VanCity Part 2: November Project YVR

I was up early the next morning – around 5:45 to be exact – to head up to the southern part of Vancouver for an epic morning sweat session with the November Project YVR folks! After meeting Sam – Co-Captain of November Project YYZ – at Tight Club the night before I knew that I was in for a morning of fun, sweat and PB’s according to his description. I should also note that when you’re an our of towner visiting an November Project crew you are known as a “traverbal”.

So what is the November ProjectNovember Project™ is a FREE fitness movement that was born in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold New England months. Now present in multiple cities in across four time zones in North America, the movement is using a simple sense of accountability (verbal) to motivate and encourage people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels to get out of their beds and get moving. Our members vary from Olympic medalists, professional athletes, marathoners, triathletes, current and former collegiate athletes all the way to complete fitness rookies and recent couch potatoes just looking to kickstart their healthy life choices. If you think that you’re not fit enough to join the group, stop thinking and come see what the fuss is all about. How can you join? Simple… Just show up!

After being out in Vancouver twice during the summer of 2015 and never making it out to a November Project workout I had become friends with Co-Captains Graham and Richard over Instagram and Facebook during the fall/winter months. When they heard that I was coming out they encouraged me to come join their crew for a workout on the Wednesday morning. At first I dreaded the early wakeup but then after following the crew on Facebook I knew that it was a morning worth getting up for, the only thing holding me back was figuring out how I get to Queen’s Park in the south end of the city for the 6:29am start time. Fear not, these guys had it all figured out and assured me that if I wanted to come sweat with them that they were pretty sure that they could get me a ride to/from Queen’s Park. Graham introduced me to Melissa who would pick me up at 6:12am on the dot and we would head-up along with one of the other November Project crew members for the workout. Melissa picked my butt up along with another crew member and gave me the inside scoop before we arrived at Queen’s Park ready to work!

We arrived at Queen’s Park while it was still dark, the parking lot illuminated by the headlights of one truck and the music already going. I was embraced with a number of hugs – first from Richard and Graham – then it was time to sign my wavier and gear up for what the morning had in store for us! The crazy thing was before we got things rolling Graham informed us that he heard the Toronto Co-Captain is a little “quiet”, well I can tell you that Graham and Richard have no shortness of noise between the two of them and before we knew it we were all holding hands and rolling into a massive human spiral before we unlinked hands and started to jump. Talk about a way to kick-off a work out as everyone jumped in unison and Graham started a call-and-repeat cheer to amp everyone up, in true November Project style we all said – F**K YEA! After were all riled up it was time for a warm-up lap of the park before we would learn our fate for this morning’s sweat fest. The temperature was cool but once we completed the warm-up lap it felt like time to ditch the long sleeves and get to work.NP1

Graham breaking down the workout for the crew

This morning’s workout was known as  ‘PB Morning’, basically it was an opportunity for you to benchmark again similar workouts to this and improve on your progression numbers. Some were out for the title of Top Male/Female Finisher which would have you going home with an array of special prizes including Space Jam on DVD and Minion fan which a rotating lollypop attached – classy! The workout for this morning was the following:

1) Progression Sumo Squats – Starting at the conservatory you would do 1 squat (you would add one squat to your progression set each time you returned to this station).

Run to Lookout Deck

2) 20 Wood Choppers – Basically you sit in boat pose with your legs bent and you extend your arms moving them from one side to the other (also known as Extended Arm Russian Twists).

Run to End of Trail

3) Progression Burpees – Find your spot and get your burpee one (you would add one burpee to your progression set each time you returned to this station).

Run to Lookout Deck

4) 20 Wood Choppers – Why do this once when you can do it twice?

Run Back to the Start – Then do it all over again!

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Workout Route Map

This workout was a challenge, the combination of running paired with the strength training was enough to get your heart rate up and your sweat on. Did I mention that we did this for over 25 minutes. And with this crew it ain’t over until it’s over because just when we thought we were down the Co-Captains had something else in store for us as they asked us to partner-up for “the finisher”! The most incredible thing about this fine crew of folks of the November Project YVR is not only did they make me feel like I was right at home but they are also the MOST encouraging group of people! It’s one thing to workout in a group for the support, push and motivation, but it’s another when those people who you’re sweating wish inspire your to give it your 200%! Every time you passed folks throughout the course throughout the morning there was an endless supply of high-gives, props, words of encouragement and cheers for all. And maybe that’s why I felt right at home, because for me it was like the Tribe crew on speed and when there is close to 50 of you and everything single person genuinely cares about the success of everyone else it’s truly something special!

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Nothing like a few Russian Twists to wake you up!

The Finisher – with a partner who’s middle name you didn’t know (I think that was the qualifier):

  • L Lung, Squat, R Lunge – progression down for the full set 10, 9, 8, 7… in a specific amount of time (I don’t remember off the top of my head, I think it was 6 minutes)
  • My partner and I worked together to KILL IT, we made it down to the final set before time was up

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#workhardplayharder – it ain’t over till it’s over

When all was said and done we were all a sweaty mess to say the least, but MAN did we feel good. This crew knows how to work hard but in all seriousness they get through these workouts because they support each other non-stop and encourage one another to be their best! After the group shot (which can be seen below) it was time for Richard + Graham to handout the epic prizes to the Men’s and Women’s top finisher from today’s PB workout, along with two other awards – Mountain Sexual Award and the November Project YVR Positivity Award! It was really unique to see that at each and every workout the Co-Captains take the time to handout these awards to the folks who sweat with this crew. It speaks volumes about Richard and Graham as Captains because in order to do this they need to take the time to get to know and maintain a personal relationship with each and every member as they grow and develop along with the November Project in Vancouver.

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Before we took-off for coffee, breakfast and a shower we had one more thing to do as a crew – an epic November Project graffiti session to tag in the newest members and give current members some fresh gear. How does it work? You bring a shirt and they tag it up for you to represent both near and far. I had gone out and bought a new New Balance t-shirt before I left Toronto for the specific reason of getting it tagged while I was in Vancouver, but I did not expect this number of people to bring out gear to get it tagged after this morning’s workout. It’s a pretty crazy set up, as Co-Captains Graham and Richard bring out this epic construction boxes, suit up in masks and up cap bottles of black spray paint. Officially tagged into November Project YVR I proudly wore my shirt on my plane ride to Las Vegas the next morning and have worn it many times since, ready to bring it back to YVR for a sweat session with this crew in August.

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I can promise you one thing – I WILL BE BACK! I certainly hope that my stars align to get a flight in early enough for my trip in August that I can meet-up with this crew for another sweat session at Queen’s Park. I need to send out a MASSIVE thank you to Richard and Graham for encouraging me to make the time to come out while I was in Vancouver for 48 hours, not only did I meet incredible folks, I had an amazing workout and was treated to this incredible view below of Vancouver!

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The view from Queen’s Park made it worth it!

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