Eric Yamashita - Hawaii's Best Personal Trainer

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Personal trainers' best fit is their son

This article originally appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin in January 2007
Personal trainers' best fit is their son (Honolulu Star Bulletin) - January 2007

By Nelson Daranciang

At 5:45 a.m., Angela Yamashita drops off her husband, personal trainer Eric Yamashita, at Gold's Gym on South Street for his 6 a.m. appointment.

Their son, Ian, who turns 3 later this month, is still sleeping. By 7 a.m., he is tucked into a stroller being pushed by Mom on her morning run with her friends. After the run, it's off to preschool.

While her son is at preschool, Angela goes back to Gold's for appointments with her own clients. She's a personal trainer, too.

Until this week, she wasn't able to squeeze in as many appointments during the day because preschool was only half a day, two days per week. Preschool is now all day, five days per week.

After she picks up her son from school and after Eric is done with his own appointments for the day -- but sometimes in between his appointments -- Angela can go back to training her clients. Somebody has to make sure Ian takes his naps.

"It's amazing how we've synchronized the whole thing. We have it down to a science," Eric said.

When he first started as a personal trainer in 1993, and while still entering and winning bodybuilding competitions, Eric said, he took on all clients willing to pay his $25-per-hour fee.

He now charges $90 per hour for his services. His company, E. Yamashita Personal Training LLC, has 40 active clients, and a waiting list.

"Every time they open a Cold Stone or McDonald's, we're going to have business," Eric said.

Angela became a certified personal trainer three years ago. She works only with women. And Eric recently hired two more trainers to work for the company. Their fees are not as high as Eric's.

Even with the extra help, Eric trains clients about 45 hours per week while Angela puts in about 15 hours per week. Now that their son is spending more time in school, Eric expects his wife's hours to double.

Eric and Angela already work six days per week. They take Sundays off. And since the birth of their son, they don't like to work past 7 p.m.

But that only takes care of the time with their clients. They still have to squeeze in their own workouts.

Even though they are able to juggle their schedules to make sure at least one of them is with their son at all times, much of Ian's time is spent at the gym.

"He is more comfortable in the gym than he is sometimes at his grandparents' house, because he's been here at the gym since Day One, since he was born," Angela said.

She said the experience of being around so many adults and seeing his parents interact with their clients has helped Ian develop language skills faster than other kids. Watching Mom count repetitions for clients also gave Ian a head start in math.

"By the time he was 18 months he knew how to count to 25," Angela said.

With two parents who not only work in the fitness industry but who also live a healthful lifestyle, Ian has no choice but to be outgoing and physically fit, Eric said.

"Would I want him to be a trainer? Sure. This is definitely our passion, our life's work. I couldn't imagine doing anything other than this," he said.