Extra Heavy BEYOND – It’s more than a Workout

For those of you that know me and my workouts, there typically isn’t a whole lot of “messages” as I try to make it all about business.  However, this time around, I focused on delivering a message that meant a ton to me and my journey, but also hopefully sparking something in the hearts of the pax.  Let’s get w/ it:

Quick mosey over to the lit side of a building w/ plenty of heavy objects for the Pax to worry about while we did our warm-up.  It was short and sweet:

Wide Grip Merkins x10 (in cadence), followed by Diamond Merkins x10 (in cadence) followed by Merkins x10 (in cadence) – nothing like 60 push-ups to get us started.  From there it was all about sitting on our six and stretching so I could focus on the first part of the message.

I asked the Pax who had figured out their marriage and felt they are their spouses were 100% aligned – crickets.  Next question – Who has ever confused “being a provider” with being a good husband?  A few hands went up.  Well I can surely attest to that, and I’m a changed man because of it.  Without going into too many details, I let my priorities get so out of order that I lost my connection w/ my wife.  And it took an act of courage on her part and some serious gut checks to remind me of what matters.  In order, work took the most from me, got home, spent what little time I had w/ my kids (which was basically putting them down to bed), F3 probably got the next sliver (my mornings) and my wife got what was left.  That equated to nothing really, maybe some shallow conversations, tiredness from me, tiredness from her.  This went on for far too long until a late night conversation already past my bedtime lasted 3 hours.  It hit me like a ton of bricks  – our connection was nonexistent and it was time to get it back.

Next up – Heavy a$$ tabata stations.  6 stations, each had two different exercises, 2 pax per station.  40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest.

1a:  Coupon – 40 lb metal chain, Exercise – Jump Squats (wrap that chain around your shoulders / neck)
1b:  Coupon – 2 25 lb bags of metal pellets, Exercise – Curls

2a:  Coupon:  80 lb tree (I’m not kidding), Exercise – Man Makers (good luck)
2b:  Coupon:  30 lb tree or 40 lb stump, Exercise – Lunge Jumps (could swap any coupons for either exercise)

3a:  Coupon:  Cinderblock, Exercise – wood choppers
3b:  Coupon:  Cinderblock, Exercise – v sits (press cindy then touch toes pointed high w/ cindy)

4a:  Coupon:  50 lb bags of limestone, Exercise – shoulder press
4b:  Coupon:  50 lb bags of limestone, Exercise – flutters w/ push press

5a:  Coupon:  none, Exercise – vert wall w/ chalk (vertical jumps on brick wall – use chalk for first jump, mark your high mark and then spend the rest of the time trying to touch that line)
5b:  Coupon:  none, Exercise – bear crawl the perimeter

6a:  Balls to the Wall hold 40 seconds
6b:  Single Leg Wall Sit (20 sec each leg)

Mini break w/ continuation of the message – well the night of the “revelation” from my wife or what I call my re-awakening, I had a flashback so randomly of something CSPAN once said at a workout 2 years before.  It wasn’t random, because it was so fitting, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it in a long time.  It was the bullseye theory of prioritization that I clearly lost containment on.  My bud Witchhunt also helped me a few months back w/ some podcasts to listen to around time management.  Both pointed to the same tactical response – God gets your first.  That’s it.  So my wife and I got tactical – we committed to God and to each other to spend the first 45 minutes of every day together, reading God’s word.  Since that night, we have read together almost every morning (and the couple that we missed we text each other when we can catch up w/ reading and explain what we got out of it) independently the same reading plan, journal independently, but then share what God spoke to each of us.  When you share what spoke to you, you really hear what is going on with each other.  You hear each other’s real time emotions, real worries, real anxieties, what’s ahead, what’s behind us.  I can honestly say I feel closer and more aware of my wife’s true feelings that I ever did in the 13 years we’ve been dating / married.


We didn’t have a ton of time, so I ran the pax over to a wide open parking lot that had already been set up w/ cones.  An old fashioned football drill I remember doing from double session conditioning.  SNAKES.

One after the other –
Sprint 40 yards, side shuffle right 40 yards, back pedal your butt off 40 yards, side shuffle left 40 yards, sprint 40 yards, side shuffle left 40 yards, back pedal 40 yards, side shuffle right to starting point 40 yards.

I finished my message w/ something that was another a-ha moment w/ my wife about 6 months ago – a small group we did on a series called “Love & Respect”.  In a nut shell it taught us how God wired men and women differently.  Women need love; men need respect.  Not respect in a sexist, egotistical way, but our emotions are clearly influenced by when respect is given or clearly not.  Application – it’s all about how we talk to each other.  Always ask yourself if you’re the husband – did what I say come out in a loving way?  If not, you may want to apologize in advance and say exactly that (ie. I’m sorry honey – I clearly didn’t say that in the most loving way.  That’s not what I meant…).   Most times it’s not what we said, it’s how we said it.  Intent was harmless, the delivery was just not loving.  Same goes for the wife – instead of doing what most men do when they get angry and walk away, we should say, “I feel like what you said was not very respectful”.  More times than not, your wife will realize that was the case and apologize before anything gets out of hand.  Avoid the vicious cycles – husband gets mad, they walk away / internalize everything, they get distant, distance to the wife is clearly unloving, she gets more mad, results in her snapping at you and being disrespectful.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Avoid this and be loving men.  That’s all she wants.

RINSE AND REPEAT the SNAKES – only this time, double the distance for each direction.  Fun.

Made it back to COT 2 minutes late but the pax were cool w/ it.  Announcements, prayers for all the senseless violence the last couple days (peach stand, York county officers, kentucky school victims) and for vision / direction on those ideas / things that enter your life and you clearly know you need to do something w/ it.  Huge thanks to Maximus for asking me to lead this workout so early in it’s existence.  I really appreciate it man and I hope my experience can help some guys out there repriortiize and grow closer to their wives.


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just a rainy Monday…

Conditions cold and rainy about 38 degrees…you had to want to be here


Vinny rolled in on 2 wheels…

Off and running for a moving warmup-O-rama…

Parking lot #AMRAP style, each space had an exercise, do that exercise, run a lap, move to next spot, and repeato…

Board consisted of:

10 Flying squirrels

20 HR Mericans

50 BB situps

20 Carolina Dry Docks

Hairburner to the curb (short distance)

Hairburner to the curb (long distance) aka crowd pleaser…cement block was smoking…

20 KB curls

20 KB Triceps

10 Flying squirrels

50 LBC

10 Peter Parkers

50 Flutters

10 Burpee

50 Rosie

50 Hello Dolly

50 SSH

Run was about a 200 meters…seemed easy…

The mumblechatter was epic, great group of #HIM

Jedi won…a very strong performance


Very weird Dallas Cowboy fan drove through our workout…dude was a jackass, talked junk but was too scared to workout with us…


Prayer or Praise / BOM

See you at The Swamp Friday…

Quick sermon on personal accountability, not being fooled that others care about you performance, and how lucky we are for this F3 Brotherhood



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PreBlast: Thanksgiving Day Convergence at The Ranch…The Tradition Continues

It’s that time of year again! Time to give thanks for the blessings we have been given and show appreciation to those around us. Time to remember the progress that we’ve made in various areas of our lives and the intentionality with which we wake up each day that drives this progress. Time to be grateful for the fact that we are better today than yesterday, this month than last month, and this year than last year…all because we were given the ability and opportunity to improve ourselves.

Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for, and at F3TheFort, we’ll show our appreciation the only way we know how…commit ourselves to a ridiculously difficult workout at a time when everyone else is still snuggly tucked in their beds. But hey, at least we’ll all do it together. That’s right, it’s TIME FOR THE 5th ANNUAL THANKSGIVING DAY CONVERGENCE!

We’ll gather at The Ranch at 0600 on Thanksgiving Day morning (Nov the 23rd), where we’ll find 3 workout options led by 3 HIMs and 1st time convergence Qs:

  • Moderate Bootcamp – led by Wapner 
  • Regular Bootcamp – led by Lil E
  • Black Diamond – led by WitchHunt

The workouts will be bookended by special messages from a couple HIMs who always know exactly what sweet nothings to whisper in our ears to get us in the Thanksgiving Day mood, Pusher and Santini.

CakeBoss & McGruff will be providing the pot of golden fried fowl at the end of the rainbow of pain.

Make plans to join us on T-giving morning and bring Cousin Eddie and the random nephew sleeping on your couch.


– Ginsu

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Q School at Abyss – 10-11-17

Welcome to Q school from Senator Tressel and Ginsu! 19 PAX posted to sharpen their leadership skills.

Senator Tressel started off with guidelines on safety:

  • Always start with a disclaimer as a reminder, especially to new guys, that this is a voluntary workout led by non-professional fitness leaders. F3, nor the Q for the day assume any reliability if you get sick or hurt.   Be aware of your physical limitations and modify the workout if you need to.
  • Workouts are rain or shine, but should be cancelled if the conditions are unsafe. Usually this will be due to lightning or ice, but can be for other reasons.  The Q should use good judgement and make the call to cancel if he feels the conditions are not safe.  It’s OK to cancel a workout.  There will be another one tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that.  BE SMART.    Spring’s Maltz Challenge at NAFO was sighted as an example of what not to do.  The Q should also determine what exercises are safe to do (i.e. – no partner carries up a wet hill)
  • Always start with a warm up. ‘Surprising’ the Pax with 30 burpees to get things start might be fun, but is ill-advised.    Today, we did the Tressel  standard warm up which includes lunge walks, knee and ankle pulls, toy soldiers, arm circles and pulls.  Jogging and stretching are always good to start off a workout.

After the warm up, we moseyed to the back of the school for COP. ST led off with 25 side straddle hops and 10 merkins and then invited some of the newer Pax to lead exercises and practice counting. Things we stressed today:

  • The proper way, official, F3 way to start exercises in cadence is:  THE NEXT EXERCISE IS……, STARTING POSITION…MOVE….IN CADENCE… . EXERCISE!  (this is commonly done incorrectly)
  • COUNT MORE SLOWLY. ST is of the opinion that guys, in general, count too fast.  Slower counting is more effective for conditioning and leads to better form.  Your count should match your body movement when counting.
  • PROJECT YOUR VOICE so everyone can hear.
  • If your AO has pull up bars use them as much as possible.  The Abyss does have pull up bars so we split into three groups and did pull ups, step ups, and one lap around the track (3 reps were planned, but we only had time for one).

After each group got through a round of pull ups, we all assumed the plank position in a a tight circle for today’s message. Working the monthly theme or other message into the workout is not required, but can be an effective addition to the workout.    This is something unique to the Fort region.

Senator Tressel normally does not do a message, but felt compelled after reading an article about the reasons that people commit acts like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.  The writer opined that loneliness, frustration, unhappiness, and lack of purpose can lead people to commit heinous crimes.  The mission of F3 addresses these issues.  ST shared that the greatest thing that F3 has done for him is make him a much happier,  ‘at peace’ man.

ST handed off to Ginsu for the 2nd half.

Mosey to the front parking lot.

For the second half of the workout, we focused on the following:

  • Simplicity – Keep the workouts simple! Creativity is encouraged, but not at the expense of a solid, well organized workout. Keeping your workout simple makes organization easy and is less confusing for the PAX. Repetition (e.g. DORA, Jacob’s Ladder, etc.) is a good way to keep workouts simple.
  • Simple does not mean EASY! Burpees, pull-ups, merkins, bear crawls, etc. are all SIMPLE exercise options. But they are not EASY. Challenge the PAX with good workouts, keep it simple, but not EASY.
  • If you can’t do it, don’t Q it! – Challenge your PAX, but don’t turn a 45 minute workout into a CSAUP event. Use good judgment and don’t ask your PAX to do something that you can’t do yourself.
  • Pick up the SIX! – F3 is not like other workout groups. Here, it is you vs you and we pick each other up. We also EH new PAX weekly that are often as out of shape as the rest of us were when we began. Pick them up, encourage them. Appoint one of the PAX to hang back with them, if necessary.
  • Write your BackBlasts! This is part of the responsibility of being a Q. The simpler your workout, the easier the BBs are to write. It takes 5-10 minutes to do this. Just get it done.

With all this talk, you would think we didn’t actually do any work…we did. We kept it simple.

  • 4 cones in the shape of a square 50 yds apart. Do the following exercises at each cone, run to the next:
    • 5 burpees
    • 10 merkins
    • 10 big boy sit ups
    • Vinnie’s choice – 10 Freddie Mercury’s (4 count)


  • Announcements
    • Fast 5 – November 4th
    • CAH – Saturday, October 14th
    • BBQ Competition in Waxhaw
    • October 21st – run in Tega Cay to benefit Community Cafe
  • Prayer Requests
    • Marriages
    • Vegas
    • ST’s sister
    • CakeBoss’s sister

Thanks for the invitation Lake Dub!


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Poopdeck got TireD

Great attendance for my VQ, 14 PAX decided to show up and play with some toys.

Quick disclaimer and welcomed one FNG. Discussed about control and the power to influence or direct certain behaviors, especially our kids behaviors while they are growing up.

We started the warm up with a run around the parking lot, circled up and started with the following in cadence:

20 Moroccan Night Clubs

20 Low Slow squats

10 Windmills

10 Merkins

Then we moseyed down to the boat parking lot for a 4 station/corner setup with two big tires in the middle forming an X in between stations. Quick explanation of “benefits” and we split into four groups and one group went to each corner:

  • First  Corner:

10 Sledgehammer swings (choose between 8, 10 or 12 lbs sledgehammer)

15 big boy sit ups

20 American hammers

  • Second Corner:

10 lunges

15 squat jumps

20 monkey humpers

  • Third Corner:

10 Sand Bag Toss (choose between 40 or 60 lbs sandbag)

15 shoulder press

20 side straddle hops

  • Fourth Corner:

10 diamond merkins

15 regular merkins

20 count battle rope wave

After finishing exercises on each corner we bear crawled to the big tires, flip them 3-4 times (choose between 280 or 350 lbs tires) and then duck walked to the next corner; every time we finished a corner we repeated the bear crawl, tire flip and duck walk to move on to the following one.

Rinsed and repeated 3 times each corner for a speedy workout.

With 40 minutes into the workout we moseyed back to COT and finished strong with slow merkins: 5 diamond merkins, 10 regular merkins and 15 wide arm merkins.

Namearama and welcomed FNG “buckshot”


Ragnar Race

Community Cafe Race in Tega Cay

Fast 5 Race

Joe Davis Memorial Run

Prayers and Requests:

Family, kids, ragnar racers

We wrapped it up with a prayer we do with my kids were we thank God for our family, life, health, love, happiness, work and the necessary resources and provisions we receive every day to keep going on with our lives; we also ask that every kid in the world has access to a decent meal every day.

It was a great way to start a super busy day!!

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The Swamp Thing


Mosey to parking lot in front of Old Navy



SSH x 48


Moroccan Nightclubs

Low Slow Squats


Mountain Climbers




Mosey to back of Valvoline to hill

Jacobs Ladder

7 Squats/1 Merkin

7 LBCs/1 Bombjacks


Mosey to Fountain/Roundabout

Dirty McDeuces

All exercises in cadence

Do all 4 exercises, run lap


20 Merkins

20 Lunges

20 LBCs


20 CDDs

20 Squats

20 Freddys


20 Ranger Merkins

20 Reverse Lunges

20 American Hammers

Mosey back of Home Depot

People’s Chair

Everyone take a seat. Pax on end runs

out, does 5 burpees, runs back


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Brickhouse VQ @Poopdeck

Less rainy than what they called for.


Off for a mosey


4 corners:

Corner 1: Brick webbs

Corner 2: Crab humpers

Corner 3: Cinder block burpee

Corner 4: Monkey humpers

Mosey to the wall

Balls to the wall w/2 burpees each

COT: Marriage maint, prayer etc

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DaVinci Cones Redux

Full disclosure: 6 of the Pax listed above were ruckers and their workout was led by NASA.

Today was the first time I’ve Q’d in a long time. I was a bit nervous, but have worked out all over this AO and sort of know the lay of the land. My Q Lane is more of the Set-It-And-Forget-It variety, and today was no different. With no further ado, here is:

The Thang

Long Mosey to parking lot in front of Old Navy. Circle up for some COP:

SSH, windmills —SLOW (you’re welcome, CSPAN), low slow squats, merkins, downward dog stretches, honeymooner, mountain climbers, peter parkers, freddys, LBCs

Mosey to the Valvoline for some hill work. Sevens or Jacob’s Ladder: merkins at bottom, bombjacks at the top

Mosey to the raised patio the the old Riverbleu only to find the ruckers using the spot, so it was off to Plan B. I had cones set up on the drive, one on either side of the fountain. Each cone listed 5 exercises and the required reps. Do the exercise, run a half lap to the next cone, do the exercise. And so forth until everyone had finished the circuit. Exercise were as follows:

Cone One:

  1. Slow Squats (20)
  2. Curb Dips (20)
  3. Mtn. Climbers (20 d.c.)
  4. Curb Derkins (20)
  5. CDD’s (20)

Cone Two:

  1. Imperial Wlkrs (20 d.c.)
  2. Jump Lunges (10/leg)
  3. Freddy Mercurys (20 d.c.)
  4. Flying Squirrels (10)
  5. Peter Parkers (10 d.c.)

Then we made our way to the Rivebleu raised patio for the following:

Divide up into groups of 3. First man runs the stairs, does 5 burpees, runs down the back stairs and back to the group while 2nd and 3rd man do squats. Then repeat with 2nd and 3rd man.

By this point, it was time to mosey back to COT for a couple minutes of ab lab. Freddys, Crunchy Frogs (demo and cadence from WitchHunt), LBCs.


Children’s Attention Home: Q or post to support these great kids who are victims of circumstance and are in need of positive male role models.

Delta signups have begun! Reach out to Wild Thing if you’re interested in joining a LKW team.

Prayers for pregnant Ms, for family struggling with addiction and recovery.


At COT,  I shared that today, 7/28/17 would have been my late father’s 75th birthday. In 2001, he died  of a massive heart attack at the age of 59. My father was a good man. A loving man and unfailing provider for our family. But he had personal struggles. He was an alcoholic. A workaholic. Never exercised. Attended church sporadically, especially during my years at home.

My dad didn’t have what I would consider close friends or a strong social network. He had a family, a career, a mortgage, two kids who stayed out of trouble. But he always struck me as lonely. Isolated. I daresay alcohol use was his way of self medicating: his way of trying to fill a hole and mask his feelings of isolation.

I am grateful to write here that I am not an alcoholic, although there was a time in my late 20s that I was definitely auditioning for the part. No one will ever accuse me of being a workaholic (though I do work hard). Though I may not eat the healthiest diet, I do post at workout consistently between 4 and 6 days a week.

But, perhaps most importantly to me, I have gained a strong network of men who support and encourage each other to become better.

My life is on a completely different trajectory.

I am not alone. I am not isolated. I am a grateful part of this community, and I thank each of you for being a part of my life.

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