A Gainesville chapter of F3 Nation, a national faith-based exercise program, will launch Saturday, Sept. 2, at 7 a.m. with support from the Jacksonville chapter to start.
Since October, Jeremy Youngquist and two to five other men have met twice a week for a 5:30 a.m. workout, testing if they could be consistent enough to apply with F3. The group plans to continue the early morning workout as an F3 chapter on Tuesdays and Thursdays while adding a 7 a.m. Saturday workout.
Standing for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith, the national program has grown to more than 4,088 free, peer-led workouts for men. Attending UF, Youngquist said working out with friends and his faith got him through hard times, so F3 seemed like a natural fit when he heard about it.
“I think one of the things that F3 is really good at is fostering this fellowship of men, where we can actually bond together and be genuine friends,” Youngquist said. He added that suffering side-by-side in the early morning helps solidify that relationship.
He visited workouts in Jacksonville to get a feel for the program, and Jacksonville members will lead the first month on Saturday workouts, Youngquist said.
Right now, the group meets behind Creekside Community Church on NW 39th Avenue, and Youngquist said most of the members attend the church. But, with the official F3 designation, he wants to start getting word out.
“We haven’t really pushed outside of Creekside until now to try to pull people in,” Youngquist said. “The invite has always been open, but we haven’t really, you know, pushed for this until recently.”
F3 started in 2011 but expanded during the pandemic by 1,500 groups, according to the New York Times. The program rests on five pillars: free of charge, open to all men, held outdoors rain or shine, rotating peers lead the group, workouts end with a circle of trust.
Youngquist said the circle of trust allows men to share what’s happening in their lives and pray for each other.
“Yes, there’s workout and fitness, but that’s kind of the gateway into trying to build deeper male friendships,” Youngquist said. “Then, the faith aspect points you to something greater than yourself.”
The goal, Youngquist said, follows F3’s mission statement to build workout groups for men to expand fitness, fellowship and faith and male community leadership.
As the website says: “Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him.”
For more information, you can contact the Gainesville chapter at F3nationGNV@gmail.com.