As I sat down to write this column, I glanced over at my half-eaten lunch: a 10-inch pizza with a side of ranch dressing and a diet coke. Then I thought about everything else I'd eaten that week: a huge dinner, desserts and heaps of leftovers.

Holiday eating habits can really throw a wrench into an otherwise healthy lifestyle. It's no wonder so many make getting back in shape a priority once the new year rolls around, but inspiration doesn't always come cheap.

With some of the special offers from local gyms, however, slimming down can be an affordable goal in 2013.

Planet Fitness in West Ashley is offering a basic annual membership for a $10 down payment and $10 per month. Members with a basic plan have unlimited access to equipment and free fitness training. For an additional $10 per month, members can join the black card plan, which will allow them access to tanning beds, massage chairs and other amenities. Both specials will be offered until Wednesday.

“We're geared toward the first-time gym user,” regional manager Shelly Choquette said. “It's not a place for the grunting body builders, so it's not an intimidating environment.”

If your gym's location is an important factor, you may want to look into East Shore Athletic Club, which has 13 facilities across the Lowcountry. Until Sunday, they'll be offering an exclusive Savvy Shopper Daily Deal for a 30-day unlimited membership to any of their 24-hour facilities. The $19 deal, which can be purchased at, is $59 less than the original price.

Gold's Gym also is offering reasonable membership rates. For $10 a month, members can use the gym's fitness equipment as often as they like. An extra $10 per month will get you access to any of the daily fitness classes, such as yoga, cycling or Pilates.

Monthly memberships at Palmetto Fitness in North Charleston typically cost $35 per month, but in light of the new year, they're offering the package for $20 per month. Plus, new members won't have to sign any contracts or pay enrollment fees.

Taking a few yoga classes throughout the week can be a refreshing alternative to the conventional gym experience. Jivamukti in Mount Pleasant hosts $5 yoga classes every week that are open to nonmembers. Check the website at to see the class schedule.

Everybody has different workout goals, so it's best to shop around before you sign up with a gym. Take a few tours and write down what you like or don't like about each one. Getting in shape can be tough, so be sure you're comfortable with your gym's atmosphere, and its price tag.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5581.