Apr 17 2012
Are you ready to visit Waikiki through my eyes and possibly even vacation to Hawaii in my footsteps?
When vacationing, choose fitness! Choose your health! Choose to feed your body properly, move your body, stay active and treat yourself well. Run up to Diamond Head at 6:00 am, learn to paddle surf and shred your abs, eat locally grown produce, and be happy! Your body and your mind will love you for it.
Waikiki – Fitness Vacation – Through My Eyes and In My Footsteps
Cardio. I personally love cardio. It sets my head on straight. I feel good about myself when I wake up at 5:00 am and do 45 minutes of cardio. It starts my day off with me feeling pumped up, accomplished, successful, and excited for whatever comes my way. Combine that feeling with the gorgeous tropical scenery of Hawaii, the outdoors, and being rewarded with views of the sun rising over the pacific ocean and I am in complete heaven.
Personally, my cardio all needs to be done at an incline since my “fun” tends to hang out around my bum. Running on the beach is out for me, unless there is a beach with a hillside nearby. The white sand of the Waikiki Beach was calling to me, begging me to run on it during quite a few mornings. I had to tell it, “Another time, I promise,” and head up the street to Diamond Head State Monument to run the stairs.
Now you don’t have to run the stairs at Diamond Head. You could leisurely walk this little hike and make it into a nice stroll with some challenging bits. I chose to run it a total of 3 times each morning. That equaled 45 minutes of incline cardio for me personally. I didn’t count the time I was going down hill or stopping to take pictures.
It’s about a 2 mile warm up walk from several hotels on the Waikiki beachfront strip. You walk up Kalakaua Avenue, turn away from the beach and walk inland at Monsarrat Avenue, then turn right into the entrance. On your way up, notice the outdoor gym almost directly across the street from the entrance. It’s even set up to accommodate people in wheelchairs with several pieces of modified equipment. Amazing! Absolutely no excuses. That was enough to motivate me to stop and do a few pull ups and a few body rows.
Bring a dollar if you’re walking in and a bottle of water. My iPhone map said it would take 50 minutes to walk up to the entrance, but it took me less than 30 minutes to do the 2 mile walk up to the park entrance, even when I stopped for coffee on the way in and groceries on the way out. It’s fairly flat on the way up Monsarrat Avenue with just a gentle slope. The air smells like tropical flowers. You will see locals walking their dogs and running with strollers. You may start to contemplate moving to Waikiki and becoming a local yourself.
Once you get to the entrance, you start the climb. The hike is described as an, “0.8 mile hike from trailhead to the summit. Steep and strenuous, gaining 560 feet as it ascends from the crater floor.” I personally found it to be fun and challenging if you run it, but not so strenuous if you walk it. I saw several tourists walking it in flip flops and even high heels. I wouldn’t personally recommend that though. I also saw someone being rescued via helicopter, so it’s important to know your limits. It is hot and humid. There are several stair cases. You’re on vacation, don’t over do it.
The hike is basically an uphill climb with several switchbacks and a bit of a washed out trail, a tunnel, then about 4 sets of stair cases depending on which way you choose to go to get to the top.
The views are absolutely gorgeous. Definitely worth a moment to stop and take it all in. The park opens at 6:00 am. You should just about catch the tail end of the sunrise.
3158 Monsarrat Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
What a little gem! This was my favorite find. I am so happy I found this little market and I will definitely hit it up each time I’m ever in Waikiki. Do the early morning hike at Diamond Head at sunrise any day of the week, then hit this little market on the way back to your hotel. You can find it open from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm. You will need to have some willpower to stay away from the freshly baked scones, but if you can head up to the salad, sandwich and meal section instead you will be in store for some delicious, healthy treats.
Roasted yams, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted Okinawan sweet potatoes and other roasted vegetables. Healthy proteins included freshly poached salmon, other poached and grilled meats, shrimp cocktail and even sushi. Salads included fresh spinach salads, roasted lamb salad, garden salad, salmon tofu watercress salad, mochiko chicken salad and more.
Everything is fresh and pre packaged with the sauce and dressing on the side. Just perfect and ready for you to take on the go!
Kaiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96816
Open Saturdays from 7:30 am to 11:00 am. This farmer’s market is at the community college almost directly across the street from the Diamond Head entrance. Do your early morning Diamond Head hike and stairs for cardio on a Saturday at sunrise, then hit up the farmer’s market on your way back to your hotel! Stock up on fresh produce grown locally. Do your best to stay away from the artisan cakes and pastries and go for the roasted sweet potatoes, great assortments of fresh greens, free range omelets, and other fresh, raw, delicious choices!
4211 Wai’alae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816 USA
Missed the farmer’s market? Need a special item that you didn’t find there? Picky about organic produce? Need gluten free groceries? Lactose free? Vegan choices? Vegetarian? Grass fed beef? Organic free range chicken? Not a problem. Take the Waikiki Trolly over to the Whole Foods Market at Kahala Mall.
The green line of the Waikiki Trolley will take you right to it from the Waikiki Beach. It’s about a 20 minute trolley ride depending on where you start from. The Kahala Mall is the stop to get off at. I believe the Honolulu Whole Foods Market is open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm each day, but you might want to double check to make sure before you take that trolley ride.
2443 Kuhio Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Walking the other direction, away from Diamond Head and into down town, you will find this cute little health food store and restaurant. I was so happy to find gluten free selections as well as vegetarian and vegan choices. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but I like to order vegan while I’m out then add my protein on the side since vegan selections tend to be raw and super healthy.
Some of the selections they offer include avocado and tuna poki, salads, sandwiches, acai bowls and smoothies. They even offer sandwiches wrapped with all the toppings separate so you could take it with you on your flight back home without it getting soggy.
There’s a mini health food store inside with things like cage free organic eggs, raw nuts, oils, supplements, health bars and the like.
I was happy with my raw salad. My daughter and her friend loved their sandwiches, acai bowl and smoothies. Totally kid approved.
My daughter adores shaved ice. I am a firm believer in modeling behavior instead of forcing it upon her. So, she got a shaved ice and a I got a shaved ice. Mine was plain. Hers was flavored. There is nothing wrong with asking for plain shaved ice without any flavor. It’s actually quite refreshing.
Beach Snacks on the Go
Maybe it seems weird, but I personally love snacking on a raw sweet potato. It tastes like a cross between jicama and carrots. Bring it with you chilled in a cooler with some healthy fresh greens or spears of asparagus and some lean protein and you’re good to go.
Eat clean, train mean, love your body and let it be seen. Your body and your mind will truly love you for treating it well. Your body wants to move. Your body wants to be fed properly. Be it’s steward. Take care of it and treat it well. You will feel happy.
Where to Stay
Here’s a listing of the names of hotels I found that have either kitchenettes or a fridge and microwave, all within walking distance to everything I have mentioned.
The Waikiki beach, the stairs at Diamond Head State Monument, the fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market, the healthy prepared meals at the Diamond Head Market and Grill, and just a short bus or trolly ride and small walk to Whole Foods.
All hotels I’m listing have either kitchenettes or at least a microwave and/or mini fridge.
Hotels with Kitchenettes
Aston Waikiki Beach Tower
Aston Waikiki Sunset
Aston Pacific Monarch
Castle Resorts Waikiki Shore
Outrigger Luana Waikiki
Hotels with Mini Refrigerators and Microwaves
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Castle Resorts Waikiki Grand Hotel
We were supposed to stay at another Aston hotel with a kitchenette, but our reservation was somehow confused and we ended up being booked at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. It was still a perfect vacation. The view from our room was spectacular and we were right across the street from the beach.
Just for Fun
2586 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96815
I took lessons to paddle surf. My daughter and her friend took lessons to both surf and paddle surf. Awesome group of instructors, great place to rent equipment, fun place just to go and chat. I highly recommend the Hans Hedemann Surf School! Want a great ab and core workout? Try paddle surfing into headwinds.
Have you planned a healthy vacation to Waikiki? Do you have other tips to share? Tell me in the comments!
Please share your own tips, favorite hiking spots, favorite healthy restaurants, hotels and any questions you may have in the comments. Don’t be shy! Your comments may help to inspire another. Your questions may help someone else who has the exact same question, but is too shy to ask. If you have tips to share I would love to know them for my next trip back to Waikiki! I love hearing from you!