WINNSBORO — While pressing the F3 key on a keyboard allows one to search a document for key words, F3 in Winnsboro provides an end to a search for men seeking a sense of community and improved fitness.
F3, which recently formed a chapter in Winnsboro, is a network of participant-led workout groups that takes its name from the emphasis placed on fitness, fellowship and faith.
“I started doing F3 in October or November of last year in Columbia,” said Justin Blackwelder, who is largely responsible for bringing F3 to Winnsboro. “After the first time, you see how good it is.”
F3 began on Jan.1, 2011, in Charlotte, N.C., and its stated vision to create small workout groups to invigorate the male community leadership has spread.
Fourteen Fairfield County residents were on hand when Winnsboro F3 held its inaugural workout at Fortune Springs Park May 23. Columbia F3 PAX are helping to establish Winnsboro F3.
“About 25 guys from Columbia came out to help,” said Jason Reynolds , who has been working out with F3 in Columbia for three years and is helping to start Winnsboro F3.
More newcomers, known as FNG’s (Friendly New Guys) are expected at ensuing workouts, and Reynolds said there seems to already be a solid core group of participants, known as PAX.
Blackwelder said he felt there are a lack of fitness options and there is a male leadership vacuum in Winnsboro, which makes it an excellent environment for F3.
“We designed the workout, so that it tests guys that are not in very good shape or just straight off the couch, and it also tests guys that are in very, very good shape,” Reynolds said.”
Reynolds said many F3 workouts involve performing an exercise as many times as possible during a set time, which allows participants, known as PAX in F3, to control a workout’s intensity.
“Guys who are in really good shape can go hard and get a real good workout in, and guys who are struggling can go at their own pace,” Reynolds said. “We don’t leave anybody behind.”
Reynolds said this sense of inclusion is one of F3’s most attractive qualities.
F3 workouts are free and open to all men of any fitness level or faith, held outdoors, led on a rotational basis by PAX and end with a circle of trust.
Reynolds said instilling fellowship during fitness, leads toward the third F of fitness, fellowship and faith.
“Through working out with us and getting better and becoming stronger physically, a guy will inevitably understand we’re all her for a greater purpose than to just hang out on Earth until it’s our time to go,” Reynolds said.
This can often mean actively volunteering in the community.
“No one is asked to do volunteer work,” Blackwelder said.
But he noted many people involved in F3 are passionate about causes and a sense of camaraderie often leads toward F3 PAX grouping together for a charitable cause.
“When you don’t as people to do things, people kind of find their own things,” Blackwelder said. “They’ll group up and do it on their own.”
However, this faith is not a primary focus.
“This is not a church evangelism group,” Reynolds said. “This is a workout group.”
Reynolds said the bond and personal accountability cultivated by F3 are what ensure workouts are well-attended. The possibility of being called out on Twitter is also a motivational factor.
F3 meets every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Old Armory. During the week, an F3 running group meets at the Winnsboro Town Clock at 5:15 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, F3 meets at the Old Armory at 5:30 a.m.
“We’ll be there Saturdays rain or shine from now until eternity,” Blackwelder said.
More information about F3 can be found at F3Nation.com and more information of Winnsboro F3 can be found by following @F3Winnsboro on Twitter.