The City Magazine Since 1975

Shaping Up

Shaping Up
August 2009
Teaching tweens and teens smart exercise and nutritional habits

Larry “Bucky” Buchanan learned the importance of commitment and fitness at the tender age of five, after begging his mother to allow him to pursue karate. Buchanan, now 23, laughs, “There was a two-year stretch where my mom dragged me to karate class crying, and she’d say, ‘I told you if you signed up that you were going to continue to do this.’”

It was a lesson well-learned. Today, the black belt and former cocaptain of the College of Charleston men’s swim team serves as program director of Fit Club with Louie’s Kids, an organization fighting obesity in children through exercise, nutrition, and behavioral changes. Buchanan designs the Fit Club fitness curriculum, a customized after-school regimen of varied physical activities, and he also works with the Louie’s Kids’ nutritionist and therapist to help oversee the well-being and progress of each child. Whether leading kids in the Bridge Run, training them for a triathlon, or shaking it in a hip-hop class, Buchanan brings undying enthusiasm, a quirky sense of humor, and deep-rooted dedication to every Louie’s Kids event. “He never gives up on you, as long as you put in some effort,” says 13-year-old Fit Club member Miracle Washington. His official job description includes overseeing the fitness and nutrition programs, but it doesn’t mention fielding phone calls and texts from the kids, passing along his mother’s lesson of tough love and perseverance, or making a heartfelt personal investment in each child. “Louie’s Kids and Fit Club are about more than weight loss. We’re providing tools to be successful: the ability to look someone in the eye and shake their hand. It’s about their journey later on, because that’s what this is, a journey.”