“Pay attention to your voice. Be yourself. Be colorful. Be weird.”
There are leaders and then there are followers. The best leaders engender devotion to a big, new idea. But only a few successfully grow their conceit into a thriving a enterprise that withstands the test of time. Fewer still scale to mainstream cultural impact.
Then there are the charmed select who simply see the world differently. Not how it is, but how it could be. How it should be. The rare figure who infuses his or her vision with a contagion of enthusiasm and connectivity so infectious and powerful, it ignites a revolution – catalyzing a movement that penetrates the mainstream, hypnotizes the masses and forever alters the perspective and behavior of all who fall under its spell.
This is the story of Brogan Graham — an irreverent, way-outside-the-box fitness fanatic who, along with partner-in-crime Bojan Mandaric decided to flip the fitness industry on its head and make the world a better place with a creation dubbed November Project. No gyms or machines. No fees or dues. Just two dudes, wide open public space and a fervent, gung-ho tribe of thousands taking over not just urban landscapes but the world, one city at a time.
If you’re into fitness and live in a metropolis, chances are you’ve already caught wind of NP. Maybe you’ve even attended one of their infamous morning workouts.
But for those unfamiliar, November Project started as a simple month-long workout pact between Brogan and Bojan, two former rowers who wanted to stay fit through the cold New England months. One by one, a burgeoning community of fitness freaks joined the party. And before long, the few morphed into a fanatical multitude, bonding around NP’s free, open-to-anyone, frentic sweat revivals – the more ice, sleet, snow, and rain the better.
Dubbed “the ‘Fight Club’ of running clubs”, November Project has matured into a flashmob fitness revolution that now dominates the pre-dawn urban landscape of cities all across North America, Europe, the United Kingdom and even parts of Asia. Thoroughly grassroots and populist to the core, it’s a category-defying movement that is redefining how we think about and practice fitness by leveraging community, a simple sense of accountability and open public spaces to motivate and encourage people of all ages, shapes, sizes and levels — welcoming everyone from Olympic medalists and professional athletes all the way to complete fitness rookies and recent couch potatoes.
The idea: use movement to turn strangers into friends and connect everyone to the city in which they live.
The goal: world domination.
This week I sit down Brogan — one-half of the beautiful high-energy, charismatic superhero duo that birthed it all — to find out how he did it, and why.
I was super stoked to meet up with Brogan. From the minute he pulled into my driveway and gave me a bear hug (he’s a big dude), I knew it was a bromance in the making. I have a strong feeling this is but the first of many future collaborations.
This is an amazing conversation about the power of community and storytelling to drive positive cultural change. It’s about the audacity to dream big, think different, and act outside the box. It’s about the freedom and power of being you. And it’s a conversation about unlocking untapped reservoirs of human potential to step into your best, most fully actualized self.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
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Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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Brogan’s newly released book, co-authored by Bojan Mandaric & Caleb Daniloff, is available now: November Project: The Book: Inside the Free, Grassroots Fitness Movement That’s Taking Over the World*
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Brogan: Instagram | Twitter
- Brogan’s Abs: Twitter
- NovemberProject: My Return by Brogan Graham
- FolkRebellion: Digital Detox Under The Aurora Borealis//Feb 2017
- Film: Fight Club* with Brad Pitt & Edward Norton
- YouTube: Showing Up by Dooster Films (Video)
- MensJournal: The Best Workouts In America
- BostonGlobe: Boston couple brings fitness to the masses by Jaclyn Reiss
- Waderlust: Brogan Graham: The November Project an Accidental Movement
- Everup: How Brogan Graham, Co-Founder of the November Project, Does Mornings by Brianna Steinhilber
- RunningOnOm: Brogan Graham on Why You Should Show Up to November Project
- RunnersWorld: Hugs, Sweat & Cheers by Caleb Daniloff
- CreativeMornings: Brogan talks about the importance of moments and showing up
- CBSBoston: November Project Gets Thousands In Shape For Free by Kate Merrill
- TEDxBeaconStreet: How to start a movement | November Project (YouTube)
- LATimes: How hugs make everything better, even running the stairs at the Hollywood Bowl by Mary MacVean
- LATimes: November Project L.A. (video)
- USAToday: Students embrace exercise with free fitness movement November Project by Justina Tran
- WomensRunning: 9 Reasons Why November Project Is For You
- Wired: Fitness Isn’t a Lifestyle Anymore. Sometimes It’s a Cult by Meaghen Brown
- ABCNews: ‘The November Project’ Workout Movement Takes Over Times Square
- Well+Good: How To Hold Onto Your Summer Bliss: Brogan Graham
Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast
- Caleb Daniloff: American author who has worked in journalism, radio, and advertising, and is currently a contributing editor at Runner’s World
- Bojan Mandaric: co-founder of November Project, a free fitness movement which started in Boston and is now in 29 cites across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and co-author of the book with the same title
- Andrew Ference: former Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman
- Winkelevoss twins: also humorously referred to as the Winklevii are American rowers and Internet entrepreneurs, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #115: Dean Karnazes — To Struggle Is To Be Alive
- RRP #137: Robin Arzon – Do Epic Shit
- RRP #170: Climber Conrad Anker On Suffering, Risk, Reward & The Allure Of Meru
- RRP #230: Robin Arzon Wants You To Shut Up And Run
- RRP #231: “The Iceman” Wim Hof On Why Breath Is Life, Cold Is God & Feeling Is Understanding
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