Bike and Hike

This morning I combined my two favorite kinds of exercise. Bicycling and Hiking. I really enjoy bicycling around town and I get a rush being in the midst of traffic, using my legs to propel myself down the street, even if the car behind me isn’t as thrilled to be stuck behind a bicyclist.

I love hiking the different trails on Oahu, getting out of the city and into the forest, going deeper into the jungle and getting higher in elevation. It’s always a great adventure and good way to burn calories.  For me these are the best kinds of exercise because I feel like I’m actually doing something and getting somewhere.

I can’t do the treadmill or exercise bike, it’s just so monotonous. Even when I climb the stairwell in my building, it’s a good workout but it’s boring and not something I really look forward to doing. But with the bike and the hike, I just can’t wait to get back out there. It’s a real feeling of accomplishment when you reach your final destination.

So today I left the house at 9:15 AM and biked up to the trail head in Makiki Heights. I began my hike at 9:45 AM and reach the trail split at 10:45 AM. From there I took the Makiki Valley Loop up and to the left and then took the Nahuina trail for another half hour up to the top of Round Top Drive. I reached the road at 11:15 AM.

About a hundred feet down the road is another trail, Kalawahine which I’ve hiked before but never in combination with these other trails. I decided to go for it and in my excitement I reached the end in only forty five minutes. It was 12 noon when I turned around to head back down and reached the bottom in just over an hour.

Two and half hours up, one hour down. Pretty good! Plus one hour of bicycling. Now I’m home and it’s lunch time. Eggplant and Edamame.

Eggplant is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin B1 and magnesium, and it is low in calories. Eggplant can be baked, grilled or fried and the skin is rich in antioxidants. The eggplant is a great food and is good for your heart and brain.


Edamame green soy beans are good for you because they provide a source of protein. Edamame helps to combat heart disease since it also contains important omega-3 fats.

Day 37: Sunday Beach Day

Today my son reminded me, “You said we’re going to the beach.” He’s right I did say that, so today I stayed true to my word and took the kids to the beach. We changed into our swimsuits, greased ourselves up with sunblock and walked the fifteen minute walk to Ala Moana Beach Park.

The kids and I spent nearly three hours swimming, building sandcastles and sunbathing. It was a lot of fun and it felt good to just lay in the hot sun and then swim in the cool water. After playtime was over we washed off at the outdoor beach showers and walked back home. I told my son to remind me next Sunday, “Dad it’s beach day.”

Day 36: Climbing Stairs, Skipping Steps

I decided to climb the stairs today but with a little twist, skipping steps. So instead of the usual 134 steps to the top of the stairwell, I reached the top in only 66 steps. I could really feel the difference, not in my legs but in my chest. My heart was beating so hard and so fast that I had to take a short breather every two flights. After four trips up and down, I calculated that I had climbed 536 stairs in only 264 steps. In keeping with my desire to do a little more than before, I added a fifth trip to the the top. I was tired and sweaty and I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest but I managed to make it up one last time. It’s a great feeling when you realize that your body is capable of doing so much more than your brain believes is possible.

For breakfast this morning I had a bowl of oatmeal (100 calories). And for lunch I’m making myself a turkey sandwich with spinach and some dijon mustard on a whole wheat roll. Eating healthy is a lot easier when you have good foods in the house to keep you on track. I’m defrosting some chicken breasts and plan on making a nice salad for dinner.

I haven’t been focused so much on counting calories like before. Instead I’m just trying to stay focused on eating healthy, keeping my portions small and incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my meals.

As for exercise, I try to do something everyday whether it’s walking, riding my bike, climbing stairs or playing on the Wii. I just wish I had somebody to exercise with. I feel like putting up an ad on Craigslist for an exercise buddy. Sometimes I see guys running who are really fit and I want to ask if I can work out with them sometime.

Well for now, I’ll keep going it alone.

Day 34: Healthy Eating

Today my wife and I had the day off together. Our  son went to school this morning and our daughter went to visit her Auntie so that Mom and Dad could have some quality time together. At noon we went for a walk to the Ala Moana Beach Park and spent an hour on the walking paths at Magic Island. It was nice to be walking together with the sun shining down and the cool ocean breezes blowing.

We continued our walk along Ala Moana Blvd into Waikiki and walked along the beach behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hale Koa hotels. It added up to a little more than two hours of intense fast paced walking. At home we made a healthy lunch of a turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a bowl of saimin with cabbage. Our lunch was delicious and satisfying.

I really want to start eating healthy and I’m spending this afternoon making a list of delicious and nutritious foods that we can keep in the house to help us stay on a healthy diet.

Frozen Edamame. This is a tasty treat that is actually a quite popular bar food here in Hawaii. Edamame has lots of proteins and hardly any fat. Just steam it and add salt. I’m putting it on the list for our next trip to Sam’s Club.

Turkey Lunch Meat: I’ve already got a package of this in the fridge and have been making sandwiches all week. Add some lettuce, tomato and a little dijon mustard and it’s a healthy lunch.

Fish Fish Fish: We love eating fish in our house but we need to change our cooking technique from battering and frying to steaming or baking in the oven. At least once a week we go to Chinatown and pick up some fresh snapper and cook at home. When we go to the beach we usually pick up some local fish called Akule and stuff with tomato, onion and garlic and throw them on the grill. Fish is a good protein and even if it can’t always be fresh, I think it’s a nice idea to keep some in the freezer.

Incredible, Edible Eggs: I think eggs are a good source of protein and easy to cook. They do have saturated fat but I can fix that by throwing out the yolk and just eating the whites. Vegetable Omelette is a great way to get proteins and vegetables in one delicious meal.

Chicken Breasts: We usually keep the freezer stocked with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. We buy them in bulk from Sam’s Club and then put about two breasts each in a ziplock bag. Again we need to change our cooking technique and either grill or bake in the oven instead of the usual batter and fry that we employ to make chicken strips.  Chicken breasts is a good protein and pretty versatile as they can go into anything from a sandwich to a stirfry.

FRUITS!: I usually eat at least one piece of fruit a day but I’d like to eat more. My favorite is those little clementine oranges, mandarins or nectarines but I’ve been known to eats apples and/or bananas on occasion. My son LOVES to eat strawberries so we usually buy a big pack of them from Sam’s Club and they’re gone before the week is over.

VEGETABLES!: I definitely need to eat more veggies! It’s just a matter of finding interesting way of incorporating them into my meals. I want to buy some fresh spinach leaves and use them to make salads and on my turkey sandwiches. I don’t know a lot about veggies. I just know that through out my entire life I’ve never liked vegetables. How do I change this kind of mind set. I know vegetables can be delicious if you know how to cook and season them. Just from eating those few vegetarian dishes at school I know that it’s possible to cook, eat and enjoy my veggies. I want to start eating a good mix of veggies.

A lot of these healthy eating ideas came from a few websites that I came across while brainstorming.

1. Reader’s Digest – 11 Healthy Ways to Load Up on Lean Protein

2. Food Exchange Lists from National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

3. Mark’s Daily Apple – How to Eat More Vegetables

I’ll keep doing research on ways to eat healthy and I’ll keep my blog readers informed on my progress. I can’t wait to do some shopping and start buying all the healthy foods I’ve been reading about.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions of healthy foods or healthy recipes, please share with me. Thanks.

Day 6 – Part I and II: Spicy Veggies, Diamond Head, Subway

Today was a long day. It’s six o’clock pm and I’m just getting a chance to blog. Started off this morning with a single slice of dry wheat toast for breakfast (90 calories) and hurried out the door. It was the usual one mile bicycle ride from my apartment to UH Manoa. After class I walked past the sustainability courtyard and got a wonderful whiff of what I later found out was Spicy Garlic Vegetables. I ordered a plate and sat down with my camera to take a quick picture, shoot a short video and chow down. I don’t even know what kind of vegetables were in this plate but they were delicious. The garlic was light and didn’t overpower the dish and the spice was perfect, just enough to make me breath fire but not too hot that I couldn’t handle. By the way, I love spicy food!

After my Spicy Garlic Veggies I walked across campus to use the computer lab so I could print out the study guide for one of my class finals. Along my way I spotted this sticker and it made me laugh because the pig was so cute and I’ve been dabbling in vegetarianism lately. I like eating vegtables, at least what I’ve tried so far but I couldn’t see myself going full on vegetarian fanatic. I mean I love to eat the flesh of poor little animals, if only they didn’t go strait to my hips.

After the computer lab I got back on my bike and headed to another campus, Kapiolani Community College which was a two mile bike ride. I had to go to the testing center to do a written composition for my Spanish class. After that was done I suddenly realized that I had at least two free hours and that I was standing in the shadow of a very popular volcanic crater known as Diamond Head. If you have ever visited Hawaii, Oahu, Waikiki then you’ve probably hiked Diamond Head. It’s about a thirty to forty five minute hike depending on your stamina and the amount of foot traffic. So I pushed my bicycle up the hill, through the tunnel, into the crater, payed my $1 entrance fee and locked up my bike.

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Diamond Head (Leahi) is a 1.6 mile roundtrip and the elevation gain from the trail head to the top is 560 feet. I got to the top in 30 minutes and back down in 15 minutes. I  set the timer on my camera and took my own picture. In the background you can see the Ko’olau mountain range which has dozens of hiking trails ranging from two miles to twelve miles. Most of those trails require a full day or at least a half day to truely enjoy. Maybe once this semester is over I will be able to get back to some real hiking. But for today, Diamond Head was a perfect little starter hike to help get me back in shape.

After my Diamond Head hike I got back on my bike and headed 3 miles across town to yet another campus, Honolulu Community College where I had to take en extra credit exam for my Philosophy class. By the time I got there I was dog tired. Luckily the exam took me about an hour and a half  so I got to rest and munch on pretzel twists (120 calories). Once I was finished with the exam, and the pretzels, I got back on my bike and made the two mile ride to the McCully neighborhood where I picked up my son from school and headed home. I was exhausted but the day wasn’t over yet. After an hour of rest it’s another mile back to UH Manoa for my last class of the day, week, semester and year. 2011 is just about over.

After class I went to the campus center and had a six inch turkey and ham on wheat, toasted and topped with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and peperoncinis. Remember I like it spicy! I was so hungry I forgot to even take a picture of my sandwhich. That’s okay, I took a shot of the Subway sign instead. After devouring my sandwhich I began to wipe my mouth with the napkin and noticed, what’s this? They did me a favor and printed the calories count of my sandwhich on my napkin. How considerate. 325 calories with 7.5 grams of fat. If I add in my wheat toast breakfast and afternoon pretzels I’m at about 545 calories plus whatever my Spicy Garlic Veggies and brown rice come out to… I’d say I’m still under 1000 calories so far.

Oh and I’ve bicycled 9 miles today, hiked 1.6 miles and I still have a 1 mile bike ride back home tonight.