If you are looking to grow in health, connection, or purpose, join us at an F3 workout (currently held 4 days/week). The workouts are completely free, open to all men, and may just be what turns your New Year’s resolution into a habit that will change your life.
Here’s a bit of how F3 has altered my trajectory:
As my wife and I were looking back the highs and lows of 2018, we chatted about some momentous highs of the year – amazing trips to Iceland & Italy and buying a new house among others, and a few pretty deep lows including a few unexpected life challenges, but perhaps the most significant life altering event of the year for me (and us in many ways) was the launch of F3GR in May.
F3 stands for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. It is a group that began in Charlotte in 2011 and has since spread throughout the country. In its most basic form, it looks like a typical bootcamp style workout that meets early in the mornings - weekdays at 5:30 am, and on Saturdays at 7 am. The workouts are held rain or shine and are led in a rotating fashion by the guys who show up. It is completely free, open to all men and ends with what is called a Circle of Trust. It’s not a “Christian” organization per-se but encourages belief in a higher power.
“Being a tad fluffy, I thought ‘what the hell, why not…’”
I became aware of F3 in 2013, when a friend name Rudy Hayden (F3 GOP) invited me to work out with him while we were on a weekend retreat at Ridgecrest Camp near Asheville, NC. Being a tad fluffy, I thought what the hell, why not, and set my alarm to meet him at 5:30 the next morning. I met him near a hill a few minutes after 5:30, and he had already started running. I found this a little off-putting initially – “why couldn’t you wait for me jackass” I thought to myself, but quickly found myself out of breath trying to keep up. We wrapped the workout right at 6:15 – that’s when it started to click that I am way too prone to let myself slide and needed the accountability that comes with peers holding me accountable. F3 workouts start when they say, and end when they say – if you’re late, you can plan on a burpee penalty.
He invited me to a weekday workout in Charlotte, which I started waking up for. I was working remotely, without a lot of human interaction, so I found it to be a good way to get that face to face interaction that our screen-based culture has devalued and get myself in a bit better shape. I enjoyed the workouts but didn’t realize how much I NEEDED them and the connection that accompanied them until I moved to back to Michigan in 2014.
I joined the Y, but was my attendance was inconsistent at best without having any accountability and found myself sliding up above 270 pounds. Being 6’2” and having a thick build, I could justify that I wasn’t ‘fat’ per-se; I still was able to gut-out a half marathon but was not where I wanted to be from a health, fitness, and connectedness standpoint.
I reached out to F3 in April of 2017 to see about starting a chapter in Grand Rapids. They have seen cities succeed and fail and have developed a method for expanding. Ohio and Michigan were on the radar screen, but not top priorities as the workouts tend to grow concentrically from city to city. And besides, we’re in the Midwest where temps get into the single digits in the winter – who would work out in that… (we do!)
Not being one who particularly enjoys hearing “No,” I started an “F3 Inspired” workout with a few friends, and then later with a re-entry organization. Wanting to be careful not to overstep bounds with using the F3 name, the workouts never gained the needed momentum and fizzled as the weather got cooler in the fall of 2017.
Fast forward to January of 2018, I saw that there was an F3 group in Kalamazoo (F3 Lake Effect). Missing the workouts, I drove an hour to join them a couple of times in February & March before they suggested I get it rolling in GR. Iverson (F3 Lake Effect Nantan (leader)) connected me with Fountainhead, the leader of the “Mustard Seeds” (F3 Groups started by guys who were in an existing Region but moved to a new city). We received the blessing from F3 and started spreading the word.
We had a couple of pre-launch workouts in April with early adopters (and FIB from Naperville), but May 5 was the date we put on the calendar to officially launch the workouts. We had 11 men show for that first workout – 5 from Kalamazoo, and 6 from GR. Since that time, we’ve had more than 50 different men show up for workouts, more than 20 lead at least one workout, and have expanded from 2 workouts per week to 4 workouts per week averaging about 10 pax/workout. We’ve had several other events as well – including a brewery relay where we visited 13 breweries on a trek of 7+ miles. And we’re just getting started…
Waking up at 4:45 is uncomfortable – there’s no getting around that, but the hardest step is the first one. After you’re dressed and in your car on the way to the workout, the only thing you are responsible for is your effort level – and there is plenty of peer pressure to help bring your best out of you. I’ve found no better way to start the day than to get up and get after it. The community that is forged in the “Gloom” as it is known is as strong as any you’ll find. You’ll become stronger and tapped in to nationwide network of men seeking to be High Impact Men (HIM).
We wake up early because we want to challenge each other to become an open, approachable, and potent community of High Impact Men that are accelerating their physical, relational, and spiritual health in all areas of life.
F3 has significantly altered the trajectory of my life – in all the best ways. It’s an honor to be a part of the community of men with Mad Cow, Roid Rage, Basic Bro, Dungeon Master, PacMan, Tiny Tom, Hollow Point, Stalin, Depends, Fresh Cream, Hanz, Snoop, Betsy, Belushi, Bubblegum, Bullwinkle, Candy Striper, Cartel, Cheney, Forrest, Gravy, Hasselhof, Kraut, Little Brother, Miss Daisy, Radio, Reba, Rehab, Schnooki, Stockton, Soulja Bio, Splitter, Spongebob, FIB, GOP, Butcher, Brutus, and Iverson among others.
Call To Action: As you look back on 2018, and look ahead to 2019, take a minute to think about the seeds you are planting and what you are doing to help them grow. If you want to make a change in your fitness, develop stronger community, or dig deeper into your purpose – join us for a workout. The workout schedule is up at f3grandrapids.com, and you can find more info on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Two great on-ramps are January 1 at 7am at THE CALDER PLAZA, or January 5 at 7am at JOHN BALL PARK.
See you in the Gloom!