, owner of Nashville’s Village Barre sums it up well. “Our clients prefer a 5 a.m. class because it does not interfere with their regularly scheduled day. They can sneak out of the house, take a class, and be home before anyone else is awake. Then they don’t have to take time away from their families, at night, to hit the gym.”

Unfortunately, the earliest class option in my city is 5:45 a.m., which to be fair still seems incredibly early to me. My goal is to take more 6:00 am classes this summer as the days get longer, and I find myself waking up earlier.

If you’re an advocate of 5 a.m. classes, leave a comment below and let us know what you love about that time slot.

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