in: Fitness, Health & Fitness, Podcast

• Last updated: June 16, 2023

Podcast #324: How Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith Are the Cure for Sad Clown Syndrome

If you’re like many modern men, you might have a pretty good life — a decent job, a family, a home, maybe a few hobbies. Despite having the appearance of a good life, though, you feel kind of empty inside. Like you’re missing something. 

My guests today would argue that what you’ve got is a case of Sad Clown Syndrome and to get over it, you need to get together with some men and do some burpees. 

Their names are Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire and they’re the leaders of a grassroots movement bringing men together for free workouts called F3, which stands for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. According to them, they’ve seen tens of thousands of men not only get physically in shape by attending F3 workouts, but reenergize themselves mentally and spiritually. 

Today on the show, Dave and Tim share the origins of F3 and how they realized it was solving the problem of Sad Clown Syndrome in the lives of American men. They then detail what the symptoms of Sad Clown Syndrome are, and how exactly F3 acts as a remedy. We then discuss why male friends are so important in a man’s life and why the typical guys that men call friends aren’t really friends. We end our conversation by discussing what the 3 Fs in F3 mean, including why the “Faith” component is more about having a purpose beyond yourself and less about religion. 

Show Highlights

  • What F3 stands for and what they do
  • What a typical F3 workout looks like
  • The origins of F3
  • When Tim and Dave knew they had more than just a men’s workout going on
  • What Sad Clown Syndrome is and why so many American men are suffering from it
  • How F3 solves the three problems of Sad Clown Syndrome
  • The type of “friends” most men have and why they won’t help you become a better man
  • Why men need “aggressive nurturing”
  • Why the “ant-hero” is so attractive to men with Sad Clown Syndrome, but it’s just an unfulfilling fantasy
  • What F3 means when they talk about faith
  • Why men need a purpose beyond themselves
  • And much more!

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Freed To Lead By Dredd and OBT.

If you’re looking for a good workout and some camaraderie, check out F3. And for a good guidebook on how to organically create a men’s group, pick up a copy of Freed to Lead. Best book I’ve read on the topic, and it’s also funny.

Connect With F3

F3 on Twitter

F3 on Facebook

F3’s website

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

Available on itunes.

Available on stitcher.

Soundcloud logo.


Google play podcast.

Listen to the episode on a separate page.

Download this episode.

Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.

Podcast Sponsors

The Illustrated Art of Manliness. Father’s Day may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean our new book still wouldn’t make for a great gift for a loved one!

Squarespace. Start your free trial today at and enter code “manliness” at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase plus a free domain.

Proper Cloth. Stop wearing shirts that don’t fit. Start looking your best with a custom fitted shirt. Go to and enter gift code MANLINESS to save $20 on your first shirt.

Read the Transcript

Brett McKay: Welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness Podcast. Well, if you’re like many modern men, you might have a pretty good life. You’ve got a decent job, a family, a home, a few hobbies you do during your free time. Yet, despite the appearance of having a good life, you feel empty inside, like you’re missing something.

Well, my guest today would argue that what you’ve got is a case of Sad Clown Syndrome. To get over it, you need to get together with some other men and do some burpees. The names are Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire, and they’re the leaders of the grassroots movement, bringing men together for free workouts called F3, which stands for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith.

According to them, they’ve seen tens of thousands of men not only get physically in shape by doing an F3 workouts, but really energize themselves mentally and spiritually. Today on the show, Dave and Tim share their origins of the F3 movement, and how they realize its solving the problem of Sad Clown Syndrome in the lives of American men.

They then detail what the symptoms of Sad Clown Syndrome are, and how exactly F3 acts as a remedy. We then discuss why male friends are so important in a man’s life and why the typical guys that men usually call friends aren’t really friends.

We ended our conversation by discussing that last F in F3, faith, and why it’s more about having a purpose beyond yourself and less about religion. After the show’s over, check out the show notes at where you can find links to resources where you can go deeper onto this topic.

All right, Tim Whitmire, Dave Redding, welcome to the show.

Dave Redding: Glad to be here.

Tim Whitmire: Happy to be here.

Brett McKay: I’ve had lots of requests to have you two on the show. You are the leaders of an amorphous, like what’s that monster that you cut off its head and it keeps growing another head. What is that thing called?

Tim Whitmire: A hydra.

Brett McKay: A hydra. A hydra organization called F3. Before we get into what F3 is, can you talk a little bit about your backgrounds?

Tim Whitmire: Sure, this is Tim. I was born and raised in California, grew up mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Came back east for college, graduated from Harvard in 1992 with a degree in political science. Went to work as a journalist. Spent most of 13 years with the Associated Press as a reporter in Rhode Island, New York, Lexington, Kentucky and then moved to Charlotte in 2000. Left journalism in ’06, and spent most of the last ten years working for various financial services firms, here in the second largest banking center in the country, mostly in kind if marketing and business development positions. So, that was my background.

Dave Redding: This is Dave. I grew up in Connecticut, but the army sent me south after I graduated college. I’ve never really been back. I ended up in Fort Bragg in Special Forces the last few years of my career, and went to law school at lake Forest, here in North Carolina because I really like the state. At law school, I met my wife who was from North Carolina. As it often happens, Yankee comes south, goes to college, meets a girl from North Carolina, never leaves again. We’ve got a lot of guys in that category, so I’ve been practicing law here in Charlotte, for the last 20 years.

Tim Whitmire: Yes, and I should say, I also married a Southerner, she’s from Richmond, but her mother is from North Carolina and we’ve got two sons and a daughter.

Brett McKay: All right, well, I hear it’s gorgeous in North Carolina. I haven’t been out there yet, but it’s on my to do list though.

Dave Redding: Little steamy this time of year, but yes, it’s nice.

Brett McKay: So you guys started this organization called F3. What does F3 stand for? What do you guys do at F3?

Tim Whitmire: So F3 is a men’s workout group at its most basic. We have a stated purpose for the reinvigoration of male community leadership. That’s why we do it, but all that was kind of downstream from its origins. It really just started out as a workout group for men to get together and work out, outdoors, outside of a gym and not pay a personal trainer to do it.

It’s called F3, because that’s a description of what it’s turned out to be. The first F stands for fitness, that’s the magnet of F3, that’s what brings men into our fitness groups. The second F ids fellowship and that’s the glue. That’s what results from working out together under tough conditions. The third F stands for faith, and that’s not any particular denomination or world view. It just means you become aware that there’s something outside of yourself that really matters. There’s a big world out there and you stop thinking about yourself and you’re addressing it and what you might do about it.

Dave Redding: Put those three things together and you have F3.

Brett McKay: You have a book called Free to Lead and I love how you describe the organic evolution of this thing. As you said, this didn’t … You guys didn’t start off with like, you have this grand mission to reinvigorate male leadership in the community. It was basically, I want to get a good workout. Was that what it was? Just Tim, Dave, you both felt like you were in a position in your life where like man, my fitness has really hit a wall and I need to improve in this area?

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, so this is Tim. Dave and I met at this workout that preceded the creation of F3. At the time, I started going to that group, which met at a park here in Charlotte, 7 AM on Saturday morning for outdoor boot camp style workout. I had rowed as an undergraduate in college at about 190 pounds and I was running about 250 when I started going out to that workout in 2008. For me, it was really this thing of, I’m going to go out and I’m going to start working out with these guys. I’m going to get my butt kicked out there and I’m going to want to get in shape to kind of keep up with these guys. That involved getting more serious about what I was eating, and also about doing some other exercises. Doing some body weight exercises, not just running all the time, which is actually a pretty inefficient way to burn calories.

That was really my impetus to go out there and keep going out there. In the course of doing that, Dave came out as well. He and I got to know each other and started talking about what else was bringing us out there, besides just the fitness part of it and sort of gained this deeper understanding. Dave had his own reasons for being out there as well.

Dave Redding: Yeah, when I was in the Army, I was always in very good shape, but law school disabused me of the notion that that was the result of any self-discipline that I had. The unit requirements, Army requirements to be in shape and being a leader, it was incumbent upon me to do so, but that was all external. I gained a lot of weight in law school, and then after that had a really hard time keeping it off. I found that I could lose 40 pounds and gain 40 pounds pretty quickly, and I did it a lot. Ten years between graduating law school, and then getting involved in this predecessor to F3. I might have gained and lost those 40 pounds, five or six times. Really what I was in search for when I was invited to this workout was a way to maintain some kind of consistent fitness. What I found was that having the accountability of other men there.

Inevitably when you’re in good shape, it’s a pendulum or a parabola, or whatever, you get in good shape then you start falling out of shape a little bit. Right there is when you need another man to say to you, look, you look like you gained some weight back or how come you haven’t been out here? When I’m at F3, just that suggestion by another guy, because we’re quick to jump on each other, when we haven’t … when a guy’s kind of sliding. It’s all I ever needed and ever since we started F3, I haven’t had that up and down problem any more. I’ve been able to maintain my weight, so for me, that was the reason I started, and it’s been a good reason why I keep doing it.

Brett McKay: Right, but as you guys said, F3 wasn’t F3 when you first started. It was just a bunch of guys getting together to work out. As you said, it was kind of a shoot-off of another workout group that was going on. At what point did you guys realize that this F3 workout was bigger than what you thought it was originally?

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, so we, so the origin of what we came to call F3 came in the fact that the group that we were meeting with, the guy who was leading it, a guy named Jeff decided that it had grown too big. The irony is, the point at which it had grown too big in his mind was 25 guys, which is just sort of a crazy, considering how big it’s become since then.

He shut it down to new guys, and this was in the summer of 2010. Dave and I had become friends by then, and were sort of talking about what this had done in our lives. Looked at each other and said, well this is crazy, we want to get it in front of more guys. Let’s go start another location. We’ve got too many guys at Freedom Park, let’s go to this middle school a couple of miles away. We both had been in town for about ten years at that point. We had relatively long lists if guys we knew. We put together this email, as I recall, about 100 guys.

We sent a series of emails throughout December of 2010, saying, hey, you might have heard about this workout group at Freedom Park. Well, we’re going to launch another location. We’d love you to come out. It’ll be New Year’s morning. Come work off your hangover, start your New Year right. All the sort of resolution stuff that people do. We figured we’d get two or three guys out there on New Year’s morning and build it in much the same way that the workout at Freedom Park had built, which was sort of by ones and twos.

About ten minutes into the workout, after guys started sweating, it smelled like a distillery out there. The crazy thing was those guys, instead of it being like the YMCA, where you can’t get a locker the first week in January and it’s a desert again by the end of February. These guys kept coming out, and kept coming back, and wanting to do more. They wanted to work out during the week. They wanted to do crazy races and Spartan races and mud runs and stuff. It just snowballed from there, and it got to the point very early that spring where we realized, okay, this one location isn’t enough. We’re going to plant a couple other locations on Saturday morning to take the pressure off of this one location, that now has 40 or 45 guys. With that challenge came, we need guys to lead that because we’re not the only … We can’t be the only ones who are capable of leading this.

Brett McKay: Again, this workout’s free, right? You don’t have to pay for it.

Tim Whitmire: Yeah.

Brett McKay: You mentioned it’s a boot camp style workout. I mean, if someone were to go to a F3 workout this Saturday, what would they see?

Dave Redding: Well, it would really depend on where they go. We say boot camp style really as a placeholder for what is, because F3 doesn’t prescribe any particular form of exercise. It really depends on the local leader, it’s really decentralized. We have groups that cycle, groups that run together, but the typical boot camp workout is going to be a mixture of running and body weight resistance exercises, and maybe using whatever’s available in the local area to assist that. If there’s say, a playground, we’ll use the swing set to do pull-ups on, for instance. For the most part, we don’t add any gear to that, except for maybe kettle bells. We’ll carry rocks, for instance or cinder blocks or something that’s organic to the area.

The whole idea there is to keep those barriers to entry down. What we call the EH, or the emotional headlock is what we put on a guy to recruit him. You know, you say to the guy, why don’t you come out and workout this Saturday. Of course, he says, first question, what’s it cost? We say, nothing. Second question is, what do I have to bring, we say nothing. That makes it much easier to get a guy to come out, because he didn’t have to worry about buying the gear or having any kind of gear.

Also, it depends on where you are. So, it started here in Charlotte, in what we call Charlotte metro, six years ago. So guys have been doing it here for quite a while. If you come to a weekend workout here, which is 45 minutes long, weekday boot camp workout, you might run four miles in those 45 minutes.

Tim Whitmire: And still do a bunch of pushups.

Dave Redding: Yeah, interspersed with a lot of-

Tim Whitmire: Squats and burpees.

Dave Redding: So the running itself will be at a very high pace, the brief period, you might run a quarter-mile, you might run a mile. It just depends on what the leader comes up with. We do a lot of running up hill or in tough terrain to kind of toughen ourselves up. If people ask me, what are the components of a workout, what should it look like? I say, do what you discover, or what you think works, but try to have three S’s and two T’s. The three S’s are strength, speed and stamina. The two T’s are toughness physical, and toughness mental. In other words, do something to accelerate the men’s strength, challenge them there. So something to make them a little faster. Do something to try and give them more than they can handle for a distance, so they can build that stamina. That’ll give them physical toughness, you’re rolling around in the rain, in the mud or whatever. That makes you physically tough.

Then, that mental aspect of it. I mean, we meet in the dark. We don’t have a lot of safety things that we do. We start exactly on time, and if you’re not there, you get left behind. We don’t carry water bottles. We don’t take breaks. All that goes into, I think I heard one of your earlier podcasts, Brett, with the stoicism guy. One of the things he said was, that doing things that make you uncomfortable are good for the soul. I’m paraphrasing what he said, but he said, don’t wear enough clothes for the weather. In other words, be a little cold, expand out your comfort zone. I heard that, and I was like, why that’s F3 in a nutshell.

We just don’t bow to anything that would make you comfortable. He even said, something we say, which is personal comfort should not be your watch word. You set yourself aside, take on a little pain. We’re a bunch of doctors and lawyers and accountants and whatever we are, so this might be the only physically difficult thing you’re going to do that day, but that’s a huge part of it. If you go to a workout, you can be pretty sure that you’re going to be challenged, physically and mentally a little bit. Pushed past where you want to go. The leaders are going to be looking for the mean. They’re not looking to kill anybody, but they want to challenge the guys. That’s part of the leadership is figuring that out and how to do that well.

Tim Whitmire: I would just add the other piece of it is, nobody’s going to get left behind. That’s one of the things we really hammer with our leaders is, lead the workout in a way that you’re not going to drop anybody. A lot of what Dave was talking about, there’s going to be some running but the metaphor I use is kind of pearls on a string, right? So you’re never going to run more than an 1/8 or 1/4 of a mile at a time. Nobody’s going to get left too far behind at that point. When you’re done with that running segment, everybody’s going to plank up. You’re going to wait for what we call the six, which is the last man in line to get there, then we’re going to do some sort of set piece of body weight exercises.

Maybe we’ll just put guys in a circle and count cadence and do exercises. That’s called a circle of pain. Maybe we’ll do something like, pick a hill, go to the top, do one burpee, run back down. Go to the top again, do two burpees. Do that to seven and you call it a Jacob’s Ladder. Those set pieces are the poles and the string is the running. Through the whole thing, we’re going to keep you moving throughout the entire 45 minutes or an hour. That’s your basic F3 workout, pearls on a string.

Dave Redding: I know I’m at a good workout when during the running I’m like, I can’t wait to stop and do some push-ups. When we’re doing push-ups, I say, I can’t wait to start running again. Then you know you’re getting a good workout.

Brett McKay: All right, so this thing started growing organically. You sent out that email, you had 30, 40 guys show up. People kept coming back, to the point where you had to actually split up into another group somewhere else. At this point, did you guys still have your mission for F3? Was it F3 yet? When did F3 become F3, at what point in this boot camp did it transition to what it is today?

Tim Whitmire: I think it was about, it was about two months after we started talking about splitting the first location, is when we came up with the name. Because it was one of the guys who helped us plant it originally, who said to Dave, who’s a friend of both us. Hey, you know, what this really is, is it’s fitness, and it’s fellowship, and it’s faith. Because we had started doing, as part of our … We do, we call it at the end of the workout, we have what we call the Circle of Trust. We all sit around in a circle and everybody says their name and their age. Then, they say their F3 nickname because we’re super tribal about all this stuff. Everybody gets given a nickname so you’re part of the tribe.

We usually have announcements of some sort, and then we do a prayer at the end, or a shout-out. Around here, in the Bible belt, it usually is a prayer, but in Seattle sometimes it’s just some sort of secular words of wisdom or whatever. That’s the only sort of faith based piece of the workout but those were the three F’s. He said, you guys got the fitness, and the guys keep coming back because of the fellowship. You’ve got this faith piece, so it’s F3. We were like, hey that’s really good. We’re going to use that.

We had a guy, a designer friend of mine, do a logo for us. That was kind of a military stencil font, with the F, with a little three that was kind of … in the cubed position next to the F. Put a circle around it and put it on some stickers and start handing them out to guys. They started popping up on cars all over Charlotte. The next thing you know, you’re driving down the highway going to the beach or something and you see another F3 sticker. You realize, oh wow, this thing’s really taking off.

Brett McKay: I’m curious, when did the Circle of Trust start? Was that something you started off with right away with the first workout or was that something that kind of grew organically? You thought, hey, let’s try this thing.

Dave Redding: No, it’s kind of funny. As many things happen with us, it started with an idea of practicality. Initially, I was leading most of the workouts, and at the end we didn’t have any formal, real system. We just kind of ended it. We write back last, which is just a short narrative of the workout afterwards. We want to list everyone who was there. I was just trying to that out of memory, and I was having a very difficult time doing that. One time, Tim and I were running with another guy. He says, you know, what you really ought to do is sit around in a circle, count off and say each other’s names so we get a chance to get that done. The funny part of this is, of course, I was looking for a way, a mechanism to capture everyone’s name, so the idea appealed to me.

Tim, on the other hand, immediately rejected it, and said that’s Kumbaya, a bunch of junk. We’re not going to do that. Now the funny or ironic part of that, is if you know us, I’m more to the right edge and he’s more to the left edge, so you would have expected me to be the one to say, that’s just some millennial sentimentality we’re not going to engage in. You know, we talked about it some more. We decided to try it, and the first time we tried it, it was a huge hit. The guys loved it.

We say, first we count off, so we make sure we know how many guys were there. Then we say, what we call your hospital name, that’s what your parents named you before they knew what you were going to be. So, we get that down. And then, you age, because it’s incredibly interesting to know how old guys are, and what that age range is. Then after that, one guy volunteers, and as Tim says, he can pray to anything he wants. All we really want to inchoate, a feeling of thankfulness for the opportunity to have spent that 45 minutes together and to become better men. The prayer just branches out from there.

I’ve been to a lot of different places in F3. I haven’t been out west where I guess they’re going to be a little more Gaia based or something, but I’ll bet they kinda say the same things. Just this demonstration of thankfulness for being men together and getting this opportunity to carve out 45 minutes to make each other stronger. That’s really the heart of it. Then we walk out from there. Sometimes we’ll pray for things specifically, but for the most part, that’s really what it is. Just that demonstration, it’s hugely popular.

Tim Whitmire: I’ll poke fun at myself, because I was the one who thought it was the worst idea I’d ever heard, and now it’s … I mean, it’s one of the five core principles. There’s only sort of five rules to an F3 workout. One of them is that you have to end with a Circle of Trust.

I’m like a lot of other guys, in that, if I go to another workout, and it just sort of ends with guys just kind if walking away from each other. See you later. It just doesn’t feel right. It becomes, the ritual of it, becomes this immensely meaningful thing as a way of sort of ending our time together.

Brett McKay: That’s awesome. What I love about it, is how organic it was. You weren’t thinking like, this is something that will bring us together. It was like, this solves a practical problem. Coincidentally, it became a ritual.

Dave Redding: That’s the way we do almost everything.

Tim Whitmire: Almost everything, yeah.

Dave Redding: You alluded to we have a lot of different words for everything and that … We try to capture those in our lexicon on our website. Really, all those are things we’ve heard. A lot of them come from the military, but a lot of them come from movies and other things in our culture we share. That’s what I think it is, it’s an expression of the F3 culture. The uniqueness of the F3 culture doesn’t mean it’s not influenced by things outside of F3. In fact, it all comes from things outside of F3.

Tim Whitmire: Oh, when we see or hear a good idea, and good meaning it advances the ball. It’s missional. We’re very quick to try to spreed that and capitalize on it. By the same token, we’ve had some ideas … we’ve huddled up and had some ideas that on paper, on the whiteboard, look great. We’ve tried them, they don’t catch on. We just throw those away. We just keep moving. If it works, we’re going to keep doing it. If it doesn’t, we’re quick to abandon it.

Dave Redding: Brett, I would say one aspect, one thing that really shapes that is the fact that it is free, and it’s volunteer led, and it’s not a revenue based organization. Basically, the only revenue we generate are we sell F3 gear. Go on the store that’s on our website, you can buy a F3 shirt. Guys do custom shirts for different locations. We put a 10% tax on the gear sales, anything that’s got the logo on it. That’s the only revenue we generate, and we use that to fund spreading F3 to new cities. Because we run that way, we have to be almost, I don’t know, just have a killer instinct about if something’s not working, we’re going to drop it. If someone’s not working in a position as head of expansion, we’re probably going to move on pretty quickly from that.

If something works, we’re gonna just grab it and hold onto it. It makes you kind of lethal, with your instincts on that. We’re all trying to make a living other ways, and we don’t … You don’t have time for messing around.

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, F3 as an organization resembles a lizard, not a bullfrog. We’re lean and light and we keep moving, because we have to.

Brett McKay: Got you, so two months in, you figured you were onto something bigger. You guys talk about in the book that F3 solves a problem that many American men are facing today. What is that problem that F3 is the solution for?

Dave Redding: So, we call that Sad Clown Syndrome, and we got that name from The Sopranos, an episode of The Sopranos. There’s an episode, Tony’s being psychoanalyzed by his psychiatrist, and trying to explain. She actually asks him if there’s any tension or dichotomy between his family life and trying to portray a family man, and the fact that he was a gangster. He misunderstands the questions and responds, yeah, everybody expects me to play the Sad Clown, happy on the outside and sad on the inside.

Both Tim and I were Sopranos fans, we both saw that, and we talked about it one day and thought it really aptly described the plight of American man in this age. Which is, you’re in high school and your dad says, study hard. Why? So you can get into a good college. You’re in a good college. Study hard. Why? So you can get a good job. Why? Get a good job and you can have a family. Every why leads to another thing, but there’s no ultimate purpose in that. There’s no answer to any of that.

I think I was in my mid-forties when we started this. Early on, a lot of guys were around that age range. In fact, I think the mode age was 43. That was the most common age when we were in those circles of trust. What we realized was, it was really drawing in a lot of guys who had gone the first 20 years of their career, knew what they were doing. They weren’t really asking their dad for that much advice, in fact your dad might of been getting a little bit long in the tooth, and was asking him for advice.

When they walk into the break room at work and everyone got quiet, they realized they were talking about him for the first time. Heck, I’m the man now, and yet felt ill-equipped to deal with that. You know, something was missing, right. What? This lack of purpose. I’m doing these things, I’m making money, I’m stroking checks, somebody asked me to do something, I feel like it’s the right thing. I go to church. I volunteer with the Boy Scouts, whatever. If somebody asked me to define why, I can’t do it and that is this lack of connection to things eternal.

You feel obliged to bury it. You don’t want to reflect it on the outside, it would be harmful to the people who love and depend upon you. It’s still there and it’s not going away. Maybe Tim and I are pretty clear about saying we’re not psychiatrists or philosophers or sociologists, but we are American men with families, with jobs, and we can see it. This problem, this syndrome, leads to other unwanted behaviors. Drinking too much, gambling, risky behavior, things that just are ultimately going to harm your family, harm yourself. So we try to make F3 this solution to that problem, and it turned out that it already was.

Tim Whitmire: Well, I would amend that to say we actually, we realized that F3 was a solution to that problem after the fact.

Dave Redding: After the fact, it already was.

Tim Whitmire: That was sort of, as it turned out, before he and I even knew each other, it turned out we had been going to church together for seven or eight years and never knew each other, but were part of it was a big church in North Carolina. Neither of us coincidentally goes there anymore, but it was this kind of place, guys would show up, everybody would put on their Hermes ties and their suit on Sunday and go sit in the pews and see and be seen. You kind of slap another guy’s back if you saw them in the hall. A lot of guys were just checking the box being there and we were among them.

That’s the other thing is we are perfectly happy to admit that yes, we were Sad Clowns as well.

Before this thing happened to us, which was the predecessor workout and before we sort of found this purpose around F3. So, it becomes this thing of looking around. It turns out, I was lonelier than I thought I was. I thought I had a bunch of friends, but they weren’t actually really that good of friends. They were just kind of acquaintances. Now, I’ve got this workout and it’s keeping me in consistent shape, so I’m not bouncing up and down on scales anymore. I’m going between fat pants and skinny pants, and I’ve got this consistent group of friends that I see four mornings a week, because I’m getting up at 5:30 in the morning and we sweat together and we share a bond from that. That in turn has sort of freed me to sort of stop looking at my own navel and wonder why I’m so unhappy and blame my wife for the fact that I’m unhappy, and look around and say, okay, well, there’s a big world here. What can I do to make a difference in it.

I’m in shape, I’m friended, I’ve got a lot of energy. Let me go do something. The other thing that I’ll say about F3 is, we’re not going to tell you what to do with that either, we just want you to do something with it. I don’t care if you use that energy to serve the homeless. I don’t care if you want to get on a plane and go to Peru and build mission churches. I don’t care if you want to go plant trees and go do the Al Gore thing. I mean, it does not matter. We just want you to have energy around something.

Dave Redding: The church thing is a funny thing. I actually met Tim’s wife long before I met him. We were on a commission together. One day, she says, you should meet my husband, you’d really like him. I said, tell me about him. He’s a journalist and I thought and I said, of course I said, he sounds great, but inside, I thought I’m going to hate that guy. I went to Boston College and went across the river, so I have a natural antipathy to Harvard guys and I’m a warrior. Why would I want to talk to a guy in the media.

I didn’t even know or meet Tim in the church until long after we started working out together. He was teaching Sunday School to one of my daughters. I walk in to pick her up, I’m just like shaking hands superficially. Tim looked at me and says, Dread, because he hadn’t seen me in the daylight. It was like, oh what are you doing here. Well, I go to church here. So he says we went to church together for seven, I say we went to church apart for seven years. I mean, it just … Left to our own devices in some of these institutions, that are designed for a higher purpose, like church, men are just not as active. That one vignette, I think, illustrates that disconnect in a very clear way.

Brett McKay: So what F3 does, just to summarize. You guys attack Sad Clown Syndrome from three points. The fitness part, I guess a lot of guys who have Sad Clown Syndrome, they’re … Like you, Dave, the pogo 40, gaining weight or losing weight over and over again. That results in just, you just feel like crap, no energy. The fitness, the workout part is there to help that. The fellowship part, I think it’s interesting because you say there’s a lot of institutions that bring men together, but not really. What do you think it’s about working out with other men that turns, you know, turns acquaintances into like really strong relationships.

Tim Whitmire: Mutual suffering, I mean.

Dave Redding: Sheer pain.

Tim Whitmire: Why do Dave and I get in a van with four other guys every September, and go run 210 miles for 36 hours straight. It’s just mutual suffering.

Dave Redding: The Army has this figured out.

Tim Whitmire: Yeah.

Dave Redding: I mean, when you go to basic training, the first part is always physical training. Just the shared pain and I didn’t realize it until after the fact, but getting beat down by that drill sergeant and having a common nemesis who’s forcing you into joint suffering together is the quickest wall breaker there could possibly be. It just forces you into fellowship, like any sports team or anything like that. Just doing that together, sharing that pain does it, and it really happens so quickly, particularly the way F3 is designed. A guy goes out for his first workout, he’s shy, doesn’t know anybody or is just a little bit … These guys all seem to know each other, but the culture we have is very accepting, very quickly, but, we like to say, we’re not going to leave you behind, nor will we accept you where you are.

We will encourage you to do better. Of course, because we’re men and there’s no reason not to, we give each other a hard time. We get out in those workouts. We’re direct with each other and we laugh like crazy. A lot of funny stuff happens. The funniest thing that can happen in a workout is a new guy can come out and what we call splash Merlot. That just means, throw up. I know it doesn’t sound funny, and if you’re listening to it, you like, why would that be funny. It’s because it’s happened to us all. It’s like a rite of passage. When that happens, you know you’ve splashed Merlot and man, you’re one of us now. What you’ve done is, you subjected yourself to a level of physical training that you could not do for yourself. No one will go out by themselves and run themselves into nausea. That requires chasing after another guy, and if you want to learn to do that, and you’re willing to subject yourself to that. Then, you’re our kind of guy.

I mean, you have thrown yourself and you’ve done the NesTea plunge and we have just found that forms those instantaneous bonds from which a deeper relationship can then develop.

Brett McKay: It’s interesting you say that, you guys give each other a hard time. I just got done talking to a psychologist, therapist who specializes in boys and males. He said that a lot of time men get a bad rap for not being nurturing. Men are actually very nurturing they just do it aggressively.

Dave Redding: It looks different from the ways females do it.

Tim Whitmire: I’ll take issue with that idea, I think we’re much more truthful with each other. You can look at the nicknames we give each other, which are generally not complimentary. Our parallel women’s group, there’s a lot of Buttercups and Sunshines, but we don’t do that. In fact, I think you’re doing another guy a serious service by being frank and direct with them. That’s going to come from the military, and maybe this is a little bit grown-up Yankee, but if you grow up in Yankee land and you’ve got a bigger nose than the next guy, your nickname is going to be schnoz. A thing that you might carry around on your back as a burden, gee, does everybody think I have a big nose. Well, we cut right to the chase. Yeah, you got a big nose, and you know what, you’re still one of us.

Dave Redding: You’re still one of us.

Tim Whitmire: We love you for that, right? That’s kind of what it is. I think it’s helpful for men, in a male culture, to be that way. Male cultures have always been that way, successful male cultures. I only think now, in our current cultural state is this idea where men are not supposed to do that. I agree that at a point, too much directness can become bullying, and it really is just a matter of intent. If you want to belittle another man to make yourself feel better, well congratulations, you’re a bully. But if you are being direct with a guy, and direct with yourself and taking it as much as you give it, that’s not bullying, man, that’s just being men.

We have to as leaders in our communities, we have to have enough discernment to see one from the other. Every time somebody gives another guy a hard time, that’s not necessarily bullying. We’ve got to be able to see that difference. F3 aids that.

Brett McKay: So you mentioned, you develop these tight knit relationships within these workouts because of shared suffering. You see men with Sad Clown Syndrome. What kinds of friends do they settle for usually?

Tim Whitmire: Well, I mean, we categorize that. There’s, I mean, we talk about this in the book a bit. First of all, there’s the legacy friends, your college buddies and you’re like, we’re still friends. We live on the other side of the country from each other, but we talk at least once or twice a year. That’s still one of my buddies, we were really tight when I was 21, 22, 25 years ago. So, you’ve got those guys.

Then, we talk about the man date, which is the guy that is married to the woman that your wife is friends with and he’s a very convenient partner so that the girls can get together. Now we can have a double date, and the couples can get together. In a lot of times, that’s another dad from your kids soccer team or something like that. You can stand there on the sidelines and talk about, hey the Panthers won. Cam Newton looked really good, didn’t he, kind of thing. That’s a pretty superficial friendship, that’s not a friend you’ve chosen for yourself. That’s a friend that’s proximate and convenient, or the wife has picked for you.

Then, your third category is your work buddy. That’s guys that you work with. There are problems in that relationships though. As we all know, nobody works for one company for their entire career anymore, so that’s going to change at some point probably. One of you is going to leave, you’re also in competition with each other, if not explicit competition. That’s not somebody that you necessarily are going to open up to, nor are you necessarily going to open up to your man date, because there’s a cross-collateralized between your wife and that man’s wife. You’re not going to necessarily want to muck around with that. By the time, you open up to your buddy from college, it’s probably too late. Because you picked up the phone for your once yearly call and you’re letting him know that yeah, my wife and I got separated a few months ago. Things weren’t going so well. Well, too bad you didn’t pick up the phone and call him three months before you and your wife got separated to talk about the thing that was going to cause you to separate from your wife.

It really, we find a lot of guys sort of gliding by with these very superficial relationships. What we found with F3 is that mutual suffering opens the door to relationships between men. A guy named Billy Baker wrote a really good piece in the Boston Globe this spring, that got all the F3 guys really fired up when they saw it, because it was about loneliness being a huge problem among adult men. This huge undiagnosed problem and poor Billy, because he got deluged by F3 guys. I think every F3 guy emailed him and said, you know there’s a solution for that. Hey, by the way, you’re a Sad Clown. Hey, you should start F3 in Boston. Hey, why don’t you start F3 in Boston. Wait, you don’t want F3 in Boston, you must be a Sad Clown.

Dave Redding: By the way, Brett, we discourage guys to accuse other men of being Sad Clowns.

Brett McKay: It’s not good marketing.

Dave Redding: It’s not good marketing. When Tim was just describing that, it reminds me what the narrator says to Tyler Durden when he describes single serving friends. That is really what it is, I mean, it’s just convenience. Got that far away legacy buddy, and you got your old times that you can bask in the glow of. You’ve got the man date, but when you get divorced, the wife gets the better car and she gets all the friends. So, he’s going to be gone. The work buddy, man, you go to a new job, you will find a new guy to play gold with. That’s just the way it goes.

Brett McKay: Yeah.

Dave Redding: Those friends, I forget the expression, they’re not large grain friends. They’re going to pass through the sifter out the bottom, they won’t stick it out when your life starts shaking apart. Those kinds of friends, those single serving friends, those small bore friends, they’ll just leave you alone.

Brett McKay: Right, so it sounds like with the fellowship part of F3, how it’s a solution to the Sad Clown Syndrome. Basically, these guys are there for accountability. They’ll call you on your bull crap.

Dave Redding: Yep.

Brett McKay: Then also, they’re there for encouragement. When you’re there working out, they encourage you to push yourself harder than you thought you were able to do.

Dave Redding: Sure, sure.

Brett McKay: Let’s talk about the final faith part. Let’s talk about the problem that you see a lot of men today face. In the book, you describe a lot of men lack a purpose in life. You call these guys Reachers, after Jack Reacher. What do you mean by men being a Jack Reacher type guy?

Dave Redding: Well, I think that because we don’t face any existential threat, at least today in America, and haven’t really in a long time. There’s no draft. Let’s face it, historically, no people have ever been more comfortable and safe than we are. Well, that might have been the goal of all these things people have been doing for the last 3,000 years. Suddenly, now it’s not very difficult, right? I think as it turns out, in the heart of men, there is this desire to be heroic, to be purposeful, to attain something, to have your life mean something. Without it, man is incomplete. The reason why we call them Reachers and compare them to Jack Reacher, or really any of these idiosyncratic heroes, that you find in our current literature, is because we substitute in our suburban lives, we substitute the idea of doing something truly hard and dangerous with this kind of fantasy life that we read about in books about men doing things that are truly hard and dangerous.

All these idiosyncratic heroes or anti-heroes really, all share some very basic characteristics. The most important of which is they’re very rarely married, they don’t have mortgages, they don’t have stable jobs where they work for someone else. They’re independent in some way. Read Jack reacher, the fictional embodiment of all these things. A former military guy, leaves the military because it’s not pure enough for him. He travels the country on foot basically hitchhiking, with nothing but a toothbrush, not even toothpaste. He has nothing in his pockets but a debit card. I think we’ve upgraded that now. He might have a driver’s license because of 9/11, but before he didn’t. He walks into a town, usually some place out in the Midwest or the South somewhere, away from an urban area. That town is in a midst of some conflict, very clearly between good and evil.

He stumbles into it in some way, accidentally. Neither side, the good nor the bad, can figure out initially what side he’s on. The bad guys want him because he’s so huge and menacing. The good guys are a little concerned about him, but they’re able to do some research and find out that he’s a former military policeman. Then, he always chooses the good side. By the way, along the way, he hooks up with some woman, whose usually from the law enforcement side of the house, an FBI agent or something. They have a hot, salacious relationship.

Brett McKay: Let me guess, she’s beautiful but damaged.

Dave Redding: Beautiful but damaged, but you know, he also makes it very clear to her from the start that he’s basically a free bird. At the end of this, he’s leaving because he has to, because it would destroy this thing they have for him to stay there. I mean, that is just male fantasy life 101.

Tim Whitmire: One fantasy piled on top of another.

Dave Redding: One fantasy piled on top of another, and to make that, that really is diverting to men, leading these lives that we’re leading, where being heroic really is what? Going out in the rain to get another box of diapers and changing your kid. I mean, that’s real heroic, going home and bringing your paycheck home. Going home, taking care of your family.

Tim Whitmire: Making your marriage work.

Dave Redding: Making your marriage work, being a model to your sons is how a man should act. Being a model to your daughters, is who they should look for in a mate, and doing that pretty much every day, with a couple of mistakes. That’s a heroic existence, but you’re really not going to see that type of man glorified in today’s fiction, in today’s culture.

Tim Whitmire: I’m sorry, I have to say, being the high-toned Harvard guy, I don’t read genre fiction like Lee Childs or whatever. So I never read any Jack Reacher novels, but I was a big 24 fan back in the day. I remember Dave describing the whole Jack Reacher thing to me the first time, and I was like, that’s basically Jack Bauer. We got rid of the wife in the first season, from then on it was free and clear.

Dave Redding: Or, Travis McGee from earlier era.

Brett McKay: Or, Philip Marlowe was another one.

Dave Redding: Yeah, when you think about the whole thing in Breaking Bad. Why did people hate Skylar so much, because she had these strings tied to Walt. They wanted Walt to be free to be the badass that he always wanted to be.

Tim Whitmire: Right.

Dave Redding: There has always been this kind of, in literature, to be fair to women too. They’re often inserted as kind of the killjoy resistance to a guy being … like Barbara Hershey in Hoosiers.

Tim Whitmire: Yes.

Dave Redding: This guy saved this town, saved this kid, he’s trying to sober his shooter up and get him back with his son, and Barbara Hershey is driving to the next town to get all the dirt on him. So, this kind of male fantasy, it doesn’t serve us well though, in our daily lives, because make heroism is really, it starts with your wife, and then your children, and then your friends, and then the younger men, passing on positive habits. Then, finally his work, that’s the least, most important thing in your life.

So, when we say Reacher, that’s really our way of saying, come on, man, all that … Focus on the thing right in front of you, the thing God put us on Earth to do, and that’s to be a great husband and father and man in community. You know, the word mensch, right? Yeah, be a mensch. Be that guy. The virtues that we try to extol in F3 are those virtues, instead of these idiosyncratic heroic virtues that are sometimes over celebrated in literature.

Brett McKay: So, the third F in Faith, you make it very clear in the book, that it’s not pushing a particular denomination or even religion really. It’s just faith is a purpose outside if yourself.

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, so look, Dave and I are both practicing Christians. We are both more than happy to talk about our faiths at length with any man who wants to have a conversation about that. I’d argue we’d have slightly different views on it, within the realm of Christianity, but that’s also immaterial to us in the context of F3. What we want is men to come in and have the energy and the desire to act on whatever their faith is. Many of them are Christians, and many of them do take that energy into their churches and into their, what we call down here in the South, their daily faith walk, but we really don’t care about it.

What we want is to see men acting with purpose, to effect the world outside their simple daily survival and that of the nuclear family that might depend on them.

Dave Redding: Right, so you take the stoic guy, Brett, that you interviewed. He talked about this, the trilateral mission of man, or whatever it was. You had to recognize those things over which you had absolutely no control, and don’t worry about it, don’t think about it. Yet, look at those things over which you have some control, some influence, put some time and energy into making those right. Those things that you can control, that you can effect and have impact on, that’s where you should be putting most of your energy and time.

That’s what we tell guys too. Don’t sit in your house and watch Fox TV and yell at those people on TV. They’re not hearing you. I mean, you’re never going to meet President Trump. You don’t have to speak your mind to him, but there’s men and women and children in your community who you could, and should impact and influence towards those things that are virtuous as Americans, that we hold most dear. For those things, you have an obligation as a man to be a leader in those ways. That’s what we, that’s just what we mean about faith. Believing that these things are more important than you, and being willing to do something about it. Put your money where your mouth is. It’s really … Most people say, well, this guy doesn’t practice what he preaches.

Really the problem we have, my belief is, that it’s men who won’t preach what they practice. Men who are leading these objectively virtuous lives. They’re doing great things with their family, but they won’t talk about it. They think it’s judgmental. They’ve been beaten down into keeping it to themselves, and we encourage guys to go spread that out, talk about it, help other men be that same way. I mean, if it works for you, it might well be work for another thing. Another thing he said was, he didn’t say he had the answer, he said he had an answer, a purposeful way of living his life and he felt like it was helpful to other people and that’s why he wrote the book. In fact, that guy’s a perfect candidate to be a leader in F3, even though I didn’t hear him say he was a Christian. I think he said he was a Buddhist stoic, right, but we would embrace that and say, man, you are with us. That is exactly what we think.

Brett McKay: What do you think it is about the fitness and the fellowship part that energizes men to look beyond themselves. You talk about this in the book, that you started doing the workouts on a regular basis and then it organically, you had guys getting together and saying, hey we want to do Habitat for Humanity or, hey, we want to take up this cause in the community. What’s going on there? What is it about working out together with other men that energizes men to look beyond themselves?

Tim Whitmire: They are in community with each other. Look, I studied at Harvard under a guy named Robert Putnam-

Brett McKay: I love Robert Putnam.

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, so about five years after I graduated, he wrote what has become a seminal book in American sociology called Bowling Alone. It talks about the atomization of American society, that in the 1950’s, grown men used to gather on a regular basis, in bowling leagues and Rotary Clubs and Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars halls. Something happened in the sixties. I mean, the crazy thing about the book, is it’s sort of a murder mystery. Who killed American community, and he never really comes up with a satisfying answer. He thinks it might have been the television, it might have been the political upheavals of the sixties and so forth. Never get a really satisfying answer, but something has happened over the last 50 years that has caused people to retreat from one another and from community and the society.

Dave Redding: So, the book at the time that it came out, I found it tremendously disturbing. A lot of what’s happened politically, socially since then has reinforced the concern. The thing that I’ve loved about F3 since we reverse engineered what it was doing, was it is this organic solution to the bowling alone problem. It creates community almost everywhere we plant it. It doesn’t matter who planted in Statesville, North Carolina or Hickory, North Carolina, both relatively small, more rural towns. In Charlotte, in the San Francisco Bay Area, it takes root and all of a sudden you’ve got guys coming together in a way they have, and willing to work with each other in a way since the 1950’s and the 1960’s.

It’s really community. Tim, you were talking about this with Jason McCarthy a few weeks ago. We were both sitting here, we were finding all your past podcasts, which I guess is a testament of loyal listeners. I mean, GORUCK is building instant community during those challenges. We both have done a number of the challenges and that is absolutely one of the points, is build an instant community of 30 people.

Tim Whitmire: We use challenges in our Iron Project Leadership School. We use that pressurization. Jason hit me up, we’re both special forces soldiers, although 10 or 15 years apart it sounds like. Putting men under stress, and women as well, putting people under stress in leadership position and making that just a great way to teach leadership and to form a cohesive team. He talked about how we have to spend those first couple of hours, in that welcome party, until people figure out how to work together. Instead of … Stop thinking about me, how do I work together. We’ve been doing this in the military for 300 years. In America and worldwide, it’s been, I’ve listened to your Greek and Roman type, that’s how you build a cohesive team and nothing’s really ever changed along those lines. It’s still the right way to do it.

Dave Redding: For us, putting me together, and putting them under pressure and building them into leaders, because that’s the dirty secret of F3. It looks like a workout, but it’s really a leadership machine. That turns them into leaders and in turn builds community, builds barns and basically repairs the breach in this country. In a small way, I’m not saying we’ve solved the whole problem, obviously it’s still a huge problem but I … If you put me in front of President Trump, I wouldn’t necessarily fuss at him, but I would tell him, Mr President, I got to tell you, we’ve got a small piece of a solution that we started here in Charlotte.

Brett McKay: If a man walks into F3 for the first time a Sad Clown, that’s the archetype. What’s the archetype you guys are going for as a result? What should he look like a month, two months after doing F3 workouts?

Dave Redding: We call that first post, first bell, so I guess that’s a It’s A Wonderful Life reference. We call it the first bell. The second bell is his first leadership experience. The leader in F3 is called the Cue, the leader of a workout is a guy who cues it. The first cue is the second bell and that is usually a dumpster fire, because it’s a guy who has never led anyone in that situation before and he makes some classic errors, but the best part of it, he gets that out of the way. Once he’s done that, and gets some feedback from the guys in the workout, of course are going to say, here’s everything you did wrong but we loved it. Do it again.

He gets his leadership feet on the ground, starts learning these time-honored leadership skills. These have never really changed. Starts learning how to influence other men to motivate them. He starts taking that into other aspects of his life. Ultimately, he becomes what we call a high impact man, or a HIM, H-I-M. A high impact man is a guy who’s willing in the various institutions and organizations of his life, he is a man who is willing to take responsibility for the outcome. He visualizes things that would give advantage to his groups, make them accelerate. He articulates those visions in a way that other people can understand them. He persuades other people to follow him, to pursue these outcomes and he exhorts them to fight through the obstacles that are going to appear to any effort. In that way, he becomes that leader, that person that makes things happen, that constructive force, that high impact man.

Ultimately we see it in every group that’s been going on, as soon as he gets two or three months on, it happens. Guys starts to work at a homeless shelter, which seems anomalous. Why would guys at a homeless shelter want to work out? Turns out they do. Or, they get together with a group that needs help in any way. Raking leaves, cleaning gutters, you name it. It just becomes that outgrowth. He sees a problem, a need in his community. He has a bunch of guys that he knows trust him. He asks for their help. He tells them what he wants to do, they get behind him and they do it. That’s the high impact man.

Tim Whitmire: So, Brett, just to explain a little further. We call them in F3, that’s called the reverse Flow Incubator, and it comes out of the fact that we want guys to come to us with ideas and we want F3 to be their platform for ideas. As opposed to a top down approach, where we’re not gonna … Dave and I aren’t ever going to sit here or whoever else is in leadership at F3, is never going to sit here and say, you have to help the homeless because that happens to be what we care about. In fact, we share one thing, which is neither of us feels particularly about the homeless.

Dave Redding: No, we just don’t.

Tim Whitmire: It’s not our thing. We get that other people do, but our thing has always been actually adult men who need to become leaders. Instead, it becomes this thing of, you care about the homeless, that’s great. Hey, we’ve got this platform of we think about 16,000 men out across the nation, working out together. I bet there are a few other people that care about the homeless who are out there and want to band together with you, to have an impact on the homeless.

Dave Redding: We say, that the best … a guy with an idea, looks like a volunteer. You know, a volunteer to lead it. If we were a political party, and somebody asked our platform, we’d say, we don’t have one other than, seek virtue in your community. Whatever that happens to be, because how could we possibly know, we’re not there. So, we encourage men in their communities and their organizations to be better leaders, to be virtuous leaders in their motivations, to discern for themselves what needs to be done. We’ll help you all day long, as long as it’s not going to hurt anybody.

Tim Whitmire: We’ll show up for the homeless.

Dave Redding: Oh yeah, as long as it’s not, you know, obviously harmful. There’s plenty of things I do that I don’t really believe in the underlying causes being a major problem, but you know what, I believe in the man who believes it. He comes to me, he says, I want to do this, what do you think. I said, if you believe in it, man, do it. I’ll help you do it as best as I possibly can, but don’t ask me to believe in it. I’ll believe in you. I think that’s the difference between our organization and say, other very fine organizations, like the YMCA or habitat for Humanity. They have targets and outcomes and specific things that they want to see happen. They marshall resources and volunteers and money to try and make those happen.

We’re just the reverse of that. We don’t have anything, that we think should happen, other than men should do things. To the degree we harness anything.

Tim Whitmire: That’s our motto, men should do things.

Dave Redding: That’s the solution to our problem, which is male is dormant, male leadership. We believe that in communities where the men have ceased to lead, and we have agreed to disagree … Agreed to not discuss as an organization, how it happened. It doesn’t matter to us, how it happened, it just happened. Here we look at in a landscape, and we see men failing to lead, like in the church, where we were both members. Somehow managed not to bump into each other over the course of seven years. Well, the solution to that is, reinvigorated leadership and that’s what we attack, and that’s what we think F3 does really well.

Brett McKay: The F3 platform helps reinvigorate male leadership in a very organic way. You all are starting a new outreach from that, sort of teaching leadership based on F3 principles. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Tim Whitmire: Yeah, we call that the Iron Project and that refers to the line in proverbs about sharpening one another as iron sharpens iron. That’s been sort of a core principle of F3. I think Dave alluded earlier, there’s a sister organization called FIA, stands for Females in Action, that sprang up alongside F3 about a year after we started. Dave and I have pulled some folks, some leaders from FIA and some leaders from F3. What we want to do is just basically take the leadership lessons that we’ve learned in F3 and help other organizations build their own leadership machines. If you think about that Sad Clown who comes in one end of the F3 machine, and comes out the other end an energized leader, we feel like there are a lot of organizations that could be doing that, that don’t do that very well. We want to come in and help teach them how to build their own leadership development pipeline and empower their own people.

One of the things, we haven’t hit on this specifically, but one of the really key attributes of F3 and FIA is, if you come in, this is that second bell that Dave was talking about earlier, you are expected to eventually lead a workout. If you’re going to come take part in this and it’s going to be free, we want you to lead as well. That vision of shared leadership where it becomes your workout the day you actually lead it, it’s not Dave and mu workout anymore. It’s all of our workout, that’s something that’s desperately needed in a lot of organizations. We try to get in and really show people how to draw on the different leadership possibilities in their people, how to raise them up, give them a chance to succeed, but also a chance to fail. After they’ve failed, find another place for them to lead where they’re better suited. That’s kind if the vision, and we’re out there. We’re working with corporations. We’re going to be trying to work with some college athletic departments, and we’re going to be working with F3 and FIA groups as well.

The website for that is We’re also on Twitter @project iron with that.

Brett McKay: It’s been a great conversation, guys. Let’s say there’s a guy listening to this who wants to try an F3 workout, where can they go to find out?

Tim Whitmire:, so the letter F, the number three, nation dot com. That is our national website. You’ve got a map on there, where you can put your zip code in and find the nearest workout. We are currently primarily concentrated in the Southeast, but we made a big push into the Ohio River Valley this spring, so we’re now everywhere from Pittsburgh all the way across to Indianapolis, and I guess the Southeastern suburbs. We’re going to go into Chicago this fall. We’re also down in Texas, in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Austin this fall, and we’re going into St Louis this fall as well. Next year, we’ve got an outpost on the west coast in Seattle and we’re going to be working our way down the west coast and up into the Northeast over the next couple years.

Brett McKay: Awesome. Well, Tim Whitmire, Dave Redding, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Tim Whitmire: Absolutely, thank you Brett.

Dave Redding: Yeah, thanks for the opportunity.

Tim Whitmire: My guests today were Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire. They’re the leaders of the F3 workout movement. You can find out more information about them, even find a workout near you, by going to Also, check out their new leadership project, it’s the Iron Project, and check out our show notes, where you can links to resources, where you can delve deeper into this topic.

Well that wraps up another edition of the Art of Manliness Podcast. For more manliness tips and advice, make sure to check out the Art of Manliness website at If you enjoy this show, or you got something out of it, I’d appreciate if you take one minute to give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. It’s all it takes, it really does help out a lot. As always, thank you for your continued support, and until next time, this is Brett McKay telling you to stay manly.

Related Posts