Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

3 Biggest Weight Lifting Fears for Women

by Kristen Clark, Hilton Head Health Fitness Intern

There are plenty of rumors roaming around about why girls shouldn’t lift; today, we’re setting the top 3 rumors straight! If you’ve ever been scared to lift, Hilton Head Health is here to let you know there’s no reason to be. Weight lifting is a great way to burn calories and reach your weight loss and wellness goals.


strength train1 300x300 3 Biggest Weight Lifting Fears for Women

I’m going to “bulk-up”.

  • Many women have a fear in their mind that lifting weights will instantly turn them into a body builder or “The Hulk” to be more precise. The truth is that women don’t have the same amount of muscle growth hormones as males, so we physiologically can’t get the same muscle increases as men.

Lifting weights won’t help with weight loss.

  • Lifting weights in a circuit style will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to calorie burn. You will increase your heart rate as you would with cardio, but you’re also building muscle mass. Even at rest, muscle can burn up to 3x more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

It’s intimidating.

Don’t be intimidated by the boys in the gym!

  • A great way to get comfortable with a weight lifting routine is to schedule a session with a personal trainer or attend a group fitness class such as Body Pump. Look for keywords in class titles such as body sculpt or total body tone.

It’s time to start pumping some iron! Log your strength training sessions so you can keep up with your progress. And remember to lift safely.


Improve Your Breathing and Your Fitness Level

by Aaron Wood, Hilton Head Health Fitness Intern

Breathing is a vital part of life as everyone knows but when it comes to our health we forget how important it truly is.  We get so focused on completing a movement or exercise that we forget about breathing deeply or at all in some cases.  Breathing plays an important role in not only performance but safety, as well.  Three areas of focus where breathing is vital to completing the activity efficiently and safely are stretching for flexibility, strength training and cardiovascular training.


Improper breathing can leave an individual tight and significantly less mobile.  People commonly think when they are stretching that the object is to just pull the muscle as far as possible even if they can’t breathe deeply or really breathe at all in that stretch.  This isn’t functional for us to do.  What I mean by that is when you have reached the point where you can’t breathe or your breathing is very shallow and stressed, breathing is no longer functional due to the fact you can’t maintain that position without the likelihood of passing out.

stretching 1 300x300 Improve Your Breathing and Your Fitness Level

What you want to do is stretch the muscle to slight discomfort in a position where you can breathe, and breathe deeply while you hold the position.  After spending some time in the position, you will breathe in deeply and on the exhale work a little deeper into the stretch only going so far as that you can maintain that deep breath.  You can also just practice breathing deeply to improve flexibility.  Try alligator breathing, where you lay flat on your stomach with your head resting on hands and breathing deeply trying to raise the lower back with each breath.  Or literally just taking out the time to just sit upright in good posture and practice breathing deeply.

Strength Training

Along with proper form, breathing during strength training can be one of the most important aspects to make sure you are doing it efficiently and safely.  When performing a movement, especially one loaded with weight, breathing plays a big role in providing oxygen to the muscle(s) to help perform the task.   The goal is to breathe in on the eccentric (stretching, or easiest part) of the exercise while breathing out on the concentric (flexing, or hardest part) of the exercise. This breathing sequence rushes oxygen to the muscles during the loading of the weight which is when the muscle is being stretched and then the muscle uses that oxygen (along with other properties) to perform the flexion of the muscle. Though, what typically ends up happening is people hold their breathe through the movement making it harder on their muscles to perform the task at hand while also putting themselves in danger of passing out.

Also, holding your breathe through the exercise can result in complications such as high blood pressure.  If you already suffer from high blood pressure, raising it unsafely during exercise can be dangerous and lead to serious injury or other health issues.  The way in which you breathe can also help with the efficiency of performing the task.   And breathing properly promotes good form; breathing deeply during a task usually forces you to correct your posture in order to do so.

breathing21 300x300 Improve Your Breathing and Your Fitness Level

Cardiovascular Training

Obviously, breathing plays a big role in cardiovascular training.  Most of the time, we make sure to breath but we don’t breathe in an efficient way.  Usually when we do cardio, whether it is going for a run, swimming or whatever the case may be, as the activity goes on we start to breath more rapidly and more shallow (versus how we would like, which is deeply).  This makes us less efficient in our activity; ultimately, the activity ends early as we feel more exerted much quicker because we are using more energy to breathe at that rapid pace instead of using that energy to help the muscles perform the activity.

To get better at breathing when it comes to cardio it is important to remember pace.  We pace ourselves in speed all the time while usually neglecting how we breathe in that pace.  That breathing pace should be just as important to us as the pace in which we run, as far as speed.  Breathing steadily along with breathing deeply will help much like in strength training.  As your muscles are performing the task at hand they need oxygen, better breathing helps your muscles complete the activity easier than if they have to do so with little oxygen circulating through the body.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion breathing is of vital importance to performance in exercise or flexibility.  It also plays a vital role in safety.  So next time you stretch, strength train, or take part in cardio training remember to breathe, and not only breathe but breathe deeply and efficiently.  Doing so can be the difference between being unable to improve your mobility, strength, or cardiovascular endurance and reaching those goals that have been eluding you.


Tips for Running in Cooler Weather

by Fitness Coach Chris Varano

running 300x300 Tips for Running in Cooler Weather

Now that the heat of summer is almost over, getting back outside and doing some longer runs will be much more enjoyable.  Even with the cooler weather, there are still important training tips to follow:

  1. Even though the days are not as hot, staying hydrated is key.  You may not feel as thirsty but remembering to drink every couple of miles or planning your runs around drinking fountains is a good plan of action.
  2. Dressing appropriately for the longer run can be a challenge too.  You might feel a bit chilly when you first head out the door but be careful to not overdress.  You should wear clothing that you will be comfortable in for the end of your run, not the beginning.  Wearing light, removable layers will enable you to dress down as your body warms up.
  3. The shorter days can mean you might be running in the dark of early morning or twilight.  Making sure you’re visible to traffic and other people are important.  Wear reflective clothing, use glow sticks or carry a flashlight with you.

Running in cooler weather is always more fun and can enable you to increase your miles, build endurance and stamina following these great tips will keep you on the right track.


TRX: Side Bend

Today, it’s all about that core! The TRX move of the Week is the Side Bend. The Side Bend targets your obliques; it’s a simple move but it’s super effective. You’ll be using your obliques to pull your body weight in and out.

Now that you know the Reverse Lunge, Push Up and Side Bend, you have a go-to, full body TRX workout. Enjoy!


TRX: Push Ups

Last week, H3 Fitness Coach Camila Pacheco focused on a lower body move on the TRX with the Reverse Lunges. This week, it’s an upper body TRX exercise: Push Ups. The TRX takes this simple body weight exercise to the next level. Here’s a few tips to help you execute this move perfectly.

  • Put your arms out in front of you, a little higher than shoulder height;
  • keep your body straight with your core tight and
  • try to hold your same hand placement during your entire set.

Now you have 2 parts of our 3 part TRX workout: upper body and lower body. Next you’ll learn a core focused workout to finish off the series.

What’s your favorite move to do on the TRX?


TRX: Reverse Lunge

The TRX is one of our Guests’ favorite pieces of fitness equipment to use here at Hilton Head Health. Guests not only use the TRX while they’re here, they usually purchase one to use at home, too.  The TRX uses body weight to provides plenty of fitness benefits:

  • increases mobility and flexibility
  • increase muscular strength
  • engages core and improves stability

Fitness Coach, Camila Pacheco has some simple moves she’ll be sharing over the next few weeks. So if you’re looking for TRX moves, our certified TRX trainer has you covered.

This week’s move is a reverse lunge with a knee up:


The Truth about Electrolytes

Most everyone has heard of electrolytes.  It may have been your trainer reminding you to replenish them after a workout, or your doctor telling you to replace them if you have been sick and are experiencing dehydration.

Electrolytes are basically salts, and salts along with water help to keep the electrical charges in our bodies working properly.  Sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous are the most common electrolytes.  Water acts as a carrier for the electrolytes.

boxing electrolytes 300x300 The Truth about Electrolytes

Electrolytes are essential in helping to maintain optimal performance while working out.  When you sweat, your body loses both water and electrolytes.  If you are not properly hydrated both before and during your workout, it can lead to dehydration.  Symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte depletion include fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, muscle spasms and numbness.

Most commonly, we are encouraged to consume sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, to satisfy the replenishment process.  However, these drinks are full of refined sugars, chemicals, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors and a host of other ingredients you simply want to avoid.  Additionally, they are loaded with empty calories, as much as or more than soda.

You can easily make your own healthy electrolyte water replacement.  A basic recipe of citrus and salt will do the trick.  A piece of citrus fruit alone is an excellent and fast source of replenishment and provides natural sugars.  But citrus juice (from oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes) can be easily mixed with water (preferably distilled water as it is the purest; avoid tap water) and a little salt (preferably sea salt; avoid table salt) to create a quick and satisfying sports drink.  For a super charged energy drink, try using raw coconut water, which naturally has 13x more potassium than Gatorade and 2x more sodium than Gatorade.


¼ tsp. baking soda

½ cup orange juice


4 cups filtered water

¾ cup citrus juice (combine various types)

¼ cup raw honey or maple syrup

1/2 tsp sea salt


Yoga Pose: Beginner Side Angle

Yoga promotes stress relief, improves mental clarity and more; and there are so many different yoga variations, almost anyone can practice yoga. Here at Hilton Head Health, our weekly schedule includes an array of yoga classes like: Restorative Yoga, Standing Yoga, Yoga in the Pool and other yoga options with our H3 Yogi Karen Verechia.

In honor of National Yoga Month, our Yogi Karen takes us through the Side Angle pose in the video below:

What’s your favorite yoga pose?


Functional Strength for the Body: Shoulders

Today’s blog is the final part of our Functional Strength Series. You learned how to prevent knee pain, properly move on and off the floor, and now we’re strengthening those shoulders! All 4 moves are demonstrated in the video and descriptions of each movement are below.

Lacrosse Ball Chest Roll (or Tennis Ball)

Wedge the ball between your chest and the wall with your right arm straight against the wall behind you. Spend 30-60 seconds on each side.

Lacrosse Ball Trap Roll (or Tennis Ball)

Wedge the ball between your upper trap (upper shoulder) and the wall. And roll the ball along your shoulder, trying to find knots and sinking into those knots. Spend 2 to 3 minutes total on both sides.

Towel and Resistance Band Hold

Hold a towel directly underneath your right elbow. Hold onto one end of the resistance band while someone holds the other end. Bring your elbow out as far as you can, your arm should stay at a 90 degree angle while keeping hold of the towel.

Shoulder Flexion Roll

Start in an upright seated position. Keeping your arms straight, reach out as you bend forward until your ears are in between your arms. Complete about 3 sets of 15-25 repetitions.

Take about 5-10 minutes on these exercises each day and you should feel a major improvement in your shoulder/rotator cuff mobility.


Functional Strength for the Body: Up & Down Progressions

How many people out there have trouble getting on or off the floor? We get tons of Guests here at Hilton Head Health that have the same issue. But by showing them different up and down progressions, they are able to leave our facility and get onto or off the floor easily. Today, we’re sharing 3 progressions to get you onto the floor and off the floor quickly and easily. Grab a sturdy chair and see the movements below:

Progression 1:

Stand nice and tall and take a large step backwards with your left leg. Using a stable surface like a chair or a bench for assistance, lower your left knee down towards the ground in a controlled manner. Bring your other knee down and bring yourself onto your hands and knees. From there you can safely get onto your back. In order to get back up, come back up onto your hands and knees. Lift up your chest. Bring your right leg forward. Using the chair for assistance, stand up staying as upright as possible. Once you can easily do this on both legs, move up to progression 2.

Progression 2:

Start by standing nice and tall and taking a large step backwards with your left leg. Using your left thigh for assistance, lower your left knee down towards the ground in a controlled manner. Bring your other knee down and bring yourself onto your hands and knees. From there you can safely get onto your back. In order to get back up, come back up onto your hands and knees. Lift up your chest. Bring your right leg forward. Using your right thigh for assistance, stand up staying as upright as possible. Once you can easily do this on both legs, move up to progression 3.

Progression 3:

Start by standing nice and tall and taking a large step backwards with your left leg. Without using your hands for assistance, lower your left knee down towards the ground in a controlled manner. Bring your other knee down and bring yourself onto your hands and knees. From there you can safely get onto your back. In order to get back up, come back up onto your hands and knees. Lift up your chest. Bring your right leg forward. Without using your hand for assistance, stand up staying as upright as possible.

With these 3 progressions, you’ll be moving on and off the floor  to play with your children or grandkids or to exercise in no time! Next week, we’re sharing tips to strengthen and mobilize your shoulders.

If you have functional movement questions or have a request for our next fitness series or fitness blog, email us at


SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline