Columbia hosts ‘Get Fit Columbia’ to showcase exercise options

ccope@thestate.comJanuary 25, 2014 

— ONLINE

Exercise, like a new pair of running shoes or yoga pants, is not one-size-fits-all.

That’s why the city of Columbia’s Drew Wellness Center hosted Get Fit Columbia on Saturday, showcasing classes and amenities the facility provides as well as shining a light on local businesses that offer fitness programs, said Jada Hubbard, the center’s director.

For a few hours, fitness and cooking demonstrations focused on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Anna Garnica led a TurboKick exercise class, which consisted of high-energy moves, from jabbing arms to jumping jacks and kicks. Garnica wore leggings that had superheroes on them to show that “exercise doesn’t have to be boring,” she said.

Elizabeth Callahan grinned while following Garnica’s lead. Callahan said that Garnica is her mentor and after participating in her classes, Callahan decided to become a fitness instructor as well and just finished certifications last month.

Garnica said having a student become an instructor is inspiring.

“It lets me know what I’m doing is making a difference,” she said.

Programs at the wellness center are aimed at making a difference as well, including the Girls on the Run program, which focus on issues that face young girls, such as bullying, self esteem and healthy lifestyles.

“It gives them a sense of empowerment that they have limitless potential,” said Marshall Tinsley, who helps out with the program.

Michelle Miller also enjoyed Garnica’s fast-paced exercise class and said she burned a lot of energy, sweating after just 15 minutes of a workout. Miller said fitness has been a lifelong interest, and she wants to find a new challenge. She said if exercise becomes stale then the desire to work out is gone.

Miller won a free month to Twisted Sisters Bootcamp at the expo, and conveniently she had researched boot camp-style fitness programs the day before.

Chef Kat Tolbert of Natty Queens Cuisine was in charge of leading a cooking demonstration. She said she would show the crowd how to make stir-fried kale with chicken and vegetables.

She pointed out cooking can be just as important to health as exercise.

“You can work out all day long, but if you’re not fueling your body with proper nutrients you need, your workout is pointless,” Tolbert said.

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.

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