When Jim Copeland turned 40 last year, he decided it was a good time to make some changes with his life, particularly with his health.
Now, three times a week at the crack of dawn, he meets up with a dozen or so men for an intense boot-camp style workout with a group called F3.
“The camaraderie and brotherhood is what keeps me coming back,” Copeland said. “No one is left behind or made to feel bad about their fitness level. It’s about guys supporting each other to get better as men.”
This free, participant-led boot camp workout had its first meeting on the campus of Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte in 2006.
“In some ways it’s like an adult fraternity, but most simply, F3 is Fitness, Fellowship and Faith. Each leads to the other,” said participant Scott Campbell. “F3 plants, grows and serves small peer-led workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership.
“Men come to F3 for the workout – that’s the magnet that they are drawn by – then bond in fellowship with the other men in the group; that’s the glue that holds us together.”
Today, there are hundreds of F3 workouts held throughout the Carolinas and the Southeast. It’s also expanding to other parts of the country with workouts in Colorado, Indiana and Texas.
Copeland’s group meets at the Harris Road Middle School parking lot in Concord at 5:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, no matter the weather.
“I am on a journey to health and making friends that are independent of work or other family relationships with other guys I can share stuff with when needed,” Copeland said.
About three years ago Campbell attended his first F3 meeting; he can now be found at workouts that straddle the Mecklenburg/Cabarrus border as well as near UNC Charlotte.
“Eventually as fitness and fellowship strengthen the man, he typically seeks to understand the higher purpose in life which leads to developing a stronger faith and sense of something larger and greater than one’s self,” Campbell said.
“This part is the dynamite that creates a ‘high-impact man’ who is better prepared to serve his family, employer and community. In general, this sense of faith doesn’t refer to or specify a particular religion or necessarily any religion at all, though many F3 men practice a Christian-based spirituality.”
Through exercise, the men in the group also learn important skills, Campbell said.
“A fundamental aspect of F3’s mission is to develop leaders. All F3 men develop and grow into leaders. Workouts are peer-led and the organization as a whole has no paid employees, but rather is supported, directed and led by men throughout every element of the organization.”
Linda Doherty is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Linda? Email her at email@example.com.
There is no fee to become involved workouts are held throughout the Charlotte area. For information and to find a F3 workout, visit www.f3nation.com.