Join the November Project to Enjoy Free Fitness

outdoor fitness november project
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November can be a brutal time to exercise outside. In many regions of the United States, you're often faced with cold mornings, wet weather, and perhaps a little snow. Then the time changes, and you're stuck battling short days, long nights, and the allure of a warm, cozy home. Good luck sticking to a regular workout routine.

But it's exactly that seemingly insurmountable challenge that inspired November Project co-founders, Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric, to start the free fitness movement. The friends made a simple pact—they'd both commit to showing up every single morning at 6:30 a.m. through the month of November to work out together. This verbal commitment, known affectionately as a "verbal" in November Project (NP) lingo, is now considered an unbreakable bond of accountability, and it's one of the many reasons the group has grown from two guys to groups of hundreds and thousands who meet and workout together all over the world.

What You Can Expect When Joining November Project

November Project workouts are usually held around 6:30 a.m. (sometimes earlier!), typically in well-known or prominent outdoor locations in and around your city. It's not unusual for first-timers to feel a little nervous about what to expect, but the culture is a welcoming one, so there's no reason not to give it a try. In a nutshell, here's what you can expect:

  • You can expect a minimum of one free workout each week. All chapters are expected to host at least one free workout a week, on Wednesday mornings usually around 6:30 a.m. Some chapters offer more than one workout a week, or even multiple sessions in the same morning.
  • You can expect workouts and exercises that utilize body weight as resistance. Running, pushups, stair climbing, air squats, burpees, and mountain climbers are all basic examples of the types of activities incorporated into November Project workouts. You aren't expected to bring equipment with you, so workouts rely on surrounding terrain and your own body to make you work up a sweat.
  • You can expect to workout alongside people of all abilities. November Project members include Olympians and professional athletes, but they also include people who are brand new to exercise. Programs are scalable, so all levels can feel good about joining in.
  • You can expect workouts to be held no matter the weather. Rain, shine, snow, hail, it doesn't matter. November Project chapters are committed to meeting under every possible circumstance. They like to call themselves "weatherproof." In fact, they take a kind of masochistic pride in their commitment to showing up and working hard, even during inclement weather.
  • You can expect an inviting, encouraging atmosphere. November Project leaders are huggers, not shakers, and they set the tone for everyone else in the group. You can expect high fives, words of encouragement, and yes, giant bear hugs, even if you're dripping with sweat.

Steve Procknal, one of the co-founders of the Buffalo, NY chapter of November Project, says, "NP is a place where all are welcomed. It's a place that gives you the opportunity to try different forms of movement you've never tried before, or never thought you might like. You might even find yourself signing up for your first 5k, marathon, or trail race after joining the group. We go hard, but we have a great time doing it." 

How to Join November Project

Just show up! Seriously, it's like the November Project motto. Workouts are free and they run like clockwork, so you don't have to do anything in advance. Simply show up wearing a solid pair of athletic shoes and workout clothes appropriate for the weather, and get ready to break a sweat.

"Don't wait. Don't try and get fit before you show up, and don't try and do your own thing at NP. NP is open to all, but not for everyone. If you don't like meeting new people and trying new things, you're not going to like NP." 
—NP co-founder Brogan Graham

November Project Chapter Locations

Since the Project's inception in November 2011, the movement has grown in a grassroots-like fashion to 52 cities around the world and counting. As of February 2018, chapters can be found in:

  • Amsterdam, NL
  • Austin, TX
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Iceland
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Kelowna, BC
  • London, UK
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Madison, WI
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Miri, Malaysia
  • Montreal, QC
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Newport, RI
  • New York, NY
  • Oakland, CA
  • Orlando, FL
  • Ottawa, ON
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Providence, RI
  • Queen City, SK
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Serbia
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Toronto, ON
  • Toulouse, France
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Victoria, BC
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Washington, DC
  • West LA, CA
  • Winnipeg, MB
  • Worcester, MA

Starting a November Project Chapter

While, technically, anyone can start a free fitness movement, November Project doesn't allow just anyone to start one of their chapters. In fact, there's a rigorous and prolonged application process for wannabe team leaders who have to earn the right (through hard work and commitment) to lead the November Project workouts. If you think you want to start a chapter in your area, here's just a little bit of what's expected of prospective leaders:

  • Find outdoor locations to host the workouts. NP doesn't swoop in and do the work of locating venues for group leaders—that's each leader's job.
  • Host at least one free workout a week. This free workout is always on Wednesdays and always in the early morning hours. Why? Because it's tradition.
  • Take photos, blog about experiences, and share on social media. When a new chapter is given official status as part of the November Project, group leaders are given location-specific social media accounts and access to the November Project blog. They're expected to foster a sense of community while recruiting new members.
  • Add workouts as the group grows. Once the group grows enough to support multiple workouts, leaders may often first start a Friday morning workout or a Monday morning workout, but it's not a guarantee.
  • Plan and lead workouts. Workouts are expected to be fun, they're expected to be accessible, and they're expected to be well-managed. Group leaders put lots of time into preparing and executing these group events, and as chapters sometimes grow to hundreds of free members, you can bet this sometimes presents a challenge.
  • Commit to doing the work for free. This is easily a part-time job, maybe even a full-time job, depending on how large a group grows. And yet, group leaders are simply volunteers committed to enhancing the health and fitness of the people in their communities. It's tough work, but it's inspired work, too.

Learn More About the Movement

The best possible way to learn about November Project is to show up at a chapter location and join in a workout. There's quite literally no better way to gain knowledge than through experience. That said, if you're still looking for ways to learn more, you can check out the short, 30-minute November Project documentary available for free on YouTube.