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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy to be home


By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Lara Yamada pauses on the Diamond Head State Monument trail. The Kaua'i-born broadcast journalist has returned to the Islands after 10 years working on the Mainland and is already taking advantage of O'ahu's natural playground.

Photos by BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Yamada ascends the 99-step stairs at Diamond Head, one of her favorite runs and one in her new East Honolulu neighborhood.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Yamada tackles the first set of stairs up Diamond Head State Monument. Trail running is her favorite form of exercise now.

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LARA YAMADA'S APPROACH TO FITNESS

Make exercise a priority.

Find an activity you're passionate about. In Yamada's case, it's trail running.

Eat a rainbow: Make veggies of various hues a central part of your diet.

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Lara Yamada is giving up her snowboard to come home to Hawai'i but she doesn't plan to be any less fit. She loves many of the outdoor activities Honolulu has to offer and plans to explore them thoroughly.

Born on Kaua'i, Yamada, 37, graduated from Kapa'a High School and interned and worked at KITV.

For the past 10 years, she has been living and working as a television reporter and anchor on the Mainland, starting in the East (Burlington, Vt.), then moving to the Midwest (Minneapolis) and the Pacific Northwest (Seattle). On April 19, she will come home to KITV to co-anchor the 6 and 10 p.m. news with Paula Akana.

She has just moved to East Honolulu.

No matter where she has lived, Yamada works at keeping fit. She and her husband whom she met while at the University of Oregon both make it a high priority.

ALWAYS ACTIVE

Since small-kid time Yamada has been athletic. In high school she lettered in five sports: cross country, track, softball, volleyball and soccer.

Her favorite form of exercise now is trail running.

"It's hard to do trail running in Seattle, and I missed it terribly," she said. "Here I'm excited to do it. We found a place that's right alongside a trail. I can just step out the door and run. It's an incredible view and a darn good workout to get to the top."

Other favorite runs are the Kīlauea Lighthouse and Diamond Head stairs.

She and her husband ride motorcycles (she has a Ninja 250) more as a sport than as transportation. Now he wants to get her on a dirt bike out on the North Shore.

"I'm pretty sure he'll suck me in," she said with a laugh. "We'll see. He's more of an extreme guy and likes to do extreme things."

Her husband even talked Yamada into jumping out of an airplane on his birthday, an adventure she plans to repeat.

"I loved it! I would do it every day, but I'd like to try it without someone attached to me," she said.

On the Mainland Yamada became an avid snowboarder. While she never surfed when living in Hawai'i before, she plans to try it now.

And she plans to return to an activity she was passionate about when living here before taekwondo.

FROM THE INSIDE OUT

No one gets to look like Yamada without some thought to nutrition.

"I like all kinds of foods way too much to be a health nut, but I'm pretty conscious of what I eat and where it comes from," she said.

She has learned to eat a rainbow of foods: dark leafy greens, colorful peppers, red apples and fresh raw vegetables.

"I try most days to bring my own lunch or dinner," she said. "I make big salads with all kinds of vegetables. I keep a bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar under my desk at work. I get teased about it a lot."

She loves to cook, especially Thai food and "crazy salads."

"A salad has to have lots of pop to it. My husband's not a huge salad guy, so I have to throw stuff into it to make him think it's not just a salad: walnuts, dark greens, Parmesan or gorgonzola or blue cheese, chunks of strawberries, bell pepper and avocado."

Health and fitness are two primary reasons Yamada is happy to be home in Hawai'i.

"As I get older I'm much more aware of the benefits (of fitness) and how it affects my body and my life," she said. "I'm making a concerted effort to tackle the whole mind-body aspect, realizing how much of a difference it makes.

"That's why being here is so great. It's a healthy place."