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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Determined to balance fitness with business

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Iwalani Isbell says it's sometimes tough to find time for exercise in the midst of her work as a swimwear designer.

Photos by Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

Oh, sure, she's a swimwear designer and likes to look good (make that great) in her Pualani Hawai'i designs. However, Iwalani Isbell was devoted to fitness long before she began her swimwear business. She's been doing Pilates for 12 years and was among the Islands' first devotees. For her, fitness is a way of life, and the day simply does not begin until she's had a workout.

Isbell began using pull-up bars when she lived on a tiny resort island in Fiji and didn't have access to any gym equipment except pull-up bars that were scattered around the island. In addition to surfing daily, she and her brother did at least 80 pull-ups.

Name: Iwalani Isbell.

Age: 40.

Profession: owner and designer, Pualani Hawai'i.

Height: 5-feet-6.

Weight: 110 pounds.

Workout habits: Every morning I do Pilates, swim, surf, ride my bike, walk or go to the gym — always one or the other. Stretching is an important part of my workout.

When and why I started working out: It runs in our family. Ever since I can remember, we have always gone hiking, swimming, paddling, surfing, horseback riding or backpacking.

My good foods: Lots of fish and poi (my all-time favorite), fruit smoothies, green salads, chicken and tofu.

My bad foods: I love Bubbie's mochi ice cream!

My biggest motivator: I am pretty self-motivated, plus my fiance is a great motivator. My mom (Virginia Isbell of Kailua-Kona, former legislator and also an avid athlete) is a terrific role model.

My biggest roadblock to fitness: Placing fitness as a first priority when my business requires so much attention.

What saves my sanity: Working out and surfing. Time to meditate in or near the ocean.

Advice for those in the same boat: Work out your dream and never give up!