52 Weeks (GR)

On Thursday we celebrated our first year of providing free fitness to Grand Rapids. Yoshi and Matt sat down to reflect on the past year and talk about the future of NP_GR.

Matt: Dude, Yoshi, it’s been 52 weeks of free fitness in Grand Rapids. How’s it feel?

Yoshi: The hype is real. The energy, the positivity, the community, the hustle, the freshness. All real. GR has got it.

M: We wouldn’t be here without support from a ton of people. Anyone in particular you’d like to thank?

Y: I wanna thank Meggen for supporting me with this and all the other crazy events and activities that go along with it. Our house is littered with tagging and crafting supplies, props, and reference materials. Matt and I spend hours every week planning and executing NP activities. Without her support, we wouldn’t even be half as far as where we are today.

M: I definitely need to give a huge shout out to my partner, Jess, for always being willing to help with a craft project, give feedback on ideas or social media posts, and being unconditionally supportive of this movement. She never doubted what this movement could be and helped us get to where we are today.

Who else has inspired you along the way?

Y: Shout out to Emily Saul for reaching out when we were still a small pledge group and inspiring us to aim for goals that scared us a bit. My old Chicago running crew Three Run Two for being a role model for me in how a group can be supportive and help create connections in a city where it’s easy to feel lost and anonymous. All the NP tribes out there creating community in ways unique to their cities and coming together as part of a worldwide movement.

M: I echo Yoshi’s statements about the one and only, Emily Saul of NP Boston. She inspires us to hug more, love unconditionally, and dream big. Another big shout out to all the NP leaders that chatted with us on the phone and shared their tips and secrets. You all make this movement great. A special shout out to Ben and Holly from NP_MSP who lead by example in Minneapolis and inspired and supported us to spread NP to Grand Rapids. And finally, to all of you who showed up before we were November Project when it was dark and small. That sense of adventure and openness to try something new drives the feel of our tribe and makes it what it is.

Y: We’ve done a Craigslist Missed Connections post. Let’s get into the NP-Match.com game. If you wrote a profile for me, what would it say?

M: Hey y’all, I’m Yoshi, an internationally renowned latte artist from the deep south. My artwork is largely surrealist with a focus on tulips, roses, and hearts. This year, I’m fixing to become a latte art champion, God willing and if the creek don’t rise. Beyond my art, I am a Youtube connoisseur with a unique focus on Taylor Swift, boy bands, and alt workout videos. In my free time, you can find me hanging on the rock wall, drinking coffee beers, and working on my bike polo technique. On the fitness front, I bring the creative flow. Whether it’s a Michael Jackson inspired bounce or a james bond themed workout, you bring the squad, I’ll bring the party. If you’re looking for that spark that’ll make you just a little jittery, like that last cup of coffee, I’m your man.

I’m on team #bringbacktheaccent, so I threw in some southern phrases for you. What would mine say?

Y: I’m Matt and I’m the main engaging force behind NP GR. I’m the OG who saw how an NP could forge a community that brings together people from different abilities, lifestyles, and activities and wanted to bring that ruckus and noise to the GR. I like to go on long walks and even longer runs through the woods. I’m all about the Beer City life but down for wine and fancy cocktails too. Man of many talents: I can sing, I can dance, I look good in running pants. I’ll #JustShowUp and get things pumped and light things up, especially when the weather is crummy the hype is low.

M: That reminds me, we need to schedule another NP_GR Karaoke Night.

We’ve hosted a workout (or two) and a handful of events over the past year, is there one in particular that sticks out to you?

Y: I loved the Race the Sun mile race that we held in September. It was a 1 mile race with start times based on sunset minus each racers best mile time. We basically had a staggered start with the aim of having a crescendoing wave of runners racing to beat their mile PR AND sunset. Man Versus Nature. It was a gorgeous evening, a beautiful course, and the timing was tight. 70 people showed up and threw down and it was all good.

M: I love PR day. Everyone shows up, brings it hard for 30 minutes, and then enjoys that shared moment of being sweaty and tired, but satisfied. I also loved the Started from the Bottom stair competition. By the nature of the group, many activities are planned by Yoshi and I, but SFTB wasn’t like that at all. From the moment the competition started, teams were scheming, encouraging each other, and planning early morning/early evening/late night stair sessions. People were getting to know their teammates that they’d never met or only saw in passing.

M: So I’ve heard rumblings of part 2 and 3 of the Versus Trilogy. Anything you can share?

Y: We’re gonna #RaceEverything and everybody. It’s gonna be hot.

Anything that you’re excited about for the next year?

M: GR takeover is real. The word this year is #ActifyGR. We’re going to lower barriers to fitness, be in all parts of our city, grow this fitness community, and have a shit-ton of fun doing it. Be on the lookout for our Boston-inspired Log Jam ultimate throw-down workout.

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