Dark with a cool breeze. I arrived extra early. When you Q you should too. I spent time reviewing the amenities (short walls, tall walls, light poles, distances between locations, etc.) to make sure my workout would be a success. I greeted each one of the PAX as they arrived to both (a) have a social interaction before the beatdown and (b) assess who all is there in case I need to modify the workout slightly. It is important to remain flexible and not be married to your plan (e.g. if you planned a lot of long distance running and half the PAX were not runners). The assessment of the PAX should happen throughout the workout. You want to push the PAX but don’t want to make them feel like they don’t belong out here.
Oneder arrived first, on bicycle, and in the dark I thought it was Big Top, because who else rides their bicycle to Germantown bootcamps?
I announced 2 minute and 1 minute warnings before starting the workout. This allows the workout to begin exactly on time. Do not wait for late comers as this reinforces tardiness. If you are going off site, you may want to start with a few exercises at the shovel flag before leaving so that you don’t completely lose someone who is a couple minutes late.
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER:
Would you believe it, but I actually FORGOT to disclaim the PAX at the start of the workout! I had so many topics I wanted to cover and started about 30 seconds early with some ‘free Q tips’ that I somehow completely glossed over the official disclaimer. Luckily, later in the workout, Red Light was performing a modification to a movement and I pointed out that experienced PAX will modify on their own but you could still offer a modified movement in advance and it was at that moment that I realized I had forgotten the disclaimer.
The disclaimer is as simple as mentioning (a) you aren’t a professional and (b) it is the PAX responsibility to be safe and modify exercises as necessary. This is done to cover your six in front of a group of witnesses.
Generally, you might ask ‘Are there any FNGs’ during the welcome so that everyone can be on the lookout to help out the new guy and to provide additional assistance when necessary. If you arrive early and meet everyone in advance then you can skip this.
Done in a circle around the Q. Take control – be the leader. Be assertive, don’t mumble. If something doesn’t work and you have to audible, acknowledge it and move on to the next exercise. Don’t apologize, just move on.
I briefly explained the specifics of counting in cadence and that it serves a number of purposes:
- Creates rhythm which distracts the mind from the task at hand
- Builds teamwork by synchronizing PAX and creating focus
- Not knowing the number of reps discourages budgeting of effort; you get used to going as long as you have to
- “The next exercise is…” [pause] “Side Straddle Hop!” (or name of other exercise)
- “Starting Position…” [pause] “Move!”
- “In Cadence…” [pause] “Exercise!” (begin count 1..2..3)
- Altering inflection on the last rep signals that it’s time to “HALT!”
- “Recover!” is the signal that the set is complete
I warned the PAX to pay attention because there was going to be a quiz at the end of the workout.
- 10x SSH IC
- 10x Hand-Release Merkin IC
- 10x Squat IC
- 10x BBSU IC (slow)
- 10x Merkin IC
- Mosey around lot
Partner 100s (burpees with 30yd bear crawl). This was an easy way to wind the PAX and cut the mumblechatter. This was helpful so I could teach Q School without a lot of interruptions. This was an example of Qing to your strength and something that all Qs should do.
Short Wall Circuit x2
Each PAX took a turn running about 100 yards and functioning as our timer. I was able to discuss the importance of creating scalable workouts that are simultaneously worthwhile for the Mustangs and not overly taxing on the Clydesdales. By performing AMRAP everyone can expend an equal amount of relative effort.
- Box Jumps
- Bulgarian Split Squats (1 leg per round)
All of our workouts took place in generally the same area. Limiting location changes or keeping them close is ideal because, in general, moseying is a recovery for in-shape PAX and is the most strenuous time for the 6.
Transitions between locations can take considerable amounts of time and I informed the PAX that dead time should be avoided because guys are there to work, not stand around. I used our short transitions to explain what was coming up next so we could start right away.
Pop Quiz! We lined up at a light pole and everyone got a chance to lead the group in one of our warm up exercises. If there were no mistakes then we went on to the next guy and the next exercise. If there was the slightest mistake then we did wind sprints and repeated the exercise. Guvnah was up first and absolutely slayed it. Somebody sign this guy up for a Q immediately! Luckily Dial Up and Boudreaux led the Merkins and Hand-Release Merkins so we didn’t have to repeat them. Everyone did such a good job that we finished a little early so we ran more wind sprints to fill the time. I explained that its not uncommon to go through all your prepared material too quickly and to always have something in your back pocket to fill the extra time (e.g. Dora, Partner 100s, 11s, sprints, etc). Carver was hardly winded after the sprints, probably due to all his Ironman training.
- 30x Flutter IC
- 15x American Hammer IC
- 15x Slow Count Glute Raises IC
- 15x Heels to Heavens IC
- 1:00 Low plank
- 10x Shoulder Taps IC
We ended at 6:15 sharp. We never end early and rarely late.
COUNT-OFF & NAME-O-RAMA:
7: Boudreaux (AOQ), Carver, Dial-Up, Guvnah, Hobo (QIC), Oneder, Red Light
CIRCLE OF TRUST/BOM:
The specifics of the COT are  Q in the middle,  Counterama,  Name-o-rama (name, age, F3 Name),  message,  BOM – Ball of Man (prayer),  announcements, and  pic in front of the shovel flag.
My message was about the importance and specifics of the backblast. It is the workout Qs responsibility to post the backblast within 24 hours of the workout, no one elses. The AOQ or ComZ Q (Choker) can help get you set up on the site for posting your first BB. The BB is currently our best way to track attendance (via tags). In addition to filling in the form and writing the facts, know that the moleskin is the story, lesson, or truth nugget and that people actually read the backblasts for the story. Make it fun. I read almost all the backblasts and many PAX have told me they do the same.
- Call out interesting events that occurred during the workout
- People like to read their names on the website. Call out exemplary performances by name. Be wary of belittling people in the backblast unless you know the guy really well and he’s known to have thick skin (e.g. I don’t know why, but Lochte refuses to lock out his elbows during a merkin and does 60% range of motion instead)
- Make up something interesting. Oftentimes the best anecdotes are the ones that are only mostly true…don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
This backblast is taking a long time to write but I know that it will likely remain on the internet for many years to come and that it has the potential to help at least one person. When preparing for this workout (my first Q School), I stumbled across a 4 year old backblast from a region in North Carolina that proved extremely helpful. You never know who is going to benefit from your BB (or when).
Backblast info: https://f3memphis.com/do-this-first