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Runnin’ with Rani: A little help for a better you

January 9, 2014 - 9:16pm

“Start with a plan. It’s the only way to achieve a goal.” These are wise words spoken by a great friend, fitness coach and certified personal trainer.

In this age of improved technology comprised of online training programs, global positioning system watches, and various other devices to track and collect workout data, more and more athletes are becoming self-coached.

But without having the right plan in place, someone to actually interpret and analyze the training data recorded from the fancy gadgets, or someone to guide you toward improved form and technique, achieving your desired goals may be hard to reach. This is where a running, swimming or triathlon coach or certified personal trainer can offer the guidance you need to take it to the next level.

It was January 2008 when I finally decided it was time to learn how to swim. It wasn’t the most ideal time — jumping into a chilly pool mid-January before the sun rose while most of West Hawaii was still asleep truly was not my cup of tea. But I had a goal, and that was to swim a Peaman biathlon event without my fins.

Like most people born and raised on the island, swimming entails anything that keeps your head above water, like treading water, floating or even dog paddling. I could do all of that at a young age and even learned a little freestyle from my father but never continued swimming past age 15.

Fifteen years later, I had a goal but no plan.

For years, legendary hall of fame swim coach Steve Borowski watched me struggle at Peaman events. I mainly used my legs and fins to propel my body through the water — a hysterical sight if you ask me. Borowski would kindly offer his help but somehow I never felt good enough to join his master’s swim team.

His plan for me was simple: just show up, no pressure.

I started my first swim session in what is known as the “guppy lane,” or the beginner’s lane of the pool. Borowski watched from the deck as I thrashed my arms and body through the water barely making it to the end of the short 25-meter pool. Gasping for air, I thought I would drown as I drank a belly full of chlorine.

“Good. Now do it again,” Borowski said. “But this time, try putting your face into the water and relax.”

The simplicity of his words was indeed a sharp contrast to the resistance I encountered to get to the end of the pool. But I continued on, and with each practice came more encouraging tips and pointers.

Through Borowski’s motivation and guidance on improving my swim form and technique, I was not only able to achieve my goal to swim a Peaman event without fins, but would continue on to swim the 2.4-mile distance of two Hawaii Ironman events.

Now, six years later, I once again find myself getting into that chilly pool, with Borowski on deck to offer me the motivation needed to achieve new goals after a three year layoff from swimming in the pool.

While our goals are unique to each of us, the assistance needed with achieving those goals becomes unique in its own right. Here’s yet another story.

In July 2013, Peaman was lying in bed, lacking any energy to wander outside for his daily walk. Five minutes of exercise seemed like an eternity — a harsh reality for the four-time Ironman World Championship finisher.

In terms of his health, Peaman was near an all-time low. Knowing he needed guidance and motivation to get his health back on track, Peaman turned to his friend Chris Green, a certified personal trainer.

“It helped me so much to have Chris there to just focus on me and to create an exercise plan that was specifically good for me,” Peaman said.

Green began Peaman on a very simple exercise routine to gain back the muscle and strength needed to go about his daily walks and activities. From there, Green gradually increased Peaman’s workouts in frequency, intensity, and duration, getting Peaman confident enough to set a goal for himself by late August.

“My goal was to walk at least 50 minutes continuously, do five push-ups, and complete a 5K all by my 50th birthday in December,” Peaman said.

As Peaman became stronger and stronger over the next few months, so did their friendship. By October 2013, the duo decided to team up as business partners and opened their own fitness center, Fitness Forever, located on Luhia Street in the Old Industrial Area in Kailua-Kona.

Green, who was already working with clients at several of the fitness centers in Kona, saw a large increase in his client load, and felt it was the right time to venture out on his own. Peaman relished the opportunity and idea to be a part of something the athletic community would benefit from.

Together, Fitness Forever embodies the spirit and skills of Peaman and Green.

“It is something I enjoy doing on a daily basis,” Green said of his new Fitness Forever center. “I want to give each person I work with a quality experience to ensure they get the results they work hard for.”

With Fitness Forever now just a personal training studio, Peaman and Green plan to expand and open up the center to memberships in March.

“2014 is starting off way better than 2013,” Peaman said. “I basically went from prone to vertical in five months and accomplished all the goals I set out to do. I credit Chris for the guidance, his knowledge and creating the plan to get me where I am today.”

A coach or certified personal trainer can be the most influential person to help you achieve a goal. Whether you are coming back from an injury or long lay-off, a novice athlete or at the top of your game, having someone there to provide guidance and motivation may be your ticket to “a better you”.

Take a look around. You will most certainly be impressed to learn how many highly qualified people are here to help. What’s important to remember is finding what works best for you.

The 24th annual Hilo to Volcano 50K Ultra Marathon and Relay race is coming up on Jan. 18. Start time for the point-to-point course that starts at Coconut Island in Hilo and finishes at Cooper Center in Volcano is 6 a.m. for ultra runners and 6:30 a.m. for relay teams. For registration details contact Steve Pavao at 430-0267 or visit