What I learned from 5:30am

The first day of morning lifting during the 2019-2020 offseason: Morning lifting workouts have become a staple of the NP Baseball program over the last decade.

TOWAMENCIN- Four years of waking up at 4:30am, being at the high school by 5:15am and working out three days a week takes a toll on your body. Even more importantly, it puts your love for sports in a new aspect. It takes more than just an alarm clock to get up so early in the morning, drag yourself out of bed and put in 100% effort in the weight room.

When I first heard of getting up super early in the morning and working out, it was from my dad, who used to do workouts with his buddies. Then, I found out the high school baseball team did workouts at 5:30am, and I was nervous. I was not looking forward to getting up at that time twice a week to go lift when I was just a tall, scrawny kid. The only thing that stood in the way of me sleeping in was my aspirations to play varsity baseball at North Penn.

A few of the freshman navigate the NPHS weightroom during a baseball morning workout. The program starts with freshmen, and many carry their dedication through their senior year.

The first morning, I walked in confused and not knowing what to do. Our strength and conditioning coach, Jim Ward, and our head baseball coach Kevin Manero, told us how we were going to do things. I didn’t know it at the time, but these tiresome times of lifting and long days would soon be something I actually came to enjoy over the next few years.

What I realized from lifting was much more than just how to lift hundreds of pounds or how to run suicides in under 30 seconds; rather, I learned how to learn from people who have done more than you, and that many physical things are in fact just a mental state. The times where I did not want to do another rep or lift more weight, I realized it was never my body tapping out, but rather my mind not pushing past an invisible barrier. When I realized I could push past this and do more, not only did it allow me to lift more weight, but to better myself as a person. This, of course, took discipline during the long days, with having to wake up early for workouts and then proceed with my normal busy day of school and clubs. 

While looking for someone to learn from and to mimic their work ethic, I noticed a junior at the time who put in noticeably more work than everyone there: Joe Picozzi. In one of the first days of morning workouts during my freshman year, Picozzi showed me how to correctly do an exercise and gave me a few wise words about lifting. Following this interaction, he would soon become one of the guys I would go to during my baseball career. He had his act together and knew how to juggle the craziness of a day well, so he seemed a good person to look up to.

“I would say just getting in a routine of doing school work as soon as I got home and then getting to bed at a good hour made it manageable. The nights where I didn’t get a lot of sleep is when it really made it rough. I had early release senior year so that made it a little easier but the other years I had to really be on a schedule,” Picozzi commented. 

Working out so early in the morning comes with its benefits, even if it sacrifices some sleep. The team even has a challenge to see if you can go the whole year without missing a single workout. Some complete it and some fall short, missing one or two workouts, but the camaraderie of the team and with your teammates pushing you, these workouts bonded the baseball team to the closest it could be. 

One of the morning lifting traditions has become flag football on the last lift before Thanksgiving break

“Morning lifting taught me a lot of discipline more than anything. I only missed like five workouts in four years, which took a lot of mental discipline because there were definitely a lot of mornings that I really didn’t feel like getting up. Also, obviously it taught me how to work hard. We did some serious cardio and weightlifting and I learned a lot on how to effectively work out,” Piccozi remarked.

On the last morning workout every year, some of the parents would make some food and let the boys eat to celebrate a year of hard work. After each year, I would count down the years left of morning workouts I had left until I got to my senior year, realizing it was done. I now can look back at the happy moments, triumph and the many days of soreness. I not only fell in love with lifting and the amazing things that came with it, but can now look back and take away so much more than just lifting weights at 5:30am.






On the morning of the last lift of the offseason, the Knights honors those with perfect attendance