Look, there is nothing wrong with stretching with friends. It doesn’t matter that many men choose to do it on their own time. For example, many women like to do yoga together. Dudes sometimes do yoga too. And men sometimes choose to stretch together. Sometimes they even do it instead of working out, at the time when they would normally push themselves. It’s like a day off. There’s nothing wrong, and plenty good, with a day off. You might even feel like stretching with friends is a “workout.” And hey, that’s cool. It’s a free country. People also choose to watch Jerry Springer. Or go to a Barry Manilow concert. Those are choices too.
5 men at Cowbell made a different choice. They sprinted. They threw metal. They pushed past the point of failure. Each thought numerous times about wanting to quit. Each felt like they could not do the next rep demanded. Yet they persisted and grew stronger and faster. Most will probably stretch later. This morning, they chose the cowbell. It was great to be with them.
And by the way, look out for CRS. The guy shrugged when I handed him a 40lb kettlebell, did just about every rep, and was right there for every sprint. I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying to catch him six weeks from now.
Many men misjudge strength. They look at the outside. At what a man can do with ease. This is a mistake.
True strength is what a man does when he is exhausted. When his resources are gone. When he has hit his limit.
True strength is the man who keeps going. Who never quits. Who breaks every barrier. Who breaks even his own body if necessary. Muhammad Ali said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
Today we saw that Popeye is a man of true strength. With his heart rate above 180-190 for much of the workout, he never quit. He never stopped. He never let his body tell him no. He hit barrier after barrier. Limit after limit. And he shattered them. Man, it was awesome and inspiring to watch. I wish you could have been there. If Popeye keeps intermittent fasting and hitting workouts like he has the past few weeks, he is going to be a terror.
For the workout itself, to start we did 15 or so intense minutes on the ground with continuous exercises: jump squats, donkey kicks, stump jumpers, jumping lunges, mike tysons, SSHs, 180s, big boys, merkins, heels to heaven, flying cockroaches, hands in the air knee ups, and more. Then we ran about 5 miles (6.3 on the apple watch) with 5-6 rounds of 800s racing our partners with 20 rep exercises in between, followed by 3-4 stagger-start sprints down the hill, followed by all-ya got back home and up the hill. It was a good morning.
Peace be with you.
Hard workouts can be scary. We get it. That’s why there are famous quotes like:
Understanding that, we weren’t surprised when only 4 guys showed up for cowbell. Feeling empathy for the petrified no-shows, we got to work.
We did swings, squats, side squats, ladder squats and swings, the sugar ray, the swinging lunge, the regular lunge, plank row and merkin ladders, lawnmowers, heavy big boy and twist ladders, heavy big boys, twists, cockroaches, and took a long farmer’s walk around the target with partner merkin chasers. And we did a bunch of sprints. Total of 5.73 miles by the apple watch.
T-claps in particular to Popeye for stepping up to the big bell today, and for his already-progress with intermittent fasting. Dasher is Mr. well-rounded, and brings power with the speed — always has. And Baio continues to impress with speed and grit. Everybody today was 49 or 42. Man, we are in our prime.
Thanks to Popeye for the takeout. Let us all love more.
7 men gathered for another running of the cowbell. You know what we did. We kicked the snot out of ourselves with kettlebells and sprints for 3+ miles, continuing the shredding process making it difficult for the cowbell pax to walk without swaggering.
Poor Damascus. He has been dealing with a veritable mountain of troubles for months, barely posting, getting no exercise, and gaining weight. Knowing this, Bottlecap got that mischievous grin on his face that we all know and love.
So Damascus showed up with a kettlebell that — by its size — should weigh 74 pounds. [Due to the helium it contained, no one was able to verify its true weight.]
Damascus then walked up to the line like he smelled something bad enough to choke a maggot. When he arrived, and saw Hurry and Tool Time looking nervous, Dasher faking lingering effects of COVID, and Sugar Daddy having lost his smile for the first time, Damascus suspected that Bottlecap had been talking with his tongue out of his shoe. And when the first long sprint was called, he had no doubt. To his credit, though he hung in there and pushed.
When confronted later about his prevarication, Bottlecap merely grinned, raised his hands, and replied, “hey I’m in sales. I may have left out a few details.”
So ended the third running of the cowbell. Thanks to Hurry for taking us out, and reminding us what a great gift we have in F3. Damascus was polite enough not to disagree.
7 men got fast, powerful, and mentally tough during the 2nd running of cowbell. They slung heavy bells, they sprinted, and never stopped. These are some of the fittest men in the nation. Yet at the end, some were literally unable to lift their bells for another rep. Others appeared to be swaying on their feet, breathing hard. These men were and are complete bad-asses.
Why inflict brutality on themselves this cold winter morning? To get fast, strong, and mentally tough, of course. Each man next to his brother knew he could accomplish what would be impossible alone. No matter what trial he faced later that day, it would seem smaller. These men do this most every day. You see, the men of F3 inflict trials on themselves for a reason. They know that trials produce perseverance, and perseverance produces character. With character, the really good stuff is right around the corner.
That brings me to Zinfandel’s semi-reluctant take out. For those of you who don’t know him Zin, he has one of the biggest hearts in F3. He urged us this morning to hug our neighbors, to think of them, to love them, and to think bigger than ourselves. Implicit in what Zin said was that each of us has been given a kind of power that most others are missing. We have the obvious: speed, strength, mental toughness, and the character that comes from it. And we have each other: other men to come alongside us with their own speed, strength, and mental toughness.
Let me ask you. What are you doing with these gifts? Consider your answer. And consider how to use your gifts going forward if you are not satisfied with your answer. Your brothers will support you. And when the world sees you and your brothers, using your strength, character, and relationships, acting sacrificially, in love, for others, without profit to you, they will ask WHY. Only good things come from that question. It is the 3rd F.
9 men at the inaugural launch of cowbell prepared themselves for fight or flight with hundreds of reps and sprints totaling 3 miles.
The cowbell concept is simple: keep the body in constant stress and the heart rate up with continuous kettlebells movements interrupted only by sprints. We started with a minute on mechanics: in short, make sure you swing and push the bell from your hips and legs, NOT your back. Watch the form especially when you start to fail. Then we were off.
We lined up in front of the Petsmart and did a lot of the following exercises.
Reps were punctuated by long sprints to the Brooklyn Pizza, the Chick Fil’ A, the Target, and, for rest, to the far curb and back. Leaders did swings until the six caught up, which was usually very quickly. Toward the end, we also took a break with a mini mind eraser with merkins and plankjacks when it looked like the troops would mutiny if asked to pick up their bells again. Also, a few idiots ran a couple miles before the workout, led by Hurry.
The workout was wheelhouse for Tool Time and Zinfandel: standouts for both speed and power. Tool Time was up front all morning. Zinfandel had some story about only being there because he overslept, but no one believed him. Every man pushed hard. Sadly, though, there was no merlot. So no man found his limit, leaving room for improvement next week.
Thanks to Bottlecap for taking us out with the word, and for his leadership as our Nantan.
Sign up for the blood drive, or they will find you. Christ’s Closet is loading up a truck for a giveaway in Wilmington, in place of the 10 year giveaway, and could use some strong guys like you readers to help load the truck Friday the 15th at noon on your lunch break. Great to be with these men this morning. Working out regularly in F3Waxhaw has been one of the many blessings for me from the trial of Covid.