Sorry ladies, this post isn’t for you. My advice today is strictly for men. Even more specifically, this post is for men in the Carolinas (Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Columbia, Greenville and Charleston).
Elizabeth just gave me a fitbit for Christmas which reminded me that I need to invite you to join F3. It’s time to make those big New Year’s resolutions and getting fit is probably #1 on your list. F3 will get the job done for you.
What is F3?
F3 stands for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. It’s a group of men who workout together early in the morning, 6 days a week. The guys also fellowship outside of the workouts, including weekly lunches and happy hours. It’s mission is to “plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.”
A little background on me
I’ve never been the healthiest guy around. I haven’t been overweight because I have a pretty small build, but I never really cared about being healthy. After drinking myself through college and political events every day, I put on a few extra pounds and found myself feeling incredibly sluggish, tossing back eightish cups of coffee to make it through each day. I watched my father, step-father and mother all pass away at early ages, so I decided in late 2011 to make 2012 my big year of fitness. I started eating healthy, cut back on the booze and demanded that I work out at least 5 days a week.
The change in nutrition was pretty easy because my wife is vegan and she took charge of making my breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks each day. We threw out the microwave and moved to a nearly full organic diet, blowing it out on Saturdays as a needed cheat day. Cutting back on the alcohol was a little difficult so I picked up craft beer as a hobby and started drinking less, but better beers. Working out was the hard part.
So, here’s the deal — I friggin hate working out. I don’t just kinda hate it. I all out despise it. I have joined a couple gyms but I have a hard time motivating myself to actually go. Once I’m at the gym, I don’t hit it very hard. I admittedly slack off.
I joined a boxing gym in early 2012 and was crushing it hard, but then the gym closed. From there I moved on to Insanity video workouts. After about three months of Insanity I reached the peak of my fitness. I lost pounds and for the first time in my life, I actually saw muscles popping up. Life was getting good but then I hit a pretty nasty set back. While doing power jumps in a Dallas hotel, I tore a muscle in my back and fell on all fours. It turns out that when you injure a back muscle, all the muscles around it contract to protect the injured muscle. Because all my muscles contracted, I couldn’t get off the floor. After an ambulance ride and eight hours in the hospital, I was out of commission for six months.
I tried getting back into Insanity in 2013 but my back kept hurting and I couldn’t motivate myself to get back in the game. That’s when my buddy Edwin Peacock told me about F3, a group he joined in Charlotte, NC that had spread across the Carolinas. It turns out that two different groups meet within six blocks of my house every morning.
7 Reasons to Join
I’m still the new guy but after a couple months, I’m loving this workout. Here’s why:
1. Peer pressure works wonders. I feel like I have to go or people will think less of me. That’s not true at all, but it gets my butt out of the “fartsack” so I’ll take it. When I’m there, I try to keep up with all the other guys because I don’t want to look like the wuss. I got one of my Push Digital teammates to join with me and I feel like I have to get up in the morning to meet him or I’ll be letting him down. It works. When in Columbia (I think its time to start F3 San Francisco), I’m going nearly every morning and hitting it as hard as I can. People push people. It’s like having 20 personal trainers.
2. Workouts are early in the morning. The group meets at 5:45 am in “the gloom.” Yeah, that’s pretty early and you may be thinking “how is that a positive?” The short answer is — once its done, its done. The only thing I hate more than working out is thinking about working out. Working out early prevents me from sitting at my desk all day thinking “crap, I still have to workout.” In addition, many studies prove that morning workouts give you extra energy throughout the day. Extra energy = extra productivity. I’ll take that. With my first kid on the way, I imagine the early workout will also allow me to balance family life easier.
3. You feel like a stud all day. Workouts are broken into boot camps, group runs and kettle bells. Boot camps are held four days a week and are the most popular workouts. I hate running, so I hit the kettle bells also. All workouts are outside, rain or shine, 20 degrees or 100 degrees. The boot camps are pretty friggin tough and “weight lifting” is done with bricks and cinder blocks. I’m just saying, after working out in freezing weather with a cinder block and covered in dirt, you kinda feel like a beast the rest of the day. Think Rocky. That’s you dude.
4. You get a cool nickname. Mine is “Jingles.” On the first day you are called FNG for Friendly New Guy. After the workout, the group huddles up in a big circle for announcements and prayer. On your first day you will tell the group about yourself and from there you are assigned a name by the group. On my first day I had keys in my pocket and the guy next to me said I jingled the entire workout, thus I am now “Jingles.”
5. It’s free! Maybe I should have said this first. Just think about how much money you save from joining a gym.
6. You help the community. I’ve been incredibly impressed how community-oriented and faith-driven the group is. The guys are always raising money and volunteering their time for needy organizations. Aside from a donation, I haven’t been involved in this aspect of the group yet, but I’m all kinds of pumped to get more involved in the coming weeks.
7. Weekly happy hours. I’m a drinker. If you know me, you know that. I really enjoy meeting other men of faith who aren’t afraid to hit the bar for a couple cocktails after work. The guys in Columbia meet every Wednesday at Henry’s. They also meet for weekly lunches at Lizard’s Thicket.
I’ve only found one downside — working out in freezing temperatures beats the hell out of me. I just cannot breathe cold air. After Columbia’s first really cold week, I got pretty sick and was bed-ridden spitting up all kinds of nasty for three days. I’m going to keep pushing through it, hopefully training my lungs to take the cold air.
If you’re in Columbia and would like to post with me, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make 2014 your year to get fit.
Wesley Donehue, “Jingles”