Michael B. Jordan Wants to Make It Easier For Everyone to Work Out

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Actor Michael B. Jordan knows that not everyone has equal access to fitness resources. Whether it’s being able to afford a gym membership or simply having nearby safe parks to run, play, or exercise in, there are a myriad of barriers to exercise, including factors ranging from socioeconomic to environmental.

That’s why Jordan is continuing his partnership with Propel Fitness Water to redefine what it means to make fitness accessible and to build community through movement. Dubbed the Propel Your City Project, the initiative launched last year to provide more than 160 free fitness classes and community-building initiatives in three cities.

“Community is building a group of people that support you, and you support them, and then together, everyone supports one another,” Jordan says. “Especially within fitness, having like-minded individuals supporting you helps you push through your ceiling, your limits, and become the best version of yourself. Having a group of people or a place you can rely on are all forms of community.”

The popularity of the initiative has led to the project’s second year of growth, with new announcements that are slated to make a big impact. In a recent survey, Propel found that 77 percent of exercisers say the group setting of workout classes motivates them to exercise and 74 percent said that they saw better results when they worked out with others. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed, though, said they typically work out alone, and cited factors such as cost and access as barriers to hitting their fitness goals, according to a press release. This project is trying to change the game by making fitness classes and wellness opportunities more inclusive and accessible — and by creating a community that is welcoming to everyone, no matter their background.

For the project’s first year, the initiative offered free workout classes to communities in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston. This year will build upon the same mission: to create community-driven fitness hubs and provide access for residents in those cities, plus in Newark, New Jersey, as well. Free classes kick off on June 8. And in conjunction with Gatorade, Propel Fitness Water will have free Propel electrolyte water products on deck for participants to keep hydrated.

Of course, it can be nerve-racking to start any new fitness journey. Thankfully, Jordan has some advice for that. “The fear is mostly in your head,” he says. “Get out of your own way. If you don’t want to do it alone, get a friend, a partner, someone you feel comfortable being around, that makes you laugh, that you have a good time with, and sign up and do it together.”

In the end, Jordan says, you won’t regret it: “It’s never as bad as what your brain and your mind makes it out to be. You’ll realize you had a great time, or it wasn’t that bad, or why did I wait this long to take this first step or take this class? I would encourage people to get out and get it done.”

Jordan walked us through what the Propel Your City Project is offering this year in Newark, NJ, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston. Keep reading to learn more.

Newark, New Jersey

To kick things off this year, the Propel Your City Project is bringing a new hub to Jordan’s hometown of Newark. “A huge win of this initiative is being able to go back to my hometown and give back,” Jordan says. “When you work out in a community, with like-minded individuals, you can find out what your limits are and you’re able to push beyond them. It’s hard to do when you’re by yourself. But when you’re in a group, people can hold you accountable.”

Located in Newark’s Mount Pleasant-Lower Broadway neighborhood, the new fitness hub will feature free classes starting June 8. Scheduled classes include running, bodyweight training, and yoga. Some of the featured organizations offering workouts are Brick City Run Club, Brick City Strength, and I’m So Yoga, which are committed to inclusion and positive change through accessibility.

Brick City Rowing will also help build a dock and establish a rowing program for the community on the Passaic River — for the first time since 1901. This latter partnership was something Jordan found particularly meaningful. “With partnerships and brands, we often forget about the communities that support us. We go, and we promote, and we leave, but having leave-behinds and leaving something for the community to use and grow was really important to me. Creating those spaces was something that was important,he says.

When Jordan stopped by to check out Brick City Rowing, he took on a new challenge with the team, competing to see who could be the first to row 250 meters. Known for his work ethic and commitment to his characters as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther and Adonis Creed in the Creed trilogy, Jordan says that boxing has been within his workout routine for the last decade. But the lessons he’s learned in boxing translate to all workouts.To stay focused and dialed in, Jordan uses meditation and visualization.

“Trying not to be distracted by a lot of the noise, to just stay locked in — that’s something that’s been part of me for a long time,” Jordan says. “Meditating. Being focused and manifesting things you want to happen . . . it’s important to visualize the path, the things you want to see happen.”

Los Angeles

Last year, with the help of the Propel Your City Project, WalkGood LA opened a creative wellness studio dubbed The WalkGood Yard, which Etienne Maurice, CEO and founder of WalkGood LA, says “is a testament to the power of community and collaboration.” This year, the project will allow WalkGood LA to “further our mission, providing holistic wellness services to a wider audience in Los Angeles,” Maurice tells PS in an email statement.

Committed to providing a sanctuary-like space for the community, the nonprofit organization holds a vision to heal through arts, health, and wellness. The studio offers a wide variety of group fitness classes for the community, including Freestyle Flow and Yinergy Yoga, as well as more uptempo choices, like Soca Sculpt and Sweat Good: Strength + HIIT. In addition to the classes, the organization also leads community events including hikes, guided meditations, and runs.

Other organizations have been added to the LA lineup for this year, including Babes of Wellness, which is the first queer Latina-owned all women’s gym in Compton and focused on a commitment to diversity and inclusion; BlacklistLA Run Organization, which sees running as a way to create a sense of empowerment and community; and Kong Fit Club, which offers a variety of options including group fitness, mobility, and dance classes. Stay tuned for new event updates and class schedules for the Propel Your City Project in Los Angeles, beginning Aug. 3.

Atlanta

James Ro, founder of Atlanta Run Club, is excited to continue the partnership the club started with Propel last year. “Being part of the PYCP last year opened so many doors for our team,” he tells PS. “We were able to make a lot of creative content, which we don’t traditionally have the funds for. Our goal this year is to continue telling our story by elevating our community meetups and experiences.”

As for his advice for beginners who may be interested in joining a run club but are scared or hesitant, Ro says, “I would tell them that no run is too slow, fast, short or long. Running can be intimidating for many people. But if you’re able to bridge that gap with community and relationship, it makes the journey meaningful from the beginning.”

New organizations are also slated to join the lineup in Atlanta this year, including Bonafide Riders Cycle Club, BLK Hiking Club, and PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT. Classes start June 22 at the fitness hub in Atlanta‘s downtown arts district.

Houston

In 2021, BLK Beetles launched in Houston with the mission to “create a space where underserved and under-resourced communities could actualize their wellness journey as a path to empowerment and well-being,” per the BLK Beetles website.

Samad Hinton, co-founder of BLK Beetles, has been working with Propel since last year. “Our ongoing partnership with Propel Fitness Water is one that aligns perfectly with our mission of promoting wellness, equity, and restoration within diverse communities,” Hinton tells PS. “With the return of the Propel Your City Project, we are able to offer more free wellness classes that foster and empower community members in Houston to experience the joy of wellness together.”

New classes from Latinas Run Houston, FitMix Communities, and ZFT Run Club will also be available to try at the fitness hub in Midtown/Montrose district of Houston beginning July 13.

The future is bright for the Propel Your City Project.

To find a free class near you, visit the Propel Your City Project website for the schedule of class offerings, studio locations, and more information about the partner organizations.

Jade Esmeralda, MS, CSCS, is a Staff Writer, Health & Fitness. A life-long martial artist and dancer, Jade has a strong passion for strength & conditioning, sports science, and human performance. She graduated with a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science and Strength and Conditioning from George Washington University.

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