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Local workout group celebrates 3rd anniversary

By STEVE BARNES

For the Washington Daily News

 

Full disclosure: I am part of this group most Saturdays at 7 a.m. I would join them during the week, but I can’t drag my lazy self out of bed in time for a 5:15 a.m. workout.

Twenty-two local men rose before dawn Saturday to celebrate their physical fitness group’s third anniversary with a 5K run followed by a 45-minute boot-camp style workout, topped off with a three-mile walk with a weighted backpack, aka a ruck.

They call the organization F3, which stands for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. It has grown steadily since two friends from Charlotte started the first chapter on New Year’s Day of 2011. The idea has spread to 30 states, with more than 2,400 local groups.

Among the differences between F3 and other workout groups are the nicknames given to each member and the special names for everyday exercises. Once a newcomer finishes his first workout, the group gives him a name based on the background information he provides.

Leg lifts are Weezy Jefferson’s because your legs are “Movin’ on up.” A jumping jack is a side straddle hop because that’s what your junior high gym teacher called it. A military style push-up is a Merkin because it’s done “American” style. Say Merkin out loud, and you’ll get it.

In the Washington group, Largemouth, Ductape, Cornhole, Kickball, Caterpillar, Ramses and many others perform these (and many other) exercises Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Mondays are for Bible study; Wednesdays are reserved for rucking, and they run on Fridays — all at 5:15 a.m. except for Saturdays. All activities are free.

“I was looking for something to motivate me that I couldn’t find at the gym,” Will Tyson said. Tyson is known as Enron because he is a former accountant. “I was one of the eight guys at the first workout three years ago and loved it. The feeling you get from a group of guys who push and encourage you in a positive way is incredible.”

F3 spread gradually eastward since 2011 and reached Greenville a few years ago. Word of mouth and emails to men’s groups at area churches helped the local chapter form. F3 Washington has more than 40 active members, while 16-20 take part in an average workout.

“It requires a bit of a lifestyle change to commit to getting up that early during the week,” Beaufort County District Attorney Seth Edwards, aka Matlock, said. “I think the fitness aspect of it attracted most of us at the start because it’s a great way to get or stay in shape. That’s still important to me, but the fellowship is what keeps me coming back. F3 has helped me feel better physically and spiritually. It’s part of my morning routine now and starts my day in a positive way.”

F3’ers range in age from their late 20s to the 70-year-old Henry Capogna, who joined two and half years ago after retiring to the area from Michigan.

“Kevin Mitchell (Largemouth) gave a presentation at the Washington (noon) Rotary and got me to come to their next session,” Capogna (The Wolverine) said. “I like being part of a team, and I like the cross-training aspect. Besides, what’s the alternative? I sit on the couch enough.”

F3 Washington meets rain or shine, except during hurricanes and lightning storms, at Festival Park. On Mondays, Bible Study is conducted on the People’s Pier. All fitness levels are welcome, and there’s no pressure to do more than your body can handle.

My personal motto is “Somebody has to be last.” I’m Holy Cow, signing off.