Got your New Year's fitness resolutions set yet?

If they are basically eat less, exercise more and lose weight, you may need help. In fact, you probably need a goal, some structure and maybe even a good coach and training friends.

Those of us who live in the Charleston area are fortunate. We have plenty of options other than just joining a fitness club and being on our own.

1. Ton of Fun challenge

On Thursday, Fleet Feet Sports Mount Pleasant kicks off its first Ton of Fun event, a 12-week weight loss challenge.

Chris Minkel, store co-owner, says the template for the challenge was created by another store owner in Rochester, N.Y., and was "wildly successful." As a result, about 25 other Fleet Feet stores across the nation are emulating the challenge.

Among its features are private weekly weigh-ins, weekly group workout opportunities and support via weekly emails, a closed Facebook page and tips on activities happening in the Lowcountry. Registered dietitian Coleen Martin of Eat Smart, Move More will provide nutritional expertise.

Prizes will offer incentives along the way. A male and female champion will be crowned at the end of the event, which seeks to get its participants to lose 2,000 pounds of weight.

The cost is $50, which can be recouped by receiving a $25 gift certificate at Fleet Feet for completing eight weigh-ins or losing 2 percent of your body weight. Another $25 certificate can be earned by losing 5 percent of your body weigh by the end of the program.

2. Free workouts

Think joining a trainer-led group fitness program is too expensive? Think again.

Louie's Kids, a locally based nonprofit that works to fight childhood obesity, offers weekly "Free Family Workouts" for the community.

While the workouts are primarily geared for children and their families in the program, the public is welcomed to join in the fun. The workouts are led by a rotation of trainers with expertise in everything from CrossFit to boxing.

The workouts are 6-7:30 p.m. Thursdays at McMahon playground in Hampton Park, 9-10:30 a.m. Saturdays next to the pond in Hampton Park, and 9-10:30 a.m. Saturdays at The Cathedral of Praise in North Charleston.

3. Run/walk clinics

A New Year's resolution staple for decades in Charleston, joining a multiweek training clinic for a springtime 10K or 5K is an ideal way to span the challenging winter months into early spring.

For true beginners, Try-Sports and MooreOnRunning's "Couch to 5K" clinic, coached by "former couch potato" and now ultra-marathoner Noah Moore, starts at 7 a.m. Sunday outside of Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant.

The eight-week program, featuring a training plan of three runs per week, will train participants to finish the Catch the Leprechaun Run on March 13. The fee is $50, but it includes discounts on gear at TrySports and the race.

The Summerville Family Y kicks off its 10-week "Y in Training" on Jan. 7, one at 10 a.m. at The Ponds facility and the other at 6 p.m. at the downtown Y.

The downtown clinics will be at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The clinics at The Ponds are to be determined. Both are designed to prepare people to run or walk the Y's Shamrock Shuffle on March 15.

The cost is $65 for Y members and $90 for nonmembers.

The "official" Cooper River Bridge Run Training Clinics start Jan. 15 and go for 12 weeks.

One clinic coached by longtime local running guru Howie Schomer will be at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at the MUSC Wellness Center. The other will coached by personal trainer Katie Blaylock at 6 p.m. Wednesdays at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex Track. The cost is $75.

And finally, Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission will hold an eight-week "Run/Walk Your Way to a 10K" starting Jan. 27.

Two different clinics will held. One will be 8:30-9:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at James Island County Park. The other will be 5:45-6:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Palmetto Islands County Park.

Cost is $60 for county residents and $75 for non-residents.

4. Five free fitness days

All East Shore Athletic Clubs in Charleston will be opening their clubs to the public for five free days of fitness, including access to popular group fitness classes, from Wednesday to Sunday. The promotion is open to all local residents who are 18 and older. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

5. Go by air

Want something entirely different from running, the gym scene crossfit or event yoga?

Try the 12-week "Intro to Aerials" at Aerial Fit's Circus Building, starting at 7 p.m. Jan. 7.

Jordan Anderson, co-owner of Aerial Fit, says the series is designed for the beginner and is a comprehensive introduction to aerial silks, hoops, slings and static low trapeze that will build strength, confidence and familiarity with principles of movement in the air. No previous experience is needed.

"It's great for anyone who is tired of the gym or wants to find a new way to stay in shape and meet new friends," says Anderson.

Cost for the series is $180, which works out to just $15/class.

6. Yoga for men

While the numbers of men in yoga classes are increasing, it's still largely the bastion of females in Charleston.

Local health food chef and avid yogi Ken Immer wants to get more men in Charleston in studios and other classes and created the Yoga 4 Men Workshop and Expo to help do just that.

Yoga 4 Men will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at Sanctuary Hall, 2125 U.S. Highway 17 (north of Isle of Palms connector road) in Mount Pleasant.

The cost is $20. The event will include teachers Immer, Mark Blackmon, Brent Reuger and Brandon Maxey for an exploration of yoga, a workout and an introduction to most of the studios in Charleston. Free passes to studios and a drawing for yoga prizes are part of the event.

7. Look good in undies

While training with a coach and with groups of people are great, sometimes you need another kind of motivation.

Six weeks away is the inaugural Cupid's Undies Run in Charleston, a series of national events created to raise money for a debilitating genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, or NF. The disorder causes tumors to grow all over the nervous system and can cause blindness, deafness, learning disabilities and severe chronic pain.

By getting people to run one-mile fun runs across the nation in their underwear, typically red underwear, the event is projected to raise $4 million for the Children's Tumor Foundation this year.

8. Cardio Tennis

Tennis is a good fitness activity if you're good at tennis. But for those prone to hitting balls out of bounds, it can be a game of mostly stop than go.

Cardio Tennis, created by the Tennis Industry Association in 2005, helps both fitness and finesse and is now being held at more than 2,000 tennis facilities in the United States and many in the Charleston area.

In a nutshell, Cardio Tennis classes are geared toward keeping players in their target heart-rate zone so they can burn the most calories and get the best workout possible in the hour-long sessions. It's more about training than playing, but in the end, helps create both a better tennis player and fitter person.

For a lists of local facilities offering cardio tennis, go to

9. Masters Games

Training for goal events also applies to those in their golden years.

Starting Jan. 28, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, along with several other area recreation organizations, is launching the Lowcountry Master Games.

The games will feature a different sport or event each month this year. The games, which include basketball, softball, racquetball, golf, bocce, table tennis, track and field, along with several others, will be held at different locations throughout the greater Charleston area.

"As the fastest-growing segment of our population, the 50-plus market deserves attention," says PRC's Fitness and Wellness Program Manager Allison Foster.

"Powerful, active and competitive 50-plussers are redefining age as we know it. They personify the adage 'age is just a number.' Most are living longer, healthier, more productive lives with little thought of slowing down. The Lowcountry Master Games capitalizes on this trend."

10. Don't forget Fido

The Lowcountry can be a tough place for dogs to run along their owners because of the heat and humidity most of the year, but this is a great time to ease into shape by running with your dog.

Now there's an event designed to give both you and your dog a goal.

On March 1, the Running With the Hounds "canicross" 3-mile run will be held on the trails at Middleton Place's equestrian center. But now is the time to get your dog, only if suited for long-distance running, ready for the run.

Popular in Europe, canicross involves running with your dog with a hands-free, tandem harness. Those who don't want to run or use the tandem harness can walk. The event also includes a 5K trail run for those who don't want to run with dogs.

Fees for the canicross run are $30-$35. Money raised benefits the Middleton Hounds.

11. Get a virtual coach

In our increasingly virtual world, online-oriented coaching is taking root.

Starting Jan. 2, former Try-Sports owner Jim Kirwan will launch Get America Moving with a free 30-day challenge for those who sign up on his website,

Once signed up, participants will get information on choosing one of many programs Kirwan has designed from his years of working with beginning runners and the Healthy Charleston Challenge.

Kirwan says his target is people who are truly sedentary, not the self-motivated who just do it, including older people and those who make up the 35 percent of obese and overweight people in the United States.

As part of signing up for the challenge, Kirwan will provide another free gift, the Exercise BASICS Formula, to help people choose a longer-term program involving baseline activities (such as chores and climbing stairs), aerobic activity, strength training, interval workouts and stretching. Those who sign up will receive four informational videos and support PDF documents.

For those who want more, he will provide products for sale, such as the 52-week 5XFT fitness transformation plan, for $250 and "Anyone Can Run" training program for $125.

12. 1 to 100

Year-round, Charleston offers at least 150 runs, walks, bike rides and triathlons to set your sights on.

The list is too numerous to go into detail, but just the runs themselves include distances from one-mile, such as the Montague Mile (Aug. 3) in North Charleston to the new 100-mile Hell Hole Hundred trail race June 7 in the Francis Marion National Forest.

For a complete calendar, go to

Reach David Quick at 937-5516.