Saturday, December 28, 2013
Working in a workout group

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I've been wanting to exercise for some time now and I'm finally going to do it. Your column has been quite inspirational to me. I've talked to three of my friends who have been exercising together for about five years now and are willing to let me join them.

Is it even possible for four people to exercise at the same time in the same place? That seems like a lot to me, but I don't want to sound discouraging to my friends and bring this up. They think I'm going to reconsider this anyway, and I don't want to give them the wrong impression.

I'm just starting out and they have been doing this for a long time, so I'm concerned if this arrangement will even work. What do you think?

-- Finally

Dear Finally:

Let me thank you for being your inspiration for beginning a fitness program. You'll never regret doing it!

As far as exercising with four people, that should work quite nicely. All four of you should have the same goal and by working towards that common goal, you should all be able to draw favorably from one another.

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

Now, considering the actual workout, this will take some planning for all concerned. As you have noted, you are only a beginner and need to modify your workout when compared to your friends. They will be able to accomplish this with ease. You can be doing the same exact exercises as your friends, but go slowly at your own pace when doing cardiovascular training or when training aerobically. If the group lift weights, you do them with much lighter weights.

Where the weights are concerned, you should be doing not only lighter weights, but fewer sets and reps. If they (your friends), are routinely doing four sets of 20 reps on an exercise, perhaps you should try and do only two sets of 10 reps. When doing aerobics, if it is a class that's 45 minutes in length, do only 15 minutes of it. This will help you to "break" in properly. Like a new car, you don't wail on it from the get-go.

I also believe that having four women working out together allows you sufficient rest in between sets to properly recover. You will need the extra rest time between your sets, trust me!

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

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has over 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:, Facebook us,and stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.