Now that the holidays are over, you know what’s next? It’s time to recommit to health and fitness.

And the coming weeks provide something for everyone in the Charleston area, including a health expo, weight loss programs and multiweek training clinics.

Health expo

Among the new offerings for the new year, comes the inaugural Charleston Health & Wellness Expo, which will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Jan. 9 and 10 at the Gaillard Center.

The free event features health screenings, healthy cooking lessons, fitness testing, massage therapy and ways to connect with the bountiful opportunities to improve one’s wellness.

The expo is a collaboration of HealthLinks, the Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk, and the city of Charleston.

Bridge Run Executive Director Julian Smith compared the expo to something he did at the MUSC Harper Student Center when he worked there a decade ago. This one, though, is “double the size.”

“We timed it for the new year,” says Smith. “It’s going to be really cool.”

For more information, visit

40th year

Speaking of the Bridge Run, it will be first of three Charleston runs celebrating its 40th year in 2017. The others come later in the year: The Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run on Nov. 23 and the Kiawah Island Marathon on Dec. 9.

Bridge Run organizers are seizing the opportunity and are working with The Post and Courier to feature community-oriented promotions, giveaways and events every day for 40 days before the Bridge Run. 

This year’s Bridge Run is April 1 — April Fool’s Day (seriously).

Louie’s Kids

Louie’s Kids aims to get 40 families to participate in its relatively affordable, 12-week “Family Race Club” training program for the Bridge Run.

The program, which begins Jan. 11, is the first of the 2017 Race Clubs launched by Louie’s Kids, a national nonprofit helping to treat childhood obesity and promote a healthier, more productive lifestyle.

In its fourth year, the program is geared to motivate parents and their children to stay active and is open to all Lowcountry families looking to prepare for this year’s run.

“The last few years, Louie’s Kids Family Race Clubs were huge successes, with more than 500 participants, to date, taking part in the program,” says Louis Yuhasz, founder and CEO of Louie’s Kids.

“It has been great to see families come together in pursuit of a goal, and it is our hope to get at least 40 families to participate this year. ... We encourage parents' involvement in our workouts. With their involvement, the parents become the example of change in their own homes.”

The program meets 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. The fee for the entire 12 weeks is $45 for a family of four and $10 for each additional family member.

For more information, visit

L.E.A.N. for life

For the third year, the Medical University of South Carolina Weight Management Center will be holding its L.E.A.N. (Lifestyle Education Activity Nutrition) for Life program, a free, eight-week course that can accommodate up to 40 qualified people. Participants must be at least 18 years old and have no medical insurance.

“The aim of providing this program is to allow underserved populations to receive weight loss services led by an interdisciplinary team of MUSC students trained by MUSC Weight management professionals,” says Tonya Turner.

The program starts at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 28. The classes will be held at the Weight Management Center at 67 President Street, Suite 410.

To participate, call the center, 843-792-2350, or email,

Weight loss study

The center also is providing a one-year, weight loss research study, which is free to selected participants, for overweight men and women. It involves a medication that must be self-injected under the skin daily throughout the study.

To qualify, one must be at least 18 years of age, overweight or obese, not have any other significant illness or disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. Subjects also must not be taking any medications for weight loss and must meet other criteria.

Qualified participants will receive numerous weight management counseling sessions, as well as medical exams, lab work and weight monitoring.

Call 843-792-5427 for more information or send an e-mail with “BLUE STUDY” in the subject line to

Bridge Run clinic

One of the many winter-time training clinics is the “official” Bridge Run training clinic, conducted by the Charleston Running Club.

The clinic runs 12 weeks from Jan. 11 to March 29. Sessions are set for 6 p.m. Wednesdays at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex track, located next to the Mount Pleasant Police Department off of Houston Northcutt Boulevard.

The fee is $95 and includes an entry into the Bridge Run.

For more information, visit

Fleet Feet programs

The Fleet Feet stores in Mount Pleasant and Summerville have offered a variety of popular programs for the new year since first opening in early 2013.

“What makes our training programs special and fun is the people,” says Amy Minkel, co-owner of the local stores.

“Our coaches and mentors truly care about helping each individual reach their personal goals. The camaraderie that develops within the groups is amazing. We train hard but we play hard as well.”

The first program kicks off Tuesday with its 12-week “Ton of Fun” weight loss challenge. The program offers private weekly weigh-ins, access to a registered dietitian and experienced coaches. The registration fee is $50.

“It’s a great way to start the new year on a healthy, active path. Making healthy lifestyle changes that you can stick with rather than fad diets along with developing an exercise regimen that makes sense and can be maintained past the 12-week program is the goal,” says Minkel.

She adds one of the major perks of the program is that if a participant reaches a 2 percent total weight loss, she earns half her registration fee. A five percent total weight loss earns the participant the total registration fee back in the form of store gift cards.

Meanwhile, both stores will offer 5K and 10K training programs for both the Shamrock Shuffle on March 1 in Summerville and the Bridge Run. For fees and times, visit the store’s website,

Blue Sky programs

In its first year, Blue Sky Endurance is offering both a Bridge Run training camp and a triathlon program.

The latter is a 10-week clinic, starting Jan. 9, and is geared toward preparing for the Parris Island Sprint Triathlon. The cost is $185 and includes a training plan, coaches for the swim, bike and run segments, weekly training emails and in-store discounts.

The group meets for a two-hour, coached practice on Saturdays.

“The program is great for anyone who is looking to get an early start on their triathlon season,” says Kayla Edwards, who will be the swim coach. “It is also a good race to set the bar, or gauge overall fitness. We will be coaching all skill levels, and participants can expect to work in a small group and receive very individualized training.”

The eight-week Bridge Run camp, which starts Feb. 7, has three coaches, including the only local male to win the Bridge Run, Marc Embler. The fee is $75, which includes a “gear up discount” and a running singlet. It meets at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at Blue Sky, located in The Boulevard on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.

“Between the three coaches, there are decades of coaching experience for both the beginner and advanced athlete,” says Edwards. “The coaches' mix of passion and experience make this program a must for anyone interested in completing and conquering the Bridge Run.”

For more information, visit

Contact David Quick at 843-937-5516. Follow him on Twitter @DavidQuick.

Contact David Quick at 843-937-5516. Follow him on Twitter @DavidQuick.