In 30 cities around North America, something special happens at 6:28 AM. Anywhere from a couple dozen to a few hundred people of all different athletic levels #JustShowUp in the rain, snow, extreme heat, or shine for a free workout.
Not a “morning person”? Does a 6:28 AM workout sound like your idea of hell? I thought the same thing. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get out of bed at 4:30 AM to workout before a 10-12 hour workday. Today, that 6:28 AM workout isn’t hell on earth. It’s the highlight of my week because it’s the time I get to spend with a group of people who want nothing more than to see me put my strongest foot forward.
And when I say free, I mean you will never owe one single cent to anyone. Ever. No gym memberships, no annual fees, no nothing. All you need to do is show up.
November Project started when two awesome human beings, Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaraic, made a pact to stay active through a New England winter. That pact sparked a grassroots movement and today, the November Project tribe is thousands of people strong. When you tell someone that you’re going to be at a workout, they are counting on you to be there because workouts are more fun with your friends!
3. Community and Friendship.
Here’s something you might not know about me, I’m really shy. If you’re looking for me at a social function, I’ll be the girl attempting to blend in with the wall because I’m too terrified to talk to anyone. It took me 3 months and countless broken promises to #JustShowUp to my first NP (November Project) workout. (See accountability.) There are still days where I sit in my car or on the subway giving myself the pep talk, trying to muster the courage to show up and not turn around to go back home. But every time, whether it’s your first or hundredth workout, you’ll find supportive and inclusive smiles, hugs, high fives and good mornings. Hugging a sweaty stranger is the best ice breaker in the world. It’s hard to feel anything but included and welcome when you’re at November Project, no matter what fitness level you’re at.
Burpees, squats, stairs, hill repeats, push ups…sound like fun? That’s every single exercise that I would never do on my own. You know the “strength training” you’re supposed to do as a runner? I won’t do it by myself. But I will do it when I show up to November Project because it’s fun. I don’t know what they put in the water at NP but drink the koolaid,—you won’t regret it. And you’ll be stronger and injury-free because you’re doing your strength training.
5. Love and Positivity.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never run a step in your life or if you can run a sub-3 hour marathon. Everyone is an equal. You won’t find a more supportive group of human beings in your life.
Goal used to be a bad word in my book because whenever I’d set a goal, I’d give up two months in and feel disappointed. But thanks to my supportive friends at NP, I don’t feel intimidated to set a terrifying goal. Even if I don’t accomplish it the first (second, third, fourth, or fifth) time, failing isn’t an option because the journey is fun and progress is being made.
I’ve really struggled with pushing my limits and getting uncomfortable. I’m a big fan of staying comfortable when I workout. I always thought that was more fun. Then I realized that I wasn’t looking forward to my afternoon runs because I wasn’t challenging myself. So I set a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon and started going for it at my NP workouts. It was tough and challenging but I was inspired by the people around me chasing down their own intimidating goals.
If you’ve never experienced what it feels like to be high on high fives, you haven’t lived. When you workout with NP, you’re with family. Every step of the way you’ll be encouraged and supported by your NP tribe. That’s what makes an exhausting workout fun—you’re distracted by all of the amazing people around you who want to see you succeed.
This year, my New Year’s resolution was to get stronger. “New Year, Stronger You” is my mantra and I’m doing everything I can to make that goal a reality. There’s strength in numbers; success is so much easier when you aren’t alone. Just this past weekend, I had my first long run of the year. It was pouring rain and I wasn’t in the mood to run. If I were alone, I would have phoned the run in. However because my NP tribe was with me, I had friends who helped me push my pace or make me smile while I ran away from my bad attitude.
Fun isn’t a word I would normally use to describe an exhausting workout, but when I’m with November Project, that’s all it is. It’s inspiring to watch so many people show up to support one another. It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, everyone is just happy that you’re there. If you’re looking for a way to get active with a group of amazing people who just might change your life without spending any money, November Project is for you.