F3 Knoxville

You Can’t Share Q-Tips or Sharpen Iron by Yourself

Workout Date: 31 Jul 2020
QIC: Pool Boy

THE SCENE: Ominous. Thunderstorms on the radar. 100% chance of PAIN (or at least DOMS haha)
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER Administered + Cell phone check (COVID rules applying). Q noted today is his F3iversary Q and he was almost named Prison Mike. Original picture here from July 31, 2019

Also noted was the concept that we all have something to contribute. Q stated he wanted “Q-tips”- things that make a Q, a workout, and each other better throughout the workout. PAX seemed to understand and during the warmup the Q gave several examples, encouraging the PAX to be ready to share a tip when the Q asked for some:

-prep the PAX for the workout beforehand (giving the spiel about Q-tips before the 1-minute warning as well as during the warmup doubly prepped the PAX)


  • 7 x Moroccan Night Club IC
  • 7 x Tempo Squat IC
  • 7 x Overhead Clap IC
  • 7 x Side Lunge
  • 7 x Tempo Merkin
  • 7 x Squat Walking Rockette
  • 7 x Hillbilly
  • 7 x Tennessee Rocking Chair
  • 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100% sprint progression to first light pole in AO parking lot
  • 20 Calf Raises for Booster

Q-tips during the warm-up (not all Q-tips listed were stated during the Q):
-Use the warm-up as a time to preview new exercises if possible. This gives the PAX a chance to mentally warm-up and adjust to the new movements.
-Pay attention to each individual PAX. If a PAX is struggling, offer a modification move to a different exercise (and think about modifying your Q)
-Do only what reps seem profitable – it’s a warmup not a beatdown
-Demonstrate all possibly unfamiliar exercises
-Do a longer warmup than you might think. This can help
Mosey to the Large Parking lot:
Q-tips on the way
-during a mosey is an ideal time to have some intentional mumblechatter with other PAX, especially after the warm-up and before the beatdown part of the workout
-the Q can lead without leading the pack but giving clear direction if the Q is not in the front of a mosey helps everyone follow more clearly
-during COVID, consider running / moseying shorter distances as during a “wagon wheel” PAX tend to not socially distance as well

First Phase – Full Speed 2-3 minutes of the following:
-100% Sprint to the first light pole
-1 x Burpee
-Jog (not rushed) back to starting curb

-tell the PAX how long they’re going to do something that you’re saying is “max effort”.
-encourage communication and questions by eliciting feedback from the PAX “make sense?” is my go-to but you can find your own

Mosey to the newest parking lot
-PAX were instructed we’d keep moseying until they gave at least 1 Q-tip (they were all trying to be respectful but I really wanted this to be collaborative)
-PAX responded with “threaten the PAX with punishment if they don’t enthusiastically participate” which was funny and kept the mood light
-sign up for Q’s so Judge Judy kill us with a beatdown (I’m sure he also meant so that Judge doesn’t have to Q every week)
-use the mosey time to talk about what’s happening next as you move in between additional workout locations while still giving the PAX a breather

Second Phase: Proper Scaling
Pax were asked to evaluate the following exercises in order of most difficult to least. Each was done starting with the most difficult at 2 reps and increasing by 2 reps to the least difficult (exercises are put in order for order done though they were list randomly for the PAX):

1. Burpees x 2
2. Bobby Hurley x 4
3. Air Thruster x 6
4. Tempo Merkin x 8
5. Flutter Kick x 10
6. Squat Jump x 12
7. Heels to Heaven x 14
8. Pickle Pointer x 16
9. Merkin x 18
10. Squat x 20

-give the PAX choices. It engages them and they take ownership of the workout
-look for ways to engage multiple PAX so as to give a break through verbal feedback, other things like a 10-count (who can’t give a 10-count except the FNG who can’t breathe well and he probably doesn’t know even what a 10-count is?)
-numbering off (which we did 1 through 4) is also another way to give a break to the PAX
Mosey to the far side of Sophomore Hill (more Q-tips on the mosey)

Third Phase: Proper Social (aka Physical) Distancing
1’s & 3’s on the near side, 2’s & 4’s on the far side:
Bear crawl up (if you can’t bear crawl, you have to Bernie up, jog back down, & Bernie up again)
At the top: 15 lunges, 15 rows
First PAX to finish leads the group in the exercise of his choice until the 6 is up

-verbal confirmation of continued and paying attention to COVID conditions meant skipping the rows for me as the Q. As the Q you need to make sure your men are SAFE above all else. You actively participate but even though they’re attending the workout you’re leading on their own volition, this doesn’t remove your responsibility (saying that just helps you not get a lawsuit nearly as easily should something go wrong)

Fourth Phase: Pulling & Pressing
Mosey to pull-up bars
5 pull-ups each, CMU exercise at the bottom (directions given weren’t super clear so I modified this one to be 20 CMU presses, putting the CMU back and doing a wall sit until the 6 except Erector who communicated he would be joining us after his marathon training run he did).

Fifth Phase: Slippery Scaling
Mosey to Freshman (or Stadium) Hill
PAX given 10-20 seconds to recover as I went over the next part:
5x of:
1 Merkin at the bottom (which basically is a burpee but shh the PAX don’t know this haha)
Up the hill
1 Squat at the top
Down the hill

Q called recover after only 4 times because it was exhausting.

Q tips:
-Rule of (Q-)thumb Q-tip – if you can’t do it, don’t Q it (so we only did 4 and didn’t do any hand stand push-ups)
-Q called for more Q-tips (some were probably given but not coming to mind – a tip that can be well-taken is if you don’t know or didn’t do something, admit it)
-directed the PAX to the courtyard (giving PAX direction to the next location, especially when it’s the end of the workout, allows you to pace yourself as the Q and see how the not-at-the-front PAX are doing)
FiA had their first official week at JUCO and hollered at us in the rain. I know several M’s of the HIM’s we have were there and hope the distance was good but encouraging to see us working hard in the rain. This is how we can and should encourage our sisters in Christ (and men one way you can serve your M). One note is that their website is not yet updated but contact Doubtfire for more info if your M is interested).

When we got to the picnic table at the edge of the courtyard and as I was explaining what we were supposed to do there (listed below), lightning flashed. I had talked to the PAX if we saw any lightning (because of the strong likelihood of thunderstorms in the forecast), we would immediately stop the workout and go home- so that is what we did With COVID physical distancing, taking cover was also not an option because we’d be in an enclosed space and it’s just not worth the risk right now, especially looking to lead the PAX in what is wise.

Sixth Phase: The Home Stretch
PAX at 4 corners of the courtyard. 3 exercises, 1 per corner, run to the next and run past the 4th corner. 10 reps first round, 5 reps second round, 1 rep last round
1. Lunges
2. Pickle pounders (yes, there’s actually video of someone doing it- might even be F3 Knoxville guys but I couldn’t tell)
3. Rainbow hip drops (plank – hip drop left – plank – hip drop right)
4. Free Space (keep running)

MARY: (aka Phase 7):
Zilch. Unless it was OYO after we saw lightning or in your vehicle.
17 soaking-wet PAX (I took the picture, of course)
There is so much I wanted to say here. But often God has other plans for us. One year ago today I did F3 for the first time. Trolley led the massive beatdown I mean Q. Spotter was my slot car partner. Ribbed invited me to F3. Ribbed also came to JUCO for the first two weeks and he and so many of you HIMs have walked faithfully with me through the hardest year of my life. The pain and suffering were self-inflicted and yet God saw me through every moment of it. He has given beauty for ashes in spite of the great loss I’ve suffered – as Jesus says “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). “And as Paul would echo Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)

There’s so much to be thankful for about F3. It’s similar to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (I encourage you to read this verse), but as I’m sure you all have heard over and over, it’s really about Iron Sharpening Iron, or Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” There are so many application points that I could come up with, but just as over the past year I’ve gathered all of the Q-tips from various places, I encourage you to read what I have below and come up with your own:

Be a proactive man, not passive (somebody else can do it or if they want it done they should ask me) or aggressive (other people had better do what I want them to so that things get done my way). A proactive man plans, seeks the Lord, and also looks for opportunities to serve others and be served. A proactive man sees benefit and value in all PAX who come – athletic, intelligent, out of shape, slow, quiet, whatever (let’s keep pushing for diversity among the PAX as well my dudes). Iron sharpening iron isn’t about you going and being the know it all. It’s about, as Swimmies well said when I went to the Asylum for the first time, “getting better together.” That’s what we’re doing F3 for. It’s not just about us. We lay down our lives for others. We let other men speak into our lives and then their iron sharpens our iron. We look at the plank first and then remove the speck from our brother’s eye.

The above is a broad summary of what’s taken place over the past year – and also what I hope will take place over the next year. There have been so many wonderful moments with each of you men I cannot express my gratitude enough, but as John Piper recently said when reflecting on his 1500th Ask Pastor John episode:

7. Let your motto be the principle of the apostle Paul “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead

Trolley said it last year too:

This F3 stuff is the best thing ! Feeling so grateful for it. It’s the best part of my day. Creative, challenging, always different, always free. Rain or shine. Always encouraging. Great testimonies and BOM’s. We be sittin’ on GOLD fellas! I hope where ever I go I can always find an F3 PAX to workout with!

Year 1 of F3 down. Now year 2 begins! You keep sharpening me and, Lord willing, I’ll keep sharpening you!

SYITG soon,
-Pool Boy aka Prison Mike

One of the reasons I felt confident in everything we did for this workout was because I was prepared. I thought through a lot of the “what if’s”. Even if something comes up and you’ve not specifically covered it, you can succeed. I really thought we might be able to get through the workout, but God had other plans. This is a constant lesson that has been with me over the past year both at F3 and outside of F3 – surrendering to His will and way are best. Is it hard? It’s impossible. But that’s why we must rely on the Spirit and no do things – even exercising – in merely our own strength. “What did you have that you did not receive?” Trust Him for each day. Reach out. Take a Q!

Q-tips Part 1 was a success. We’ll see if a Part 2 is in the future.
-Mend house clothing was a little hard for Spotter to collect (though if you bring things in the future it’s probably best to give them to the person collecting things before workouts). They’re still collecting them as I’m sure the need didn’t instantly go away as these men recover from addiction.
F3 Work Day at Mooreland Heights Elementary School August 8th at 8:45am
-FiA now at JUCO on Wednesday/Friday. Message Doubtfire for more info or see www.FiAknoxville.com to contact them if your M is interested.

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