Top Male and Female Fittest CEO
No. 1 Fittest Male Executive
Hawaii Capital Management
David Low, the most physically fit male executive in Hawaii, knows what it’s like to be a “formerly obese guy.” About four years ago, the 5-foot-9 managing director of Hawaii Capital Management weighed 225 lbs. “I can tell you from both sides of the coin how people react to you [when you’re overweight],” he says of his former self.
Even his girlfriend at the time dumped him. “It was pretty brutal,” he jokes. “But that was my inspiration to get in shape.”
He now weighs 150 lbs. and has completed more than half-a-dozen marathons. At the time of this writing, he was training for the Maui Marathon with local athlete and friend Jonathan Lyau.
Low thrives on challenges. Born and raised on the East Coast, he graduated from Columbia University in New York and trained on Wall Street in the 1990s. He then moved to Maui and San Francisco to become a competitive windsurfer, picking up sponsors, such as Nike Aquagear and GTE Mobilenet, a predecessor to Verizon Wireless. Despite windsurfing, Low’s weight ballooned to more than 200 pounds. “You sit in a harness and use your weight – you can be fat and get away with it,” he says.
Today, years later, Low has a new outlook on fitness. He has replaced windsurfing with full-body weight training, plus six days a week of running, swimming or biking. He applies the same discipline to his boutique investment firm, which oversees more than $80 million in assets. “Being fit helps you have a positive reflection on yourself,” he says. “It translates over to the business side. Not to mention, it’s improved my dating life.”
No. 1 Fittest Female Executive
President and Co-founder
Greater Good Inc.
Kari Leong, the fittest female executive in Hawaii, does not belong to a gym and does not own a scale. She doesn’t even work out with weights.
To stay in shape, the 33-year-old president of Greater Good Inc. wakes up at 5:30 a.m. daily and spends one hour on the elliptical trainer in her home gym. For strength training, she carries her children, ages 2 and 4. Then it’s off to preschool and work.
Leong used to exercise later in the day but switched to mornings after hosting former first lady Vicky Cayetano on her television show, “Greater Good TV.” On the show, Cayetano told Leong she wakes up at 5 a.m. daily to exercise. Inspired, Leong recalls: “I thought that was productive. At the time, it took me one hour to exercise in the afternoon, and one hour to clean up. I was wasting my time.”
So far, her new, Spartan routine seems to be working. Sleeping in and slacking off are not in Leong’s vocabulary. “My husband, Evan, says I have a stronger mind than body,” she says.
Naturally athletic and small-framed, Leong grew up cheerleading, swimming and playing softball and soccer. She rarely weighed herself and ate what she pleased. But age and a slower metabolism took over at Gonzaga University, where she gained 20 pounds, despite being on the cheerleading squad. “That was depressing!” she recalls. “It was at that point where I decided I will never let myself go like that again. Since then, I’ve been pretty disciplined.”