Your Exercise Sweet Spot

Posted On January 3, 2017

‘Eat less, move more’ – you know the drill. But, if you really want to improve your health and fitness in 2017, a local fitness center might provide the push you need.

By Linda Lamb

There are some things you have to do on your own. Try on shoes. Write a thesis. Remember that it’s recycling day.

But as you head into 2017 with your resolution to get more healthy, it might be time to call for reinforcements. Developing a relationship with a local gym or fitness center can be a smart strategy, because adopting better health habits isn’t always easy. It helps to have a support system of expertise and encouragement to help you reach your goals.

Take some initial effort to find fitness activities you can enjoy and stick with, advises Daniel Schrall, director of Doctors Wellness Center.

"It's really about progress, not perfection," he said. "The entire effort of getting healthier can be difficult because our society has put it in people's minds that you have to devote your life to looking like a model in a magazine." 

Instead, he says, the key is a consistent approach that yields steady progress. 

"If you haven't been exercising, start with baby steps," he says. And first think about your personal goals and needs. 

Are you rehabbing from an injury or surgery? Do you want to build strength or flexibility? Are you living with a health condition, such as diabetes or arthritis? Are you ready for a more difficult physical challenge? Are you interested in something like yoga that has an element of mindfulness?

There’s no question being more active can enhance your health. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, regular exercise can lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol stats and reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes. It also may help with anxiety and depression. 

But to reap benefits like these, you’ll have to find ways to extend your January exercise kick into the other 11 months of the year.

"Being an educated consumer is really important" when considering gyms and fitness centers, Schrall says. Check out places in person and ask for a tour. Ask questions about the staff’s credentials and experience. Keep in mind that the latest fitness fad might not be appropriate for your needs.

You'll hit your exercise sweet spot when you find a regimen that helps you make steady progress toward feeling healthier and happier. The fitness center staff should understand that this is the goal, Schrall says.

"Exercise is a tool, not an end in itself," he says. "Exercise should feel good."

Several gyms and fitness centers in the Columbia area. Check websites and Facebook pages for additional details. 

KORE Wellness

1311B Rosewood Drive

You don’t have to be an athlete to make the most of KORE’s facility, but you do have to be serious about improving your health and fitness. “KORE” stands for “kinetically optimal resistance exercise” for wellness, fitness and martial arts. Workout options range from cardio boxing to karate to kettlebell training – or zero in on your upper or lower body. 771.7007 / korewellness.com/

White Rock Boxing 

2150 Dutch Fork Road

This Chapin area gym, which hosts the state Golden Gloves competition in February, also is attracting people of all ages who want to check out the fitness boxing trend. An interesting focus is a boxing regimen for Parkinson’s patients. Coaches say it helps with memory, focus, coordination, balance and dexterity. 530.2844 /  whiterockboxing.com


932 Knox Abbott Drive

For fans of spinning, there’s nothing like a high-energy workout with a bunch of other people who are pedaling away their stress and hopefully, some body fat. This spin studio in Cayce offers no-frills spin classes as well as cardio kickboxing and personal training. 960.3797 / thefixxcolumbia.com/

Brickhouse Gym

519 Huger St

Online reviewers like this gym’s old-school atmosphere. It’s a good environment for people who are into working out with weights – and it’s right downtown. 771.6333 /  brickhousegym.com/

Doctors Wellness Center

2005 N. Beltline Blvd., Suite 4

Medically based programs are led by experts in physical therapy, exercise physiology and nutrition – but in a friendly atmosphere. Clients start with a personal fitness assessment, then have a broad choice of activities ranging from barre to boot camp – including strength training, yoga, couples workouts and group classes. 782.4440 / drswellnesscenter.com

Pink Lotus Yoga Center

711 E. Main St.

The Pink Lotus, in Lexington’s Old Mill, offers a no-judgment “safe space” with classes from beginner level to advanced – including power yoga, swing/aerial yoga and classes geared to athletes. Fun and friendly atmosphere. 931.2074 / pinklotusyogacenter.com

DuBose Fitness Center

169 Laurelhurst Ave.

This center with a personal training approach is run by Joel DuBose, who counts “Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno among his mentors. Safe but challenging workouts to help people meet their fitness goals. 454.2020 / dubosefitness.com/

Jamie Scott Fitness 

702 Crosshill Suite 300-B

An ex-Gamecock football player, Jamie Scott has worked with students at the K-12 level. He’s a certified strength trainer and nutrition wellness consultant. He emphasizes development of positive habits through nutrition counseling, fitness classes, boot camps and personal training. 400.1215 / http://JamieScottFitness.com

Stronghold Gym and Spa

5910 Garners Ferry Road

Stronghold has relocated from Huger Street – and reimagined itself as a laid-back destination that also includes features like massage, spray tans, facials and manicures. Coaching staff gets kudos online for creating a supportive, motivating fitness environment. “It doesn’t have a meat market feel,” manager Sheila Westberry says. 667.9060 / strongholdgym.net/


Richland Mall, 3400 Forest Drive

“Exercising and beyond” approach includes custom Gyrotonic equipment, massage therapy and unusual offerings such as Vayu aerial yoga. The aim is physical and mental conditioning to enhance coordination, strength and well-being. 730.6092 /  gyrotoniccolumbia.com

Personally Fit

1315 A Gadsden St.

This studio in the Vista focuses on one-on-one personal training. Your regimen will be based on your personal needs, such as preventing or rehabbing from injury, weight loss, improving your nutrition or training for a specific athletic event. 799-9455 /  Personallyfitsc.com

City Yoga

2121 College St.

Long-established Columbia yoga center with a variety of classes for yoga, mindfulness, meditation, stress reduction and gentle help for back discomfort. 799.5400 / cityyogasc.com/

Anytime Fitness

Several centers in the Columbia area, including Devine Street, Lexington, White Knoll and Blythewood. The idea is to wipe out your excuses about exercise being inconvenient – because with 24-hour availability, you can make your own schedule. anytimefitness.com


Joining your local YMCA gives you a member discounts on a variety of programs for all ages – with possibilities including swimming, diabetes and Parkinson’s programs, weight loss, personal training, Zumba, Yoga and Pilates. Find a Y near you: columbiaymca.org.

Zumba Columbia

Check out this group on Facebook for events, discussion and news about Zumba in the Midlands. Created in the 1990s by a dancer/choreographer from Colombia, Zumba is a fun way to burn calories with workouts that offer a mix of dance moves including hip-hop and Latin dance. facebook.com/groups/209167555807807/