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It’s Wednesday, and the lunch rush has yet to explode into Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant on Piikoi Street, so I snag a corner booth near the window and consider it the perfect time to catch up with MMA fighter and multi-sport athlete Egan Inoue over pots of hot nabe and a bountiful selection of fresh appetizers. Best known for its nabe (a term referring to an array of Japanese steamboat or one-pot dishes), sukiyaki, shabu shabu and more, all of which center around healthy ingredients, Ichiriki promised a lunch full of everything a fitness enthusiast could ask for — protein, carbs and veggies!
“I’ve been to Ichiriki before and my family loves it here. Nabe is always healthy and works well with my diet,” says Inoue, a two-time jiu-jitsu world champion, five-time MMA world champion and MMA bodyweight training expert. “To be honest, my diet is not that strict. I love sweets and I try to get those in before 2 p.m. so that I have the rest of the day to burn it off. As for carbohydrates and bigger meals, I usually eat those early on in the day as well.”
With chopsticks in hand, Inoue was ready to tackle the interactive feast before him, as Ichiriki’s friendly staff presented Kami Ichiriki Nabe with Ribeye and Kobe Beef, Ginger Nabe, Avocado Maguro, Tofu Salad, Edamame, Mushroom Medley, Kimchi, Mozuku and Fried Garlic Shrimp.
Served in a bowl fashioned from washi paper, Ichiriki Kami Nabe features a shio (salt) broth complemented by a platter of ingredients to add to the broth, such as enoki mushrooms, chives, bak choy, shrimp, salmon, chicken, aburage, tofu, sausage and a bamboo tube of tsukune — a chicken-and-pork paste scooped into meatballs — not to mention the tender beef.
“The beef literally cooks in seconds, and I love to dip it in the ponzu sauce,” says Inoue, who wasn’t the least bit ashamed to enjoy every morsel of food — after all, he does burn thousands of calories each day.
“I love everything here,” he continues. “The Garlic Shrimp is very tasty and it has a ton of garlic chips, which I love. Enoki mushrooms also are another favorite of mine, so the Mushroom Medley is great. This is a place you can eat at where it won’t interfere with any diet.”
As an athlete and entrepreneur, Inoue opened the doors to Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp in September 2010 in Manoa Marketplace. Three years and three additional locations later, Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp continues to offer the most effective and innovative fitness program through 60-minute workouts held Monday through Saturday that has its participants seeing results in no time.
“Bootcamp is doing very well; we’re very busy. I would say we have about 300 students at the moment, who range from all ages and fitness levels,” Inoue states. “I try to teach one class per month at each location (Downtown, Manoa, Kailua and Waipio), and then every Wednesday I train the instructors. I love teaching the MMA boot-camp class in Manoa.”
Most recently, Inoue released an e-book series titled MMA Bodyweight Systems, in which he shares his fitness secrets and beliefs (visit mmabodyweightworkouts.c om for more information). These e-books work as a blueprint to get into tip-top shape without having to hit the gym.
“I am a firm believer in short, high-intensity workouts. You’ll be amazed at how much your body is able to transform,” he adds. “You can download the e-books to your iPad and you can basically do the workout anywhere.”
While taking in his fill of rice and nabe, Inoue stores the energy he’ll need later that day when he will instruct a bootcamp class.
“I’ve been working hard to get into the best shape that I can because I’ll be filming a follow-along workout video in Michigan that will coincide with the e-books. This also is something that I’m very excited about,” he exclaims.
While Inoue is busier than ever, he soaks up every opportunity to enjoy a meal with family and friends.
“I’ll definitely be back to Ichiriki. I eat to live, and everything is just so good,” he says with a smile.
For more information on Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, call 271-3779 or visit hawaiifitcamp.com.
Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant
510 Piikoi St. #102, Honolulu
Open daily, Lunch: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight
98-150 Kaonohi St. #C216, Aiea
Open daily, Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight
Sunday, 4-10 p.m.