Thursday, October 17
Always 70 and Sunny
Always 70 and Sunny

Giving It Away… and Getting Them To Keep It


During my still relatively short time at F3, I have struggled to comprehend why some FNG’s stick it out and some don’t. Often, guys that I feel will certainly stick, are never to be heard from again. EHing guys to give it a try doesn’t seem to be a problem, but getting them back for that second cup of coffee can be difficult. Certainly many of those “one and dones” were fitter than I and struggled far less at their first post. What was different? Why was I one of the fortunate few while others fail to see the blessing that it is? More importantly, what can we as the Pax, do to increase our FNG retention rate? To get a clearer understanding, at least from my personal perspective, I feel like I need to go back to the beginning…

Although YHC has somehow been at this almost two years now, the memory of my first post at StinkHill (unlike most things) is still very vivid in my mind. After reading of the upcoming launch in Hampton Roads on a Hokie message board, I made up my mind to bite the bullet and give it a shot, but had to wait until week two since I was out of town on launch day.

As I strode into the shadow of StinkHill for the first time that fateful Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but feel that all too familiar fluttering of butterflies rustling in my stomach. I had done a little homework and researched the website a bit, but still did not quite know what to expect from this diverse group of guys standing before me… most of whom appeared to be in much better shape (and DEFINITELY younger) than myself. As the workout began, it didn’t exactly ease my apprehension that these guys with funny names also had equally funny names for exercises I had been doing my whole life. (“Side Straddle Hops” for Jumping Jacks? “Merkins” for Push-Ups? What the heck is an “Imperial Walker”? Are these guys TRYING to make me feel stupid?). As the Q pushed us on from there, the exact order of things began to blur as my heart rate exploded and my muscles fatigued. From what I can remember (other than the pain), we ran far too much and paired up to do a horrifyingly increasing number of repetitions of a group of exercises at the bottom of Mount Trashmore while your partner “sprinted” to the top and back so that he could joyously pick up where you left off. Of course, this insanity was named after a cartoon character explorer my daughter used to watch… are these silly names meant to help temper the torture? When we mercifully returned to the flags and all was said and done, I was completely spent, but felt a sense of accomplishment that I had made it through without what I now know is termed “Splashing Merlot”. My chest was tight (like I’d been swimming all day) and my legs felt like jelly, but I showed up the next week for more punishment. Why?

Maybe that was the reason. After a week off, my body had recovered somewhat and perhaps my mind had been convinced that the previous week’s beatdown was just a bad dream. Had I been encouraged to attend another workout the next day (or even a pitch black 5:30 am workout a few days later), I might have been convinced that one of the F’s in F3 was for FOOLISH and never been heard from again. The fact that there was only one workout a week at the start was likely my saving grace. When AO’s were gradually added, I had already digested the Kool-Aid and was feeling its full effects… For the non-F3ers that may have stumbled upon this, that is just a metaphor; we are NOT a cult ?.

So what are we to do for our FNG’s now that we have multiple workouts in a given week? TALK to them. An occasional “Good job” and “Keep it up!” is a nice start, but is not nearly enough. Ask them about their kids, family, work. Let them know about the other workouts, but make it very clear that there is no obligation to attend. Relate your own not so pleasant initiation into this amazing group of men, and let them know that there is no shame in starting with one workout a week to become acclimated. We all need to realize how very valuable each FNG is and what they potentially can bring to us all. Not that YHC has done anything particularly special, but how different would this group be if this particular, almost 2 year old, FNG had been a “one and done”? It is the same with each one of you… each successful EH and, in turn, each successful EH on their part…It goes on and on. That entire chain is lost if the first link is broken. Each FNG can be the start of new chain and we need to treat them that way.

Now that I’m done with my rant, please realize that this is mostly directed at myself and my own lack of effort towards making FNG’s feel welcome. Help me out by replying with other ideas and thoughts and…


Keep Giving it Away Men,



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  1. Good challenge for the Pax Scully, I’m not much of an EHer, to this day I count you as my first and one of very few FNGs I’ve brought to F3. Certainly something to consider as we huddle for the COT and 2nd F after. What will it take to bring FNGs back? I know in Richmond we’ve discussed a few times waiting until a 2nd workout to name someone. I doubt that would entice someone back though. That discussion has been more about getting the name right than drawing them back.

  2. Well said Scully. I completely agree with the advice about actually talking to the FNG about family, hobbies, work, and life.
    One thing I would add (and something we maybe should implement) is to have someone of equivalent fitness workout with the FNG.

    • Good idea, but it might be difficult to determine an FNG’s level of fitness right out of the gate. Not a bad idea though to put it out to the Pax that as standard policy, we should naturally gravitate towards an FNG that seems to be working at our own pace and begin establishing the comraderie that brings us back week after week. That of course, wouldn’t exclude others from doing the same at every opportunity, but an immediate connection with someone of near equal ability should go a long way towards putting an FNG at ease.

    • To take this one step further, it is recommended that if you are the one that brought the FNG, you should not be the one hanging back with him at the workout. If you know you are bringing an FNG with you, talk to one of the other PAX, ideally beforehand, and ask them to keep an eye on him. That way he doesn’t feel like he is slowing you down, and he also feels like the rest of the group is willing to welcome him.

      • Whenever I bring an FNG I make sure to not be next to him in COP. And keep an eye on him during beat down but not be next to him. Let another veteran guy hang back and encourage him. I always try to help out FNGs I did not bring. Builds better bonds I think.
        And do not bring a FNG to one you Q. Too much going on.

  3. Hey Scully, speaking as one of today’s FNG’s, I can assure you that the group was welcoming and that I’ll certainly be back even though I almost “splashed merlot” myself at one point… Keep doing what you guys are doing – you’re on the right track. I’ve already invited a friend to join us.

  4. Great “rant” and well warranted, Scully. It is frustrating to see FNGs disappear after 1 or 2 posts. I think your idea about softening the entry and letting FNGs know that starting slow with 1 or 2 posts a week is perfectly normal and maybe even advisable in some cases. Also, the encouraging words or sharing stories of how improvements in fitness and energy that we have each realized by sticking with it and of the renewed sense of camaraderie and inclusion with a group that many of us have longed since the days of team sports have passed us by – all go a long way to encouraging FNGs to keep coming back. Last, I think it RVA it is great for us to “ease” an FNG in at one of our smaller workouts and then seal the deal by getting them out to our larger Thursday/Saturday workouts where they feel more comfortable the second posting and they see the robust 2nd F before and after the workout. After all, we all know the 2nd F is the glue that keeps us all coming back.

    Great reflection and food for thought. Thanks. Scully.

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