Boston couple brings fitness to the masses
Goldie and Brogan Graham could be considered the first couple of the Boston fitness community. Goldie’s classes at Back Bay Yoga boast lines out the door, and Brogan is the high-energy cofounder of November Project, a free fitness movement that has spread to 17 cities. The husband and wife team have also founded Movement, a free annual event that begins with a run through the city and closes with a massive yoga class in a secret location. The couple is on a mission to bring fitness to the masses.
Q. How did you two meet?
Goldie: About five years ago, I saw Brogan running down by the Charles River. We were both running, and ran right past each other, and I wrote in my journal that night that I thought I saw my husband. We kept running into each other after that. I did this big yoga class with 800 people in Copley Square in April 2012, and there was an article written about it on Boston.com. He saw the article and Facebook-messaged me. We went on a date and it was love at first sight.
Brogan: Goldie packs a punch when it comes to the amount of energy she has, the energy that surrounds her. But it was just one of those things, our paths kept crossing — whether it was waiting in line at Life Alive in Central Square or literally crossing paths on our bicycles. She was stunning then, and she’s stunning now.
Q. What’s a typical weekend like for the Grahams?
Brogan: Our weekend is actually non-athletic compared to Monday through Friday. It’s the time we catch up on sleep. We still run almost every day, Saturday and Sunday included, and maybe take a yoga class or two, but it’s all very laid back.
Goldie: Most people usually amp it up on weekends because they’re sitting at a desk all day long. We’re the opposite. So on weekends we’ll sleep until noon, have brunch, and then have coffee again at 3.
Q. You two got married this May. Did your wedding incorporate any fitness?
Brogan: The day before our wedding in San Diego, we had a Friday morning session. My friends, my brothers, even my mom did the workout. It wasn’t that different from NP; it was random people at different levels having fun. The morning of our wedding, all the guys went out paddleboarding.
Goldie: And me and my best friend went for a 7-mile run down the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. A couple hours later, we started getting ready for the wedding. When we went on our honeymoon [in Mexico], we didn’t make plans to work out. But being the people we are, every day we did something – we went through the deserts or went on beach runs and were at the gym.
Q. How did you get the idea for Movement last year, and the subsequent More Movement event this year?
Brogan: Our followers overlap, and it’s a great mixture. We were able to show off the city we love and mix the groups. We like to keep people guessing and push them out of their comfort zones with the locations for the yoga classes, like Artists for Humanity, which is a cool eco-friendly place and absolutely beautiful. Last year, 364 people ran and took the class, and this year we had 610 people. I think 2,000 people for next year would be a great goal.
Goldie: What we did is fresh and new. We’re asking people to get out of the house and into a completely different neighborhood, not the Boston Common or the garden. They don’t know where they’re going, but they trust that it’s fun and interesting. We want to take people, on foot and on bike, out of Cambridge and the Back Bay, to the outskirts of the city, the nooks and crannies they don’t know about.
Q. Do you have an end goal with your fitness projects and initiatives?
Brogan: November Project is my passion. Free fitness is something I want people to think about. You don’t need to go to CrossFit, you don’t need to pay club dues, or gym memberships. We are the kick in the pants to get out the door and an extra layer on your alarm clock. On Wednesdays, our busiest days, about 700 people will usually come out. I want to affect as many people on this planet as possible — that is my goal. Whether it’s people losing weight, brand-new athletes learning more, or professional athletes that want to connect with their community.
Goldie: My 2015 goal is to expand where I teach workshops, both across America and internationally. Teaching yoga and being out there in the community is one of the most creative, fulfilling outlets in my life. To see the sequences I create come to life on my students’ bodies is the coolest thing for me. I know what it’s like to take a yoga class and get that high when you’re in the zone. To offer that to other people and help them achieve that state of mind is really fulfilling. They say ‘do what you love, and success and money will come,’ and it’s really true.
Q. Why do you think your events prove so popular?
Goldie: I think with what Brogan does, it’s so wildly popular because of who he is. His excitement and love for human beings is contagious. He’s a wild, loud, lovable giant, and people want to be around him because it makes you feel good to be around him. He’s creative and thinks outside the box. If something’s stale, he’ll create something new, and that’s why people keep coming back.
Brogan: Goldie has got a large following based on who she is and the risks she has taken. She was a young instructor willing to try hip-hop yoga, and that exploded in this city. She also created black-light yoga, and her Wednesday-night class at Back Bay Yoga is packed.
Q. Do you get the sense that more people have an interest in fitness in Boston now than in the past?
Brogan: I think Boston always been a young and extremely athletic city. But, what I’m seeing in the last five years, it’s more common to have a guy or girl who is a runner and a yogi and into Hubway and likes to dance on the weekend and has a healthy diet and drinks a Harpoon a couple times a week. It’s not about being one type of athlete. It’s cooler to be well-rounded and to try new things.
Q. What does the future hold for November Project, Movement, and the Grahams?
Brogan: I want a world takeover with NP. We’re in 17 cities now, and we’ll probably launch half a dozen in Canada in the next six months. I want it to go to Europe, Asia, and different parts of the country. I think 30 cities by the end of next year is well within reach. With Movement, I think we’re on a roll.
Goldie: My goal is to continue to do what I love, either on a small scale, or on a larger scale. The most important thing in my life is Brogan. If and when his job takes him on the road, I’ll be by his side and teaching around the world.