Have you tried: Project Awesome?
In my recent Sunday Mail column, I wrote about a new free outdoors fitness class that is very likely to be rolled out across Scotland. For now, you can try it in Edinburgh. It’s an awesome story!
What is it?
Project Awesome is free outdoors fitness movement for all to join in.
Tell me more
Project Awesome is a new concept in outdoor-based mass participation workouts.
The fitness sessions take place in UK cities – three so far – and are free to attend.
Typically the fun and energetic workout starts at 6.30am on a regular weekday and lasts up to an hour.
The classes are led by an enthusiastic instructor and include aerobic and strength building exercises that make use of the urban environment.
The newest Project Awesome is the first in Scotland and has launched in Edinburgh.
Project Awesome Edinburgh is led by sports scientist and adventure fitness trainer Steve Curnyn.
Steve, who volunteers as the leader, said: “The aim of the free fitness movement is to get more people to enjoy keeping fit, rather than seeing it as a chore.
“Project Awesome also encourages a community of people who have fun working out together.
“And, perhaps most importantly, this fitness session is totally free and open to everyone.”
There is no booking system or sign up fee at Project Awesome.
People just turn up at 6.30am, wearing bright clothes if they want to and prepare to have fun getting fit.
Both residents and tourists are welcome to join in any time they want.
Anything else to know?
The roots of Project Awesome are found in the US with the November Project. The brainchild of two friends, Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric, Project November started in a park in Boston, Massachusetts in 2011.
It has become a fast-growing network that now offers free-of-charge morning sessions several times a week in many American cities.
November Project has also spread to other countries and, in the UK, it has taken the name of Project Awesome.
The fitness craze has even inspired a book called Sweaty Hugs, written by Scottish author Kathleen Anderson.
Kathleen, of Milngavie, was studying for a masters degree in Boston, when she came across the November Project in a local park.
She said: “I was totally taken aback by the free fitness sessions that are organised several times a week at 6.30am in my local area.
“I didn’t even like keep-fit until then but I was drawn in by the fun style of the mass outdoors workouts.
“I became hooked and ended up making lots of friends through the sessions.”
Kathleen decided to focus her thesis on the November Project, which led to her writing a book, Sweat Hugs.
She said: “I feel so strongly about how free group fitness can change people’s lives for the better that I wanted to write a book about it.
“I want to spread the word and to encourage other people to give it a try so I wrote my book, Sweat Hugs.”
Kathleen is also a keen participant at Project Awesome now she has moved back to Scotland.
She said: “It’s perfect that there is a workout similar to the November Project in Scotland now and that I can continue to stay in good shape.”
When can I try it?
Project Awesome takes place at 6.30am every Wednesday whatever the weather in Edinburgh.
The sessions are currently located at the Art Galleries by The Mound in Princes Street Gardens.
They have previously been held on Calton Hill.
What to expect
Steve says: “People can just turn up and expect to laugh, shout, jump, run, bounce and have fun.
“I make every session different and use the steps, other man-made obstacles and the general gardens space to offer a circuits-style class.
“You can do as much or as little as you want but we always insist that everyone smiles and has fun.
“This is not a boot camp or any form of punishment, it’s meant to be up-beat, life-affirming and fitness just or you.
“The aim is that everyone goes off to do their day, whether it’s work or with the family, feeling empowered and really good about themselves.”