People of my age realized that when we were young, by and large we earned our living at the expense of our health/ fitness: work, business travel and family pressure did not give one much free time. When we were old enough to retire, we tried to buy a little health/ fitness. Furthermore, the fitness industry was quite sketchy 30/40 years ago with its service providers lacking in quantity and quality. Therefore I signed up with a personal trainer in a local gym and began training in 2014, when I was 62. That was probably one of the best investment in my life. I thought that I was at my fittest in 30+ years – not that I was very fit now (and far from it), but that I was so unfit in my younger days.
In summer 2016, my gym was closed for relocation and rebuild lasting for two years. My training came to a halt. One day something just showed up in a local newspaper: Outdoor training free for all. Trevor the group leader, upon my enquiry, sent me a terse reply: JUST SHOW UP. Indeed it was known as JUST SHOW UP back in those days. I still have a printed top with this name.
From 5th October 2016, I tried my best to show up every Wednesday. They must be pretty impressed with this old chap that they presented me with the Positivity award on day three months later. Or perhaps they wanted me to have my one-minute fame before I wilted with age. I was 64 then. Three years later, I was still kicking, crawling, running, jumping, pumping and pressing with the tribe. I never looked back. I looked forward.
I was made to feel very welcome by the tribe from day one. Indeed they did offer free outdoor training. Almost weather-proof.
Too good to be true. There must be a catch. So here is my attempt to reveal the lesser known face of this sunny project. Let me start with a health warning. Taking this too seriously might be harmful to your health.
November Project is addictive. Every Wednesday one must get a fresh dose or risk feeling unwell physically and mentally. Those seriously hooked even tried to take extra dosage on Monday and Friday.
November Project is contagious. Your family and close friends were on the danger list. My daughter and son-in-law became victims. My GP, his wife, son and daughters also. My golf buddies and fellow collegians as well. An Uber driver was the latest victim after giving me a short trip. All in all, twelve confirmed cases originated from this writer. Maybe the WHO should investigate.
November Project is ubiquitous in most major cities. Well, nearly. I often travelled to London and found myself taking a Wednesday night bus at 5:00am in south London to join November Project London at the West End at 6:30am. Joon would always make sure you can hear their boisterous welcome. Can’t wait to see them again, Carrie included.
And when I was in Leeds where there was no NP (yet), I have to improvise. I joined BMF instead. They also have dedicated trainers and members. Mind you, you have to pay to get the privilege. But they were kind enough to give me an OAP discount. And where BMF was not available, one could improvise further. Just accept any challenges thrown at you. I have done my 22Kill’s 22 PUSHUP CHALLENGE, passing on the challenge to some poor souls known to me as friends. I have even created personal Plank challenges after that by adding one minute every day. I have to stop at 15 minutes. It was more a mental challenge than a physical one.
November Project did not guarantee to add years to your life. But it certainly can make you feel a few years younger.
November Project did not guarantee to make you popular among your old and envious friends, especially when they failed to beat you in golf even after your Wednesday workout. But it certainly can give you a few new friends. Sometimes one can learn new skills from new friends whatever the age difference was: special thanks to Janae who inducted me into yoga.
November Project is actually not 100% free. You have to give your heart in commitment to make it better for all involved. Yes, giving is more rewarding than taking.
Thank you very much, November Project HK. Hong Kong is more beautiful because of people like you.
Guest edit by Kellen, Philip puts the high in high fives:Share via socials: