A group that offers free men's workouts in Northwest Indiana is expanding to St. John.

F3 — which stands for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith — already has chapters in Crown Point and DeMotte. The group meets for early morning, evening and weekend boot camp-style workouts year-round, rain or shine.

"There are no fitness requirements. You don't have to be in shape," said member D.J. Moore, 31, of St. John, who owns an erosion control business. "We never leave a man behind, but we won't leave him where we found him either. You don't have to be a superstar to show up to this thing."

F3, a national organization that originated in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been in Northwest Indiana since 2014. The peer-led workouts are different every time, depending on the whims of that day's instructor.

F3 also does community service projects, like delivering turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving or collecting goods for an agency that assists homeless and at-risk women in Gary. After each workout, the group participates in a "circle of trust," where members pray and share whatever's on their minds.

Mark Tilton, of St. John, joined the Crown Point group after turning 35 and realizing he needed to get fit.

"I showed up on the first day and got killed basically because I was out of shape and hadn't done anything in an eternity," said Tilton, a purchasing manager for Luke Oil. "But I kept coming back and getting stronger."

He enjoys how the workouts always change. The sense of accountability from the other guys in the group ensures he keeps returning. And he has developed lasting friendships.

For instance, his fellow group members made his family meals after he and his wife recently had a baby.

"For me the workout is secondary," Moore said. "It's more about the friendship and giving back aspects of it."

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Health reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.