More than Fitness…

This guys works out in basketball shorts, running shoes, and no shirt in 30 degree weather. He offsets that with wearing a three-piece suit to work. He thinks that Facebook is oddly misspelled term coined of two words that usually wouldn’t be found next to each other in a sentence. He is tall, smart, gentle and soft-spoken. Ladies and gentleman, his name is Kreg Pearless and he tells us a few things about November Project and himself as a part of it.

When Brogan asked me to put some words down on paper about November Project I thought it would be easy. It could be about “anything” – he just wanted it to be my story. I had a few thoughts:

– Tell them about the time you accidentally started NP-Chicago by doing a Deck in O’Hare Airport
– Write about your first day at NP and being humbled by how easily Claire Wood and Goldie Kaufenberg kicked your ass (let’s be honest – they still kick my ass)
– Talk about how …

… At some point it occurred to me that, while these stories mattered, none of them could capture the immensity of November Project and what it has become. Sure, it would get the job done; one of them would be good enough to get on the blog, and they are certainly part of the NP story. But I wanted to unravel what November Project is at its core…

Okay Kreg: So how does one capture the ethos of NP?

(Damn – I should have stuck with Brogan’s original question)

If I may be so bold… here is my, albeit brief, attempt to untie this Gordian Knot.

I believe, as many of you reading this believe, that NP is special. It transcends each and every one of us. Yes, Bojan and Brogan are the unquestioned leaders and heart of it, but it’s also greater than them. They’ve turned too many people on to the power of positivity, community, and accidentally getting fit at the same time. Just ask Rich in Arkansas – you don’t have to be in Boston to be part of this.

Is it the hugs? Is it the people? Are B&B really just the baddest workout dudes in history? It’s most definitely not Kreg Pearless… As I searched for clarity, I stumbled upon this dude… (Watch his Tedx talk here). I would summarize his comments through the following quote:

The truth is that “it’s not necessarily reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if you can change the lens…” you not only alter your happiness; you can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.

(Follow that link – – read that paragraph again)

So here’s the deal…

Brogan and Bojan didn’t magically solve the code on how to get fit – the genius of B&B is they inadvertently? re-wrote the equation on happiness. Fitness, Hugs, Smiles, and the “I’m glad that you’re here” speeches, all play into this. Your brain is getting re-wired every M/W/F and you don’t even know it. It’s like this…

So you think you’re tired at section 12 of the stadium? Just gut it out for another 11 sections and get to section 1; there you’ll find an army of fun, smiling, good looking, encouraging individuals waiting to emotionally lift you through the hardest & best part of your day.

Stuck walking half-way up the mountain known as Summit Ave? No problem, it’s only a matter of time until Grady, Jake Otto, Morgan Brown, or Big Smooth comes up behind you to tell you how great you’re doing. These are some of the fittest people you will ever meet, and they are encouraging, not intimidating. And btw, don’t sweat walking up the hill, 95% of the (non-NP) folks we know couldn’t make it up that hill either…

Spend a couple mornings with November Project and that 2-O’clock bitch session from your boss doesn’t seem so bad… Suddenly you’re smiling at people on the street. If you’ve noticed yourself being more content these days – you have NP to thank.

This all may sound wonky but it’s been proven time and again to be true…

Okay, okay, okay… I get it – For many of us the November Project tag is a badge of honor. It’s a, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” kind of workout. It’s a club that anyone can join but a challenge that few rise (quite literally) to accept. Every week we tell our friends, co-workers, worst enemies how they need to just SHOW-UP to a destination deck or Harvard Stadium to see what they’re missing…

That’s all true – Actually, it’s the reason I started doing NP – but you and I can find a fitness club anywhere. Heck there are a dozen groups that workout AT HARVARD STADIUM alone – You don’t need to be part of November Project in order to run the stadium. But no other Harvard Group is the size or scale of NP. I think you have to ask yourself what makes NP different and more popular than the others? It certainly isn’t because NP starts at a better time of day…

I remember telling Brogan, early-on, that “yes, this is a cult”. (I think he took it the wrong way but that’s another story). The narrative of NP isn’t that BG & BM are vanguards of free fitness – they’re on a mission to make everyone around them, their city, and really the world a better place. We all showed up to challenge ourselves and our understanding of ‘working out’ but we walked away with much more…

Optional Reading Below:

And finally – what you’ve all been waiting for: Kreg interviews himself… 10 questions about NP…

Kreg what’s the best part of November Project?
– The people… hands down THE PEOPLE. The workouts can be done (almost) anywhere but when you have a community of individuals who will challenge you, support you, and make sure you smile (at least some point) along the way… That’s worth it. Those of you who have tried to conquer Summit Ave by yourself, know what I mean.

Kreg, I’m not like you, you love working out.
– No, I effn’ hate it… Just ask anyone who’s ever run hills with me. And the fact is I’d rather be doing almost anything other than 200 pushups & 200 sit-ups. But my genetics aren’t that good and I like to eat more than you… Plus – the PEOPLE

Kreg, I don’t like waking up early.
– Don’t like waking up early? Go to bed now – RIGHT NOW – because you really don’t need to watch another episode of some crappy reality TV show. If you’re in bed by 7pm – getting up at 5:30am isn’t that hard.

Kreg, I can’t find you on Facebook. What’s up with that?
– What’s Facebook? Next Question…

Is NP for everyone?
– No it’s not for EVERYONE…
• Don’t show up if you think you’ll be faster/stronger than everyone there
• Don’t show up if you hate fun
• Don’t show up if you have aphephobia

So why did you do a deck at O’Hare Airport?
– Well Why Not? I had a 3 hour snow delay and there isn’t enough room to do a deck on the plane. And Yes, somewhere, Derrick Shallcross just said “3 HOURS! You should have done 5 decks” – This is why Derrick has better looking abs than me. (Can the kid eat a cheeseburger during his layover!?)

Be honest did you Google “fear of being touched” in order to find “aphephobia”?
– Yes, and then I checked dictionary.com to make sure the Google search query was right.

Kreg, how DID you get the Facebook link for Rich in Arkansas?
– Wouldn’t you like to know (ahhemm Kathleen)

If you could change one thing about November Project what would it be?
– Aside from the temperature… Probably, to bring back a way of recording workouts. That was an important part of NP. It wasn’t fair to expect Brogan or Bojan (or EMILIE!!!) to input all of our names and times forever. Still tracking progress helps to grow the community. I have a few other thoughts but that one seems to be the most realistic…

Challenge: Someone at NP has to know how to build a app/program that can be easily be uploaded to the blog to record workouts… Talk with Bojan – build an App – donate a couple old iphone3s – get it done!

Favorite NP workout:
– Backpack Stadium Days… They make you appreciate the non-backpack days…

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