Welcome to our story of F3 in the UK. We are men helping other men. Iron sharpening iron. My name is Safari. That’s obviously not my proper name. But when you hang out with a bunch of guys for long enough, you quickly get given a nickname. I was brought up in Africa, so I quickly became Safari.
Anyhow, my job took my wife, three young kids and I out to Texas in 2017 on a work secondment. We were living on the outskirts of Houston in a city called Katy. It was late one Friday evening when I looked at my phone; my buddy, Flying Nurse, had messaged me asking if I fancied an outdoor workout early the following morning. I thought “what the heck – I’ll join him”.
I never realized what I was getting myself into … and that posting (meaning “turning up” in F3 lingo) that morning to workout would be the beginning of the most amazing journey of being changed, and also helping change others for the better.
When I turned up in the dark, I knew only one guy – Flying Nurse. The others were total strangers. When I stepped out the car, the guys saw that I was a new face and immediately assigned another guy, Leprechaun, to be my “battle buddy” throughout the workout, show me the ropes and ensure I felt comfortable. After the workout when I hung around for a coffee (the guys whipped out their coffee flasks and paper cups) I soon came to realize all of us had three things in common: we all had a desire to get fitter and stronger; an openness to make authentic new friendships; and a belief in something bigger or outside of ourselves, e.g. service, community, being better for those around us.
Well … one 05:30 F3 workout at “The Peak” location in Katy led to another, and another, and another. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of early morning workouts and made the best friendships that I never expected. Most middle-aged men don’t make new friends that easily – most friendships are legacy relationships from school / college / university – so the F3 workout environment and coffee afterwards was an easy-going way to get to know the guys. To alleviate lightning speed growth of F3 at The Peak location, I joined some special guys at a new F3 workout location called “The Tank”, also in Katy, Texas.
Many guys that I spoke to about F3 would say “Sounds awesome, but no way – 05:30 is way too early for me”. It worked for me because I had a very challenging job, hectic work schedule and full on family life. The early mornings were the only time that I had that was truly “my own”, whilst everyone else was asleep. I could get up for the early morning workouts, catch up with the guys for a quick coffee afterwards, and then be home in time to bring my wife a coffee in bed and get the kids up for breakfast and school. I found the workouts low-pressure and highly motivational. I wasn’t particularly strong so appreciated the “you versus you” approach, involving pushing oneself to / within your own personal limits.
After a few months of going to the workouts, I realized the profound change that it was having in me; not just my fitness, but also my mental health, my relationships with my wife and kids, and also my friends. I’ll go so far as to say that life started to take on new meaning. I started to be less engrossed in myself and my own needs. I started to really understand first hand why the mission of F3 is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.
So when we took the hard decision to return back to the UK from Texas in 2021, I took the decision to bring F3 with me and start up F3 in the UK to continue my own journey, but also bring the kind of benefits it had for me, to other guys. We said our goodbyes to the amazing men of F3 Katy and set off to return home.
The F3 men of Katy, Texas under the leadership of Camo were inspiring. The culture of togetherness is one of a kind. I’m reminded by Dementia (another F3 brother) that “we may have an ocean between us, but we are united by a purpose of serving more than ourselves”. The support from across the pond in establishing and growing F3 in the UK is truly appreciated by all of us.
Our first F3 UK workout was held at “The Way” at 05:30 on Tuesday 17th August 2021 in Guildford, Surrey. On that day there were four of us who planted the first F3 shovel flag on UK soil – Nerd, Forrest, Pasty and I. I thank these men for seeing the shared vision and potential impact that F3 could have on men in the UK. From these humble beginnings Pasty built us this website to start getting the word out to more men. Our sincere thanks to him. Since then more and more men have come to learn first-hand how F3 picks men up and puts them in motion to be better for their families, workplaces and communities.
Since then, F3 UK has expanded to serve the men of Birmingham and the UK Midlands under the leadership of Zohan. Together, we plan to expand further with other new locations to help pick men up and put them in motion to be better for their families, workplaces and communities.
There’s no cost and no one gets paid; everyone can leave their wallets at home ! There’s no money exchanged whatsoever to lead a workout, or participate in one. It’s totally free.
We’d love you to join our journey, and in doing so, start your own.