About the Book

"Freed to Lead" Tells Story Behind Explosive Impact of F3 Nation Men's Workouts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – April 8, 2014 – In cities across the Southeast, they are known as "the guys with the crazy workout" – groups of men who gather before dawn on school and church campuses, in public parks and parking lots, to work out at an intensity most treadmill riders at the local gym can only imagine.

They're the men of F3 Nation. Their workouts are free, open to all men and always led by participants. They work out outdoors, in all seasons of the year and regardless of weather conditions. Not only does F3 get its participants in the best shape of their adult lives, but they nearly all report the same chain reaction, in which the fitness and fellowship they develop as part of the group gives them a new sense of purpose and drive to lead in their family, community and faith lives.

Now, the two men who started F3 with a gathering of 34 men at a Charlotte middle school on New Year's Day 2011, have written the story of how a workout turned into a movement.

In "Freed to Lead: F3 and the Unshackling of the Modern-day Warrior" (published by The Iron Project; Kindle, $6.99; Paperback, $11.99), David "Dredd" Redding and Tim "OBT" Whitmire tell how the explosive growth of F3 launched them on a quest to figure out exactly why a simple workout had such a profound effect on the men who participated in it.

What they discovered was that the "Three Fs" of F3 are a cure for "SadClown Syndrome" -- the lack of purpose and meaning that afflicts too many of our society's best-educated and most affluent men.

By pulling men in with the Magnet of the First F (Fitness) and binding them with the Glue of the Second F (Fellowship), F3 becomes a launching pad to impact through the Dynamite of the Third F (Faith, which F3 defines broadly as belief in something outside one's self). Using an engaging mix of anecdote and metaphor (and an integrated glossary to help newcomers decipher F3's unique lingo), Whitmire and Redding show how F3 works, why it has such a powerful impact on participants and how it just might be part of the solution to our society's leadership vacuum.

Website: www.f2lead.com
Twitter: @freed2lead

About F3

The mission of F3 is to plant, grow, and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership. Founded with a single workout in Charlotte, N.C., on 1/1/11, F3 has grown to include 240 weekly workouts in seven established F3 Regions in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as 12 different Nomad locations in six additional states. F3 workouts are always free; open to all men; held outdoors, rain or shine, heat or cold; led by men who participate in the workout in a rotating fashion, with no training or certification necessary; and end with a Circle of Trust. F3 is incorporated as a not-for-profit business in the state of North Carolina.

Website: www.f3nation.com
Twitter: @F3Nation

About The Iron Project

"Freed to Lead" is published by The Iron Project, a business co-founded by Whitmire, Redding and three other F3 leaders in 2013 to use ideas and principles developed in the F3 experience to teach men how to have impact on their world.

Website: www.theironproject.com
Twitter: @projectiron

Book Excerpt

From Chapter One, "The Explanation"

As F3 grew, Redding and Whitmire developed an "Explanation" aimed at showing other men how to plant their workouts. Soon, they write, "the men we were teaching began asking us to write the Explanation down so they could refer to it later and give it to the men they were trying to help."

That was a reasonable request. But we resisted it, for three reasons. First, the Explanation was dynamic. As F3 grew and changed, the Explanation grew and changed.

Second, we didn't want to write something down that was incomplete. And writing the Explanation would be difficult. We're not authors. It was one thing to talk and another thing to write. Maybe it would be so hard that we would fail, after wasting a lot of time trying. We didn't want to fail, and we didn't want to waste time. Finally, whether we succeeded or failed at writing the Explanation, we didn't think we had the time to do it. We had jobs, families, planes to catch, and bills to pay. We were already spending huge amounts of time growing F3 and giving/teaching the Explanation. Where were we going to find the additional time it would take to record what we were doing as we did it? Bottom Line: we didn't translate (or commit) the Explanation to written form, not for a long time...

That might have been where the story ended, if F3 had not begun to expand to other cities. Those men needed the Explanation as well, but it was too far to drive to teach them face-to-face. We tried the telephone. We tried e-mail. There are pieces of the Explanation on the F3Nation website, but it was disjointed and didn't hang together. None of these half-measures succeeded in providing the Explanation in an integrated form to men whom we could not physically reach.

Finally, we admitted to ourselves that distance so degraded the quality of the Explanation that it wasn't serving these men at all. We were failing in our mission. We accepted that we would have to either invest the time required to write the Explanation (and take the risk that we would fail in the effort), or tell the men in distant cities that we weren't willing to do what it would take to help them. Once we had admitted the truth to ourselves, the decision wasn't difficult. We chose to write.

F3's Impact: More Than Just a Workout Group

First F (Fitness)

• More than 250 weekly workouts in 7 established regions in the Carolinas and 12 other locations in six additional states.
• Top F3-affiliated athletes are champions of local and regional competitions, including the Duke Energy Stair Run in Charlotte, N.C., the USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run in Gaston, S.C., and Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon.
• Rank-and-file F3ers are equally dominant. F3 had the largest team, the fastest team and the overall winner of the 2013 Thunder Road Marathon. At the Spring 2014 Ultimate Challenge Mud Run, the largest gathering in F3 history brought more than 500 F3 men to Gaston, S.C. F3 teams took the top 13 spots in the race, and 33 of the top 50 spots in a race with 729 finishing teams.

Second F (Fellowship)

• On any given morning, an estimated 1,000-plus men gather in the Gloom to start their day with an intense F3 workout. On Saturdays, workouts are followed by fellowship at a nearby "Coffeeteria."
• Holiday Convergence workouts and special "CSAUP" (Completely Stupid and Utterly Pointless) events bring together men from multiple workout sites for special occasions.
• Many regions hold weekly HDHH (Hump Day Happy Hour) gatherings on Wednesday evenings.
• The www.f3nation.com website is a virtual water cooler for the F3 Nation, with workout write-ups (aka "backblasts") driving daily visits and a lineup of regular bloggers providing other content of Nation-wide interest.
• Average time spent on the site per visit is just under 4 minutes, with over 55 percent of visitors consuming 2+ pages per visit. Weekly pageviews on the site are in excess of 50,000.

Third F (Faith and Purpose)

• Since its founding in mid-2012, the F3 Foundation (F3F) has raised approximately $70,000 without ever staging a formal fundraising campaign.
• F3F established a tutoring and fitness program for boys at Billingsville Elementary, a low-income elementary school in Charlotte, and has expanded it to Alexander Graham Middle School to follow those boys forward in their lives.
• With F3F sponsorship and support, a weekly F3 workout has been held for more than a year at the Charlotte Rescue Mission, where residents are trying to break cycles of addiction and homelessness. More than 75 CRM men have participated in F3 workouts since the program was started and three graduates have gone on the post for "regular" F3 workouts following their departure from the facility. The facility's executive director calls the men of F3 the most consistent and committed volunteer organization to engage with CRM in its 15-year history, and the "Mission I'm Possible" model is being replicated in other F3 cities.


Third F (continued)

• F3F raised more than $5,000 to host a weekend event in the autumn of 2013 that allowed two dozen U.S. Army Green Berets to reconnect with their families.
• F3F partners with Let Me Run to place F3 men in coaching positions with boys' running teams at schools throughout Mecklenburg County; F3F has permanently endowed a Let Me Run team at Billingsville Elementary.
• Across F3 Nation, hundreds of men participate in 21 weekly "Third F workouts" – usually Bible or book studies.
• A core group of F3 men planted a "Men of Purpose" men's Sunday School class at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte in the fall of 2013. The success and impact of that class led to creation of a formal curriculum and the planting of MOP groups at churches throughout the region.
• Females in Action, a women's workout group modeled on F3 principles, began in 2013 and is growing rapidly, often in lockstep with F3 expansion.
• MudGear, a leading producer of specialty athletic apparel designed for competitors in mud runs, obstacle races and other outdoor endurance events, was started in 2012 by an F3 participant and is F3's exclusive partner for the production and sale of F3-licensed gear.
• F3 founders Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire founded The Iron Project in 2013 to leverage the leadership and organizational principles being developed through the F3 movement. TIP has held weekend retreats and "leadership lunches" and serves as a platform for spread of the Men of Purpose model. In the spring of 2014, TIP published "Freed to Lead: F3 and the Unshackling of the Modern-day Warrior."


Event Schedule

"Book Tour" of F3 Nation, with Redding and Whitmire leading Saturday morning F3 workouts (7 a.m.), followed by post-workout conversation and book signings at a nearby coffee location (8:15 a.m.).

Scheduled Events

• 5/10 - Bailey Road Park, Cornelius, N.C.
• 5/17 - Hickory High School, Hickory, N.C.
• 5/31 - Harrisburg Park, Harrisburg, N.C.
• 6/28 - Grace Covenant Church, Huntersville, N.C.

We are in the process of scheduling additional appearances at this time.

• 5/8 - Appearance at Charlotte Observer authors event, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., The Charlotte Observer, South Tryon Street, Charlotte
• 5/21 - Joint "starter" workout with Females in Action women's fitness group, followed by conversation and book signings at Packard Place, 222 Church Street, Charlotte, N.C.
• 6/18 - Evening signing and Hump Day Happy Hour at Park Road Books, Sir Edmund Halley's, Park Road Shopping Center

Email us for interviews and media appearances.

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About the Authors


Dave Redding

• Native of Connecticut, graduate of Boston College (1985)
• Active duty U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces Officer, 1985-1994
• Graduate of Army Airborne School, Ranger School, Special Forces Qualification Course and SERE, as well as French Commando School
• Graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law
• Practicing lawyer in Charlotte, N.C., where he is a partner in the Tison Redding Law Firm and a specialist in construction-related litigation
• Co-founded F3 in 2011; he currently serves as the Nant'an of F3 Nation
• Married with three daughters


Tim Whitmire

• Native of California, graduate of Harvard College (1992)
• Longtime journalist, primarily with The Associated Press (1994-2000, 2002-2006), where he reported from Rhode Island, New York City, Kentucky, and North Carolina
• Moved to Charlotte in 2000; worked from 2000 to 2002 as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer
• Since 2007, has worked in business development and executive roles for two boutique investment banks and tech firm DealCloud
• Co-founded F3 in 2011; he currently serves as Weasel Shaker of F3 Nation
• Married with two sons and a daughter