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Best of Honolulu - Fitness

It’s that time of year again. We’ve scoured the island, grilled the experts and enlisted your help to bring you the best “Best of Honolulu“ ever.

Mountain biking expert John Alford considers Maunawili Trail the most scenic ride on O‘ahu. photo: Olivier Koning

Best Mountain Biking Trail
Maunawili Trail
(Editors’ Pick)

Who better to ask about O‘ahu’s mountain biking trails than John Alford, the guy who wrote the book (actually, three books) on the subject? According to Alford, the Maunawili trail—a 10-mile stretch between the Pali lookout and Waimanalo—offers riders maximum white-knuckle action. “It’s got roots, rocks and a variety of climbs and descents throughout,” says Alford. “I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners, though, because it’s so narrow at points, you’re clinging to the edge of the cliff.” Riders skilled enough to make the trek, however, are rewarded with more than a workout. “The trail winds through lush vegetation and remote rainforest, so it offers spectacular cliff-to-ocean views,” he says. For directions, visit www.hawaiitrails.org.

Best Guided Hike
Waimea Valley Audubon Center
(Editors’ Pick)

For a not-too-touristy introduction to Hawai‘i’s flora and fauna, Peter Apo of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association recommends guided hikes offered by the Waimea Valley Audubon Center. “As a quality nature experience, it’s just head and shoulders above most other hikes,” he says. “The Audubon Society and OHA have done a tremendous job with the native plants and signage.” The center offers one hike a month, either though the North Valley or around the South Ridge Loop. Guides expound on the native plants, the history of the area and interesting insects and birds along the way. For those with kids, there’s also a 2-mile family hike to Kalahe‘e Bluff, as well as daily walks within the botanical collection. Enjoy it while you can, though; the Audubon Society will only be managing the property for another year. 59-864 Kamehameha Highway, Hale‘iwa, 638-9199, www.audubon.org.

photo: Michael Keany

Best Gym
24-Hour Fitness
(Readers’ Pick)

Great hours, convenient locations and a variety of classes make 24-Hour Fitness your favorite place to break a sweat. Multiple locations, www.24hourfitness.com.

photo: istock

Best Golf Course
Ala Wai Golf Course
(Readers’ Pick)

Small wonder that the Ala Wai Golf Course took top honors in our reader’s poll; it’s one of the busiest courses in the nation, if not the world. In 2006, it hosted 159,931 games of golf, an average of 439 a day. Garrick Iwamuro, the City and County’s golf course systems administrator, says, “People like the central location, and it’s very well kept for a municipal course, especially considering the amount of play. It’s not a difficult course, but it is a fair one, for all skill levels.” The low prices don’t hurt its popularity—you can play a full 18 holes for as little as $12 with a Golf ID card. 404 Kapahulu Ave., Starter’s Office: 733-7387, Pro Shop: 739-1900.

Best Bicycle Bargains
Cycle Swap
(Editors’ Pick)

photo: Dennis Oda, courtesy of Honolulu Star-Bulletin

For thrifty bike enthusiasts, the best shopping of the year takes place at the annual Cycle Swap put on by Frank Smith, owner of Island Triathlon and Bike on Kapahulu Avenue. More than 20 vendors take over the church hall next door for an afternoon, turning it into a flea market full of cheap parts, accessories and even whole bicycles for sale. “There is some really good stuff that goes on sale for just bargain-basement prices,” says Smith. “I’ve actually bought stuff myself.” This year’s event will be on March 24, from 2 to 5 p.m., at St. Mark’s Church, 539 Kapahulu Ave. 732-7227, www.islandtriathlonandbike.com.

Instructor Tracy Lewis performs an inversion as Fit for a Goddess founder Ilana Fernandez looks on. photo: Malia Leinau

Sexiest Way to Get in Shape
Fit for a Goddess
(Editors’ Pick)

Want to work your abs, legs and libido? Try Fit for a Goddess, a movement class that incorporates strengthening and stretching moves, then adds a healthy dose of sensuality. The class is the work of Ilana Fernandez, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology. Sure, it’s a bit intimidating, yet liberating, to swing around a pole or wriggle your hips, but the supportive instructors (three to a class) and women-only environment helps. Sensuality, Fernandez notes, “is a sacred, wonderful part of who we are as women. We say, ‘Let it loose.’” An eight-week series is $140. Private and semiprivate classes are also available, as are workshops for couples. For locations and information, visit www.fit4agoddesshi.com or call 262-6979.





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