Why NP sparks Joy

Today’s blog is a guest post from Johnny Fikru, a positivity award winning member of November Project Seattle


Let me back up.

In 2017, after undergrad, I moved from Seattle to Philadelphia to experience something different. Seattle is the city that raised me and I knew it was important to get out of my comfort zone by moving. As a millenial, the first thing I did after hearing about November Project was a quick online search.  found phrases like “free fitness” and “meeting new people that is also bright n early.” That had “me” written all over it; I’ve always considered myself both a people-person and an early bird. I also love working out.

Johnny crushing the stairs at Gas Works Park
Johnny crushing the stairs at Gas Works Park

It felt like a triple threat!

However, at that time, it just didn’t work for my schedule. And so I never got to experience November Project in Philly.

When I made the return to Seattle last year, I knew I needed to make NP Seattle my new home. And that’s just what I did. I showed up. Even though I didn’t know anyone who did it, I went all in. I remember my first workout at Green Lake; complete strangers welcomed me in. We hugged it out. We got a little bounce going. And that led to a combination of workouts you can bet included burpees!

Johnny, pictured at a local trail race with friends from November Project Seattle
Johnny (second from right), at a local trail race with friends from November Project Seattle

And ever since that first hug, I kept coming back. I got hooked like phonics! I would go once a week pretty consistently and then realized I needed more. So I deepened my commitment by showing up for both Wednesday and Friday workouts. Gas Works Park is our home base in Seattle, for that it will forever be my dojo. I’ve run up all 45 feet of that hill countless times, became entangled with partner throwdowns, and completed my fair share of high-five burpees. Sure, I sometimes take a break from NP or am too busy with other life events. But no matter what is going on in the world, I always find a way to return, and I feel so grateful for the community.  


To put it simply, it’s a freaking blast. My Wednesdays and Fridays are so much better because of NP. The effects after the workout are so real. After I’m done with an NP workout I’m happier, fulfilled, and ready to seize the day. I truly believe I can handle any potential obstacles or surprises that come my way. And that kind of energy is how I stay grounded when stress hits.

Johnny planking at a Friday workout
Planking at a Friday workout

I also get to meet folks who I know I’d never meet otherwise. That’s no knock to anyone. NP is a lighthouse attracting diverse people from different walks of life. I’m talking multiple ages, transplants, locals, students, and workers well into their careers. The NP community consists of amazing people. You are bound to get closer to people you see twice a week at 6:29 in the morning, right?

The November Project is a ritual for me, part of my weekly routine. If I skip a workout, it feels like going to bed without brushing my teeth. Instead of dirty teeth, I get immense FOMO. I love that each workout is designed in a way that gives me the option to push myself like never before, or maybe take it easy if I’m going through recovery or have an upcoming event. I like that just showing up is so significant.

Not only has NP built me up physically, but also interpersonally. I have a craving to truly beat the “Seattle Freeze.” NP has taught me that the Seattle Freeze only exists if we let it. Every workout we help  “unfreeze” Seattle with an enthusiastic “eff yeah” and an “I’m so glad you’re here!”

Johnny with Maggie Perkoff, photographed while guest co-leading a Wednesday workout
Johnny (right) with Maggie Perkoff, photographed while guest co-leading a Wednesday workout

Photo credit: Joseph Duffy

Special shoutout to every single co-leader of NP. Especially to Brian and Marian. You both really show up for NP Seattle, and it most definitely shows. Thank you so much for the consistency, creativity, and the humor you bring. It seeps into our community and Seattle is a better place because of it! Thank you so much for steering the ship and bringing light into my week. There are no cloudy days even in the Rainy City because of y’all.

You may not be as excited as I am about joining a group of folks super early in the morning and then exercising outside twice a week. And that’s ok. Keep coming to NP and I bet you’ll experience the same level of joy as me. And if this doesn’t happen, that’s ok too. Go out there and find something that brings you joy consistently and that joy will manifest in the other aspects of your life #MarieKondo.

Cheers, and I’ll see ya at Gasworks.

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