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Creatures of the night are flexing their muscles

Mary Afemata

Its 4 am but one group of South Aucklanders is up and ready to hit a morning workout

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Most people are asleep at 4 am but one group of South Aucklanders is up and ready to hit a morning workout.

Coach Niuafolau Joel Amosa has been running Beatty Ave Fitness for over three years with a mixture of CrossFit, cardio, Olympic lifting, and strength training.

Beatty Ave Fitness is named after the street Niuafolau lives and is a tribute to his garage, where it all began in 2020, a time when gyms were not open because of the COVID lockdowns.

Who are the people who consistently get up at 4am from Monday to Saturday?

“They are the type of people I want to be surrounded by. So if you're willing to sacrifice a little bit of sleep for your own well-being, then I'm all for it.”

Debrief after class with Coach Nuiafolau. Photo / May Afemata

Niuafolau says it’s a challenge for even him to get up that early sometimes, especially since he has a young family and works full-time as a bank manager.

“You know, there are times where I struggle to get up in the morning, but I know for a fact that as soon as I get to that gym, there are people there that will put a smile on my face and there are people there that will make me scratch my head.

“It's all part of it and 4am is just a small snapshot.

“There’s 24 hours in the day. If I'm able to have your attention from 4 to 5, 5:30 am, I'm pretty lucky.”

Sinapi works as a corrections officer and the 4 am classes suit her work shifts.

She says she can get exercise done and it frees up the rest of her day.

“Beatty Ave means comfort, I go here and it's my safe space where I can be myself.

“I don't feel like I have to hide or anything. I’m just free to express who I am here… I love the people, I love my coach.”

Rose Hellesoe-Smith is a nurse and says the early morning suits her because she is a mum and wife as well.

“I have a little toddler who goes to daycare from 8 to 1”.

She attends 4 am classes for her health and well-being.

“I find early morning workout works for me, just to get my day started and go to work straight from here.

“I love the vibe, it’s a small fitness group but I love learning OLY, Crossfit, and everything that Joel shares with his classes.”

Pule Samate is a full-time mum and loves the training at Beatty Ave.

“It’s a safe space pretty much where you can talk about anything and everything.

“What I love most about it is the debriefs after and checking in on each other mentally, checking where everyone is at mentally, physically, and spiritually.”

Emily Sa’u has been to just five 4am classes while on maternity leave.

Niuafolau caught her attention and made her want to try out a class.

“I’ve been watching Joel and his team for a while through friend’s (social media) pages.

“Seeing him go through injuries and I too go through injuries. Just giving me hope that I could get back there soon.”

Memberships are $12 a week and Niuafolau says he’s never been in it to make money.

He describes the group as good people, a good community and like family.

“What makes Beatty Ave unique is that after every session there’s a debrief.

“I don't know if people or gyms give you that opportunity, to share your highs and your lows, your good and your bad, your future week, your past week.

He says he wants to celebrate the highs and also acknowledge the lows.

Debrief after class with Coach Nuiafolau. Photo / Supplied

“When you're fit, it's great. When you're not fit, it sucks, and if you can persevere through those real shitty times then you can get through anything.”

Hero image: Coach Nuiafolau Joel Amosa. Photo / Mary Afemata

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