One of the things YHC loves doing is weaving lessons into any Q. When Abu asked about leading a Q School, the stars aligned. It’s also the day to celebrate the 44th year of my existence, so it was a go. 24 studs showed up to learn a thing or two in preparation for their next Q.

When the men arrived the music was playing, because it sets a tone. YHC has a “Kick 6” playlist that constantly evolves. Music let’s guys know they are choosing to get up in the gloom because it’s fun. Whether you have music or not, the Q has to engage the Pax, know names, say hi, ask about 2.0s. Guys will follow a leader who loves them. One effective way a man demonstrates that love is to get to know the men you stand next to in a shield lock. Wear a watch, b/c a 1 min warning is given. As a Q the workout starts on time and ends on time.

Disclaimer: Disclaimers are important and often overlooked at workouts. When there is an FNG, the disclaimer is REQUIRED. YHC says some version of it each and every workout. One of my favorite versions goes something like this: “Welcome to F3Nation. We are a free, peer-led workout, which means that even if you think I look like a stud, I am not a professional. I have no training nor certification. This will be difficult and I recommend you get in your car and go home. Or you can modify as needed and watch out for your brothers beside you. We leave no man behind, and we leave no man where we found them. Aye?”

Warmup/COP: The Circle of Pain can be both a way to warm up the muscles and to calm down the nerves. The reason SSH are often the first exercise is because they don’t require any thinking. It allows the Q to calm down, center his focus, and pay attention to counting cadence.  We practiced counting cadence using the following exercises: SSH, Merkins, Squats, etc. It’s important to learn the exact wording for counting cadence. If you don’t, guys won’t follow you – they will laugh at you – not the good kind of laughing. When a Q follows the cadence it demonstrates your worthiness to lead and men will follow, even the most aggravating, mumble-chattering pax. Counting cadence sounds like:

  1. “The next exercise is…” [pause] “Side Straddle Hop!” (or name of other exercise)
  2. ”Starting Position…” [pause] “Move!”
  3. ”In Cadence…” [pause] “Exercise!” (begin count 1..2..3)

A few pro tips include: 1) speak with a loud credible voice, you are not asking a question; 2) learn the pauses – you can think, men will listen when they hear a deliberate pause; 3) when falling, dive – just keep going if you screw it up. The term “recover” is a chance for both the pax and the Q to recover; 4) each count is a movement unless the Q calls it different. Today we did one round of SSH, Merkins, and Squats. Then 6 guys came up and got to practice. They did pretty well.

The Thang: One trick for a Q is to get to the AO a little early and set up anything you need. Today there was a diamond cone pattern. It says something to guys when they run up on a set of cones. It’s unexpected because you were prepared as a Q. Another trick for new Qs during the Thang is to search the F3Nation exercises for “routine”. A routine allows the Q to lead without having to be in the lead. That way the thoroughbreds can go fast and the Clydesdales can move with strength. We started with the “7 of Diamonds”.  It goes like this: The Q finds a diamond and a single exercise is performed at each point in multiples of 7 for four rounds. Here’s what we did: Round 1 – 7 Burpees; Round 2 – 14 Merkins; Round 3 – 21 Squats; Round 4 – 28 double flutter kicks. We did one round as a group and another OYO.

Another “routine” that’s a good hip pocket idea so you are never under planned are 11s or 7s. Just decide on the two exercises you hate the most and make them the exercises. The further you run the more time it takes. If you run out of time, just call “finish the round you are on.” These little tricks matter when time is precious.

6 MoM: Mary is often an under emphasized part of any workout. However, if done right it’s a great way to strengthen the core of all the men who post. Today the idea was to allow men to count cadence as the Q called the exercises. Legs could be kept straight up or parallel to the ground, but not put down until the Q calls “Recover”. Three Qs got to practice, then a quick recover, before 3 more led. Practice makes perfect.

COT/BOM: Prayers for parents, including, Abu’s dad, Shrimp’s dad,  and Calente’s mom. Duff lost his dad. Divorce and cancer are weighing heavy on guys. Mayhem’s 2.0 Gomer is deployed. String Bean shouted out Pied Piper who is recovering from spinal surgery. It took 1 1/2 of EHing for him to post. When it hit, he became a HIM.

Naked Moleskin: 44 years is a long time to be alive. What’s most amazing is that I’m stronger, have more trusted friends, and have a more clear purpose now, then I ever had before. Those are what we call in F3 the 3-Fs. 1st F – There is no way that as a strapping young 22-yr old that I would have rucked 10 miles at a 14-min pace and treated it like a normal day. Now I do that. 2nd F – As the Pitt County Principal of the Year, I didn’t have as many friends as I have now. Not just any friends, but friends who I can call at 1700hrs when I’m out of town to say, “My car broke down in Raleigh and my bride is getting the girls, anyone coming from Raleigh to give me a ride.” 5-min later I had a brother driving to pick me up. 3rd F – I always question everything, especially my relationship with the Sky Q. My thought is that by questioning, I come to my own beliefs and can stand by them as a man of God. Before F3, I hardly ever prayed out loud, now I do it at the drop of a hat and know the purpose for which I’m praying. More than anything, now, I have a greater purpose at age 44 than I did at 22.

If you want to read my purpose for doing F3, here’s one of them. It’s a story that I learned from the men of Columbia and that we lived during Hurricane Matthew. It’s important here, because I saw the men of F3ENC live the mission of F3Nation and invigorate male community leadership. We were prepared to lead, because we lead each other EVERY morning. We were prepared for the unexpected hurricane and flood because we Push the Rock every day:

The Unmovable Rock

There once was a man who lived in a cabin next to a field. In the middle of the field was a huge rock – an enormous boulder. One night, God came to the man in a dream and said “I want you to go out in the morning and every morning after that and push the rock with all your heart and all your might.” So, the next morning and every morning after that the man did exactly as God instructed. Every morning, day after day, week after week, month after month – no matter the weather – the man woke up and pushed the rock until he could no longer push it anymore. And day after day, week after week, month after month, the rock never budged a single inch. Some days, he did not feel like pushing the rock, but he did it anyway. Some days, he did not push the rock with all his heart and all his might, giving just a partial effort until he realized this was not God’s command. His task was to push the rock with all his heart and all his might, every morning. He grew frustrated and prayed, “God, why am I pushing this rock? Day after day, week after week, month after month I have pushed this rock. I have never moved it, and never will!”

God replied, “I did not ask you to MOVE the rock, I asked you to PUSH the rock with all your heart and all your might. You have been an obedient and faithful servant; now look how you have transformed yourself: your shoulders are broad, your arms are strong, your legs are powerful. You are now ready for me to use you for a greater purpose!”

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