After some encouragement, I was asked to tag multiple regions for this post. I am JD from Lake Murray, SC.

Here we go. This is the, “what F3 has meant to me post”. Now, I know this post has been done many times before, so hopefully I can add something to what has already been said. Disclaimer: I am not the best writer when it comes to writing about my thought and feelings. Scientific writing is my wheelhouse, give me some data and I will give you a nice report with succinct analysis. So be patient as I muddle through. I want this post to be an encouragement and a thank you to all PAX. Anyone who has been in F3 longer than a few months knows that this is more than just a workout. What we do on a daily basis is of extreme value and instrumental in changing and/or accelerating the lives of men.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot on what is F3 to me? This is the best answer I came up with. It is a gift from God I didn’t deserve or even knew I needed. God has blessed me with many things in my life. He has blessed me with so many people throughout my life whom have supported and helped me. I have an awesome wife, two of the best children and a great career. Isn’t it funny how we pray for things and instead of granting our prayers, God gives us more than we could have even conceived to begin with. I was praying to lose some weight, God gave me F3, how small was my faith?

A little history about myself. My father left when I was 2. I grew up poor, mostly in WV. I moved 16 times. I was raised in an abusive home by a bipolar mother with a revolving door of loser stepdad/boyfriends. Cocaine, marijuana, alcohol abuse were the norm. It sucked. I never felt secure and it was hard. I could write a book on the last 2 sentences. Then, I got invited to church in junior high. I accepted Jesus and found myself surrounded by a 2nd F group. Without the help of my grandparents and this group of people, I would most likely have been a statistic. Instead, I am the first person in my family with a doctorate degree (or even graduate degree). Fellowship changed it all. I didn’t know I needed those people but God did. I feel the same way about my F3 brothers. My life has been changed again with the motor of fellowship and accountability.

When I first posted to F3, I was going through one of the saddest times of my life. My grandfather passed away on June 9, 2014. It wasn’t expected. He had a heart attack. My grandfather was flawed, simple, and good. Not a bad way to live. He was the only father figure that I had and the only man I felt ever loved me. Losing him was tough and I was depressed for a while. Death is one of those things that makes you reevaluate yourself. I wanted to be better. Even armed with the knowledge of a degree in exercise physiology and a doctorate in physical therapy I found it hard to get into shape. As I looked in the mirror at a 260# size 44 waist-ed man who works in healthcare, I knew I had to change. I didn’t want my family crying over my casket like we were that day. I knelt down by my grandfather, held his hand, prayed, and promised him I would change. I would lose 40#. (Now, I had not yet read Free to Lead, and didn’t even know about POGO 40, so I find this ironic).

When I got back home, the next week I got invited to F3 by Swampy and on 7/23/2014 I showed up in all my glory for a Pothole led leg day. It was too hard for me. I pulled an ab doing a burpee, I was back of the pack wheezing just trying to keep up. Had it been any other class at a gym or crossfit place I probably wouldn’t have came back. But F3 does something different. They pick up the 6, they encourage, they inspire, they don’t leave a man behind. I couldn’t even run 100 yards my first time out, but I had resolve to #getbetter to #bebetter. 6 months later I ran a 1/2 marathon. I’ve done a 12K trail run, mud run, P200, GRL730, I’ve lost 57lbs. A guy that couldn’t run a 100 yards did all that in less than a year. Why, because men saw fit to invest in the lives of other men. #service Next up are a GRC/GRL double down and the BRR. I look forward to the fellowship. These CSAUPs/adventures have been some of the best times of my life.

Today I am in the best shape of my life. I am definitely a better father, husband, and son. It is funny, I used to think, with my judgemental POGO 40 brain, fathers in excellent shape must not be paying attention to their families and are focused too much on themselves. It became my excuse much of the time. I don’t go to the gym because I love my family. I convinced myself that my inactivity was noble. How messed up is that? I used to think, why would I go run a mile, I would be too tired to play with my kids. Now, I can double down, get home when they are waking up and still run circles around them all day. I am calmer, happier, stronger, and faster.

What we do is important. It is more than a workout. I am honored to share life with you gentlemen. I want to say thank you! Let’s keep getting these FNGs out here, keep picking up the 6, and do what we do. I love you guys!

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Phillipians 3:14