Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog


Hilo Boy Mike Aina

Hilo Boy Mike Aina

Have you ever wondered how your life might have turned out had you tried to do something differently when you were younger?

For Mike (Iron Mike) Aina the words “what if” do not exist in his vocabulary. “I hate “what if” and I’d hate to wonder what if this or what if I did that? I’d rather do it and fail than not know,” Aina said.

One of Aina’s goals is to be able to compete in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), as a light weight contender. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be tested and compete against UFC contenders and to do it well,” he said.

Aina, who is employed full time at the WM Keck Observatory finds the extra 25 hours per week necessary to train to become a well rounded fighter.

Introduced into sports by his father at a young age Aina enjoys the excitement associated with being competitive.

“My dad got me started playing soccer when I was 5 years old and he also coached me in baseball and basketball for many years,” he said.

At Waiakea High School Aina excelled in football and soccer, making the state and Big Island Interscholastic Federation all-star honors in both.

“I got started in boxing and kickboxing at the age of 13, as a way of keeping in shape between my various sporting activities.”

Shortly after graduating from high school, in 1998, Aina’s father passed away and he found himself lost in the world.

“It was a difficult time, losing my dad, and I moved around a lot and just had a hard time adjusting and focusing on daily routines,” he said. “I failed to set priorities and wasted a few years trying to find direction and purpose.”

It was while he was on Oahu, at age 22, that he bumped into some friends and they started going to the local gym, to work out.

“I began to get motivated once I started to get back into working out regularly that I found the desire to start fighting on an amateur level,” Aina explained.

A year later Aina returned to Hilo and begun fighting locally. “That’s when I got a call from BJ Penn, asking if I would be his sparing partner, to help him prepare for his upcoming fight against Takanori Gomi.”

Penn saw potential in the youthful Aina and encouraged him to compete as a mixed martial artist.

Today, at age 27, Aina is knocking at the door of becoming a professional UFC fighter. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work,” Aina said. “I train in Jiu-jitsu and wrestling four times per week, boxing and Muay Thai three times a week, and will have intense sparring on Saturdays.”

Aina’s training includes a vigorous strength and conditioning program which requires a total of 25 hours per week.

Competing in the lightweight division, 155 pounds, and carrying a record of 11 wins 6 loses and one tie, Aina is moving towards reaching his goal of becoming a UFC contender.

Aina, who is married to Ku’ulei and they have a seven month old daughter, not only trains hard but also eats smart.

“I always try to consume lots of whole foods, oats, brown rice, organic greens, grass fed been, fish, free range chicken and fluids,” he said.

“Training and being in good shape in a variety of ways helps me to be well rounded and better prepared for what I need to do.”

Someday Aina hopes to give back to the community what he’s learning through his experiences as an athlete. “I’ve had many mentors and coaches throughout the years that have given me knowledge and support.”

“My journey as an athlete would not be complete if I could not return the favor and someday hope to become a mentor and coach to the next generation of athletes,” Aina said.


February 21, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , | 2 Comments

Adrel Vicente Story

Your health has a lot to do with what you eat, how much you exercise and the parents that brought you into this world.

Diet and exercise are within your control, but your genes determine your risk factor for contracting many diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and many types of cancers.

Adrel Vincente

Adrel Vincente

For Adrel Vicente being careful with the foods he consumes and being sure that he exercises regularly is an important factor in his family where there is a history of diabetes and heart problems.

Vicente, who was born and raised in Hilo and attended Saint Joseph High School, got an early introduction into team sports.

“I played baseball and ran cross-country during my high school years, which included one year on the junior varsity basketball team,” he said.

Graduating from St. Joe in 1993 as the class Valedictorian, Vicente went on to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo where he double majored in Biology and Natural Science and went on to complete a one year teacher program to become a certified science teacher in 1999.

Today Vicente serves as the freshman counselor at Waiakea High School and continues to get his regular exercise by walking around the large Waiakea Campus on a daily basis.

“After school I’ll head down to Liliuokalani Gardens and do a couple of laps around the park,” he said.

On weekends Vicente can be found Honoli’i or Pohoiki with his longboard. “I only started taking up surfing about three years ago,” he said. “I’m not that good, but being in the water helps clear my mind and it’s a lot of fun!”

While at the famous surfing spots Vicente has been seen by his students and will often catch a wave together, surfing side by side.

“I’ve also tried some of the exercises that my family and friends enjoy and I’ve tried golfing, tennis, mountain biking, kayaking, and even ballroom dancing, Vicente said.

“Trying a variety of sports and activities to get exercise id definitely the way to go because the variety keeps exercise from being boring,” he said.

Two to three times per week you can find Vicente walking or jogging around the Waiakea Complex and on the weekends you’ll find him in the water.

Last year Vicente’s mother passed away, “she was a diabetic, had heart problems and high blood pressure,” he said. Vicente’s father is currently a diabetic and keeps it under control with a healthy diet and some medication.

“We have just honored the one year since she has passed with a celebration of life for her. My mother worked as a nurse at Hilo Medical Center and she was a home economics teacher back in the Philippines,” Vicente said.

Vicente’s mother would always try to put a healthy spin when cooking for the family and encouraged them to eat healthy. “One of my favorite dishes she would make is the Filipino vegetable dish called pinakbet.”

“Exercise helps me to relieve stress, helps clear my mind, gives me energy, maintains my health and its fun,” he said. “But my main motivation is to try to stay healthy and to prevent having health problems like some of my family members.”

Vicente has also become an active member of the Big Island Road Runners when he accidentally bumped into the group while surfing at Richardson Beach Park about three years ago.

“I was surfing with my nephews one early Sunday morning in December. When we were done I saw a two of my friends and a lot of people in the parking lot and they told me about the BIRR fun run and that I should join,” Vicente said.

“So I paid my $10 annual dues and started coming every month after that to take part in their fun runs and walks. I did nearly every one since then and I even made a chart in my computer to track all of my times.”

Vicente also continues to enter short distance races of two to three miles and has entered the 2009 Big Island Marathons 3.1-mile race scheduled for March.

“Someday I hope to do the half-marathon (13.1-miles), then maybe the full 26 miler,” he said with a grin.

Vicente continues to get annual check ups and has done the HMSA health pass screening. “I am still health problem free with no high blood pressure and no diabetes,” he said.

“My life long goal is to maintain a reasonable weight and proportion and to use exercise to help give me energy, relieve stress and above all to prevent health problems.”

“I believe in working hard and playing hard as I’ll get back as much as I give and sometimes I might get back even more,” Vicente said.

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles, Running on the Big Island, Wilderness Trail Runs | , | Leave a comment