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Member of the Month (April 2018): Lernik

If you know me, you know how much I preach consistency and determination as the key to fitness success.  If you wanted a poster child for those 2 characteristics, it would be this month’s member of the month, Lernik.  She shows up to class at least 4 times a week, if not more, and is laser focused on her workout.  She is strong as HELL, a sweetheart through and through, and one super determined power lady.  I love you Lernik, and am so proud of your success over the past few years.  Can’t wait to see the goals you surmount in the coming years as well!  Congrats!


Yay for Miss Determined Lernik! You rock… ok let’s start with how old are you ?
I’m 29 years old, but in 3 months I’ll be 30.

So your wedding is coming up right?
Yea it’s actually Sept 21st, so coming up in a few months.  

Oh so you’ll be 30 already at your wedding? Yup!

Are you having a large wedding? Ya kind of.  How many guests? About 400.  Holy shit, that’s ‘kind of’ ?!  Do you know all of them?  No not really… haha, but I’ll smile and take pics with every single one like I do.  

Are you ready for married life?
Kind of yeah.  We just bought a house too… So lots of stress, but it’s labor of love all around.  We are very excited.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Actually I was with my close friend.  Her name is Lernik as as well, funny enough.  She encouraged me to give KEEN a try, so we both came to our first class together.  It’s been 3 years now since I’ve been coming, and I absolutely love it.

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Strength, first and foremost.  I feel healthier and much more toned.  I would always wear loose clothes, but now I wear fitted clothes and have a lot of confidence doing so.  I feel good in my own skin now.

What was your first experience at KEEN?
It was with Coach Stephanie actually: a non-stop kickboxing class on a Saturday.  I was sore for a week, maybe more. I had sharp pain in my upper body from how sore I was.  But you know what … I got over it. So yea Stephanie KICKED my ass, big time, but I was hungry for more.  I was determined to get better.

Haha that’s funny since you would never think it looking at Stephanie.  She is a downright beast. Yup, she proved that to me on my first day.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Kickboxing – especially when I’m stressed out, I can take it out on the bag.  It’s a perfect combination. And I also love how much it has molded my body into a more toned physique. My legs especially … I’ve never had this much definition in my legs, and now I take pride in them haha! I terms of lifting, I love the bear complex.  

Does your fiancé know how much of a badass you are?
Oh ya.. He’s a little scare

d of me.  Haha actually he is very proud of me.   

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
First off: she’s an amazing woman, period.  Her strength and determination is like no other.  She wakes up at 4 AM, and deals with us women until 9 PM, working straight through.  And any time I’ve seen her, she lifts me up. She literally changed my life. She improved my life.  I’m so happy my friend dragged me here that first day 3 years ago. Also I love that she pushes me to my limits, even when I think I have achieved those limits.  It truly is proof that she genuinely cares.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I have bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  Right now I’m in social work, but my goal is to work in crime scene investigation in the near future.  I love the mystery part of working a case: taking all of the evidence and piecing together, and hopefully cracking it.

Whoa … your fiancé better be on good behavior all the time then huh?! Haha ya for sure!

Does working in an intense line of work like social work affect you, emotionally, after you leave work?  Ya totally, but you really have to learn to compartmentalize and separate the two.  I’m a really good listener, and I love to help people, so it’s a great fit for me. But there’s a lot of intense situations out there, especially in the realm of mental illness, so I’m happy to be able to contribute to being part of the solution.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
I would tell everyone even considering coming to just give it a try.  Just don’t give up… You owe it to yourself to see it through. Everyone can accomplish the goals they set for themselves… trust me, one day you will see the results you are seeking.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
Liquid protein after workouts is a must for me… Churro flavor all the way.  It keeps me full, and helps me recover, especially after heavy or intense workouts.

What is your food indulgence?
Sweets, anything sweet!  If you give me quadruple layered chocolate cake, I will take that thing down!  But since this past December, I stopped eating sweets and I lost a lot of weight and saw great results.  But it’s depressing… haha I need my sweets. On my honeymoon, all bets are off… dessert table here I come!

What’s your jam right now?
House music.  Can you really sing to that? Ya some of them have lyrics.  So can you do beats? Well my fiancé is a DJ, so I better have some rhythm huh

Restaurant:
Cheesecake Factory.  Their Caesar salad… omg and their bread.  Can’t get enough.

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Member of the Month (Feb 2018): Alida

I just realized that beyond the fact that Alida is a real force to be reckoned with and a beast babe at the gym, she is someone who brings cheer, love, and passion to the gym, and February, the month of love, is the perfect time to award her with the “Member of the Month” title.  Alida is the one you see lifting a crazy amount of weight, mastering it, and then salsa dancing to the next circuit station.  We love you and can’t imagine a gym atmosphere without your bubbly fierceness.  Congrats Alida, I commend you and am blown away by the progress you continue to have.  Mental toughness is definitely your strong suit!


Congrats on being the this month’s featured member – let’s start off by establishing your age:
Really? I’m 40. For-Tay baby.

Well, you age extremely well, let’s just say that.  You have kiddos?
I have one son, he is 9 and half years old =). 

Does he take after you?
He has a bit of both of us actually.  He’s like me in the sense that he’s determined. Even if he’s scared to do something he’ll still attempt it.  I love that about him.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I don’t know… hmmm, I think through Facebook. This was like 4 years ago but for like 2 years I was intimidated and I didn’t come.  Now I’ve been here almost 3 years.  Longest I’ve ever stuck to 1 gym.  Best decision I ever made.

Can you describe the energy you feel at KEEN ?
Basically how I feel at 40, I never felt in my 20s and that’s due to everything that’s come to me form KEEN.  It takes over and betters your life – that’s it.  You have to be open to receiving that energy though – that’s important.

 

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Strength for sure.  And determination.   Always pushing myself to go stronger and to the next step.   I try to not to quit, even at times when I don’t think I’ll make it or I can’t go any faster or pack on more weights.  I always attempt my ‘max effort’, and sometimes that gets me in trouble hehe but I love attempting the challenge.

 

Does your husband know how much of a bad ass you are?
Yes… we battle it out sometimes actually.  He’ll try to wrestle me and trust me, I don’t get pinned down.  

 

 

 

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Bear complex – because it’s working out your full body.  I feel like every muscle in my body is being worked out, at my desired weight.

 

What would you say about Ankeen?
Best soul I have ever met.  Period.
Her energy and patience can’t be found in other trainers (or other professions for that matter).  She’s so unique. She’s much more than just our ‘ coach’ – I’m honored to call her my friend.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I play the piano.  I just started back at it … I’m still very rusty but my son was even shocked to see me bust out “Fur Elise”.   And I’m really artsy-fartsy … I love to draw.  I’m not that great, but I used to sketch a lot.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Don’t be stupid like me, I wasted 2 years because of my hesitation and intimidation.  Don’t be afraid… JUST DO IT.  

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
I watch what I eat.  It’s so important to do that so you don’t undo all the hard work you’ve done at the gym.  I really started being vigilant of my portions after I started at KEEN, because you see immediate differences.  It’s all about discipline.  I actually started weighing my food and making sure I wasn’t over eating.

What is your food indulgence?
Oh my God sushi.  

But that’s pretty healthy no?
I’ll overeat though.. There is no stopping me until I’m literally about to explode.

You did the firefighter challenge in 2016 right?  How was your experience training for that, and tell us about the injury you got right before the big day, and how you mentally prepared to overcome it.
Training was really intense and fun, but takes a lot of willpower.  They’re difficult exercises and all you got to think the whole time is ‘mind over matter’.   A couple weeks before the challenge, at class, I had one of the worst injuries of my life.  I missed the box.  We always hear Ankeen warning us about not missing the box, and I did it.  Let’s just say I gashed my shin and have a permanent “KEEN tattoo”.  For a moment, it discouraged me to compete and I felt like I may let my team down on competition day.  But my team, along with my friends and hubby, encouraged and supported me, and it was a great day.  I’m glad I went forward and overcame my fears, and just did it.

What’s your jam right now?
Reggaeton baby … specifically Nicky Jam.  

Restaurant:
Yummm Yuzu Sushi in Studio City.

 

Alida was 1st Place Winner of last year’s gym-wide fitness challenge.

Photos don’t lie. Progress feels and looks sooooo good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Motivation: The Key to a Better 2018

So just like that .. it’s the first day of 2018!  Let me start off by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I’m sure you are tired of seeing all the “New Year New You” posts.  I know my eyes are tired of being rolled after seeing so many of those posts myself! After all, how many people actually keep their New Year resolutions? As you probably guessed, not many. Roughly 80% of Americans give up on their resolutions by the second week of February! Yup, that’s pretty disappointing 😔 .
Building the Right Habits
I take my health and fitness very seriously, and I understand the importance of eating right and exercising.  Since our health is the one thing we can’t buy back, why should we wait ’till Monday, or next month or the beginning of the year to take care of it?
PEOPLE – The time is NOW to get started (kinda funny that Jan 1 actually lands on a Monday this year though huh)!  So what is stopping many of you guys from reaching your goals? The answer is MOTIVATION
If you are looking for long lasting results, you must be able to identify what drives you, what motivates you.  Many of us know “what we should do,” however if there isn’t a meaningful reason to change…  it’s highly likely you will fall way short of your goals.
The reason again is LACK OF MOTIVATION
Let me give you an example.  For those who even slightly know me, know that I have an insane sweet tooth.  I mean, Yogurtland was practically listed as my emergency contact address since I was there so often.  Well, on Thanksgiving of 2016 I decided to give up sweets until my birthday, which was the following February. I mean this was something seemingly unsurmountable since I love sweets so much, but guess what .. I did just that!  As a matter a fact, I went ONE ENTIRE YEAR without eating any candy, chocolate, cake, or ice cream. You know what my motivation was? It was everyone who ever doubted me. I wanted to prove a point to myself and everyone that if you put your mind to something it can be done. 

4 Ways to Motivate Yourself
  1. Incentives & Rewards: This is pretty obvious. People driven by rewards or incentives are willing to take action when they know they will have something tangible at the end. Creating “S.M.A.R.T.” goals will help us reach our goals:
    • make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timeable.
  2. Fear: Ask yourself, “Why do you want to make this change? What would it mean to you and others in your life if you made these changes?” The other question you need to ask yourself is, “Who you are making these changes for?” Your motivation must be significant to you. You’re always going to choose feeling good over feeling uncomfortable, so be honest with yourself. 
  3. Growth: If you want to grow as an individual in the new year, you have to make this a priority and take initiative.  An easy way to make sure you stay on track is to have an accountability partner who will you keep you in check. This is where KEEN comes in!  We are here to keep that booty in check 
  4. Support: We all need encouragement and support throughout our journey of change. You don’t have to do this alone. Plus, it’s no fun that way. Whether, it’s KEEN or another fitness group, find what you like to do and stick with it! 💪🏼
Why is it so hard to stick to your goals? Because change is big. It’s scary. But you don’t want to hit next January with the same resolution.  How boring. How tedious. How last year haha!

So what do you do? Put one foot in front of the other for a start.

You need to lose weight and get healthy?  Go to the gym, preferably KEEN, so you can get all 4 of the motivational steps above in one place!

So remember, you have to give yourself tools and methods to execute your resolution.  Like, ‘You need to think positively?’ Well, try giving yourself a mirror mantra every day. ‘You need to quit smoking?’  Ok, go buy yourself some nicotine gum.  Change starts in small ways.

 

Knowing what you value is a big part of motivation. 

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Member of the Month (Jan ’17): Mania Hairapetian

What a great way to kick off the first month in the new year… with one of our “undercover beasts” being selected for the member oft the month … Mania Hairapetian.  Mania comes into the gym with a great attitude EVERY TIME, and the energy and strength she puts out wouldMania-kick-1 never let you guess that she was 3 little kiddos at home.  She’s driven, a hard-worker… and one strong mama!  Congrats Mania.. we love you!

Hey Mania.. first off congrats.  Tell us some quick stats on yourself?
Well I’m 36 years old, and a mom to 3 kids, ages 7,5, and 2 (2 girls and 1 boy=), married and enjoying life.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I heard from moms at my kids’ school.. And this was when Ankeen was just opening the gym.  My first day here was actually Ankeen’s opening day.  I came for a year straight… and I took a year off when I got pregnant with my 3rd baby… so for this last year and 9 months I’ve been back consistently.

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I did a lot of walking but never did weights.  I feel so much stronger now.. I’ve totally pushed myself a lot and I’ve seen such a difference in my body and my health pushing myself to lift weights.  It’s kind of an addiction – a good addiction haha.  It’s a great release of stress and 1 hour all to myself.

What were your goals when you first joined/started?
Honestly I just wanted to lose the baby weight and tone up.  I didn’t think I’d get stronger. But I wanted to get more fit and drop dress sizes.

Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I suck at cooking.. I’m terrible.  Actually I don’t like to do it so maybe that’s the reason I suck.  Oh and I don’t think people realize I’m a legal drug dealer… haha.. I’m a pharmacist by trade. Also, I’m also super OCD about cleaning… omg dust drives me nuts. I pretty much have that white glove on, mentally… checking the dust levels around the house.  Haha not that bad… um, actually, ya that bad.

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
I’m much more energetic in general … I definitely eat healthier and am more conscious about what I put in my body.   On vacation all bets are off.. But when I’m back and working out, I’m much more determined to stay balanced and on course as far as nutrition and workouts.    I honestly don’t diet or anything like that.. I enjoy my weekends, but I also work hard when it’s necessary!

You never complain… you always push yourself and end up kicking ass at the end of the workout.
I know how special it is for me to be able to get to the gym… having 3 kids, a busy home and schedule, it’s very difficult to make accommodations to get here so when I’m at the gym, I make sure to make the best of it when I’m here.  I absolutely value my time here.

mania-ankeen-plankWould you say you’re more fit than you husband?
OMG for sure… My husband has always been fit, but lately I’m definitely the FITTER one.  He knows I’m more fit than him… he doesn’t deny it.  I’m his motivation haha!

Aren’t all of us more fit than our husbands here?
Ya for sure!

mani-pull-up2What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
I promote KEEN like crazy… People always ask me where I workout because I’m always in workout clothes.  People’s first response is “omg it’s so hard I can’t do that!”  I tell them it’s always at your own pace, and you build up from a starting point.  Once you set your goals, you’ll definitely achieve them.  Ankeen motivates you past your own level… and pushes you to achieve great things.  Everyone is so friendly at the gym… such positive energy and vibes.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your jam right now?
For sure Destiny’s Child…. OR (don’t judge me) Persian music.  If I’m getting ready to go out, my jam is “Iranian Radio” haha.  It’s on my favorites .. I really don’t know how it got there.

Fav Restaurant:  Sushi all the way… any date night it’s gotta be sushi.  Gin Sushi in Pasadena is amazing… and surprisingly  Sakura in La Canada has great sushi.

 

mania-ankeen-jump

 

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Member of the Month (Nov ’16): Kirstine Shirvanian

 

I’m super excited to announce this month’s Member of the month, because this woman’s middle name can literally be changed to kris-3“COMMITMENT” !  She has demonstrated a crazy level of dedication and consistency, which has led to her amazing success over the past year.  I’m constantly amazed by how much better and stronger she gets week to week, and it’s people like Kris who make me feel like a proud mama!  Check out her super cool interview below, and get to know Kris a little better!  Congrats girl =)

Tell us some quick bits about you… are you married?
Well I’m 38 years old, happily married… and I have 2 kids:  an 11 year old boy, and a 12 year old girl.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I heard about Keen from my friend – I really  needed something to change my body and I wanted to be much stronger. Oh and I hated going to the gym.  I’ve been coming to KEEN since Oct 2015, so a little over a year now.

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I did spin like 4 days a week but no lifting at all.  On the first day when I had to lift at KEEN I thought it was going to be impossible. I thought I can’t lift anything.  Now I can’t wait to come to the gym and lift weights.  It’s my favorite part of my workout.. even though I sound like I complain all the time haha.

What were your goals when you first joined/started?
To get myself to come at least 3 days a week and be physically active.  And to gain strength because I knew I needed that.  I feel like I’ve accomplished that… and I’m striving for the next level of strength.

Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I literally had a fear of lifting weights… I would envision the weights dropping on myself or it slipping out of my hands.   Looking back on it now, I understand that my ignorance of weight lifting is what was fueling that fear.. I’m so much more confident about it all now.
Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
I’ve made friends from the gym.. Great ladies here.  I’m also definitely kris-1trying to incorporate what I learn at the gym at home with my kids .  Of course they always make fun of me but that’s ok.

Going from hating the gym to now coming 2x a day sometimes, what a transition.  Anything you want to say about why KEEN is so special?
The people here are special:  everyone is so supportive, we cheer each other on… it’s never a competition.

I was one of you out there, super intimidated to coming to this gym thinking I would get judged or I’d be surrounded by super athletes.  KEEN is the total opposite of that… everyone pushed me, challenged me. Supported me… and mentally made me stronger.

Have you seen changes in your body since coming for a year now?
Yes!  I’ve lost a total of 18 pounds actually .. I feel much tighter on my legs, and very compact.  Generally I feel amazing.. And my jeans fit!!!!  That’s the true test of progress right?

Would you say you’re more fit than you husband?
Haha yes… hopefully he won’t read this lol.

kris-2

 

 

Aren’t all of us more fit than our husbands here?
That’s right!

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Just try it… every woman should come in here at least once and see what it’s all about.

Favorite Restaurant:  It’s gotta be Stinking Rose… I love their garlic with bread… it’s an amazing appetizer.  Oh yum… haha.

 

 

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Member of the Month: Dinah

Welcome to our member of the month blog series, where we want to shine the spotlight on one of our awesome KEEN ladies who has shown amazing character, strength, progress, dinah1performance, motivation, and attitude.  This month we’re proud to interview Dinah Chua, one of the many moms at KEEN, who is an inspiration and motivation for everyone she interacts with.

Q:  When did you join KEEN, and why?
A: I joined KEEN Fitness about 2 and a half years ago because I was training for a half marathon, and funny enough, my husband saw a KEEN Facebook Ad and I decided to give it a try to help me train.  I didn’t realize I’d get this hooked.

Q: How did you take the suggestion from your husband encouraging you to workout? Some women may get offended by that.

A: My husband and have always worked out together… it’s part of our lifestyle.  We wanted to mix it up a bit and so it was perfect timing for me.

 Q:  Want to talk about life after kids?
A: There is no life after kids – haha just kidding!  I have an 8 year old boy, and 6 & 4 year old girls.  Going to the gym is ME time.. I can choose to stay at home and watch TV but coming here is so much more fulfilling.  Gives you so much energy to deal with 3 kids all day, everyday …

Q: How do your kids perceive your fitness level?
A: My son competes in Tae Kwon Do, and my girls are in gymnastics so fitness is a big deal for our family.   I want to set a good example for my kids:  if I ask them to push themselves then there is no excuse for me.  I need to show them it’s a family philosophy.

When my kids have watched a workout at KEEN, they’ve told me “Mom.. all the mommies at your gym are so strong!”  I love that.. .my 4-year old tells everyone that “my mom is the strongest in our entire family”

dinah2Q: What is your favorite part of KEEN
A: I love that the exercises are never the same, and we’re always being pushed to achieve more.  Boredom is never an issue.  You would think a gym full of girls would be full of drama… so not the case.  I love how supportive everyone is of each other

Q: How do you motivate yourself?
A: I know deep down inside that after the workout I’ll feel like a million bucks.  There are days I’m super tired or fatigued, and I listen to my body and take a day off.  But after my morning workouts, I’m pumped for the day and this is what drives me.

Q: Describe the perfect meal:
A: Definitely Sushi.   I love Sushi Monster in Montrose … they go minimal on the rice and have super fresh fish.   My kids love it too so works out for the family.

 Q: Give a recommendation for someone considering trying out KEEN:
A: Don’t watch the scale! Set you expectations realistically and give your body time to change.

If you’re looking for a change, whether in your body or routine, you need to give it a shot.  It won’t be easy the first couple weeks, but you will see tremendous benefit once you keep at it.

 

Q: Any feedback for Ankeen (Keen’s owner & lead trainer):
A: Ankeen – and all the other coaches – are amazing! I love how Ankeen speaks the truth.  She genuinely wants the best for you.  Also, her style for explaining exercise movements is unique, hilarious, and just relatable.

dinah3

Dinah Chua, KEEN Member of the Month: August 2016

Q: What’s something we don’t know about you:
A: When a workout is hard I actually sing out to the song playing and that takes my mind off of the workout.   Q: Are you a good singer? I’m a horrible singer, but when the volume is super high I sound amazing.  Don’t we all?

 

dinah4

 

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