After Getting Himself Into Shape, Aiea Grad Trains Others

There was no direct line to becoming a personal fitness trainer for Dennis “Don” Ching, but his own physical fitness has been a high priority since his days as an Aiea High School student.

“I weighed 300 pounds in the ninth grade – that was a lot of weight,” said Ching, who runs 808FiT.com. “I started training myself. I would walk from Aiea High School down to Pearl Kai to what was then 24-Hour Fitness (to lift weights). People would ask to exercise with me or work out with me, or sometimes I’d help a kid (in the gym) with their technique. My focus wasn’t on training others yet.”

These days, Ching is sought out for a myriad of reasons, most notably, “Ladies looking to tone up, moms who want to lose a little baby weight, older people wanting to stay active, men and women looking to lose weight for a wedding, and gym regulars wanting to fine-tune their training for strength and muscle.”
Ching, who is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer and a fitness nutrition specialist and has one of the best personal trainer salaries, says that there are five main reasons people decide to hire a trainer.

“No. 1, they’re not seeing results,” said Ching, who works in partnership with Powerhouse in Pearl Kai. “No. 2, they don’t know where to start. No. 3, they’re bored with the same old workouts. No. 4, they want to learn how to exercise on their own. And, finally, they need accountability and motivation.”
Ching’s own commitment to optimum personal health was not without its roadblocks, he said.

“When I started training myself was when my trial-and-error began, and some of it wasn’t good,” said Ching. “That’s why I personalize workouts (for his clients) and diets. You can’t copy a pro body-builder’s workout because it is tailored to him. I also take the time to see what they are already doing (as a workout). I want to help them optimize their time.”

Of his own training, he says, “If my intensity is up, my workouts are shorter. If my intensity is low, my workouts become longer. I also stress working out every week and eating right.”

Ching can trace part of his desire to live a healthy lifestyle to the example set by his grandfather, Wilfred Watanabe, who was one of the original beach boys. Watanabe once appeared in the Elvis Presley film Girls, Girls, Girls, which was shot in 1962 on location at Waikiki Beach, and was the one who taught “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” to surf.

“He always stayed active,” Ching said of Watanabe. “He taught people how to surf, and he gave catamaran tours.”

Highlights of Ching’s training can be seen on YouTube under the tag 808FiT.com.

For more information, Ching can be reached by email (dchingcpt@gmail.com).