Story 6

Like No Other Workout
I’ve Ever Been a Part of

Illustration by Vince “Pixar” Palko at AdToons

As I sit here at the age of 47 and having spent most of my adult age achieving goals on my own, a series of events assisted by others has brought me to this point. As a railroad construction employee, I have spent much time on the road in various hotels, and that is where my personal physical fitness began.

Approaching 40 and seeing my weight increase as my motivation decreased, I began some self-reflection. As a divorced man with two teenage sons and spending weekdays on the road, I found myself justifying abundant amounts of fast food while also acknowledging all the self-created reasons why I couldn’t workout.

Finally, I decided that running would be my outlet, and I engaged it with a passion. Any time I had free (and some that I turned into free time) was spent running. It was simple: buy shoes, insert earbuds, press play and run. This continued at a feverish pace for 2-3 years with my diet in tow. It was just me, my music and my running. Unfortunately, time marched on as did my passion for running – to the point that my passion outran me, and I ended up back on that couch, or in that hotel, justifying that I COULD run and exercise, but yet I didn’t.

After some time, I ended up married again and with a third son 17 years after what I thought was my last child (thus my F3 name “GAP”). Reinvigorated to be the best me I could be, I once again focused on my fitness program. This time I would join a gym with my wife and do some classes. The staff and other members were nice, and the classes brought me out of my solo routines. While I still had my moments of earbuds, playlist and running, the majority of my time was on a spin bike or doing boot camp drills in the gym.

During this period, I also found myself looking to gain a better understanding of and relationship with Jesus. As a result, my wife and I began to try a few different churches out to see if one “fit.” Thankfully, a friend suggested we come to their church, and the pastor spoke to me. Not one on one, but in his sermon, as he delivered his message. I knew that the Lord was telling me that this is your home. Soon after we became members, I was finally baptized and accepted an invite to the family ministry team. For months, I went and participated to the best of my ability to help create ideas for the church to strengthen the bond of families and families to Christ. Then at our July meeting, one of the team members suggested I go to Southview High School on Saturday morning and try out a new workout group that her husband was part of. She took my number and assured me that her husband would contact me Friday to give me all the pertinent details, which he did.

I awoke that morning 2 hours early and sat on my couch thinking of what I had committed to. My plan was to get there early and scout it out with mixed hopes of it only being one or two people, or that it would be so many people no one would notice me. By the time I arrived, there were 10-15 people and more were pulling in. In the end, over 50 people arrived, and the journey began. Quickly, I saw this was like no other workout I had ever been a part of.This group constantly gave reinforcing positive comments, went back to rally around the last guy, and even asked how many merkins (push-ups) I had left so they could “pick me up” by doing some! However, the greatest spark came in the end.

It wasn’t when I was in the center of this group while they asked questions and called out nicknames trying to attach the perfect one – it came after. This group of over 50 guys got in a circle with prayer requests for themselves and others. They also discussed issues in the community and how we could/should help, and they wrapped arms around each other to close the circle as the Q led us in a prayer of thanks and hope for those in need. It was then that I realized this was something I needed to be part of.

Through F3 and this group of men that I have met, I have experienced so much that I could have never imagined. While I still travel for work and find myself in those same old hotels, I approach each and every day with a new outlook. I look forward to the next workout as much to see the group of guys as the workout itself. 2nd F is an experience that I otherwise would have not taken part of. In fact, the first time I let my wife know I was going to grab some coffee with the guys, she double checked that she had read the text right. Within the workouts, I find myself with greater joy as I watch another achieve a new goal than I would had I achieved the goal myself. I feel better about myself as much emotionally as I do physically. Recently, I have reached further and began to attend Bible study on Fridays. Like my first time ever going to a F3 workout, I was timid at first, but once again, I found myself supported and welcomed.

In summary, I don’t know how I could have ever thought or hoped for a group of men like that of which I found in F3. I never realized all that I was missing or all that this could be.

Chris “Gap” Sellers

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