Saturday, January 24, 2015
Working out in a group

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I have been wanting to exercise for some time now and I'm finally going to do it. Your column has been inspirational to me and others. I've talked to three of my best friends who are willing to do this with me and have been exercising for some time now.

My question is this: Is it a good idea for four people to be exercising at the same time? That does seem like a lot to me. I don't want to discourage my friends by bringing this up. They think I'm going to reconsider any way and I don't want to give them the wrong impression. I also need to know if it will work because I'm only starting now and they have been doing this for a long time. What do you think?

-- Finally

Dear Finally:

I think there is much in the way of dynamics going on here! But, allow me to congratulate you for beginning an exercise program. You'll never regret doing it. As far as exercising with four people is concerned, that will work quite nicely. All four of you should have the same general goal and by working for that common goal, you will be able to favorably draw from one another.

Where one of you may be strong in the dieting aspect but less so in the exercise, you will be able to assist each other when the going gets tough. Use one another's strengths to support one another.

Regarding the actual workout, this will involve some planning for all concerned. Nothing formidable though. As you have noted, you are a beginner and need to modify your workout compared with your friends, They will be able to accomplish this with ease. You can perform the exact same exercises, but you must do them with very light weights if you are lifting weights, for example. Perhaps less reps and sets, too. Go slowly when doing cardio-vascular training. Aerobics should be done with your target-zone heart rate in mind. Go slow.

Where the weights are concerned, you must use very light weights and be practicing your form. Believe me, you'll still be getting a workout! This will help you to "break in" properly. Like a new car. We don't race the engine right away. Take it easy.

I also believe that having four people working out together will afford you sufficient rest between your sets. This allows for recovery. You will need the extra rest between sets, trust me!

So, by all means get out there with your friends and take advantage of a wonderful opportunity you have been given. I think it's great that you have friends who wish to include you with them! Now get to it and make them proud!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at and come visit at Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 292-2930.

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