November Project turning followers into fitness
SAMANTHA SQUIRE, CONTRIBUTOR
Roughly 90 people gather at The Forks at 6:15 a.m., waiting for their workout to start. Their clothing is spray-painted with black writing that reads November Project, and they wear matching yellow buffs around their heads and necks.
“My mom came over at six to babysit the kids so I could come this morning,” said Sara Morrison.
Morrison, 33, said she discovered November Project on social media. She saw a post her friend made online, so she searched November Project, found a YouTube video about it and started following them on Instagram and Facebook.
“Spreading the word through social media is the single biggest reason we have had so much success at building real community,” said Rick Duha, a leader of the Winnipeg workouts.
November Project is a free fitness movement that started in Boston and has spread throughout North America. Winnipeg November Project leader Derek Page said if people want to join all they have to do is go to the The Forks Wednesday mornings at 6:15 a.m.
Page said social media is the best tactic to attract new people and help November Project grow. He said each city’s tribe has an Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter account. There is also the main November Project account, which has over 19,000 followers on Instagram.
Page said each week the project’s Winnipeg Instagram will get over five new followers, and their engagement ratings on Facebook are always increasing. Duha said they were amazed when they hit 100 followers on Instagram, threw a party when they hit 500 and now have over 1700 followers.
Renee Desjardins, who has been attending the workouts since October, said she follows many of the tribes from different cities on Instagram. Every Wednesday her feed is primarily pictures of people working out at November Project.
“If I don’t go, I feel left out,” said Desjardins. “I would keep going to NP for personal reasons, but social media keeps me accountable.”
Desjardins said the online presence of November Project continues to grow because members help the leaders recruit by posting content on their personal accounts and using the hashtags #novemberproject and #novemberprojectywg.
Duha said last summer they had about 150 people on Wednesday mornings. This year their goal is to have over 200. He said they haven’t set a goal for the number of online followers they hope to achieve by a certain date because that number is arbitrary to him.
“What is more important is seeing those followers convert in to tribe members—people that make Wednesday mornings a part of their routine,” said Duha.
Bottom cover photo credit also goes to Samantha Squire.