Aye brothers, YHC has recently collaborated with the F3 expansion team recently collaborated on this piece to be used as a refresher for those learning about what F3Nation is. Set of 11’s, you know the drill.
1. What is F3 Nation?
We plant, serve, and grow small workout groups for men that invigorate male community leadership by addressing the three Fs in our name: Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. If there was a fourth F, it would be “Free”: All F3 workouts are free, no monetary charges to workout. Effort required.
Consistency in F3 workouts has resulted in many guys getting in the best shape of their adult lives and, for the first time, addressing their needs for close male friendships. For many, this also leads to a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in their lives — which we’ve defined as Faith. We like to make it clear that Faith does not refer to any one specific religion or necessarily religion at all. In fact, F3 simply welcomes all men willing to put forth the effort to better themselves.
Challenging workouts every day of the week, authentic friendships, fellowship gatherings, OCR and running events, service projects, Bible studies, happy hours, working on teams, and plain old-fashioned fun are elements of a thriving F3 Nation region.
2. How did this get started?
F3 traces its roots back to a similar style boot camp that started on Saturday mornings in Charlotte, NC, in 2006. F3’s co-founders, Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire, spun off from that group and launched F3 on 1/1/11 to take that model of working out to a wider audience. From there, we’ve grown exponentially throughout Charlotte and the Carolinas to over 170 weekly workouts and 1000’s of men — and now onto many more cities in the US!
3. What does a workout look like?
A base F3 workout involves non-stop movement, a variety body-weight and weighted exercises, and constant change. Workouts take place in the early morning and are always held outdoors typically at parks, schools, downtown, and church campuses. Leaders structure workouts to keep all participants together regardless of fitness level while still getting everyone a great workout. Certain routines and exercises are common across F3 Nation, however each individual workout leader has the freedom to innovate based on factors such as terrain, fitness level of participants, and the goal of that particular workout.
All workouts end with a few minutes of fellowship and a prayer, at this time FNG’s (Friendly New Guys) introduce themselves and are given an F3 Name helping to cement them as part of the group.
In addition to the traditional F3 boot camp, most groups create more specialized workouts during the week including group runs, speed workouts, kettlebell sessions, cross-fit style workouts, bike rides, and many others.
4. How do men become workout leaders or get deeper involved in the group?
Keep showing up — it’s that simple, eventually you’ll be asked or you will step up. Q’s (F3 workout leaders) do not need certification and/or prior experience in leading workouts. We won’t frown upon that if you do, however our Q’s participate in the workouts alongside you. Our counting system and base set of routines and exercises provide a foundation to learn from. Plus, if you attend enough of the workouts you’ll quickly get the idea of what it takes to lead. Sure, it takes practice to become an elite “Q”, but a core strength of F3 is the willingness of our more experienced leaders to bring up new leaders, showing them the way.
Leading workouts is an important aspect of the group, however there is plenty of room for men of varying skill sets and your creativity is welcome. For our LEAP expansions, two men will be in town to host an F3 fundamentals course which involves 3 lighter morning bootcamps and 2 evening sessions detailing the philosophy of F3, workout skills, and more.
5. What if I’m in really bad shape or haven’t worked out in a while?
We hear this often: “I’m gonna need to get in shape to come get in shape with you!” That really doesn’t make much sense if you think about it — show up as you are whether off the couch or a lone wolf that’s already in good shape. Getting and staying physically (and mentally) fit is always going to be a constant uphill climb. Being in a group setting provides the encouragement, accountability, and consistency that you won’t find at a gym by yourself or from paying a personal trainer. No one is saying it is going to be easy, but you will get stronger.
F3 is tailor-made to help the slower men get faster and have the faster push each other to new heights. The end result physically is that F3 men have proven to perform at an elite level at endurance challenges, including OCR races, triathlons, marathons, long-distance relays, GoRuck, and a number of other adventure challenges.
6. F3Nation has so much going on! How do you guys keep everything going?
There is a lot of great things happening in F3. Too much to list, take a look at our site and dive right in. Leadership is a key element of our organization. Success happens when men team up together and lead initiatives, most of which are putting there own ideas into action. We believe in a leadership principle where the top of the organization exists to encourage ideas and support initiatives that fit our mission. Fortunately, we’ve had no shortage of impactful ideas coming up and of men willing to put them into action.
Our limited operating costs are covered primarily by revenue generated from F3 gear sales and some partnerships. Revenue in excess of cost goes to the F3 Foundation, a non-profit that was created to fund initiatives that further our mission. One such initiative is the funding of F3 gear for men of an addiction recovery center who attend our workout that was designed for that facility in Charlotte.
7. Why is F3 just for men?
Guys interact differently in an all-male atmosphere and this has huge implications for the fellowship that is so important to F3. The reality for most men once they leave college, military, relocate, or are simply looking to be around men of similar character is that building and sustaining close male friendships is tough. Keeping F3 male-only lets “guys be guys” and helps make it that much easier.
Through the impact that F3 has had on us, we’ve also found that our wives, girlfriends and other ladies seek similar things for themselves. For those reasons, a grassroots female group now called Females in Action (started in large part by wives of men of F3) was born and is thriving. Learn more about them here: FiA Nation.
8. What makes F3 unique compared to other fitness groups?
There is plenty of nuances and insider-only lingo that make F3 a unique experience including a blog style rundown of the workout posted on the F3 website by the leader that morning and an F3 nickname that you will forever be known as. What makes this group special and more sustainable than most fitness trends and “workouts of the week” is that F3 can be exactly what each participant needs it to be.
For a guy who just wants to stay in shape, he’s welcome to just show up and get a great workout. For guys looking to address a lack of close male friendships, consistently working out in a group enables the formation of some authentic bonds. For guys who want to go deeper in F3 and have an appetite to lead something that is truly meaningful to them, the opportunities in F3 Nation are there to be had.
9. What is the approach when starting F3 in a new city?
Truly bringing F3 and all the impact it can have on men who may or may not know they need it has to be supported from an organizational level, especially to cities not within driving distance of a current thriving F3 region. This is not to say that the one or two F3 stalwarts that move to other cities and are on a mission will not be a success and we will not be happy about it, however we’re looking to build F3 Regions in a strategic fashion. Think Columbia, Winston Salem, and Spartanburg.
Bring in the LEAP program, this piggybacks off of our COLA model based on expanding locally to areas within driving distance. LEAP is based on forming a core F3 expansion team that works on building a below ground contact list of men in the destination city through word of mouth and existing PAX connections along with some above ground marketing efforts. Creating and teaching an initial group of men who are onboard before the launch happens in the existing city along with the communication to a broader contact list is the basis to plant for a initial big bang at a Saturday workout. We then execute a growth plan from that point. Plant, Serve, and Grow.
10. What would it take to get you guys to support expanding to our city?
Currently, Richmond, Nashville, and New Orleans are the targets of the LEAP program, these launch in September. Down the line and considering the success of these will be the biggest factor in determining where we go next. From a PAX perspective, there is a lot of different ways to answer this. Heavy interest and existing PAX connections in that city is your best bet in building an initial case. Get busy by helping us record names, research that city, and determine if it is a good fit. We’re building up LEAP Q’s from an F3 Nation perspective that will be made available for some big efforts in 2015.
For closer cities within driving distance of a current F3 Region, we have regional plant teams who have been successful with the COLAmodel touch base with our F3 nation plant teams to determine if it’s a good fit. Typically, same thing goes, what’s the amount of interest and can you build up enough support upfront to be successful.
11. How can I step up and help with the F3 expansion effort?
- Help us build connections in cities we expand too. Talk it up in COT’s, social media, and to people you know.
- Send us EH’s including men, co-workers, old friends, fitness groups, and even woman. If you follow up and actually apply the Emotional Headlock..strong.
- F3Nation Expansion or Regional Expansion Teams definitely can put your manpower to use for the greater good if there’s a calling to get involved as a whole or with a particular city we are taking F3 to, step up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stay connected with us: Follow @F3Expansion on twitter and visit the F3 Expansion page for listings of current cities.
- OBT and Dredd’s book called: “Freed to Lead: F3 and the Unshackling of the Modern-day Warrior.” gives you an inside look at how F3 started, how it grew so quickly, and the deeper impact F3 can make on the lives of men. Whether you can get them to sign it or not, that is a whole other story..