Fitness

Workout 101: Guys' Guide to November Project

It's free and it's completely badass

So you’ve done the after-work slog to the gym for years. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more community-minded? A program where you’ll exchange something, with someone, other than a heaving sigh of resentment directed at the guy hogging the last decent treadmill? Consider November Project, which is amazing and free and revolutionary—and I’m not just saying that because I went to high school with one of its founders.

Interested? Here’s what you need to know:

Former collegiate rowers Brogan Graham (voted “Most likely to appear on Road Rules” our senior year of high school in Madison, WI..guess it’s appropriate?!) and Bojan Mandaric founded November Project after realizing they were going to have to come up with their best, new fitness program on their own.
After one person showed up for that first workout (“We were ecstatic!” says Mandaric), social media and word-of-mouth led to growth—now, November Project “tribes” can be found in 16 American cities, from Boston (the original) to San Diego, plus one location—Edmonton, Alberta—in Canada. The drill’s the same, wherever you are: Show up at 6:30, work out like a maniac for 60 minutes, go to work knowing you’re a badass.  “For those who have been once or for those who have been coming to November Project for years, they all say the same thing: Having your workout done before your day starts makes you feel like you can take on the world,” Graham says.
One more thing: It’s free. “We’ll never ask for a dime,” Graham says. “Showing up and bringing a positive attitude is all that we ever ask of our members.”

{images via November Project}

Guy-to-Girl Ratio

Pretty even. “We are 60 percent female,” says Graham. Even better, the tough workouts, and early hours, are designed to spur on bonding of all sorts. “The morning slot means that people are 100 percent available, and it’s the best way to drive community. After work, or too close to work starting, means that people’s days are all over the map. You’ll get participation only a few times a month and never get the friendships to form—and/or the results from athletic consistency to show.”

Choreography Complexity

Low. Think boot camp drills, like lunges, planks, and jump squats. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get embarrassed at how quickly you get winded, but thankfully the program’s exploding popularity mean that there’s safety (and an ability to hide newbie errors) in numbers.

Shower-Meter

Plan on it.

How hard it is, really

“If you can get your feet into your shoes, and your ass to the workout, you’re already done with the hardest part,” says Graham. He’s right – the hardest part is just getting up that early. To make it to a 6:30am group all the way uptown, from all the way downtown, I had to get up at 5:15am, and leave home – in the pitch black – by 5:30am. I was home and showering by 8:45am. That’s not nothing. In cities where you’re not reliant on public transportation, this may not be as big an issue.

Apart from the willpower exerted, expect to be worked to the bone. But don’t let that keep you from checking it out: “The hardest thing for people to wrap their heads around is that this isn’t something to ‘get fit enough to join’—this is something where you can show up at literally any level of fitness, and you’ll be brought in with love and support and leave feeling accomplished,” Graham says. “Our oldest regular members here in Boston are over 80 years old and our youngest are in their late teens—usually college freshmen.”

Tell me:

What’s the earliest you’ll get up to work out?

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Agree that style starts with how you feel about yourself? Check out more SG fitness stories  here (and here and here)

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