Yamashita focuses on keeping 50- and 60-year-olds in shape

This article originally appeared in The Honolulu Advertiser in June 2008
Yamashita focuses on keeping 50- and 60-year-olds in shape (The Honolulu Advertiser) - June 2008

By Cicero A. Estrella

Eric Yamashita's older clients do not work out so that they may compete in bodybuilding competitions, or even max out on bench presses. Their simple goal is to complete daily tasks without pain.

"The focus is on balance, muscle tone, incorporating good nutrition," says Yamashita, a trainer at the Gold's Gym on South Street. "They're not training to get skinnier. They want to move better, walk, do basic things. It's functional training; it's about bending down and picking something up, or carrying the groceries inside the house."

Yamashita has been a trainer for 15 years but recently he's added nearly 20 clients over the age of 50. He is certified to train seniors by the American Council of Exercise, which works closely with the AARP.

Among Yamashita's clients is a 63-year-old who has had a heart attack and two bypass surgeries. With Yamashita's help, he has lost 70 pounds and is in much better health.

Yamashita's training methods for seniors include lighter weights; resistance training and stretching; cardiovascular work on treadmills and stationary bikes; and work on 10-inch steps to bring up heart rates and get the circulation flowing.

Yamashita's first senior clients were his parents, Jeff, 68, and Barbara, 69.

"They've always eaten healthy and have always been pretty active," he says. "When I had my son four years ago, I thought the best thing to do for him was to keep them around and healthy. That was the inspiration."

Other benefits of exercise for seniors include improved skin healing and balance; prevention of Alzheimer's disease; healthier teeth; and reversing the decline of muscle mass.

"I always tell people it's never too late to start," Yamashita says. "You don't have to join the gym. I can show you basic things to do at home. The goals are to make life more enjoyable, have people live a little longer and a lot healthier."

For more information, call 554-4350 or visit