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Huge health and fitness event happening right here in Middle Georgia

Before many of us truly embark on our own personal health journeys, we need something to push us over the edge, so to speak. We need something that is going to spark our zeal and challenge us to once and for all take the maintenance of our bodies seriously.

That spark you’re waiting for is about to happen right now in our very own backyard.

For the third consecutive year, Macon is hosting the annual Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival. Created by Macon’s own Charise Stephens, the festival is a week-long event that will include more than 21 different health/fitness related events, from teachings and workshops on topics like food addiction, to actual workout classes.

GWFF begins Sept. 5, coinciding with a partner event that has been a long standing fitness event in Macon, the Macon Labor Day Road Race. Here’s a listing of just a few of the many other happenings during the festival:

▪ Sept. 6: Free classes at Hometown Yoga

▪ Sept. 7: “Grow Your Salad in a Pot” with Talibah Rashoun and Slackline demo with Ryan Saddler at Tattnall Square Park

▪ Sept. 8: Community walk with Janice Shephard at Tattnall Square Park

▪ Sept. 9: Boot camp by YDZ Fitness in Byron; GWFF Body Competition at the Macon Coliseum

▪ Sept. 10: Festival hip-hop showcase at the Macon Mall

▪ Sept. 11: Yogafest at the Ocmulgee National Monument

I promise you that this is only a fraction of the many events that will be going on during the week. I will be conducting a Sunday morning “Earn Your Breakfast” boot camp at Coleman Hill on Sept. 11 for any guys who dare to join.

To add, for the first time, the festival also will be having what’s called the FITTY Fitness Awards. The purpose of it is to give Middle Georgians like you the opportunity to nominate the people, gyms, restaurants, and so on, that have been most helpful to you during your health journey.

Categories include: Best Gym, Favorite Personal Trainer, Biggest Fitness Inspiration, Healthiest Restaurant, Favorite Athletic Gear Store, Favorite Yoga Instructor, Favorite Dance Instructor, Favorite Boot Camp, Favorite Supplement Store, Best Nutritionist, Best Massage Therapist, Favorite Wellness Advisor, Best Community Garden.

You can vote now on the GWFF Facebook page, and the actual award ceremony will be taking place Sept. 9 at the GWFF Fitness Luncheon.

Now, I can already hear some of you thinking, “I don’t have the money to do any of that.” I’ll go ahead and snatch that excuse from you by letting you know that most of the events are either free or are discounted.

If you have any other excuses to not participate in something during the Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival, I don’t know what else to tell you aside from this: Stop making excuses. This festival is a one of a kind event for Macon that has something for the health and wellness of everyone — including you. Trust me; not only is it worth your while to attend GWFF, but your health and well-being is worth it.

For more information on what’s happening at the event, e-mail Charise Stephens at

And I’ll see you there, right?

Peach County resident Shawn McClendon is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of the health/fitness blog Contact him at