F3 Men’s Workout Group Focuses on Fitness, Fellowship and Faith

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F3 Fitness Murfreesboro
photo from F3 Fitness Murfreesboro

Trevor Atwood, the pastor at City Church in Murfreesboro, gets up every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:00 a.m. no matter the weather and meets with a group of other men outside to do some serious exercise. They use things like cement blocks, old tires and bags of sand as part of their 45-minute workouts that are done before the sun comes up.

“We are 100% grassroots,” said Atwood. “There is no money involved. Except for our service project…And we prize and respect the wisdom that comes with age.”

It could be called a community boot camp movement for men that is swiftly gaining traction across the country, and in a few other countries. There are groups in Canada, England, Germany, Thailand, China, South Korea, Kenya, Morocco, and Australia. Almost 4,000 workouts a week take place around the world.

Founded by a member of the United States Army in the Infantry and Special Forces named David Redding in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011, it is run locally by volunteers. Each member of the group leads a session. With the program being based on five core principles: it must remain free of charge, it is open to all men no matter their physical shape, it must be held outside no matter if it is freezing or baking, it is peer led, and it ends with what the group calls a “Circle of Trust.”

Circle of Trust participants count off, say their name, their age, and the F3 nickname that they have been given by their peers. That day’s leader notes upcoming workouts and other community events and closes with a prayer. In some places, it ends with a moment of thought or a quote. After the Circle, the local group often has coffee and hangs for a while talking.

Promotion of the group is mostly through word of mouth and their local and national websites. There have also been a few articles written about them in local media.

“I was introduced to F3 six years ago,” said Atwood. “It has become a foundational pillar of my life.”

Besides getting in shape, the goal of the program is to create “better men,” “better leaders,” “better husbands” and “better fathers.” They shape men in the community with a mission to “plant, grow and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of the male community of worship.” This means finding faith in God or something greater than themselves.

While they primarily meet in small groups, they do have regional events like the Tennessee Tussle, which took place this year in the rain on a 20-degree day. Atwood said it was still a great time.

They like to have fun, so they have developed their own lexicon and give each other nicknames. Atwood is called “Scraps” because he has been known to eat food out of garbage cans. And they call new recruits an “FNG,” which stands for Friendly New Guy. There are other terms like “3S2T” that stands for strength, speed, stamina, mental and physical toughness. And they are all working to be a “HIM” or High Impact Man. This term is defined in their online dictionary as “A Disrupter who is Committed to making forcible contact to strong effect.” Atwood describes this as being a good all- around man.

If it has a jarhead feel to it, that’s because of the founder’s military background. It takes a certain toughness to get up and do a hard-core workout in the most extreme conditions. But the men who participate swear it is life changing.

Current CEO John Lambert says on the F3 Nation website that his favorite part of F3 is “Acting like absolute children at 5:30 in the morning. If you’ve never been to a workout in the pouring rain, you’re missing out. It has healing powers”.

Learn more at f3murfreesboro.com.

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