Stair Master

Yu Shing Ting
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Friday - March 05, 2005
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Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona prefers the stairs
when going to work. His security
detail, Mike Farley and Naeole Kapele,
follow closely behind

When it comes to exercising, it’s so much easier to make excuses: I’m too tired, I have too much to do, I don’t have time, I’m too lazy, it’s too late … blah, blah, blah.

We’ve all heard it and we’ve all said it. Well, OK, there are a few die-hards who almost never miss a beat in their workouts. And surprisingly, these people are often the busiest of us all.

Aperfect example: Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona. The governor swims four times a week and walks for about an hour on the weekends. And her swims aren’t just a dip in the pool. She usually swims for an hour and five minutes, covering 3,000 yards or 120 lengths of the pool.

“Keeping fit and staying healthy is a big priority in my life,” Lingle says. “Exercising gives me the energy I need to maximize results every day, and it keeps me mentally alert as well.”

As for the lieutenant governor, he wakes up at 5 a.m. for his before-work exercise routine – an hour on the stationary bike and half an hour of circuit training with weights. He also coaches varsity basketball at Saint Louis School, and at the Capitol he walks up the stairs from the parking garage to his office every single day — that’s seven stories!

He’s done it since he took office two years ago, and doesn’t climb alone. Luckily for him, he has the company of two bodyguards at all times, which means his heavy duty Executive Protection Unit has to take the trek up the stairs as well.

“I used to walk up the stairs when I was at the Judiciary,” explains Aiona. “But that was only three or four stories. Here at the Capitol it’s actually seven stories because from the basement to the first floor is one, and then from the rotunda to my office is another five. But if you walk in the stairwell you’ll see that there’s a floor that’s missing. The gap between the rotunda and the second floor is double the height of a normal floor, so it’s actually seven stories.

“And it’s not just at the Capitol; we walk up the stairs at every event that we go to. We don’t go down the stairs, just up. Although I found out that walking down stairs has a purpose also. It works different parts of not only your muscle groups, but internally it works your core organs. I didn’t realize it, so maybe we’ll start walking down also.”

Walking up the stairs was nothing new for Aiona, but it took some getting used to for his staff.

“At first we were like hah, fo’ real?” recalls Mike Farley, who is on Aiona’s seven-member security detail. “And that’s the natural reaction, but it’s been really rewarding for all of us. We do it every single day and I’ve noticed an improvement in my breathing. Also, I ruptured my right patella tendon, so the stairs have helped strengthen my knee. And it’s also a great cardio exercise.”

Along with an active lifestyle, it’s also important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

“I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but prefer fish and chicken, especially fish,” says Lingle. “I also don’t drink coffee or alcohol, or smoke. I do, of course, indulge on occasion on my favorite ethnic dishes, barbecue ribs a couple of times a year or a piece of chocolate.”

As for Aiona, he started a special diet right around the end of his campaign after noticing that he had picked up some weight.

“I got a physical and when I jumped on the scale it was like, whoa, I put on too much weight,” he remembers. “I was about 10 to 15 pounds over what I felt I should’ve been.”

So, Aiona went on a modified Atkins diet, and after two weeks he lost 12 pounds. He also reduced his intake of soda and junk food, and cut out alcohol.

“Prior to my diet, I would drink at the very minimum six Pepsi a day,” admits Aiona. “Some days maybe a little less, but that was very rare, but a lot of days a lot more. And then I’m a junk food kind of guy. I like to eat chips and cookies, so I cut out the chips completely and the other junks that go along with it.

“I also cut the rice out and I started eating brown rice, and increased my intake of salad. And I drank a lot of water — almost a gallon a day.”

This continues to be Aiona’s diet today. Although he confesses to having a Pepsi or two on very rare occasions. “I have a sweet tooth,” he admits.

Practicing good health can help you lose weight, boost energy levels, prevent sickness and disease, and cut health care costs. So, follow the leaders and start living healthy.

“It’s not that we’re trying to put on a show,” says Aiona. “It’s just how we live our lives. ”

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