F3 Columbia isn't just about shedding the pounds - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

F3 Columbia isn't just about shedding the pounds

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It's a new approach to losing weight and getting stronger for men. But F3 Columbia is proving to be more than just wind sprints and push-ups.

The three F's stand for fitness, fellowship, and faith. If there was a fourth F, it would stand for free. There's no membership fee to this group of "bootcampers."

Men ages 18 to 80 just show up for a tough workout that's part Parris Island and part college fraternity.

Rest assured, ladies. These men have their hearts in the right place. But no punches are thrown. Instead a strong bond of friendship forms that's complete with a "circle of trust."

When Sean Rankin joined in January, he admits the fitness wasn't all that fun.

"It was cold, it was nasty, and I was hooked," said Rankin.

Rankin was committed and shedding pounds. In six months, Rankin has lost 60 pounds.

Rankin isn't alone. Others have been reeled in by the F-3 approach to getting in shape:

  • early morning workouts
  • open to all men over 18
  • outdoors, rain or shine
  • led by rotating members of the group
  • ending with a "circle of trust"

You'll also get the other two F's: fellowship and faith.

"It has been the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life," said Mark Timbes. "It came at a time where it was sorely needed even though I didn't know it at that time."

When Timbes joined, the guys of F3 served as his workout group, but as life would have it, his circle of friends became more of a support group.

"In February, my wife was diagnosed with cancer," said Timbes.

"That was the moment I knew this was something different," said Rankin. "It clearly was bigger than just about doing pushups."

"This group has really carried us through this trial," said Timbes.

With Timbes taking care of his cancer-stricken wife, Mark's F3 group decided to get "in the pink" by entering a 5K run in honor of his wife, Clay.    

"All these guys in pink, running down the road, carrying the flag, running out to greet us, to usher us across the finish line," said Timbes. "It's a moment my kids will tell their kids. You don't get those moments too often."

So, on a hot July morning, a day that will bring surgery for Timbes' wife, there's a powerful moment of prayer, displaying the faith in F3, what's really at the heart of this group. It brings a feeling that strong men lead to stronger families and stronger communities.

"It's for men who want to be better men, better fathers, better husbands," said Timbes. "And that's come true."

For more information on F3 Columbia, checkout F3nation.com. Look for Columbia under "news by region." You can find the guys on Twitter @F3Columbia or @F3Nation. Or, call Flynn Bowie at 467-6968. F3's email address is F3Columbia@gmail.com.

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