Author Archive Soft Pretzel

The Benefits of Re-Branding

Don’t worry, this is not a position paper for a Marketing Seminar.  It is just worth noting that since the “Fat Hole” brand was introduced post BRR and post swimsuit season, numbers are up… including the 11 PAX who posted on Monday.  Here is what we did:

Warm-up: Series of exercises while a few folks recovered from the 5 K they ran, found bells, etc.  10 IW, 10 merkins, 10 mountain climbers all IC.  The partner up when all are ready and alternate in a “Catch me if you can” cadence: P1 farmers carry both bells while P2 does 10 squats and runs to catch up.  Finish the warm-up with 20 two hand swings  and some limited kettlebell instruction.  (Note: Schnitzel had his first KB workout but needed almost no coaching to get some good form going.  Nice job.)

The Thang: Everybody start in one corner of the soccer field.  For Round one, the stations are: 20 snatches, 20 merkins, 20 high pulls, 20 merkins, 20 one hand swings, 20 merkins.  The format is, do your KB exercise, then run across the field for merkins, run back, then carry KB half the length of the field, do next KB exercise, and so on.  If you can visualize that, congratulations on being very sharp and this backblast is of some use to you.

Round 2 the stations are: 20 squats, 15 CDDs, 20 cleans, 15 CDDs, 20 2 hand swings, and 15 CDDs.

Mary after both rounds to recover.  Then mosey with bell back to the playground. P1 does 1 set of max pull-ups while P2 does swings.  Flapjack then repeat 1x.  Then weighted dips (KB on legs) 10 IC.  Repeat the whole thing once and we’re done.

Moleskin:  Great to have double digits at the hole.  Welcome back FMB and thanks for the talk at the end on appreciation of being back at F3.  #donttakeitforgranted.

The Saturday Gloom

6 men arrived at Chik Fila Saturday.  It seemed a lot darker than same time last week and scientist Mighty Mite noted that we have passed the Vernal Equinox, so I guess we can expect the Gloom to get gloomier on Saturdays.  Without further ado…

Disclaimer given and mosey across Rea Rd.

The Thang: COP = 20 squats, 20 SSH, 15 Peter Parkers, all IC.  Warm-up further with some high knees, butt kicks, and karyokes across the parking lot.

Hit the fountain for 3 sets of 5 burpee jump ups OYO and 10 dips IC.  Then 5 minute run on Ardrey Kell – 2.5 minutes out, 2.5 minutes back so we all start finish in the same place and stay relatively together.

Mosey to the wacky playground for the rest of the workout.  Next 3 sets: AYG pull-ups followed by 5 burpee pull-ups.  In between, 20 squats, 20 flutters.  Then 4 minute run on AK (2 min up, 2 min back).  Back to the playground for Jack Webb.  3 minute run.  Partner up for under/overs – 3X5 for each partner.  2 minute run.  Partner sit-ups 3×20, elbow planks.  For the last run, head back to launch so we’re not late, then merkins until time expires.

Moleskin: Great effort and a nice job by the 6 PAX pushing each other and bringing out the best in one another.  A couple of the strength exercises were tough: under/overs and JW particularly painful.  The running format worked well as far as people of different speeds getting in some good work but staying pretty together.  Shout out to Paper Jam who continues to get faster and stronger as a runner.  An honor to lead – thanks men.

Heroes in a Halfshell

14 men took on the challenge this morning… and by that I mean escaping from the thing that crawled out of Lochness and was in our path while we were running.  More on that in a minute.

The Thang:

Mosey for a while and form COP: 10 windmills, 10 low slow squats, 10 mountain climbers, 10 merkins all IC.

Mosey some more – 50 high knees, 50 butt kicks, make people think its Swift for a minute.

Arrive at the pond (not Lochness, the other one).  Groups of three.  P1 runs the lap, P2 runs the hill, P3 does merkins.  Rotate through until everyone has ran.  Then round 2 = P1 runs the lap, P2 runs the hill backwards, P3 does LBCs.

Move on to the hill behind the pond and leading up to the back of the bull ring.  20 walking lunges and run to the top (~.25 mile).  Mary at the top and back down.  10 six count burpees IC then run the hill again.  Mary at the top.

Mosey to Lochness.  Do three laps around with 3 sets of 20 exercises per lap.  Lap 1 = derkins, Lap 2 = dips, Lap 3 = hip slappers.

(Sidebar:  It was on lap 1 that we saw it.  An actual mutant turtle.  I’m not a scientist but I believe a sea turtle mated with an armadillo and this thing was its offspring.  How else do you explain the size, the shape, the spikes on the shell?  I wish so bad we took a picture of this thing.  So bad)

Exercise Trail for a rotation of pull-ups, rock shoulder presses and merkins.  Then pull-ups, rock curls and diamond merkins.  This was not in the plan so you’re welcome FC and Haggis.

Take the long way home to get north of four miles and we’re done.

Announcements: Isabella Santos, F3 Golf and Christmas Party.  Something else I’m forgetting… please comment someone and sorry for not having the recorder going.


23 men came out to Dromedary for the VQ of the legendary Johnny Utah… and some additional Q time from the not so legendary Soft Pretzel.  Here’s what we did.

COT: After a lap around the parking lot, circle up.  Johnny delivers the perfect disclaimer and we start warm-up.  20 SSH, 15 IW, 20 cotton pickers, 10 merkins and 20 LBCs all IC.  Silent cadence at first, then actual J.

Indian Run around the school to the football practice fields. Partner up for:

  1. P1 holds plank while P2 sprints 25 yards, 5 burpees, sprint back. 3x
  2. P1 holds elbow plank while P2 sprints 25, 5 merkins, sprint back. 3x
  3. P1 does LBCs while P2 bear crawls 10 yards out and back. 3x

Hand-off Q to SP.

Mosey to “lightpost alley.” Run the length, stopping at each post for jump squats (2,4,6,8,10 reps).  Run back to the start and wait for the 6.  Flutter IC until all are in… believe we got to 30.  Repeat with CDDs same format.  Flutter IC x 20 (lead by Boucher).

From there, time to start the march back. Stops for:

  1. Merkins x 20, 6 inches for a 10 count (by Dasher), plank jacks IC x 20 (lead by The Grease Monkey)
  2. Squat hold waiting for 6.
  3. 10 Mountain Climbers IC, 5 merkins IC, 10 MC IC

Mosey to middle of parking lot and circle up for Mary. PAX choice going round the circle which if I remember right was this:  (ALL IC) Das Boot = 20 rosalitas, Boucher = 20 Freddy Mercury, Joy = 10 heels to heaven, Shop Dog = 20 American Hammer, Abacus = 20 LBC.

Finish the workout with an AYG run – half the parking lot down then the whole thing back.

Moleskin: Great job by Johnny U to step up for his first Q. Fun group as always with plenty of chatter and strong efforts.  Thanks to JU for the strong takeout.

Announcements: Isabella Santos Run 9/30, Susan G Komen Run 10/7. F3 Golf 10/27 at Old Sycamore – proceeds benefit “The Leap” for F#, i.e. funds to plant workout groups in new cities.

Pain in the Rain

9 men arrived at the Pineville Police Department this morning for Pain in the Rain.  I’m sure someone has used that as an F3 slogan before but screw you, I just thought of it.  Anyway…

Read disclaimer and start a long mosey around the baseball fields.  Stop once for merkins (15 IC) then circle up in the parking lot for proper warm-up.  15 IW, 15 squats, 10 MC, 10 CDDs, all IC.

Short mosey and partner up.  Partner 1 does burpees until Partner 2 completes 10 merkins.  Flapjack and repeat.  3 sets each total.  Recovery lap then do the same format for squats and jump squats.  3 sets as well.  Mosey a lap then stop off at the planter boxes.  3 sets of: 10 dips IC, 10 hip slappers IC, 10 jump ups OYO.

Mosey back to parking lot for Running and Mary, always a winning combo. P1 runs the length of the lot and back while P2 does the called exercise.  Flutters, American Hammers, LBCs, Dollies, Bicycles.  Halfway through all that, we stopped running for 25 partner sit-ups each.

Group run back around the baseball field with stops for diamond merkns, wide arm merkins and people’s chair.  Finish up at a rock pile and grab one.  10 curls, 10 tricep extensions, 10 shoulder presses all IC, 2 sets.  Mosey back and that’s all folks.

Moleskin: It was actually a good morning for a workout.  Rain wasn’t too bad.  Thanks to all for a great workout and the opportunity to lead.

Announcements: Be on the lookout for a new Saturday workout in Indian Land.  Details to come.

The Foxhole

5 familiar faces gathered at Tha Hole this morning.  Here is how it went.

Warm Up: Circle up for 15 IW, 15 merkins, 15 windmills, 10 MC/10 Plank Jacks/plank-o-rama

Main Event Part I.  4 sets of alternating Pull Ups and Double KB Cleans.  6-10 reps per set.  Slow pace, focus on form, strength.

Main Event Part II. 4 sets of 10 KB merkins/10 Two Handed Swings/10 Overhead Presses/10 Two Handed Swings.  Recovery =  a 10 count in between each set and one set of flutters x 30 IC after 3rd set.

Main Event Part III.  Mosey down to the soccer field and line up facing the field width wise.  KB burpee ladder: 1 burpee, run across and back, 2 burpees, across and back, etc.  AMRAP fashion and hit pause when the 6 gets to 3 reps.  Then gather for 3 sets of one-arm rows/Mary.  Mary was LBCs/American Hammers, Heels to Heaven/Pistol Crunches, Full Sit-ups/Side Crunches.  Then re-start the ladder and go back down to one KB burpee.

Mosey back to launch and kill time with snatches (5 a side), high pulls (10 a side), and swings x20.

Moleskine:  “Sometimes you wanna go… where everybody knows your name…”  That is pretty much what it felt like this morning with Argonaut, Kirby, Fire Marshal, Luggi, and YHC this morning.  YHC had been missing Foxhole lately for some Big House and some fartsack – it was good to be back.

Announcements: May 24 SOB convergence at The Maul with an FNG quota.  Start thinking it through now and make it happen.

Feel The Burn

8 men gathered at the Pineville Police Station for another episode of THE BIG HOUSE.  The plates had already been placed with care in the parking lot so after my best version of “the disclaimer” off we go.

COP: 20 SSH, 20 IW, 20 mountain climbers, and 10 merkins.  All IC.

Main Event: Get in groups of 4 with one plate per group.  “Cones” are set up to mark the distance – one short, one long.  (Sidenote: instead of actual cones, I used my kids’ toys which were the police dog character from Paw Patrol.  I thought this would make hairburners somehow whimsical and fun.)  Set up for a hairburner relay where PAX take turns pushing the plate.  On the short runs, called exercise was merkins and on the long runs it was flutter (Round 1).  Every PAX goes twice per run, then a recovery lap.  Round 2 – same thing but diamond merkins and LBCs.

At this point, time to regroup.  Circle up and go through some called exercises.  Spice it up as YHC called out PAX for extra hairburners and asked for volunteers for the same.  Guys were stepping up left and right and everyone got in several more runs.  Exercises were: American Hammers x 20, Carolina Dry Docks x 10, Diamond merkins x 10, dollies x 20, plus some others that were called out while YHC was taking turns pushing plates.

6 minute run.  As many laps as you can running from the parking lot over the bridge and back.

Mosey back to the launch with a stop for LBCs on the way.  Time called.

Moleskin: As I noted at the beginning, hairburners are easily my least favorite F3 exercise.  No more sure way to push yourself and get absolutely banged up on a Monday.  Tremendous effort especially by FNG JWOW.

Announcements: Run Ballentyne May 20.

Running, Pushups and Pull Ups – The Arsenal

With temps in the low 20s, 6 gathered to drive that 1st F another step forward.  YHC is glad we got a good one in before the tournament started because March Madness is a serious inhibitor of both my fitness and ability to write backblasts on time.  #terrible excuses

The Thang: Warm-up = a run to the football field, catch-me-if-you can style with 3 burpees a piece.  SSH waiting for all to arrive. Then complete the basic form-running drills made famous by #Bratwurst: heels walk, toes walk, 50 high knees, 50 butt kicks, stride the remainder of the 100 yards after each.

Main Event.  Line up for sprints going width ways across the field.  Each sprint is down and back AYG.  10 merkins IC before each sprint where the “halt” on the merkins = the “go” of the sprint.  3 sets.  Then switch to face the length of the field.  Same format for the ~200 yard run.  Try to fun it at your ~1 mile race pace.  Finish with an AYG 100 yard sprint then keep going AYG to the top of the big hill.

Mosey to the playground.  At this point we’re thinking completion of the daily fitness challenge – 30 pull ups and 200 merkins.  YHC had been a little math challenged on the merkins thus far and time was running down.  3 sets of 5,10, and 15 pull-ups with a lap in between each as well as a set of merkins.  Mosey the long way around the school back toward launch with stops for merkins and Mary to get to 200.

All in: 2.6 miles (about 50% of it at all out effort), 30 pull-ups, 200 merkins, and other stuff.  45 minutes goes fast but it was a respectable effort.

Announcements: P200 next weekend – good luck to all competing and prayers for good health.

The Foxhole

A lucky 7 entered the Foxhole this morning.  Here is what we did.

The Thang: Warm-up with a lap around the school.  Stop in the back parking lot for: 20 mountain climbers, 10 merkins, and 20 SSH all IC.

Main Event: Form a circle around the pull-up bars.  5 pull ups, 25 2-handed swings, 10 merkins IC, 10 KB squats IC.  Do the circuit 4 times.  Good way to get the fitness challenge in hand before getting to fun stuff.

Partner up and line up.  Set 1: P1 bear crawls to the curb and back, P2 cleans (flapjack).  Set 2: P1 broad jumps to the curb and back, P2 high pulls (flapjack).  Set 3: P1 lunge walk to the curb and back, P2 deadlift/upright row then shoulder presses (flapjack).

Shift to face the lot long ways.  3 sets of P1 run to the end of the lot and back, P2 Mary – side-bends, pistol crunches, side planks.

Finish with a triple nickel of 5 snatches right, 5 snatches left, 5 KB merkins, 5X.  Recovery lap then 4 minute AMRAP of 20 swings/20 LBCs.

Moleskin: Don’t you just love Mondays.  I mean I don’t but shaking the rust off at Foxhole is the only way to go.  Thanks men for a good work-out.  Honor to lead as always.

Announcements: Wall build this Saturday!  Get out there SOBs and make it happen.  Sign up for Savage Race.

Winter Redux

11 men checked the weather the night before and posted anyway at DaVinci this morning.  Not that it was that cold but something about having 2 weeks + of spring and then having to get the gloves and hats back out is a kick in the teeth.  But enough complaining, lets get to it.

The Thang: 25 SSH IC in the lot to wait for One Star and FNG Room Service to join us.  Read disclaimer and set off.  Mosey to other side of Rea and finish warm up with: 15 low slow squats, 10 burpees (6 count IC; these could also be re-named the “low slow burpee” of if you prefer, “Actual Burpee” because if you go slow and in cadence, people actually do them.)

Mosey to the fountains for one set of elevens and one of sevens.  11’s = dips and jump ups, 7s = derkins and hip slappers (so stay in plank the whole time).  One lap around parking lot after each.

Mosey to the bank parking lot and pay homage to the NFL Scouting Combine: Shuttle Run.  Two groups running an ~20 yard shuttle run.  Move quickly so that everyone goes 4-5 times and PAX that are waiting do the called exercise: merkins, squats, CDDs, diamond merkins.  Next, Mary: 20 American Hammers, 20 flutters IC, then OYO 20 backward lunges with arms overhead and a side bend at the bottom of the move (good for the core).  Sidenote: ran an entire feature yesterday where Todd McShay breaks down every exercise in the Combine – description, why its used, what to “watch for” this week… seriously. Only in America.

Mosey to the long running hill outside the shopping center.  Stops along the way for merkins, planks, Mary, conversation, planks, etc.  Stop when we get to the rock pile.  Partner up and select one rock per team.  P1 runs to the bottom of the hill and back while P2 does the sequence of 10 curls, 10 presses, 10 triceps extensions and repeat until repeat until your partner comes back without putting the rock down.  Flapjack.

Long journey home with many stops.  Finally, we discover that on the sidewalk opposite the bank and 121 Main, there are various exercises written along the way: lunges, pushups, planks, etc.  So of course we do each one for the helluvit.  Finish in the BB&T lot with some merkins and Mary while the 6 arrives and that’s all folks.

Moleskin: Really enjoyed the group today and was a privilege to lead.  One FNG, 2 R-E-S-P-E-C-Ts, some newer guys and some vets.  Perfect mix for an F3 workout and 2nd F after.  Thanks all for turning out.

Announcements: April 22 = Bro-Lympics.  Check web site for Pre-Blast and contact Tuck or Wild Turkey with questions.  6-8 a.m. at Community House Middle.  DaVinci and Stonehenge will converge.  April 29 = Richard Shelter 10k in the morning then… Bucky announced what sounds like a great 2nd F opportunity to support a good cause.  Takes place in his neighborhood and multiple local breweries and food trucks will be out.  Also live music.  Reach out to Bucky if you are interested and listen for further details after workouts.