Free fitness and fun with Phila.'s November Project

First and foremost, let’s get this free fitness alert out of the way — on Friday mornings at 6:25 a.m. you can meet the November Project for a free(!) cross-training workout at Penn’s Franklin Field.

Now, what is the November Project, you ask?

It all started in 2011 in Boston — a couple of guys who rowed crew at Northeastern University had graduated, found jobs, but couldn’t shake the feeling that they were missing their old training routine. So, they made a pact to meet at Harvard stadium for morning workouts, and social media propelled the movement forward.

November Project is now in 17 cities across the country. After seeing the movement make the rounds on social media, Suzanne Allaire decided to bring it to Philly.

“I’m originally from Massachusetts, so I started seeing a few friends from home posting about this November Project on social media,” Allaire recalled. “I kept asking them when it was coming to Philly and finally, one of my friends just said, ‘Stop asking me, here’s the link, just do it.’”

Last fall, Allaire sent in 500 words on why she thought she would make a good leader and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We had 8 people show up that first morning in October and now we have about 100,” said Allaire.

For the last eight months, Allaire and her co-leader Dan Layo have been leading free 6:25 a.m. Wednesday workouts on the Art Museum steps. Now, following in Boston’s footsteps, they’re adding a Friday morning workout in University City.

“Up in Boston, they host free workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and that’s the ultimate goal we’re working towards,” said Allaire. “On Wednesdays, they workout at Harvard stadium so we thought it would be fun to host our Fridays at a Philly campus.”

They lead full-body cross-training workouts — think push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.

“I’m very connected to the Philadelphia running community and I run with a ton of different groups around here but as I started getting older, I realized running just wasn’t cutting it,” said Allaire.

Many of their members are local runners looking to switch up their exercise routine.

“We have guys that can go out and run a marathon no problem but when they’re done with our sub-60-minute workout, they’re sore the next day.”

Don’t let that deter you though —from ultra marathoners to people just getting off the couch, November Project workouts are for everyone. Even Allaire’s 10-year-old daughter has joined in on the fun.

And when you join a November Project workout, you’re not just signing up for the free sweat session — you’re also there to connect with the community.

“We do a lot of hugging, it’s kind of a requirement,” said Allaire. “It’s about putting your phone down, working out, talking to someone you’ve never met and embracing those people (literally) and what they’re all about.”

On Fridays, you can meet them at 6:25 a.m. at the entrance for the Fox Fitness Center at Weiss Pavilion at Franklin Field. You can also meet them on Wednesdays at 6:25 a.m. at the Art Museum Steps. Visit

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