Move 406 offers free outdoor fitness classes
Long shadows stretch across Riverside Park as the sun peeks over the horizon. Most of Whitefish is just waking from its slumber this quiet Tuesday morning, but the city park is already buzzing with energy.
Dozens of people have spontaneously gathered to get their sweat on before starting the daily grind. They were all brought together flash-mob style by Move 406, a free fitness movement gaining momentum in Whitefish.
While a group of eight is knocking out a set of ab crunches along the bike path, another is high-stepping onto a picnic table and park bench, and a third contingent is on the footbridge blasting through sets of pushups.
After rotating through all three exercises, the entire group meets at the tennis court for a three sets of old-fashioned wind sprints — and a fourth for good measure.
They repeat the circuit until the instructors tell them they’ve had enough. Following a 10 minute yoga session and cool down, the group congratulates each other on another solid workout.
Move 406 co-founders Amanda Person and Perrey Sobba started these free mornings of “pop-up” fitness and camaraderie in early June.
“We wanted to find a way to get this already active community more involved and get moving together,” said Sobba.
Each Monday at 5 p.m., they reveal a workout location through a Facebook post. The next morning at 6:30 a.m. they gather, rain or shine, at the public location and lead an hour-long workout that is open to all ages and all abilities.
The concept is based off the popular November Project that was started in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold New England months. That movement has since grown to include more than 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
Whitefish’s population isn’t large enough be an official November Project city, but Sobba and Person took the same concept of free community fitness and applied it to their own small town. “Free fitness for locals by locals” is their motto.
“We were really inspired by what they were doing and wanted to adapt it to our community,” Sobba said.
So far the groups have grown from a few early birds to the nearly 40 who came out to Riverside Park.
“Every week has gotten bigger and bigger,” Person said.
They have met at City Beach, the Kiddie Park and Depot Park, always utilizing the terrain and features available on site — no props allowed.
“Whatever is in the space we use,” Person added.
They change the workout format every week, sometimes it’s circuit training, other times it’s more running.
While both Sobba and Person work professionally as fitness instructors at Exhale Pilates Studio, they say Move 406 has no affiliation with any gym or studio.
“We just want it to be community based,” Sobba said, noting that instructors from across town have volunteered to lead workouts.
The Tuesday at Riverside featured a bounty of ages and abilities, from teenage girls and 20-something fitness freaks, to the everyday plodders just looking to maintain a healthy baseline.
It’s that diversity that has Sobba and Person excited about the Move 406 venture.
“Some people are going Mach 10 and others are here to just move,” Person said.
“We want everyone to get a good workout, regardless of fitness level,” Sobba added. “People are having fun and getting to know each other — it’s connecting people.”
The payoff is the smiles at the end of a workout and the reason they give up their Tuesday mornings.
“Watching people run across the tennis courts is a reward in itself,” Sobba said.
Visit Move 406 on Facebook to learn more and to find out the location of the next workout.