F3 group invites men for 'fitness, fellowship and faith'

Clarendon County has a new men’s fitness group. Fitness, Fellowship and Faith - F3 - has become popular across the country, and First Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Phillip Reynolds said that workouts are open to men of all fitness levels. “They’re organized to keep the entire group togther while ensuring a thorough (workout) for all participants,” he said. Reynolds said the ideal group size is about 15 men. He said the only restriction is that the man must be 18 or older to join in. “This has become an international program, due to men leaving the country and starting up wherever they end up,” Reynolds said. “We were launched here in Manning on Aug. 26, with the assistance of other chapter in the state.” Reynolds said the program’s “boot-camp style” workouts follow the Presidential Physical Fitness Program format “designed to push participants to their fullest extent.” The program traces its roots to a free, participant-led boot camp workout held on Saturday mornings at a Charlotte, North Carolina park. Those workouts began in 2006. The founders of F3 launched their first Saturday program on Jan. 1, 2011, at A.G. Middle School in Charlotte. “Our mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership,” the program’s website states. “We’re constantly introducing new exercises and ways of doing them,” said Reynolds. “Because participants are challenged and pushed in new ways every day, they achieve an all-around fitness that makes F3 guys supremely fit for endurance challenges, including mud runs, obstacle races, triathlons, marathons, long-distance relays and all manner of other adventure challenges,” reads the F3 website. Reynolds said he prefers the program because it leads to “better physical fitness, stronger faith and a reinforced core family unit, led by a strong male role model.” That’s the ultimate goal of the program, to reinforce the “traditional family model” of a male-led family. “While the classic F3 workout requires no equipment other than workout clothes, gravity and the great outdoors, our growth has allowed regional leaders to introduce specialized workouts, including bike rides, gear-focused workouts that include kettlebells and other heavy metal, track workouts for runners and trail runs,” the website states. Another aspect of the group are early morning meetings, with two days before normal work hours. “We meet beside First Baptist Church in the grassy area from 5:30-6:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Reynolds said. “We meet from 7-8 a.m. Saturday at J.C. Britton Park.” The F3 program calls the early hours “the Gloom,” and insists that friendships are built by men working out during early hours. “For more than 90 percent of F3 guys, the reason they keep coming back, setting their alarm for 4:45 or 5 a.m. three, four or five days a week is the friendships that are built in those early hours,” the website reads. “There’s something special about pushing through a brutal smokefest with another guy. We encourage those bonds by closing every workout with what we call the Circle of Trust. Every guy gives his birth name, his F3 nickname and his age. Even if you’re brand-new, we’ll slap you with an F3 nickname — the stupider and more insulting, the better — so we can remember who you are the next time you post.” Reynolds said he’s always been interested in fitness. “I was a serious marathon runner, and my sons, who live in Columbia, told me about (F3),” he said. “While visiting my sons, I attended a session with them and became hooked.” Reynolds helped found a chapter in Hickory, North Carolina, in April 2014. “I brought it here and started it in Manning,” he said. “I wouldn’t do without it.” He said the group meets rain or shine, hot or cold. “We workout hard and then end with the Circle of Trust, joining hands and sharing a Bible verse.”


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