How to get started on a healthy New Year in West Columbia

Wayne Shuler, City of West Columbia at Bike Station on B Avenue, where there is a bike trail.

It’s a new year, and that means a lot of West Columbia residents are making resolutions involving physical fitness. One of the methods in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle incorporates the gym.

At Muv Fitness in West Columbia, workout traffic increases significantly with the close of the holiday season, and the onslaught of a fresh set of months.

“We see more people come in, in the new year,” said Sandy Powers of Muv.

She said the No. 1 goal in the first of the year is weight loss.

Other interests of Muvs members include improving heart-rate levels, muscle toning, agility, and strength.

Craig Cutter of West Columbia said he began going to Muv two years ago, when it opened.

“They saved my life,” said Cutter, 63. He became interested in working out when he lost a close friend to obesity. Since he started working out at Muv, Cutter said he has lost 47 pounds.

Its been a blessing,” said Cutter. “I’m not on any medications.”

Cutter also credited the staff at Muv for encouraging him. They are like family,” he said. Cutter lifts weights, runs on a treadmill and takes classes. I’m here almost every day.” Cutter also said he is in the best shape of his life. He invited more of people in his age group to come and get healthy. 

Tara Starkey, and Amanda Caughman, of Perfect FIT.

While the new year sometimes provides the impetus for a body transformation, Powers said she sees clients who may start in January, but stick with their plans throughout the year.

Some lose, 50, 60, 80 or even 100 pounds,” she said.

Powers said she gets emotional when looking at the before-and-after photos of clients who lose weight, accomplish their goals, and secure a healthy lifestyle.

The results are like night and day,” said Powers. And she is inspired not just because of the physical change, but because she offers encouragement and support.

We care, and it’s important to have people to believe in you.” And she said that means a lot when people are working to get into better shape. “If they lose two pounds, they’re hooked,” on losing more. Powers added that changing the diet is an integral part of changing the lifestyle, too. Muv helps with that. 

And it’s not just the gyms that draw fitness-seekers.

The calendar has flipped, and you can feel an extra shot of optimism. Everything seems new and fresh. That’s especially true of an exercise plan, And the natural setting on the river, at Riverwalk, is just as fresh and inviting as the new year. You can look forward to getting out and breathing the clean air, and working on a physical fitness routine. The Congaree River, and the West Columbia Riverwalk, are irresistible.

The City of West Columbia is situated along eight miles of the lower Saluda and Congaree rivers. When it comes to recreation, West Columbia offers kayaking, canoeing, tubing, parks, with 8.5 miles of walking and biking trails, and much more, including access to the Riverbanks Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and Waterfall Junction.

Sandy Powers, MUV.

West Columbia is opening a bike lane on B Ave in the spring. It will run from the amphitheater all the way to Triangle City.  The city has installed three bicycle repair stations at Reeves Park – West Columbia Community Center – 754 B Avenue; Moffatt Street Entrance to the Riverwalk and at Riverwalk Park – 109 Alexander Road.

More information is available at

If you don’t go it alone and need some guidance, there is more help, too.

Tara Starkey is a personal trainer who works in West Columbia. Lots of her Perfect FIT workouts are conducted outdoors.

She said she sees an increase in the number of clients she serves in the new year, but she likes to think long term.

We try to encourage people to stay away from saying they are making a ‘new year’s resolution.’ We instead encourage them to start with small changes so that they are not overwhelmed, and ultimately give up,”Starkey said.

She also said she offers a special program at the first of the year.

Riverwalk Fitness

We have been very successful in our “Skinny Jeans Challenge,” said Starkey. She said in the five years Perfect FIT has offered the Skinny Jeans Challenge, its participants have lost hundreds of pounds.

Starkey said it is her job, and gym partner Amanda Caughman’s job to provide a supportive atmosphere so that clients stick with their goals throughout the year. Powers agrees with that approach.

She said MUVs also has a program to encourage weight loss in January, and throughout the year.

MÜV Fitness offers the MÜV It and Lose It Challenge. It involves weight loss or muscle gain plans and includes prizes in a fun, team-oriented environment. The 12-week program begins in late January. In the last challenge, the winner lost more than 90 pounds in 90 days.

In West Columbia, there are various ways to get started on your New Year’s resolution. Go to the gym, plot you own fitness plan outside, or get on a program. But whatever it is, you can be successful throughout the year.

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