Archive for October 2009

Happy Halloween from H3!


Happy Halloween!

Have a wonderful (and safe) weekend!  Enjoy a few (all in moderation!) of your favorite treats!  Refer to our Tricks or Treats post for popular candy calorie information.


For all you H3 alums — can you guess who this lovely ‘lady’ is?




The Biggest Loser

Whenever I tell people where I work, I usually get the same response “Oh, so it’s like The Biggest Loser?!”  And then unfortunately I have to tell them, “No, not at all.” 

Well, I guess that is not entirely true.  Hilton Head Health, like The Biggest Loser, is based on jumpstarting an exercise program, learning how to eat healthy and make changes to live a healthy lifestyle.  However, what stands us apart is that we provide the tools to make these changes sustainable and realistic.  Also, we look at weight loss as a byproduct – not an end goal. 

Don’t get me wrong, we see a great deal of weight loss success.  But more importantly, we see life changes.  Individuals leaving here accomplishing things they never thought possible – like going off of their insulin shots, learning to love vegetables, completing a 5K, or even just walking 10 minutes straight on the treadmill.  The stories (and possibilities) are endless. 

Thanks to the popular show on NBC, the reality of losing weight and making these life changes has been showcased through the stories of ‘real’ people. 

Everyone seems to have their own opinion about the show; some feel the show is a little too intense as others find it motivating.  What is true – is that it is definitely creating awareness in the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

See what Adam Martin, H3 Fitness Director, had to say about the controversial show.

“The Biggest Loser is a show that gives the obesity pandemic the attention it so direly deserves.  However, the ‘Hollywood’ gloss may be robbing Americans of the reality of weight loss.  It may be time for The Biggest Loser producers to have a behind the scenes episode because simple math tells us that inordinate weekly weight loss with the recommended regimen is impossible. 

In fact, a recent TIME magazine article interviewed participants and found that all they were eating was sugar free Jello and asparagus for several days, as well as, exercising vigorously in the sauna prior to the weekly weigh-in.  These radical approaches to weight loss would never be recommended to the American public. 

So, why then deceive common Americans with the perception that hard work and calorie control can result in such dramatic weight changes?  Answer:  because that’s what sells episodes!  I KNOW that this altered perception of weight loss is affecting its viewers because on a weekly basis we have guests that have given their maximum physical and emotional effort in fitness classes only to weigh-in on a Friday morning and feel defeated by a number.  The disgusting so-called ‘reality’ television is unfortunately not even close to a reality. 

Therefore, I look forward to the upcoming ‘Reunion Show’ that airs the current lives of 40 of the past contestants.  Let’s see what has truly made them successful for the long-haul, not what motivates them to radically alter their lifestyle in search of fame and fortune.”

-Adam Martin


Do you watch The Biggest Loser?  If so, what are your thoughts on the show?



Halloween Tricks or Treats

By: Callen, H3 Program Intern

Halloween can be a time of tricks or treats, when it comes to making healthy decisions. Candy and snacks of all sorts seem to litter the office space and home during this time of the year.  How are you going to prepare yourself and your family for this time of year but still enjoy a few of your favorite tricks and treats? 

Here are a few tips & ideas to make this time of year a “treat” and not a bag full of puzzling tricks:

Decide before you step in the door to say “no”.  Many offices, homes and cubicles will have a bowl or bag of candy inviting you to indulge.  Making a strong decision beforehand always seems to add some “bang” behind that willpower.

Keep someone else “in the know”.  Let a supportive friend, spouse or co-worker know that Halloween can be a time of trickery for you.  Tell them a few decisions you have made for the holiday. Verbalizing decisions is a helpful tactic to avoid messy slip-ups.

Have a tasty snack that makes you feel involved with the Halloween Festivities.  So that you don’t feel left out on the Halloween “spirit”, grab an alternative “treat”. Here are a few treat ideas that will be sure to not trick you:

Apple Cinnamon Chocolate Treat
Grab a sandwich baggie and break up 2 apple cinnamon rice cakes and add a chopped up Fun-size Hershey’s Chocolate Bar for only 162 calories.

Jello Fat-free Chocolate Pudding cup
102 calories

H3’s Pumpkin Pie (1/8) – 155 calories

*Make a comment: Do you know of some other great low-calorie Halloween treats?

Remember to not feel guilty.   If you have a piece or serving of candy, enjoy it! Yes, that is right, enjoy it!  BUT keep in mind how many servings are in that “small” candy bag and how many calories it contains. Also, remember that candy will be around for a long time; therefore, don’t eat it like its going “out of style”.

Keep track.  Have your handy food journal to keep track of your Halloween candy consumption.  See the calorie content behind a few common Halloween candies and treats:

25 small jellybeans:  140 calories

20 pieces of candy corn:  100 calories

2 Brachs caramels:  80 calories

1 Hershey’s Kiss:  25 calories

1 Mini Tootsie Roll:  25 calories

1 Fun Size candy bar (Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfingers, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, etc.):  80 calories

1 mini bite-size candy bar (Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfingers, etc.):  55 calories

1 Fun Size M&M packet – Plain or Peanut:  90 calories

1 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup:  33 calories

1 Full Size Hershey’s Chocolate Bar:  210 calories

1 Full Size Snicker’s Bar:  271 calories

1 King Size Butterfinger Bar:  480 calories

Apple Cider (Starbucks® Grande):  240 calories

1 Piece (1/8 of 9-in pie) Pumpkin Pie:  180 calories

*Check out to find the caloric content of other favorite candy.

Remember the day isn’t over until your head hits the pillow.  If the first part of your day seemed to be full of trickery (maybe you had your fair share of candy and snacks), don’t give up! You still have the rest of the day to make wise decisions.  As Bob Wright puts it “Think of you days in halves.” So the first half was a major slip up, make the second half out-shine the first!

Keep yourself occupied with activities rather than food.  Sometimes we eat several hundreds of calories because we are bored. During Halloween, there are many activities you could partake in to keep your mind and body occupied!

–  Carve or paint a pumpkin

–  Rake leaves

–  Walk with the kids (or your neighborhood kids) when they “Trick or Treat”

–  Volunteer your time at a local school’s Halloween Festivities

–  Make a scare-crow (or other Halloween decoration)

–  Take a hay-ride

–  Apple Picking

Make a comment: What are you favorite Halloween activities that keep you busy?


 Have no fear this Halloween, take courage, you can master this time of tricks with your own healthy tactics.  Hopefully by following these helpful hints your Halloween will be a treat for you this year and not a bag full of tricks!


*Caloric content for the above candy was adapted from




By Jeff, H3 Program Intern and Amber, H3 Fitness Specialist

What would you do if someone walked by and asked: “Hey, can you PNF me real quick, my hamstrings are super tight?”  At first thought, I’m sure your thinking: no way partner I definitely don’t know you that well! However, after checking out this blog I’m confident you’ll be game if someone happens to inquire.

PNF stretching stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, and is one of the most effective forms of stretching for increasing an individual’s range of motion.  It not only increases flexibility, but can improve your overall muscular strength.

What’s more, PNF stretching is perfect for any major muscle group and best when performed with the help of a partner (so you can catch up with a friend at the same time)!   The whole concept behind PNF is the combination of isometric stretching with the relaxation phase of passive stretching.  By combining the two types of stretches, PNF functions in a routine of phases: contract-hold-relax.

Anyways, that’s a quick glimpse on the aspects and benefits of PNF stretching – now it’s time to experience it for yourself! Grab a friend and follow along as I walk you through the steps for safe PNF stretching of the wicked tight hamstrings!

1)  Begin by warming up the entire body – not just the intended muscle group. PNF stretching is more advanced than ordinary static stretches, hence warming the muscles is important for injury prevention.

2)  Start the first PNF stretch by performing a basic hamstring stretch for about 10 to 20 seconds.

PNF Hamstring Stretch

3)  Next, venture into the contraction phase by pushing the back of your leg against the grip of your friend! Contract for 5 to 10 seconds.


4)  Immediately following, relax the hamstring and have your partner push your leg a bit deeper into a passive stretch. Hold for roughly 30 seconds.  


5)  Lastly, it’s time to give your pal a break! Relax the muscle for about 30 Seconds.  


6)  Repeat steps 3 through 5, two to three more times making sure to perform equal repetitions for both legs. By means of the tested routine Contract-Relax-Hold.

After completion of stretching the stiff hamstrings it’s perfectly okay to move on to other muscle groups; in fact I recommend it while you still have the assistance of a friend! Stretching is the most underutilized forms of total wellness, but try to wait 48 hours in between PNF stretching sessions.

Remember, stretching should never be painful even if it is PNF! Make sure to only stretch the muscle to a mild discomfort, being courteous of your comrade. This form of stretching is more advanced, yet with a little time, patience and practice you’ll each be professionals in no time!



Frigid Fitness: Deciphering the Degrees

By Jeff, H3 Program Intern

As winter approaches, the temperature is not only changing, but our thoughts of exercising outside begin to freeze. We start to say to ourselves: “Not today, it’s too cold to exercise outside; I’ll exercise when it warms up!” Well here’s the deal, it’s never to cold to exercise if you prepare!

With a few myths out there, it’s time to learn what’s factual and ten secrets to battling through tough temperatures.

Dispelling Cold Weather Myths

Cold-weather exercise isn’t safe.
False! Nearly everyone can exercise safely in the cold, even individuals with heart issues or asthma. As long as you check with your doctor and learn the H3 ten tough temperature secrets you’ll be fine!

I don’t need to drink as much water since I’m not sweating.
False!  No matter who you are, you can become just as dehydrated in cold weather. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout because hydration allows your body to regulate body heat. 

See - it does get cold in South Carolina!

Ten Tough Temperature Secrets

1. Layer Up.  It is essential to dress in layers so that you can easily remove them as the workout progresses. Start with a thin layer first – preferably material that draws away sweat like polypropylene.  Make sure to avoid cotton and don’t over layer! Remember, exercise does generate a good amount of heat, thus the goal of clothing preparation is to  balance sweating versus shivering.

2. Block It.  You may not be aware, but the sun can be just as harmful (if not more so) in the winter months. Go ahead and put on some sunscreen, lip balm, and sun glasses.

3. Head towards the Wind.  If at all possible, begin the walk, jog, bicycle loop or other workout in the prominent direction of the wind. This way on the journey back home, you’ll  not only have an extra push, but you’ll be much less likely to get the chills.

4. Make your Motivation.  Obviously we’d rather reside in our nice warm beds, but it’s important to maintain our fitness levels over the wintry weather months. This year really make yourself accountable by recording your workouts or performing them with a friend or next door neighbor. Set a goal for the spring and come up with your own personal rewards system for venturing out into the icy elements.

5. Know the Signs.  Be able to recognize the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. These are two injuries that can with no trouble result from exercising in cold weather. By understanding the signs and symptoms you can easily avoid and treat these common cold weather injuries and  know when to head home!

Signs of frostbite include: numbness, burning, tingling, skin turning white, hard, starts to itch, and/or peels.

Signs of the more severe hypothermia include: shivering, goose bumps, confusion, muscle stiffness, lack of coordination, slurred speech and even unconsciousness.

6. Protect the Essentials.  Exposing yourself to the cold certainly poses greater risk to your extremities. Bundle up your hands, feet, and head to protect yourself from frostbite. Lastly, make sure to follow these ten secrets because each will factor into a safe winter exercise experience.

7. Stay Dry.  Clothing that becomes wet from rain or precipitation will unquestionably effect your body’s ability to regulate heat.

8. Check the Weather.  You’ll not only know how many layer to wear, but sometimes it is just too cold or windy to exercise outside. Pay attention to the wind chill because it is one more factor to increase the need for insulation.

9. Switch to a Wintry Weather Workout.  Pick up or learn a new sport/exercise specific to the winter months. Try cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing or even snow boarding. If snow is unavailable you’re your looking to stay warm, find another alternative hit up the gym scene or a new exercise video. 

10. Consume Complex Carbohydrates.  Just like exercising in the heat, foods high in carbohydrates enable the body to properly regulate its temperature.  Additionally, they provide the body that extra energy if need be. Warm complex carbohydrate foods are particularly ideal such as breads, soups, potatoes and cereals.  


Or if all else fails, take a trip down to Hilton Head Health, where we are enjoying 70 degree beautiful weather! 





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