Since her founding in 1776, America has always fought to preserve religious liberty, albeit imperfectly, and the widespread tolerance across the nation is constant reason for gratitude. Along with religion, the first amendment to the constitution protects the right for citizens to assemble peacefully. Both of these efforts have led to tremendous societal, cultural, and even industrial breakthrough of a wide variety for almost two and half centuries now in the U.S.

On the note of praise, uniting people for the purpose of improving fitness and cultivating an active lifestyle is a laudable endeavor to be certain. If religion is the catalyst for that movement, then que up the organ and celebrate.

Such was the case seven years ago when a group of men launched the exercise group now known as F3. According to the F3 website, the movement’s credo is: “Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him.”

The group’s website defines itself with the following description:

F3 is a national network of free, peer-led workouts for men. We plant, grow and serve these groups to invigorate male community leadership. 

Started in 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina, F3 has grown to more than 26 states and 1,400 scheduled workouts a week through the volunteer efforts of men whose lives have been changed by their involvement with the group.

The three Fs in our name stand for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith — the last of which we define as not one specific religion or faith system, but simply a belief in something outside oneself.

F3 participants range in age from the 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds who participate in F3 Dads workouts each summer to men in their 60s and 70s — and even one in his 80s!

We welcome men of all fitness levels to our workouts and have no requirement for membership other than that you show up at the appointed time and place and follow what the workout leader (the “Q” in F3 lingo) does.

Given the virtually all-encompassing rhetoric promoting a simple “belief in something outside oneself,” it’s hard to find pernicious exclusivity in the F3 vision.

The fitness industry is certainly guilty of utilizing gimmicks, but any positive motivation amongst individuals empowering them to maintain an active lifestyle ought to be encouraged. If the common bond of belief in a higher power, even amongst those of differing religions, prompts such a reaction, that calls for high fives all around.