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One Workout at A Time

“I just don’t have the time.” I must have said that thirty times in response to a friend’s attempts to get me to an F3 workout. It’s true, we get so busy with life – work, family, home, and a host of other responsibilities – that we can lose sight of the importance of health and fitness. That happened to me. I was fifty-two years old, and working fifty to sixty hours a week (most of it sitting in a classroom, in meetings, or in front of a computer). Before I knew it I was 100 pounds overweight, always tired and out of breath, and – I honestly believe – on my way to an early grave.

That’s when my dangerously high blood pressure sent me to the emergency room, and then to a personal physician who happened to be part of the F3 group in Ashland, Ohio. We talked about the group and I decided then and there I would try it out. I showed up to my first workout, in the dark, knowing only a few people there. Only when the sun started to rise did I notice that I had been flipping tires with my doctor! Of course, I started working even harder once I saw him!

I have to admit, though, that the first few months were extremely challenging. I often modified exercises greatly, sometimes even just walking while the others followed the Q’s workout. I think I heaved – or came close to it – every workout for the first two months. But there was something about this group of men that made me want to be around them. That’s why I initially came back. They encouraged each other. They didn’t judge me because I was in such bad shape. They challenged me to push myself. And they had fun spending 45 minutes around each other a few times a week. Every loving insult they hurled at me made me appreciate them that much more. And then I realized that what I missed even more than the exercise was being around men such as these. They are, each and every one, an example of what it means to be a good man – a good friend, a good father, a good neighbor.

That’s why I kept coming back, and slowly, over the course of several months, my fitness improved. I finally did my first sit-up, managed to run an entire flight of stairs at the stadium, and stopped walking during workouts. I’ve lost about sixty pounds, not in a fast, dangerous way, but little by little, one workout a time. I am almost positive that I’m still alive because of this group. But the point is that, for me, the fitness followed because of the fellowship. Every workout now is a chance for me to reflect on how lucky I am to have found this group on men. These guys can help you to challenge yourself, too – one workout at a time.

– Chris Burkett, “Misfire,” 53

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