December 2008

Get Fit at Palmetto Athletic Club

Author: amanda nowak | Photographer: john brackett

Everyone who joins a gym does so for a specific reason. They have a particular goal in mind, and something (or someone) has propelled them to take the necessary steps to make a positive change in their life. It could be that their doctor suggested more exercise, or possibly they are looking for a way to reduce stress, or simply that they want to feel better about themselves and their body. Whatever the reason, Palmetto Athletic Club listens to members and provides them with the necessary tools to achieve their goals.

Originally a small fitness center that operated in conjunction with a physical therapy clinic, Palmetto Athletic Club is now one of Hilton Head Island’s largest fitness facilities and is home to more than 350 local members. PAC is located mid-island approximately 1/4 mile south of Palmetto Dunes. The building was originally a furniture store and remained vacant for more than six years after closing. Nate Dixon, owner of PAC and Palmetto Therapy Services, eyed the location and decided to buy the building in October of 2007. “Ever since moving to Hilton Head I wanted to purchase the building and design a great facility where I could integrate both rehabilitation and fitness,” said Dixon. “The location and the visibility from 278 made it the perfect spot for expansion.”

Since their expansion in early June of this year, Palmetto Athletic Club has attracted a diverse group of members, ranging from junior golfers to active seniors. Despite hard economic times, PAC’s team members attribute their success to a more health conscious society as well as a few key features: superior equipment, personable staff, exceptional programs, and affordable rates.

State-of-the-art equipment
Choosing fitness equipment can sometimes feel like shopping for a new car. While a midsize sedan may get you from point A to point B, it does not feature the same amenities as a luxury car. PAC members enjoy the perks of having that luxury car. Cardio and strength equipment lines include Technogym, Life Fitness, Precor, and Hammer Strength. Each piece was carefully researched to ensure that the equipment was both safe and effective. The cardio line includes treadmills with touch screens and iPod capabilities, elliptical trainers that incorporate side-to-side motion, and virtual bikes that allow you to race against your best time. PAC’s strength training circuit is designed to target all major muscle groups while keeping your workout quick and efficient. The club also offers plate-loaded, strength machines that are ideal for improving sport performance. PAC also has a room dedicated to core and flexibility training. The unique abdominal and stretching equipment is great for those with low back pain to help strengthen and stretch the areas they need most.

While the equipment is great, it can be slightly overwhelming for first-time gym-goers. PAC ensures that all members receive adequate instruction and detailed orientation with the machines before using the equipment. Trainers also conduct floor hours to ensure that everyone is safe while using the facility’s machines.

Personalized service
PAC is a unique health club, not only because of the equipment, but the positive energy and comfortable atmosphere that resonates within its walls. Like the ’80s sitcom, Cheers, PAC truly is a place “where everyone knows your name.” Regulars attend, not only for exercise, but for fellowship among members and staff. The gym floor is full of husbands and wives, co-workers, neighbors, and teammates. The relationships that extend outside of PAC contribute to the supportive and compassionate environment. PAC’s trainers and group instructors agree that wellness extends beyond the gym and encompasses friendships and emotional health as well.

Group classes play a significant role in PAC’s operation, allowing members to explore new fitness options while providing quality instruction and contributing to the encouraging, “you-can-do-it” attitude of the gym. PAC’s diverse programming allows for people of all ages and abilities to participate in group fitness. Classes such as spinning and boot camp offer high intensity options for athletes, while gentle yoga and senior fitness are geared toward members who may have exercise limitations. The club also offers specialty programs such as dance workshops, fitness for golf, nutritional counseling, and women on weights. As a whole, the group fitness program has sparked enthusiasm in both the traditional aerobics participant and the fitness novice.

PAC also offers private and group training for those who are looking for more individualized workouts. Personal trainers thoroughly assess their clients’ fitness levels, examine their health history, and discuss goal setting to ensure specific program development. PAC’s trainers are as diverse as their clientele but share the same fitness philosophy. The program is based on the ideal that exercise is beneficial for the physical, emotional, and physiological self, and that fitness goals are attainable with regular, efficient training. PAC also offers small group and partner training as a more affordable option for those looking to add variety to their routines.

Consistent and valuable service is the key to success at PAC. Members are sure to receive a product that exceeds their expectations and still fits within their budget. There are different membership options for those who need to count their pennies and flexible programs for part-time residents. One of PAC’s goals is to provide a comfortable arena for EVERYONE to experience the benefits of exercise.

The future is bright for Palmetto Athletic Club with many exciting adventures to come. Club owner, Nate Dixon, has plans to expand the current facility to provide more opportunity for growth and development and to reach out into Bluffton and surrounding areas. However, the local spirit, encouraging atmosphere, and outstanding programming that have distinguished PAC as a superior facility will remain the core of the club’s mission.

Amanda Nowak is the director of Palmetto Athletic Club. She has been with the organization for nearly a year and a half and is excited about the future of the club. To make an appointment to tour the facility or discuss membership options, call (843)842-3225. For more information, visit

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