F3 Knoxville

Polar Bear Plunge 2024 – You Can Do Hard Things

THE SCENE: The Townsend Wye. Freezing – low 30s + wind.

This year marked the 21st annual (official) 12-noon Polar Bear Plunge on New Years day at the Townsend Wye. While the exact origins of this tradition are somewhat unknown, Abscess, along with other HIM such as Lillydipper and Pele, has spearheaded the F3 Knoxville pilgrimage to this event for the past 5 (or 6ish?) years. Unfortunately, Abscess made the very wise decision to be somewhere tropical for New Years this year, and while we missed him in those freezing waters today, I figured this awesome tradition must go on! Over the past 3-4 years or so, I’ve personally been blessed by the opportunity to participate in this tradition, and wanted to ensure the legacy Abscess, Lilly, and Pele have built continued this year. Here’s a pic from the crew that took the Plunge in ’22.

We had a solid crew of men make the hard commit to take on the ’24 Plunge this year, and as Cheatsheet and others mentioned – “I think this was the coldest year.

The plan for this year looked like years past:

  • 10:00am – Gather at the Northshore Starbucks to grab coffee and figure out clown cars
  • 10:30am – Head out to the Townsend Wye
  • 11:30am(ish) – park + prepare mentally and physically. Some liquid courage shared with F3 bros always helps.
  • 12pm – Take the Plunge!
    • A few words are said by the man who is credited with running this tradition for the past two decades: Phillip Colclough.
    • To officially complete the plunge, one must enter the water + submerge. There is no time limit to stay in or anything like that – thank goodness, because the water was freezing this year.

The Before

The After

After a few extremely cold group photos, we hustled back to our cars and began the trek back to the Northshore exit. We stop at the Townsend Visitors Center on the way, to change into warm clothes and try and regain some warmth back in our fingers and toes again. What makes taking the on the Plunge worth it though? The 2nd F afterwards of course! We head to the Soccer Taco off of Northshore when we return, for a healthy combination of a 2nd F lunch + Board Meeting.

Lilydipper, Pele, Brick, Glamper, Tenderfoot, Cheatsheet, Icy Hot, Steam, Pusher (joined at Soccer Taco for 2nd F!)

-A few thoughts on this year’s PBP-

So why do the Polar Bear Plunge? I mean, it sounds insane when you really think about it. Especially given the fact that we drive into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and jump into (usually) freezing cold river water. It’s cold. Most of us are tired from the night before or the morning’s workout at one of our many AOs. Most of us haven’t done something like this since last year. We could be doing ANYTHING on New Years day, but for some reason we decided to take on the Polar Bear Plunge. Why is doing this good for you, and why does this actually make sense?

5 reasons: 

  1. Health benefits – I’m sure there are certain health benefits that come with shock therapy, cold water therapy, etc. I just haven’t done extensive research on this.
  2. Starting your year off with something challenging is good – what is going to have a more concentrated and longer-lasting impact for you at the start of the year: staying in your comfort zone or having the courage to step outside of it? There’s nothing comfortable about jumping in a freezing body of water. Especially when the conditions are in the low 30s + windy in the mountains. Throw out what happened last year. It’s a new year, and your choices matter day 1. Not only later on day 2, day 30, or day 100, but day 1. Whether you realize it or not, your choices the first day of year will set off a chain reaction of choices later down the road and throughout the rest of the year. Starting your year off with doing something challenging is good because not only is it a step in the opposite direction of coddling your comfort zone, but it also sets in motion decisions that will propel you to continue choosing to do challenging things the remainder of the year.
  3. It reinforces the importance of strong community – Just like many men who show up to an F3 workout proclaim, “I would not be out here doing this by myself.” Duh! I would never think to drive up to Townsend on New Years day when it’s super cold and jump into a freezing river by myself. But with the challenge and encouragement of F3 brothers around me – rallying together to do something challenging together? Let’s go! “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  4. It proves that you can do hard things – there is something powerful about doing something hard to start the year, either by yourself or with others. In doing so, it affirms that yes, you do have the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ability to step up to the plate of life and do hard things. What an important precedent this is, to start the year by doing something hard, and letting it echo and reverberate throughout the rest of the year.
  5. It’s symbolic – Not to get too cheesy on you the first day of the year, but to neglect the importance of the spiritual realm would be a disservice. While it may just seem like a bunch of crazy dudes going to jump into a freezing body of water on New Years day, and taking into account the four points above as well, I actually believe there is a symbolic nature to this tradition. Let me explain. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. If you are in Christ – you’ve been made new! Now, is there anything magical about a new calendar year, or the transition from the last day of one year to the first day of the next? Not necessarily. But historically, and I believe this to be widely adopted and popular in the United States, the new year comes with New Years resolutions, goals, and this sense of “the old has passed away, and the new has come.” As we take off our warm layers (not all of them) before jumping into the freezing cold water on New Years day, I believe this to be symbolic of “the old has passed away.” We’re getting ready to enter into freezing cold water, yes, but as will happen throughout the rest of the year and as seasons change, the old passes away and a new way or condition comes. We enter the water, submerge, and come back out. Nothing magical happens (other than the fact that we are tremendously colder than we were before). But as we come back to the surface and out of the water, I believe there is symbolism with this – “the new has come.” Or, as the Message version states – “The old life is gone; a new life emerges!” As the water washes over us, it feels cleansing, refreshing, and even healing. It feels cold, but it also feels symbolic of the grace, love, and mercy Christ washes us with every single day. To start the new year with both a physical and symbolic washing of water has proved to be an extremely refreshing tradition.

If you missed out this year, not to worry – we’re less than a year away from the next one! Thanks to all the men who rocked the ’24 Plunge this year – it was fun (sort of)!

Same day / time next year!

12.2.23 GTE Prep Event

12.2.23 GTE Prep Event AAR

(After Action Review)

With the upcoming GTE (GrowRuck Training Event) in Knoxville April 26 – 28, 2024, the GTE Prep Event was created to provide an introductory experience of what the larger event might look, sound, and feel like next year. Crispr + Steam decided to serve as the co-Cadre for this event, and over the course of five hours on Saturday morning, led an impressive group of Ruckers from F3 Knoxville and F3 Smokies through team challenges under a ruck. This training event was designed to be informational and educational as participants completed various evolutions together, to simulate what the GTE event will be like in April.

You’ll see the evolutions the team went through and completed below, and without adding in extra color or over-exaggerating – they absolutely dominated it. Crispr and I actually had to fire off the hip towards the end because the team was ahead of schedule and crushing it. There were only two participants that had been through a GORUCK or GTE event before, so for the team to perform at the high level they did throughout the entire event was incredibly impressive. Enjoy the pics and recap below, and be on the lookout for more events and training opportunities like this in the new year! Our Regional Ruck Q, Blindside, has some exceptional things planned for us with something called F3KnoxRucks.

TCLAPS to all the men that completed this event – well done brother. You earned every part of that event patch. Onward and upward!


Pre-Kickoff Workout Welcome Party

The event timeline was the following:

  • 7am – 8am: Welcome Party (bootcamp style workout)
  • 8:30am: Ruck event kicks off
  • 12pm: Ruck event ends

Crispr led the ruck team (and a few others who showed up for the bootcamp style workout) in a character-building workout called “99 Problems” before the ruck-centric portion of the event started at 8:30am. This 1st part of the event was a rucks-off workout, which served as the initial Welcome Party. In a GORUCK or GTE event, “The Welcome Party” is typically the first session of PT done before the team steps off to move towards their first location. This hour-long Welcome Party workout didn’t disappoint.

Kickoff + The (Ruck) Welcome Party

The ruck-centric portion of the event kicked off at 8:30am, and Crispr and Steam walked the participants  through the initial introduction, safety-brief, roll-call, gear check, formation discipline, and another Welcome Party, but this time all with a ruck on.

Movement 1

The first movement was led by Crispr. The team was given a timeline of 30-minutes to ruck (with sandbags as well) from the start point to the base of Everest. A few standards were called out before this movement began:

  • Sandbags cannot be dropped – any sandbag that is dropped will result in the team executing 5 man-makers
  • The team must stay together – not getting too far apart. If there is a significant gap in the line, the team will execute merkins

Throughout the event, the Cadre also put a TL, or Team Leader, in charge for a period of time. This did a few different things throughout the event:

  • It reinforced the mission of F3 – by invigorating male community leadership
  • It allowed different men, whether a seasoned Rucker or not, an opportunity to lead a team through a specific challenge, ruck route, or obstacle. This was modeled after the way TL switches work in a GORUCK or GTE event – and every TL did an exceptional job.

Challenge 1

Once the team arrived at the base of Everest, Crispr initiated the 1st team challenge: Connect all of the sandbags together with carabiners and carry them to the top of the Summit in 15 minutes. 

After the TL did a great job at communicating vision for how this needed to be done, the sandbags were linked, lifted up, and successfully carried to the very top of the Summit – all under 15 minutes.

Challenge 2

After the team brought up all of the sandbags to the top of the Summit successfully, they got back in their three column formation and had a few minutes to grab water and nourishment before the next challenge. While the team was taking a brief rest, the Cadre chucked all the sandbags down the Summit hill (as far as they could throw them).

The next challenge was the following:

  • Part 1Retrieve the sandbags from the Summit Hill. You must bear crawl the sandbags back up. However, no man may take the same sandbag up the entire time. When they all come back to the top, align them correctly with the patches facing up.
  • Part 2(sandbags were once again chucked down the hill by Cadre) go to the very bottom of the hill and complete 10 man-makers as a team. Bear crawl up the Summit hill and on your way up, drag the sandbags scattered around back up with you. 

The TL did a great job at aligning the team to the gameplan and executing effectively.

Movement 2

The 2nd movement was from the top of the Summit to the base of a field right below the Coliseum, which is where another challenge would await the team.

Challenge 3

The 3rd challenge was the following: In 5 minutes or less, the team must throw all of the sandbags across this field, the width of the soccer field below, and end up at the tree facing the Chapel.

At this point in the event, the rain was starting to become a little more steady as well – adding in an extra layer of character-building suck.

Movement 3

Movement 3 was a walk in the park – literally. After the team completed the previous challenge with about 30 seconds to spare, they took a leisurely stroll across the street to the big soccer fields, where a set of larger challenges awaited them.

The Soccer Field Challenges

The soccer field challenges were probably the longest and most difficult of the entire event. (1) Because the event was more than halfway through and (2) The rain came down continuously heavy.

The team made multiple perimeter laps around the soccer fields during this evolution, and completed the following over the course of 35 minutes.

  • 10 merkins at each corner
  • American Indian shuffles around the field
  • Casualty plan – 1-2 men taking off their rucks and the team figuring out how to carry the extra weight
  • Completing 3 laps around the fields in under 10 minutes (it’s a huge set of fields)

To which they performed excellently.

To wrap up the Soccer Field Challenges, part 2 of “99 Problems” was also completed by the team, in which battle buddy teams executed a DORA workout – 1 buddy knocking our ruck reps while the other rucked to and  from a soccer goal across the field.

There was another opportunity for the team to grab nourishment before we started to make our semi-final approach back to the flags to end the event.

Movement 4

Movement 4 consisted of the team moving from the soccer fields and up to the top of Pickett’s Charge – all the way to the doors of the admin building of the Asylum (Lakeshore Park). There was a final workout completed by the team, before taking the final movement (The Long Walk) to the Pavilion for the Endex and patch ceremony.

Movement 5 – The Long Walk

The final movement back to the starting point in any GORUCK or GTE event is typically referred to as “The Long Walk.” Why? Because at this point, especially in the now pouring rain, and after completed numerous challenges and movements as a team together – this walk seemed pretty long.


Once the team made it back to the starting parking lot – gear was dropped off at cars (all now soaking wet) and they converged under the Big Pavilion to close out the event together. At the end of every GORUCK or GTE event, there is a patching ceremony – where the Cadre will share some of the takeaways they witnessed from the participants, and share final encouraging words – all before the event patches are bestowed.

Every single participant earned their patch on Saturday – embracing the suck to come together as a team and crush it for 5 hours. Well done men!

There were 10 Ruckers that completed this 5-hour event together, and if this is any indication of the type of grit, determination, and physical, emotional, and mental toughness the GTE ’24 team will have in April, we’re in for an absolutely incredible event.

Iron Sharpens Iron!


8 Year Anniversary Brolympics Pre-Blast


Date: Saturday, November 4th, 2023

Time: 7:00am – 9:00am

Location: The Asylum AO

➡️ Register For Our 8 Year Anniversary Brolympics Here ⬅️

Click the link above to register either as a competitor or volunteer. If you’re not competing this year, please consider participating as a volunteer – to help make this event a success. Someone from our Brolympics planning team will reach out to you soon with more info.


Our Brolympics team is working on putting on an awesome event to celebrate 8 years of F3 being in Knoxville.  Stay tuned into Slack over the next few weeks as we share some of the things you can expect this year. You’ll also see updates and info in the weekly regional newsletters Kickflip sends out.

⬇️ Check out some of the photos from our anniversary / Brolympics events in the past below ⬇️

Including this epic hype video that La-Z-Boy made

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What you don’t want to do is miss this epic event!  Join F3 brothers from around Knoxville in this epic event of Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. Iron Sharpens Iron!

-Onstar and the 2023 Brolympics Planning Team

Forg3 2023: The Inaugural Year

Forg3 2023 Backblast

Sixteen men decided to invest their time, energy, and resources for the first year of Forg3 this past September 22nd – 24th. There is a backstory to how all of this came about, which in reality is a small part of a much larger story we all find ourselves in. While you won’t read the full backstory of Forg3 here, you can count on it being shared over the next year at different F3 workouts around Knoxville, through social media, podcast episodes, small groups, and more. And let me be the first to say it’s not because of me, or us (the guys that were a part of Forg3 this year). It’s because of what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do both in and through the hearts of men and their families.

While this will not be a 100% comprehensive backblast or AAR (After Action Review), this will provide an overview into the heart behind Forg3, as well as showcase some of the experiences the sixteen men that were there shared together. If you didn’t make it to Forg3 this year, don’t worry brother – we’re less than a year away from the next one. You’ll see content, links, and resources below that will help tell the Forg3 story, and I encourage you to check ’em out.

Iron Sharpens Iron!

-Steam (Dan Henson)


Doe River Gorge is situated in the beautiful mountains of East TN; around two hours from Knoxville to be exact. A beautiful stream runs through the mountains, and was actually right behind the cabin we stayed in (only a short 7-10 minute walk from the parking area). To find out more about Doe River Gorge and the awesome Kingdom work they’re doing – visit https://www.doerivergorge.com/.


The overview for the weekend was relatively simple by design. There were both structured/scheduled times and unstructured/un-scheduled times. We felt that this would be a good mix during our time at DRG. The goal of the weekend was to invite men into a deeper story, and to create opportunities for them to engage not only with one another in purposeful ways, but also with their Creator.

As I mentioned above, this will not be a 100% comprehensive backblast for Forg3. This AAR / backblast will serve as an overview of Forg3, and will highlight some of the key themes and things the men experienced together. While every detail about the weekend will not be shared here, I am confident you will be hearing stories from Forg3 throughout the rest of the year from the men that attended around your AOs. So from an overview perspective, here’s a look at what went down Friday – Sunday at Forg3 this year.


  • Speaking Q: Steam – The 4 Actions High Impact Men Are Called To In 1 Timothy 6:11-12
    • Flee things that are tangling you up in your race. Things that feel heavy (Hebrews 12:1-2)
    • Pursue purposefully
    • Fight the good fight
    • Take hold of who you were called to be as a HIM.

 But eventually, every one of us needs a band of brothers. Not accountability partners, but guys who we can take a journey with, and go to battle alongside. – John Eldredge


  • Morning workout Q: Onstar 
    • Word: Pick up the 6, you’re not alone, life is far better with a Shield Lock

  • AM Speaking Q: Onstar – What Is Your True Value As A Man?
    • What masks do I have and am actively wearing as a man?
    • What defines the value of a man? Look at Matthew 6:26
    • Ask yourself “Am I helping the people around me see their true value? Their God-given talents and abilities?
  • PM Speaking Q: Dung Beetle – Live Freely In The New Creation That God Has Created + Restored
    • Do others recognize your faith and courage by the way you live your life?
    • What is our call as men? What is our primary duty? Look at Romans 13:8-10
    • What does perseverance and endurance look like in your life? Check out Romans 5 for a great template of this
    • How are you training in your fitness, your fellowship, and your faith? (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
    • Be expectant of restoration (1 Peter 1:1-25)


  • Speaking Q: Steam, Brick, Onstar, Dung Beetle

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace; it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. the body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped off finger or cut off toe we wouldn’t amount to much would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go and ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

If you preach, just please God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

-Romans 12:3-13

And that’s how we ended our time at Forg3 2023 – with a challenge and encourage to every man there:

Be the man God purposefully created you to be, because brother, you have much to offer those around you. The goal is not to do better, work harder, or have a 5-step plan to get back on track. No. The goal and hope is that we would walk courageously as the High Impact Men God has called us to be. 


  • Count-Off: 16 + 1 honorary FNG (Trap Door)
    • Trap Door was our host with DRG during the weekend
  • Name-o-Rama
    • F3 Knoxville: Steam, Brick, Onstar, Dung Beetle, Abacus, Crispr, Tenderfoot, La-Z-Boy, Dart Gun, Noodles, Skewer, Mathelete, TriDelt
    • F3 Smokies: Duracell
    • F3 Morristown: Enos
    • F3 Roco: Skeletor


Onstar led us through a killer 60-minute workout Saturday morning, which like every F3 workout, ended in a COT. Before we left DRG on Sunday morning, we also had an opportunity to gather in a COT and do one last name-o-rama together.



We (Steam, Brick, Onstar, and Dung Beetle) are deeply honored to have been a part of Forg3 this year. If you were at Forg3 this year – thank you for entrusting us with your time, energy, resources, and hearts for the course of a weekend. Stay the course, keep the faith, and fight the good fight men.

Until next year,

Iron Sharpens Iron!


Forg3 2023 Tour – THE Equalizer

The Scene 

  • The Equalizer
  • 5:30am – 6:30am
  • High 60s + muggy

F3 Welcome + Disclaimer

  • Welcome to F3: Fitness – Fellowship – Faith 
  • My name is Steam and I’ll be your Q this morning 
  • A few things before we begin: 
    • I’m not a professional 
    • You’re here on your own volition
    • You know your injuries if you have any so if you need to modify anything we do today feel free to do so, but push yourselves and the men around you. They deserve it and so do you. 
  • FNGs?
    • No, but – we did have Trash Panda join us from F3 Franklin! Just moved to Knoxville and is looking to get plugged in.


  • SSH: 20×4
  • Rockette: 10×4 
  • Cherry-Pickers: 5×4
  • Baby Arm Circles: 10×4 F
  • Baby Arm circles: 10×4 B

The Thang 

  • Entry Ticket: 10 man-makers

(1) Tennis courts

  • — 4 Corners — 
    • 4 cones / 4 corners 
    • 2 cones in the middle 
    • Start in the middle – execute both Xs (10 reps on a 1-count)
    • Run to 1 corner + execute the X (10 reps on a 4 count)
    • Come back to the middle and rinse and repeat these two exercises before going to your next corner
    • Movement to each corner from the middle: bear crawl 
    • Movement from each corner to the middle: run 

(2) Splash pad w/benches

  • — 10s — 
  • 2 pavilions – left and right (facing away from the AO)
  • Right: Incline Merkins 
  • Left: Dips

(3) Bermuda Triangle 

  • — 3 POC – 3 corners — 
  • 2 cones at each corner 
  • All X reps are 25 on a 1 count 
  • When you complete 1 corner, sprint up to the top benches on the left, and execute 10 SSH and come back
  • Rinse and repeat for every corner 
  • Recover here with Al Gore

BTTW to the flag


  • Exit Ticket: 10 man-makers
  • Core 4
    • 25 LBCs (1 count)
    • 25 Flutter Kicks (4 count)
    • 25 Penguins (4 count)
    • 25 Hello Dollys (4 count)
  • SWS

COT (Circle of Trust)

Count Off

  • 12

Name o Rama

Word — Forg3 2023


We are rolling out our first F3 Knoxville men’s retreat this fall – Forg3! Forg3 was created with F3 men in mind – to strengthen the bonds we have with each other and our Creator, over the course of a weekend retreat.

Forge (v.) – to shape and mold into a new condition, by heating in a fire / to move forward gradually and steadily.

Forg3 (n.) – an invigorating 40-hour weekend retreat to challenge and encourage F3 men in their pursuit of high impact manhood. You can expect to engage with other men in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd F sessions, to better understand who you are, whose you are, and the High Impact Man God has called you to be. You’ll have opportunities throughout the weekend to seek adventure, to rest, and to sharpen iron with other F3 men physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

If you love adventure of the heart, mind, body, and soul – Forg3 is for you. Forg3 was created for F3 men, by F3 men, as a way to engage together for a purposeful and relationally-driven weekend to step further into the men God has called us to be.

Here are the fast facts about Forg3 2023:

  • Dates: Friday, September 22nd (7pm) – Sunday, September 24th (11am)
  • Location: Doe River Gorge (Hampton, TN)
    • Situated in the F3 Northeast TN region up near Johnson City and Elizabethton, Doe River Gorge’s campus is tucked into the side of a mountain and offers incredible beauty, very clean and comfortable cabins by the river, and miles and miles of adventures to be had.
    • From Knoxville: only around 1.5 – 2 hour drive
  • Cost: $110 (Covers all of your lodging, meals, and retreat materials for the weekend)
    • Via Venmo or cash to Waxjob
  • Check out the #forg3 channel in Slack for more info