Four months is a really long time for summer. At first it seems awesome, four months to work an internship instead of having to hit the books. But after a while, you realize that you need more than just a job and hanging out with family and friends. This past June, I had been working for a month and a half and I craved something more. There is so much going on all of the time at school and I missed having a lot to do besides work. That is when I stumbled across the November Project.

The November Project is a FREE fitness movement that was born in Boston as a way to stay in shape during the cold New England months.” It sounds like it is just an intense boot camp but it is actually a lot more than that.

The November Project in Toronto starts at 6:29 am. When I first heard that, it was almost enough to make me want to back out. But I watched a video about the movement and it was too intriguing to pass up.

I happened to stumble upon the page on a Tuesday night and the Toronto group meets every Wednesday morning. I knew I had to go that next morning otherwise I would never go. I laid out my running clothes and sent my commitment to the chat on the Facebook page. Now that I said I was going, I had to go otherwise I would have to send my regrets and I would get social media shamed.

When my alarm clock went off at the ripe time of 5:30 am, there was nothing I wanted to do more than roll over and go back to sleep. But I dragged myself out of bed, threw on my workout clothes, and went downstairs to make myself a nutritious breakfast

beer, coffee, pizza
Samantha Goodman

It is super important to eat the right stuff before a workout. My personal favorite is poached eggs because they are so simple to make and a great source of protein. All I do is crack an egg, put it into a mini pan, make some toast and voila. After a few minutes the egg starts to crackle and it is ready to slide onto your buttery toast.

egg, fried egg, toast
Samantha Goodman

If you’re not an egg fan, bananas will also do the trick. The body doesn’t store potassium for very long to a banana will help keep your nutrient levels high before a workout. You can even add some other fruit and throw it into a blender for a fruit smoothie. Oats are also a great choice as they are packed with fibre which keeps carbohydrates running into your blood stream for your whole workout.


DeSegura89 on Flickr

After breakfast, I was ready to hit the road. Climbing into the car, I nervously made my way to the Baldwin Steps which are located in front of Toronto’s Castle Loma. The steps are super daunting so I was worried about what was in store for me.

When I arrived, I was greeted by a group of people standing around in neon clothing. A few of them immediately came up to me, introduced themselves and gave me a hug. At first I thought it was weird that strangers were hugging me but I watched as everyone received a hug. It showed me the beginning of the community that the November Project really has

At exactly 6:29 am, we were told to huddle up. The leaders, Sam and Michelle, stood in the middle of the huddle. We had to repeat what they were saying while bouncing up and down. It started with chanting “Good Morning!” and ended with Sam yelling “Are you good?” and us replying with “FUCK YEAH!” What a thrilling way to start a Wednesday morning.

Sam and Michelle proceeded to tell us what the workout was for that morning. We had to do 10 burpees, 10 squat jumps and 10 sit ups and then run the stairs. I was out of breath just thinking about it but I knew I had to push my limits and try to keep up with everyone.

That is exactly what I did. I won’t say that it was easy, those stairs especially are a killer, but it sure was a hell of a lot better surrounded by smiling faces who are always ready with a high five or words of encouragement.

By the end of my first time I was exhausted, sweaty and invigorated. I had soaked up the positivity that radiated off of every member of the November Project. At the end, we all gathered together for the annual group picture and made silly faces. The picture made its way to Facebook and I proudly tagged myself in it, showing myself and my friends what I could do. I made my way to work that morning ready to take on the day, knowing I had already done so much

The November Project is addictive and I went week after week. It did not feel like a chore but a fact of life. Every Wednesday morning I ate a healthy breakfast of eggs and toast and made my way to the Baldwin Steps to see the awesome people I had slowly gotten to know.

Every workout was different, sometimes we played games while other times we participated in fun activities. My last week before school eventually crept up and I was sad to say goodbye to everyone. They encouraged me to come back during my breaks and possibly start a chapter in Ottawa where I go to school. Who knows, you might see me somewhere in Ottawa at 6:29 am with a group of pumped up people. Until then, I’ll be at the Baldwin Steps in Toronto whenever I can with the awesome November Project crew.