Triumph Through Brotherhood

Drew Larson still remembers how an early morning workout on his 40th birthday changed his life forever. It was 5:30am at White Rock Lake when he joined a group that was part of a men’s national network named F3. 

F3 (Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith) is a free male peer-led club committed to improving men’s overall well-being. 

“I joined F3 in 2019. Since then, I’ve grown physically fitter than ever. I have more friends than I’ve ever had. I’m giving back to my community more than I ever have. Overall, my life is more fulfilling,” said Larson, a Flower Mound-based entrepreneur who is now helping other men through F3 Cross Timbers (F3XT). 

Larson is not the only one who has evolved as a changemaker in the last few years. F3 has provided countless men with a platform where they learn and grow together. 

F3 Cross Timbers involves men from various communities in Denton County. They often meet for early morning workouts, get together once a week for tacos and coffee, host a weekly prayer session, meet monthly for a big gathering, and volunteer in the communities to help those in need. 

“At present, there are six workouts every week across Denton County,” said the 43-year-old Larson. “We have had over 200 men show up at our workouts, including veterans, politicians, police officers, and clergy.” 

Trent Carlson, from Highland Village, also considers F3 Cross Timbers a turning point in his life. The 65-year-old has experienced better health and well-being since joining the group. “I have enjoyed all of the group activities in addition to ridding myself of decades-old shoulder impingement that was a source of constant pain and severely reduced range of motion,” he said. 

Carlson believes men need authentic relationships with other men who are working to be strong fathers, husbands, and leaders, and more than that… better individuals. Carlson also shared about a guy from Houston whose life was in shambles before he came to F3. The guy, who had been contemplating suicide, restored his life when he started living with F3 principles. 

“The workout is what draws most men like a magnet,” Carlson said. “But the relationships, brotherhood, and community keep men coming back.” 

Keegan McConnell, one of the members of F3XT, shared a heart-touching story of a man with a complicated medical history. When he started his F3 journey, this man was initially hesitant to open up about his long-standing addiction to pain medications because he feared others would pass judgment. One day, another man confronted him concerning his suspected pain medication addiction. He did not deny his addiction, and he openly embraced the ensuing conversation where no judgment was passed either way. That was the first time the man had shared his struggles outside his family. After that conversation, he began the recovery process.

“Many men don’t share feelings well, even in their own home circle,” said McConnell, a Flower Mound-based health care professional. “Whether good or bad, that is how it is many times. F3’s circle of trust provides a safe place and opportunity to share a struggle, a win, a praise, a celebration, a difficult diagnosis, etc., where no judgment is passed.” 

David Skelton was already a part of F3 (f3nation.com) when he moved to Flower Mound from Birmingham, Ala., in 2018. He initiated a local F3 group, and with the help of FloMo men and Dallas F3 members, an F3 group started that later became F3 Cross Timbers. 

“The close friendships I’ve formed with these High Impact Men (HIMs) have become a core part of my life,” Skelton said. “Their friendships helped me settle into life in Texas, and I can honestly say that it’s because of them that I have thrived here.” 

Skelton is nicknamed Rocket Man. Every group member is given a nickname after the first workout based on their job, background, appearance, etc. The names are witty and meaningful. 

“F3 names help to identify the F3ers uniquely. After all, you may have 5 Davids in one group, but only one Rocket Man,” Larson, aka Griswold, stated. McConnell’s F3 name is Last Call, and Carlson’s is MacGyver. 

F3XT members live by the motto, “Leave no man behind, leave no man where you found him.” 

In 2020, F3ers appeared before the Parks Board and advocated for an adult workout equipment installation at Heritage Park, which the board approved and implemented. Exercise machines are now used by not just men in and outside the group, but kids, women, the elderly, etc. 

The families of these F3XT leaders are highly supportive of what they are doing for themselves and the community. Their partners/spouses often show up at some of the social events.  

“My wife has enjoyed meeting my F3 buddies. She asks me most nights before bed if I am working out in the morning,” Last Call said. 

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