Truth be told, I did not give my maiden Q too much thought.  I expected to flub the counting (I did), and maybe forget a couple of steps (I did), but I was only leading a workout.  Like so much else in life, I would figure it out.   However, almost immediately in that darkness, I recognized the responsibility, the privilege and the honor of leading. Every man in F3 leads a busy life.  Each one of the PAX inconvenienced themselves and rose before 5:30 a.m. expecting something valuable, something worth their inconvenience, effort and predawn time.  These workouts contribute to much more than just our physical well-being.  They have dramatic effects on our mental health. And by coming together with other men who have become brothers, they contribute to a greater wholeness and wellness and balance in our lives.  Your YHC, an old man, standing in the dark without his glasses looked in the faces of three very strong, very fit young men, and realized the PAX were relying on him to make this morning worth their while.   The honor I felt was deeper than I expected, and gratitude rose in me long before the sunlight.

The curiosity of the PAX rose as your YHC announced we were headed to the swing set.

The Thang

A warm up of

  • Imperial Walker x 25
  • Qi Gong Cranes* x 25
  • Prisoner squats x 25
  • Standard merkins x 10

*  In Chinese legend, the Crane was the prince of all feathered creatures. Spirits and the souls of the departed rode cranes on the way to heaven.  Plus, it is a great way to loosen the shoulders and chest.  For this Qigong-inspired, tendon lengthening exercise, start slightly bent forward arms hanging down and throw your shoulders and bent elbows back, letting them naturally bounce when they meet their natural limit (1).  Bend forward again (2) and then repeat the backwards motion, this time with your arms extended (3) then return to the start (4).  Repeato.

After the warmup: As many rounds as possible until time called:

  • 15 one arm KB snatchs
  • 15 one arm KB snatchs (other arm)
  • 15 one arm KB swings
  • 15 one arm KB swings (other arm)
  • 15 Atomic Merkins*

*Atomic Merkin – Assume the high plank position with feet on the swing. After performing a derkin, pull your knees forward to the chest, while holding a plank.  Repeato   An example is here:

This is a capacity workout: High intensity + high volume with weight and no rest. In a span of 12 minutes, each man lifted his kettle bell from sand to shoulder or sky 200 times.  Looking to Chong Li’s 50# KB as an example, that is lifting 10,000 lbs, 5 tons, over his head in 12 minutes, with 60 Atomic Merkins thrown in, all before the neighbors poured milk on their corn flakes. At this, the end of only the first phase of the Blitz, Johnny Utah was brought to tears and every man understood.  #Respect.

After a brief plank the PAX moseyed down to pavilion for kettlebell phase II:

  •  5 Turkish get –ups, with sit downs (right arm)
  • 5 Pull ups
  • 5 Turkish get-ups, with sit downs (left arm)
  • 5 pull ups
  • Plank


Mary was present with us constantly throughout the morning, so the PAX shred whatever was left of their abs with 35 4-count flutter to close out the morning.

Naked Moleskin

  • Standing Friday night F2 events at Ridgewood  (many T-claps)
  • Updates for labor day workouts announced.
  • Other upcoming events:
  • Aug 31 – Shenandoah 100
  • 9/11 stair climb


The PAX closed the morning and welcomed the sun with an extended moment of silence and breath. With every inhalation and exhalation, our hearts beating returned to the rhythm of the crickets-out-too-late and the birds up early.

Humbled and honored.