12 Months Later, Why I Still Do F3
I’ll be honest. I’m a sucker for trends. FitBit. Atkins. Bulletproof coffee. Those are just some of the rotting corpses littering the road in my rearview mirror. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about myself from indulging some of these hype-injected, flash-in-the-pan health fads, it’s that starting strong and fading fast was a bad habit of mine.
For this reason, I was interested, even if not entirely convinced, in F3 when I first heard about it on an “Art of Manliness” podcast. The idea was brilliant: participate in free group workouts for men designed to build accountability; hang out with solid men who you can learn from; connect to causes bigger than yourself. All great stuff. But the skeptic in me still wondered if F3 was a Trojan Horse with a Cookie Diet© hidden inside waiting to spring out, pick my pocket and make a fool of me. I mean would you hang out with these guys after a workout?
I still remember the first beatdown in late August 2017. The huffing and puffing. The strain of underused muscles. The inner monologue shouting doubt at me. But then all of those things were quickly replaced with a feeling of existential satisfaction when the beatdown ended. It was hard work and some guys were better than me at it. But I finished. And it got my mind racing about what I’d do differently next time. The bonus to F3 was that guys who showed up seemed like cool dudes (although the guy pointing at the camera in the pic could have helped himself and others by using a little deodorant).
In a short time, I saw myself doing things differently (read: better) through the example of others. Denari showing true Nant’an bona fides by giving far more than what he asks for in return. Kodak knowing when and how to apply a soft touch while having the pedigree of a beastly rugby baller. The Perp posting on weekdays like a champ after once swearing off 5:30AM start times. The Rabbi bringing a teaching game to his beatdowns. Noonan giving his time and talent to be a mentor based on a casual invitation he heard during COT announcements. MaryLou losing 30 lbs and keeping it off. Lavendar parachuting in as a newbie and owning the AOs far and near. Arts & Crafts giving his time and talent to teach and mentor gunshot victims. Pickles dominating the Doomsday Clock with unassuming ferocity. Sweet-tooth quitting his paid crossfit sessions opting instead for F3 workouts. Beyond the F3 regulars, there are dozens of other PAX who posted once or twice, maybe thrice, and that’s it. Even so, they all know that they’ll always find PAX at the Bean on Saturday mornings year-round embracing the Completely Stupid and the Utterly Pointless. They also know they will be welcomed back with a smile, a fist bump and a callout for 25 burpees to buy back in.
“He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper,” Edmund Burke once said. Show up to a few F3 workouts and you will know what “iron sharpens iron” is all about and how you’re better off because of it.
There’s an old adage that goes something like this: “Real men say little when they lose and nothing when they win.” After 12 months in F3, I’d add a corollary: “Real men say little when they lose, nothing when they win and do the work in cadence.”
Happy anniversary boys.
P.S. anniversary dinner this Sunday, Sep 23 at Las Tablas in Lincoln Park. Please reply to this email if you’d like to join.
NBC News segment: video link
Facebook: F3 Chicago
Photo: F3 Chicago/Naperville convergence on May 20, 2018