It seems like “the dead of night” when the iPhone’s jazzy jingle dances into the dark.
That’s because it is — 3:56 a.m.!
Then a tricky maneuver to find it, grab it and tap it on the blurry target in the middle of its slippery glass surface for a nine-minute snooze reprieve, before starting all over again.
Tapping is critical, as “sliding” a finger will cancel the alarm (and score two more hours of primo, deep coma-like sleep) … and get me in BIG trouble to start the day!
Blast-off out the door needs to be by 4:47 a.m. for the short joy ride downtown, sans traffic (and cars) on Highway 101 — California’s longest highway, according to a trusted confidential source (Pssst: Wikipedia).
Final destination is ProForm Fitness & Training — a storefront gym that’s wedged between a dance studio and eco-friendly dry cleaners.
PFT has it all: weights, exercise machines, ESPN, loud music … and pain.
There are three of us here — Mateo, Zuck and Yours Truly — collectively, a 40-year age difference (OUCH!!) separates me (senior citizen) from them (“da boyz”).
Initially tethered by work at a local community bank — we’re now cemented in these 5 a.m. workouts and all the fun banter, mock accusations and joking around (and the pain) that’s become our weekday morning ritual.
• • •
Single dude Matthew Limon, 44, hails from Tulare … grew up on a farm … youngest of seven brothers and sisters … moved to Santa Barbara in 1993 … seemingly knows everyone in town … one of the funniest and most kind-hearted people you will ever meet … just finished his fourth season as a volunteer YFL assistant coach … loves the UCLA Bruins, Oakland Raiders and helping others.
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It’s a special “Early A.M. Fraternity” of sorts — with Rudy Arriaga (“The Cable Guy” from Cox) here on M-W-F, and with women and those others, like Phil, who arrive much later with personal trainers — cool pros like Shawn, Wy from Team PWY, Nicola and local legend Dave Esparza.
After my initial six-week, fill-in stint wrapped up in early November 2013 with Zuck’s return to America and PFT — it was time for me to peel off, as everyone knows a trio workout team simply doesn’t work.
“No, stay and work out with us,” Zuck said.
It’s a life-saving offer, to say the least (lost 25 pounds, so far) — and like having a couple of personal trainers/drill sergeants shouting wild encouragement to make you do things that your body seriously questions if it’s gonna work …
• • •
Soon-to-be-a-poppa, Michael Zuckerman, 36, grew up in Willows, a small town just outside Chico in “NorCal” … second of four brothers … parents are both retired teachers … Dad was also a high school football and wrestling coach, where Michael shined … was an All-American junior college wrestler … one of the most focused people you’ll ever meet … just lost 41 pounds in two months(!) to win his third Jiu Jitsu world championship … recently moved to Carp(interia), Home of the World’s Safest Beach …
• • •
Now, a year later, it’s still an every day commitment, with rare exception.
We’ve also done a bunch of crazy stuff waaay beyond lifting weights:
Plank challenges … 3X weekly, post workout, 6 a.m. “SBCC stadiums” (think opposite of “Stairway to Heaven”) … uber-inverted ab crunches galore … the “wheel of misfortune” that one rolls out on the floor from the knees (looks easy on TV!) … sunrise swims in the Arctic waters off Leadbetter Beach … teaming up for summer Nite Moves and Reef & Run venues … shooting testosterone-laden texts … threatening to pull “The Man Card” anytime one misses a workout … and the latest: “Mo-Vember” mustache challenge!!
• • •
Especially at Thanksgiving — I’m especially thankful these two great friends help keep me fit, having fun and, of course, feeling young!
Oh!! Almost forgot …
Friday sessions are always celebrated afterward with coffee (and muffins) at The Daily Grind at Mission and De la Vina streets.
“We’ll all have the usual,” I say to the young red-headed barista at the counter.
“Ha! You’re not that special that I know what you’re having,” she responds with a big smile and a fist bump.
Another wonderful connection!
And, not bad, still only 6:15 a.m. …
— Randy Weiss is local freelance writer and longtime Noozhawk contributing writer. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.