David Skelton and Drew Larson barely knew each other when they began working out together three years ago. An Alabama native who just moved to Flower Mound, Skelton was in the best shape of his life and dead set on starting a new chapter of F3, a national network of free, peer-led workouts for men that he was introduced to while living in Birmingham.
F3 was very popular back home, and he managed to find an existing one near downtown Dallas. But getting the word out in Flower Mound was a bigger challenge than he expected — so challenging that he literally had one taker in Larson.
“The first workout was just him and me,” Skelton said with a laugh. “I didn’t know anyone.”
Luckily, Larson was more than just a great workout partner. He was a veritable social butterfly and connector of men. Fast forward to today, and Skelton and Larson have quickly found other leaders and created one of the more innovative, fun, and fraternity-like workout alternatives in Denton County. F3 Flower Mound has had as many as 100 local guys of all fitness levels, and all ages, join in on their weekly outdoor workouts since 2019. Rain or shine, heat or chill, they are out there flipping tires, doing pushups, curling cinder blocks, mixing in plenty of cardio, and doing anything the leader of the day says.
Everyone has their own nickname. Skelton is known as Rocket Man. Larson is Griswold. Other lighthearted names include El Oso, Dr. Dirt, Wheezy, Discount Double-Check, Big Cheez, Gadget, Ninja, Jumanji, and Veggie Tales.
“Names like that are memorable, and it’s fun that way,” Larson said. “It demonstrates the fraternity we have created.”
But F3 nation is more than jocularity and a good sweat. Their mission is to foster male community leadership through fitness, fellowship, and faith, and those who are invested like Skelton and Larson are forever changed.
“It’s more than just a good free workout,” Larson said. “The group is extraordinarily encouraging, and we live by the motto of ‘Leave no man behind, and leave no man where you found him.’ Since we started, we’ve had the opportunity to impact, and be impacted by, the lives of over 100 men who come to work out with us from Lewisville, Denton, Kentucky, and as far away as Seattle. And, with our connected newfound strength and energy, we’ve helped people move houses who were financially distraught, pulled bushes for the elderly after Snowmageddon, and helped restore homes. It is a fraternity of men doing good.”
“In my opinion, it’s kind of a novel concept — this idea that you don’t need to pay a big gym membership fee. All you need is to get out of bed in the morning and go workout,” Skelton said. “And it’s not just about physical health. It’s fitness, fellowship, and faith. If you picture a man as a stool, those are the three legs holding him up.”
He added, “All men need those three things to stay upright.”
According to its website, F3 started in 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has grown to more than 30 states and over 2,000 scheduled workouts a week. As previously mentioned, the three Fs stand for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith — the last of which they define as not one specific religion or faith system but rather a belief in something outside oneself.
Their five core principles are that F3 is free of charge, open to all men, always held outdoors, peer-led, and always ends with a circle of trust that further drives home the point of building genuine relationships and camaraderie. There are no requirements for membership other than you show up and work out.
“You can just show up and get a workout in,” Skelton said. “It doesn’t have to be more than that until you are ready.”
To say Skelton and Larson are committed to their workout group would be an understatement.
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Larson said. “This is a great group, and more men should come join us.”
“After the first workout, everything happened so fast,” Skelton said. “That was the spark we needed to attract a lot of people. And now, these strong invigorated men of the community have taken it to the next level with workouts occurring every Monday through Saturday.”