In my quest to help patients (and myself) find ways to prevent chronic disease, I have had plenty of crazy ideas. As we all should know chronic disease is usually a product of poor choices related to diet and exercise. Yes, I can help you improve your nutrient and hormone balance, but there is nothing more powerful in preventing chronic diseases than diet and exercise. This is often referred to as a lifestyle change.
About a year ago I visited my brother-in-law in Knoxville, TN. He asked me to get up on game day (Saturday) at 6:00am to go to a workout with him. I thought to myself, 6:00am is 5:00am central time. That is a bit early to be working out, and also I haven’t really been working out much lately. I wasn’t about to let my brother-in-law in on this bit of information because that is what guys do, right? “I thought I can hang with this guy”. The next morning I roll out of bed and hop in his jeep and off we go. We pull up to a dimly lit parking lot in a park. I thought, “this is odd, where’s the gym?” A bunch of guys in black t-shirts are stretching out and hanging out chatting. When we walk up to the group they start saying hello to someone named “Proton”. I soon realize they are talking to my brother-in-law. As I was being introduced to several of them they all had odd names.
One was “Crawdad”, another “P-nut” on and on it went. I also noticed that there was not much common about each of them, some were in school, some had blue collar jobs and some white collar. Their group didn’t seem to care what race, religion, or nationality you were. There were only a couple things that were common among this group. They were all men, they all had a weird name, most had a black t-shirt, and they were all crazy enough to wake up on Saturday morning at 6am to go to a workout.
About that time a 30ish year old guy named “Woodshack” starts gathering the group into a big circle around an american flag sticking out of the handle of a shovel. He quickly gets everything started with some exercises. I have watched a military movie or two to know we were doing each exercise in cadence. He then instructs us to “Mosey” over to the baseball field now that the warm-up is over. At this point we are in lines like I remember in football practice and starting to do shuttle runs, lunges, squats and an assortment of exercises. At this point I am trying to remember if I had ever heard of a 40 year old acquiring asthma?
I am not giving up yet but through the sweat I realize that I am at the back of the pack with a guy that is 60ish. I am not sure but I think they assigned him to make sure no man was left behind. We are jumping on stuff, pulling up on stuff and running all over the place. Meanwhile these jokers are chatting the whole time, making jokes and just having a grand old time. Me, I am wheezing so loud the neighborhood dogs are barking back. I realize that we have been going for 45 minutes straight without much of a break. Woodshack leads the group on what seems to be the last exercise. Run up the hill and touch a building called the Asylum. When he said hill I thought that is not a hill, in Memphis we call that a mountain. So, me and my new 60ish year old buddy work our way up the hill and we finally make it. We “mosey” back to the parking lot and the rest of the group is already doing some kind of not stop abdominal torture. This lasts for several minutes and I am now to the point of not caring anymore and giving up. Crawdad then says recover and everyone is on their feet.
Next is the part that I thought was unique and different about these guys. Crawdad then asked all the new guys to come to the center and they named each one of us. I was assigned the name “Escobar”. I believe that this is because I am a pharmacist (drug lord) from Memphis. Crawdad then gives a little talk on something that had challenged him spiritually that week then we huddled up and prayed.
A few things were revealed to me during this hour of torture.
First, these men came together regularly and bonded while pushing each other to their limits. They were friends and accepted any and all men. The friendships that they formed were not the kind that changed as soon as their job changed. They were not the friends of their wives husbands. They joked with teach other but they pulled for each other and helped each other. These men were learning how to lead each other which translated over to leading their families, leading their churches and leading at work.
If you know someone that needs accountability, discipline and better health send him to www.f3memphis.com. We recently started this in Memphis and any man can get up to 6 workouts a week. We have 4 locations throughout Memphis. All workouts are free and are always outdoors. All workouts are peer lead and are difficult. All workouts will change you as a man.
Join us for a workout, if you are man enough.