Have you ever heard of the F3Nation?  It was new to me.  I read an article in The Stream by Dr. Jeff Gardner about this new movement among men.  He noted how men are not doing very well today.  He gives this warning, “Although some feminists see the battle of the sexes as a zero-sum game, that is, what’s bad for men is good for women, the beat-down of the American male is trouble for both men and women.”  He believes, “The bottom line is as men go, so goes the country.  And as of 2024, things are not going well.”

He points to members of F3Nation, “trying to do something about the assault on the American male, helping their fellowman get back and on his feet.”  F3Nation was started in 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina to encourage, “men to get together and exercise, usually a boot camp-style workout held early in the morning, always without charge and almost always outside.”  The movement, F3Nation, takes its name from three foundational elements that all men need: Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. 

The movement is intended to help men get out from under the “sad clown syndrome,” a mind set in which men seem happy on the outside but are depressed and dying on the inside.  “Men tend to process emotions by ‘doing something’ at work or at home,” observed one participant. “…but by the end of the day, many men feel alone, like their cup is empty and they have no one who understands them or what they are going through.” 

At F3, workouts lasts around 45 minutes and ends with what F3Nation calls “the circle of trust” (the COT).  This is a space where men can share their fears about things holding them back.  Men encourage each other to reflect on overcoming fears and self-limiting thoughts, to reach out and talk with one another, while learning to lean on each other.  Gathering together, doing the workouts, fellowship and the sharing of faith, reassures men of not be along in their struggles. F3Nation gives men a sense of stability and hope.”   

Adam, a faithful participant, shared, “F3 has helped put purpose back into those things [marriage, work, and life] by giving me a base of support, other men’s experience and wisdom that I can draw on……It helped me with discipline that I didn’t know I needed, like deciding to see a therapist about some anger issues that I was having.  I don’t think I would have done that without another men helping, even pushing me to make me better.”

In this blog I have promoted fellowship and faith but have not stressed fitness.  I give myself a pass, since I am 82 years old.  But upon more reflection, I see the value of men meeting to include fitness in their hour together.  The workouts are open and free to all men and function as a place where men find out just now resilient they are and how they can do hard things and succeed.   “By leading the workout,” said one participant, “each man has the opportunity to learn how to lead and then takes those skills back into his home, to his work, and into his community.”

At the website, F3Nation has this slogan, “Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him.”  When I think of fitness and exercise, I think of “initiative,” “effort,” and “discipline.”  Men can challenge each other in the challenges of life.  Life is hard; sacrifice is called for; endurance for the long haul is expected.  “Never be lazy, but work and serve the Lord enthusiastically” (Rom. 12:11 NLT).  Are we giving our best effort for the Lord?