Would You Like Some Free Hugs with Your Free Workout?

It's amazing to feel something so powerful as a healthy, supportive community, and that's what November Project provides.
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It's amazing to feel something so powerful as a healthy, supportive community, and that's what November Project provides.

Sometimes, the best things in life are free.

This phrase gets thrown around a lot. It's usually punctuated in an article by some gazillionaire who is reassuring the masses that money will never satisfy or fulfill you in the truest forms of being human. I get it. I subscribe to the truth of this sentiment. It's still never great hearing from a gazillionaire who's usually always saying something like, "I can't buy the feeling I get when I hear my baby's laughter." Sure, but, like, we all know he's probably spending bunches of dollars to develop and sell a baby laughing app, right?

A lot of people right now seem to be trying very hard to create replications of authenticity, so we can have that feeling that we cannot readily manufacture and pay for. People are creating robots to simulate companionship, people buy followers on social media to enhance their sense of community, and people pay for fitness trainers and gyms to improve their well being and confidence.

What if I told you I found a group of people that have started and succeeded at a grassroots movement in providing all of this — genuine human relationships, a community of support, and exercising for improved well-being — and it's free? 

It's called November Project, and it seems to be one of life's best things, and they are set for world domination.

November Project was started in Boston by two friends, Bojan and Brogan, who wanted to encourage each other to continue working out when the weather was cold, the days short and dark. This makes a ton of sense to me. It's very hard for me to find the willpower to wake up early and workout if I don't have a buddy who's relying on me to hold up my end of the bargain. (Side note: Anne, sorry I bailed on 6 a.m. yoga last week. I'm the worst. Ugh. Next week, maybe?)

What started as a small tribe in Boston has now grown throughout the entire North American region, and it's been announced that the first November Project group is being launched in China soon, as well. Soon, all around the world on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 6:30 a.m., there will be groups of people coming together to give morning hugs and high fives, to encourage each other that they are doing a great thing for their health and well-being, and they are all doing it together. 

It's amazing and unsettling to feel something so powerful as a healthy, supportive community. I'm a cold-hearted pessimist and more of a stress-eater than a stress-exerciser, so this community took me be cautious surprise.

November Project's Chicago tribe

November Project's Chicago tribe

November Project (aka Nov Pro) is the most genuine in the most silly and heart-warming way. The workouts are best described as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), body weight for strength training mixed with cardio. You start each workout in the morning with a light stretch, a welcoming of any new comers or those traveling in from tribes from other cities, and a large "Fuck yeah!" to get going, and you spend the next hour or so using your city as a workout playground. Motivation is limitless; support continues throughout the entire exercise, people you don't know are wishing the best for you at your worst and at your best. It's a winning feel all around.

I asked some of those who participate in November Project to tell me a little about their experience, as well, and here's what I heard from others:

Emily L., Chicago tribe

Nbd, just Emily being a baller doing step ups by Lake Michigan.

Nbd, just Emily being a baller doing step ups by Lake Michigan.

"I 'just showed up' to a workout over a year ago, and the value it's brought to my life is far greater than I ever would have anticipated. This community of passionate, early-morning fitness fanatics have become much more than my workout partners; they've become my family. The people, the accountability, the encouragement, the energy and the FUN keeps me coming back week after week. Not to mention, it's FREE. And did I mention FUN?"

Dr. Matt Tanneberg, Pheonix tribe

"I heard about the November Project from a friend about a month ago. I only recently started working out with them as my schedule permits it. Playing sports my whole life, I have always been intrigued with the team aspect of fitness. That is the best part about the November Project — the fact that you are in a group setting and are competing with the other members either consciously or subconsciously which makes you push yourself harder than you would if you were by yourself. It creates a great sense of achievement after completing workouts together and really helps to give you a sense of community within the group."

Jordanna L., Boston tribe

Multitasking sit-ups and hugs. Hug-ups, maybe?

Multitasking sit-ups and hugs. Hug-ups, maybe?

"November Project, for me, is all about community and connection. When I'm there, I am almost always the slowest, and I don't care. It feels so good to be so supported, regardless of my abilities. I go out on Fridays before the 6:30 group and walk my hill (I can't run it....yet) so that I can get my kids up and be outside with them to say hello to everyone before we go to school. I go to Mondays when I can, which isn't often when I'm working. My point is, just because of this community, I have worked out more and been more supported and can't emphasize enough how much it is inclusive and involves EVERYONE. Super-fast Olympian-caliber athletes and slow people like me. In addition, NP has provided my children with a community that showcases strong women and men, working hard and sometimes 'winning' and sometimes finishing. We have lots of conversations about how some athletes win and some athletes finish. My children have a huge community of adults who love them. Really, NP has changed my life in so many positive ways. It has made me re-think what an athlete is; it has made me reevaluate my own abilities; it has given me support and connection."

  • Have you heard of November Project? Would you #justshowup?
  • Do you all like working out, but think the hardest part is putting on your tennis shoes like me?