Don’t forget to stretch

The buildings with red letters that look like ESPN’s logo are popping up everywhere. East Shore Athletic Club, home to a swimming pool, a racquetball court, and anything a health seeker could want, including a baby-sitter, started with the Mt. Pleasant location on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. After Kent Jordan bought the joint in 2002, he built eight gyms on almost every island and peninsula in the Charleston area. Memberships start at $54/month for singles who join for a year, with a $75 enrollment fee. Two-year contracts are $50/month. Join and get healthy, knowing that exercise relieves stress, releases endorphins, aids in preventing illness, and helps you look better in a bathing suit. Go to www.eastshoreac.com to find a nearby location. —Lindsay Sainlar


Downtown private studio Wellspring Fitness (207 East Bay St, 727-9900) presents its new “Mommy Fit” program, a blend of effective fitness and nutrition to help ensure a smooth pregnancy — as well as delivery — for expecting mothers. Whereas in the past, medical professionals insisted that limited movement was essential during such a sensitive stage in a women’s physical life, modern science has shown that regular exercise significantly increases the health of the mother and baby. Keeping such advice in mind, the “Mommy Fit” program teams fitness and nutrition experts from Wellspring Fitness with the member’s OB-GYN to create a strictly monitored exercise and diet regimen, resulting in a reduced risk of premature birth, quick loss of excess fat from pregnancy, as well as fewer medical interventions like Caesarean sections. To learn more about the “Mommy Fit” program, visit www.wellspringfitness.net. —Laura Zapp


Step it out

Getting a little bored with your aerobics and yoga classes? Maybe it’s time for you to get involved with a more exciting, alternative workout. The dance form known as stepping, or stomping, has moved into the mainstream culture and taken the country by storm. Originally known as a type of dance performed by African-American slaves, stepping has evolved into a form of bonding and pride within African-American fraternal organizations. Stepping is not an exercise for the faint of heart — it takes a great deal of time, stamina, skill, and military-like precision. When preparing for step shows, groups have to work out regularly and practice for two to three hours per night, in addition to several hour-long practices on weekends. Many choreographers are now offering “stomping/stepping lessons” to the general public in classes and exercise videos, so strap on your boots and head to the gym and start “Stepping It Out!” —Ashley Lewis


On Top of the Fitness Game

Fed up with the crowded, impersonal gym, but still want access to the most up-to-date fitness equipment? As a 26-year veteran of the fitness scene and a former Mr. Junior America, New York native Steve Basile (pictured left) understands. Pairing a non-intimidating workout environment with hand-picked, highly skilled and supervised personal trainers, sessions at Steve Basile’s Top Shape last an hour and average $50. In a culture entranced by poor diet, unhealthy habits, and an overall sedentary lifestyle, Basile is convinced that altering those key aspects of health will help people avoid disease later in life. By incorporating physical activity and nutritional advice into a step-by-step guided routine, clients of Steve Basile’s Top Shape can enjoy a new look and a new attitude toward the gym experience. To learn more about Steve Basile’s Top Shape One-to-One Fitness, visit the Top Shape at 475 East Bay St., call 723-2002, or check out www.stevebasilestopshape.com. —Laura Zapp


Over the hills and through the woods

Anyone who’s been up a trail or two knows that the Carolinas are a hiker’s paradise. Chronicling her adventures in and around the Appalachians, computer scientist-turned-seasoned outdoorswoman Danny Bernstein’s (pictured right) newly released guidebook, Hiking the Carolina Mountains, is a must-have for anyone hitting the footpaths this spring. Complete with 57 day hikes ranging in length from two to 13 miles, as well as short films and pamphlets on the featured locations, Hiking the Carolina Mountains tracks deep into the western North Carolina mountains as well as upstate South Carolina, exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway’s captivating Craggy Gardens, the remains of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge on Mt. Pisgah, and the summit of Cold Mountain. With each entry equipped with maps and detailed directions, mileage, elevation gain, trail highlights, fees, and hiking regulations, Hiking the Carolina Mountains is the perfect trail companion for hikers of any age or experience level. Visit www.milestonepress.com to order your copy. —Laura Zapp