Story 22

You Get What You Give

Illustration by Vince “Pixar” Palko at AdToons

Wake up, take daughter to school, go to work, come home, play with kid/make dinner, put kid to bed, maybe watch a show with my wife, maybe workout, shower, and go to bed. Next day, rinse and repeat. This was a summary of my week for nearly the last 3 or more years. Before that, maybe a bit more active, but roughly the same. I haven’t had a group of guys that I would call my friends in over 10 years. There was a void in my life that not only wasn’t getting filled, I couldn’t imagine a way to fill it without negatively impacting those I loved the most. Enter F3.

I was at a soccer practice for my daughter when a tall, bald gentleman walked up to me and asked if I would be interested in a free men’s workout group starting in a week. It sounded interesting, but knowing how tight our schedule was, I was skeptical I’d be able to make it. I told him to send me the information and I’d let him know, but also told him I wouldn’t be able to make it for the first couple weeks due to my martial arts instruction on the weekend. I found out later that he never thought I’d show up and was doubtful when I said I’d be able to come Memorial Day weekend. The weeks quickly went by and Memorial Day had arrived. Already regretting my decision to get  up at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday out of my own free will, I was hesitant to go. However, I told the gentleman I would be there, and my brother in-law was going to meet me over there as well. 

I arrived at the local high school parking lot and there were nearly 30 plus guys gathered and warming up. An intimidating sight, yet I was feeling confident with the exercise time I had been putting in my basement and that I’d be able to hold my own. We circled up and a man who referred to himself as Buchanan was in the middle providing instruction. I was looking at him and also gaining some false confidence as he appeared to be in his fifties. So, I thought to myself, how hard could this really be? The next fifty minutes were a very humbling experience to say the least. There were a few times I felt like I was going to be sick and even more times where I was not able to complete all the reps of an exercise. I was cooked and immediately hooked.

Since that day, my experience with F3 has been a life changing whirlwind that would never have happened for me had it not been for a seemingly insignificant exchange of words and a leap of faith. Over the last 8 months I’ve: 

  • Gotten in the best shape of my life / lost 15lbs 
  • Worked out with my wife and planned and led workouts with her, which in turn has brought us closer together.
  • Regularly attended Bible study and helped me strengthen my faith.
  • Participated in various philanthropic endeavors.
  • Planned and led a 6-hour event that raised nearly $900 for charity.
  • Participated in a GoRuck Tough Endurance event.
  • Made friendships that will last a lifetime.

This list is not meant to come off as braggadocious or as a “look how much I’ve accomplished” sort of thing. Simply put, it is to show the power of F3 and what it can do for you if you put your heart into it. The beauty of it is that it can be whatever you want it to be, and like everything else, you will get out of it what you put into it. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Colonel, the man who invited me to join F3 and help recharge my life. I’d like to send special thanks his way, as well as thanks to all my F3 brothers, who push me each and every day. 

See you in the gloom.

Joe “Splinter” LeBlanc

Check out other #Miracle stories.

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