Free Fitness Movement Taking Philly By Storm

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The November Project Philadelphia is a free fitness movement made up of fun, out-of-the-box workouts twice a week.

If there’s one word to describe it, it’s welcoming.

“Anyone’s welcome, any fitness level, any age group,” said John Combs, who helps lead the group. “We’re just trying to connect the city.”

As you spend more time with the tribe, as they call themselves, a few other “W’s” come to mind.

“People can be kind of wacky and everyone’s weird, but that’s what I embrace about it,” Combs said.

Combs went from a tribe member to a leader over the summer. He and co-leader Beth Blendell plan and lead the outdoor fitness sessions.

“We say it’s like adult recess,” Blendell said. “You get to come here and hang out and talk to all of your friends and then you get a workout in without even realizing it’s happening.”

The early-morning workouts take them all over the city.

“Different environments make the workout more exciting, and it allows for some really cool views too,” Combs said.

Now three years strong in Philadelphia, the November Project regularly attracts upwards of 100 people and as many as 300 in the summer.
Started in Boston, the free fitness movement now has more than 30 chapters in cities worldwide.

“Anytime I’m in Philly, I get to work out with these cool people,” said Risa Isard of Washington, D.C. “Anytime I’m anywhere else in the country, there’s another city to join a workout with. So there’s this network of cities.”

Sanketh Guruswamy was persuaded to start coming two years ago. He hasn’t stopped since.

“It’s a bunch of free workouts, everyone’s awesome, a little crazy, lots of sweaty hugs,” he said. “I was like, ‘Sold! I’m in!'”

Another W? Weatherproof.

“Never cancelled a workout,” Combs said. “We’ve worked out in zero degree weather, rain, snow.”

For all of their efforts, Combs and Blendell are only paid in hugs, high-fives and smiles, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a lot of work, but it pays off because we’re helping a lot of people,” Combs said. “A lot of smiles. It’s a good way to start the day.”

The November Project meets every Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m. Locations change so be sure to check their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/NovemberProjectPHL

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