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Member of the Month (October 2019): Edita

We are proud to announce this month’s Member of the Month:
🅔🅓🅘🅣🅐 🅐🅓🅐🅜🅘🅐🅝

Edita balances her full-time position at Lexus of Glendale as a Warranty Administrator then heads off to KEEN-Fitness to get in her 60minute workout! This girl has been to over 100 concerts, has a strong dislike for junk food and is a massage therapist on the side! To say she keeps “busy” is an understatement. 

We just had to ask, what kept her motivated because we all know it can be challenging! In our interview, Edita admits,

“It’s hard to motivate myself especially when I’ve had a long, crazy day at work, but when I see results and my clothes fit better, there is no other feeling in the world. I’m happier and more confident.”

There is no doubt Edita, self discipline and motivation can be challenging, but clearly you are in the zone!!! We are so proud of you! 
Edita joined KEEN Fitness in 2016 and admits to taking a hiatus for a year and a half because she “fell back to bad habits. Got lazy.“ Edita started up again more committed than ever in March 2019, and here we are six months later, 43 pounds lighter, training five ✋🏽 times a week. That includes “cheating on the weekends”. Edita is a huge foodie and said this change works for her. 

Keen asked Edita, “What kick started this discipline?” 

“I’ve always been on the heavier side, but I started noticing that my weight was really getting up there and I didn’t like it. I’m tall and I could pull it off, but I did not like the way I look. Also, I’m getting older and I realized I really needed to set realistic goals for myself for long-term results.”

Edita has really come a long way in her fitness journey and we are so honored to be able to witness her mind/body transformation. 

honored to be able to witness her mind/body transformation. 

How has Keen Fitness changed your perspective on working out?

“I have tried many different gyms including personal training the reason I love coming to KEEN is because of the motivation from the coaches and the members. We have become a family. I like the one hour of intense training then I’m done. You can say, I like to get my butt beat! Also, I don’t have to figure out what exercise I need to do for that hour. The coaches have already come up with a plan for that day. Regular gyms are always crowded and I don’t like that.”

We love your healthy approach while on this fitness journey and about setting realistic goals and also admire your focus on achieving “results that are long-term”. 

We really look forward to catching up with you again! KEN Fitness just wants you to know that you’re such an inspiration to many and proof that commitment does pay off!  Keep focused and keep strong!

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Member of the Month (June 2018): Helen

Summer is finally here (yay!) and y’all know how much I love this season.. especially enjoying the sun as it brightens up our beautiful LA days.  So why am I randomly bringing this up?  Because this month’s member of the month, Helen, does exactly that for all of us at KEEN, every time she steps inside our four walls.  She is a bubbling ray of energy, always so positive and I just realized that she literally brightens up my day every time I see her.  So fitting for her to be this month’s spotlight member, since she is our first super star of the summer season.  Helen exudes commitment, focus, dedication, and a ‘can-do’ attitude with every workout, which has translated to her phenomenal results over the last couple years.  Congrats Helen… and this time, I get to call you the ‘brilliant’ one (said with a British accent of course… you’ll find out why below).



Ok let’s start off with your age.. is that ok?
Haha ya of course.  I’m 49 years old.

Damn lady you look good! When do you turn 50?
Actually next May. Any big plans when you turn 50?  Nothing special, no.  Actually I take that back, I want to have abs like Ankeen.  That’s my goal.

Are you  married? Any kids?
Yup… married and have a daughter who is 14 years old.  Does she like to workout too? I think I can probably take her in most things, haha.  I think she likes the idea of working out. She wants me to train her more on push-ups.  We’re working on her noodle arms at the moment.

Have you always been athletic?
I would never call myself athletic per say.  At school, I always got the score of ‘she tried’ in the area of physical education … and I still feel like that applies to my mode of operation today.  I always try. I give it 110%. Well you realize you found the secret right?  What’s that?  Consistency… you always trying means you’re consistent.  That’s the most important piece.

So you’re from England right? Yup!  So how did you end up as an LA transplant? I was working in London for an animation company, but when it got acquired by Dreamworks, the team moved to Los Angeles.  I met my husband in animation too, so we all ended up moving to LA at that point.  Wow that’s so cool.. what do you do exactly in animation? I work in whats called ‘traditional animation’… I’m the person who puts the character on model, and puts details on it. I never went to art school… I just started working in the industry since I was 17 years old, and just stuck to it, and learned everything through experience.  Hmmmm … there’s that ‘trying’ and ‘can-do’ attitude again.  I love it!

How did you hear about KEEN?
I actually heard about KEEN from Coach Ani, because I was taking spin class with Ani at the spin studio.  I took the free class here at KEEN and literally jumped into a 6-month membership. That first class was the most amazing class.  It was with Ankeen, and I’ve never looked back ever since. It’s now been a little over 2 years, and I absolutely love it.

So what was that first class experience like?
Obviously I was already going to the gym, so I wasn’t totally out of shape or anything, and she still completely kicked my ass.  It was just ‘brilliant’ (said with British accent… love it). I’ve been to many many gyms, and this place is HANDS DOWN the BEST one I’ve experienced.  This place transformed me, and my body totally changed for the better.

How do you motivate yourself to stay so consistent at the gym?
Well I come at least 6 days a week.  Sometimes I do 7 days, but I listen to my body because sometimes my body needs a day off.  I have double-dipped on days too.  Those are interesting, haha!  It’s this contagious awesome cycle that when you start coming more and more, you crave it more and more.  KEEN is a huge part of my daily routine and lifestyle.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Usually anything that involves upper body work.  But in general, I love every class because of the variety.  You never know what you’re going to get walking into class, and that’s exciting and fun.  It’s hard to pick a single favorite exercise.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I am half Greek.. My dad is from Cypress.  I have 6 siblings, and the youngest of our siblings is 15 years younger than me.  Sadly, everyone is back in England but when I do go home to visit, it’s ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ style.  So, is there lamb roasting on the front lawn when you arrive?  Haha pretty much… definitely lots of people constantly feeding me – that’s for sure!

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
Yes he does…. he calls me Rocky, haha!  Of course he’s teasing me, but I think he ultimately admires my dedication.  He acknowledges he doesn’t have the same drive for fitness as I do, but I try to push him to do things as well.  We like to take walks as a family together, and just be outdoors together.

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
Hmmm, what would I say?  Where do you start? She has a HUGE personality, that lights up the room.   She is HILARIOUS, which was a huge draw for me.  She cracked me up on that first class, while she kicked my ass, so that hooked me in.  She is a great motivator and leader, and has put together an amazing crew of coaches. This place is my happy place. I love all of the girls here… it’s such a great energy.  If I miss a workout, I legitimately feel sad about it.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Look at me.. I’m 49.  I wasn’t an athlete. You just have to TRY. YOU are the one who is in charge of your destiny at the end of the day.  You gotta persevere… when I first started, I couldn’t even do a burpee. Fitness is not about how much you weigh … it’s about how you FEEL.  Just come and get your endorphins going and you’ll realize how this one hour workout will change the entire energy of your day, for the better of course!

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
I think diet is super important, because if you don’t watch that, you’re basically unraveling what you’ve worked so hard for in the gym.  I literally go through a carton of egg whites a day. A day?!  Are you drinking it straight up? Haha sometimes, if I’m in a hurry.  Or I make a huge scramble, and sometimes I add it to a shake.

 

 

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Well I grew up in London, so I’ve been all around Europe but that was normal for me.  Moving to LA, I was so excited to visit Mexico actually. It’s so beautiful and exotic. My worst vacation, for sure, was Tahiti because it was soooo expensive and it rained the whole time we were there.  I’m sure if we hadn’t had weather issues, it would have been amazing.

 

 

What’s your jam right now?
I’m kind of old school… I like what I like.  David Bowie and Queen, you know them?  Haha of course.. That’s the good stuff!  Oh good, my daughter warned me not to embarrass myself on this question.

Restaurant:
My daughter and I always go to sushi on Wednesdays, as a girl’s afternoon out.  We typically go to Blue Fin, but sometimes try new places too. I’m Greek.. I love food. I will eat anything.

 

 


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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 (Mar 2018): Jennifer

So you know those people in your life, that are quiet, dainty, and gentle, yet you know that deep down, they are also bad asses with a lot of spark and a force to be reckoned with?  Well that’s Jennifer.  She is extremely kind, pleasant to be around, but if you give her a challenge and some dumbbells.. welp, she morphs into BEAST MODE real fast. I’ve had the privilege of coaching this lovely woman for the past 4 years, and I’m so excited to crown her as this month’s member of the month.  She is the embodiment of HARD WORK PAYS OFF! Love you Jennifer!


Congrats on being this month’s featured member.  Let’s start by establishing your age (just to get these youngins a bit jealous):
Haha.  I’m 41, Any Kids?  Yes! I have two littles.  A 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. They take up so much of my energy, but as time goes on, they’re really getting better at being self-sufficient.  

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I moved to this area about four years ago, and I was looking for a place to get back in shape after having my 2nd baby.  I had really stopped working out, and I had belonged to 24 hour fitness gym nearby, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there.  I wanted classes, so I went onto Yelp, and KEEN was the first place that I found. I looked at Ankeen’s profile and read her bio, and I got super inspired.   I decided to email Ankeen and try it out.  That was 2014 – almost 4 years ago actually!

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Noticeable strength, hands down.  I feel healthier; I feel more active and energized.  For me, it’s about feeling healthy and being here long term for my family.

What was your first experience at KEEN?
My first class was the Fran workout, and I should have ran away and never come back. (Attention Reader:  The “Fran” workout is considered CrossFit’s most difficult workout around 😳). I came home and was crying from being so tired, but I thought to myself, “hey I got what I asked for”.  During the class, I just wanted to get through it, that’s it.  But now, I look forward to my workout. This place is a FEMALE POWERHOUSE full of positive energy.   Encouragement and good vibes all around. Always.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
It’s not Fran for sure haha.   Probably any kind of upper-body lifting.  I’m trying to increase my upper body strength, and I love the Monday circuits, because it gives your whole body a workout all in one night.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
He sure does – I think he notices the extra energy that I have now.  Interestingly, the energy I gain from working out consistently has transferred into my household, and creates good vibes in the home.  Now that the kids are older, my husband and I make lots of effort to be active outdoors with them.

Do your kids know you’re a badass?
Yes I think they really do.   My son is fascinated by me kickboxing on the bag, and honestly I think he likes seeing me beat up that bag.  Hmmmm.

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
I gotta use that word “POWERHOUSE” again:  not only does she talk the talk, she walks the walk.  How she trains us, is exactly how she trains herself, so you know you’re getting the real thing.  On a personal level, she has given me so much confidence in knowing that I can push through something that is extremely challenging, both mentally and physically.  And then seeing you come out of it not only feeling ok, but energized from accomplishing that. It’s magical really.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
Well I’m planning to go through the training to become a reserve deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County, and had I never come to KEEN, I wouldn’t even be in the realm of being physically prepared for this.  This is a huge goal of mine; I’ve always been fascinated with law enforcement and I’m a lawyer now. The reserve program is something I can do while I continue practicing law as an attorney.

So can you give me a ticket once you’re a deputy?
Hehe no, I’ll most likely be part of the search and rescue teams (that is once I go through the training, graduate and get certified of course)

OK so can you clear a ticket for me?
Um probably not. Haha!

So speaking of being a lawyer, we see you multi-tasking conference calls and roundhouse kicks on the bag.  How does that work out for you?
You know it’s all about managing my demanding job, while sticking to my fitness.  It’s nice to have tools to be able to plug into work when I need to, remotely, and have an ease of mind that I’m able to fulfill my work duties as well.  Usually those multi-tasking events have been during less important calls, let’s leave it at that!

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Don’t hesitate.  Just try a class, and have an open mind.  My first class was very tough, but I decided to stick with it.  You will get to your own goals as long as you are consistent and preserver.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
I have a protein drink right after the workout, and I can totally see how it helps with muscle recovery.  Also stretching is very important – I mean I can’t do the splits or anything, but helps me be more agile in the gym

What is your food indulgence?
Chocolate chip cookies.  For sure. I can’t turn down a cookie.

So if I was in a litigation case against you… all I would need to do is bring your some cookies?
Oh ya, I’ll hand over anything you want and settle the case that second.  

What’s your jam right now?
I don’t sing well, at all, so I would be dancing.  I love any music that makes me feel like I can get up and dance, especially songs from The Weeknd.  I love his songs.

Restaurant:
I’m in love with this Korean teriyaki chicken place on foothill, called “Chicken Day”  – it’s soooo delicious. It’s addicting.  

 

 

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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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Member of the Month (Jan 2018): Kathy & Karine

So January is known to be “New Year New You” month right?  Well if there was a story that should motivate you to get up and get moving, it’s this one!  I’m so proud to announce this month’s memberS of the month, Kathy and Karine.  Yup.. we are congratulating a duo this month… these besties, who are moms in their late forties, are my morning BEASTS.  They are strong, fit, energetic, and endlessly motivated.  I’m continuously amazed at their abilities, from a fitness trainer’s perspective, and for the past five years, I have loved to call them my friends as well.  Congrats ladies.. we applaud you!  Check out my interview with these beauties below:


Congrats ladies on being the first member of the month of 2018, and our first DUO winners!  So let’s start off by establishing your ages:
Actually we’re both 47 and we both have 2 kids haha.

Kathy: I have 2 girls… Karine: I have 1 boy and 1 girl.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Kathy: I found KEEN on Instagram actually … I totally remember that day to be honest with you.  Karine’s cousin was coming here, so I asked her how is it, how she liked it ? She loved it so I decided to give it a try.

Karine: So Kathy and I were going to Total Woman gym for years, and when Kathy discovered KEEN, we decided to try it.  Ankeen had just opened her doors for only a couple months actually, and we were getting really bored of Total Woman, so it seemed like an exciting thing to try.

Can you describe you first day and what you thought?
Kathy: I remember it sooo well.  I’m not sure if Ankeen remembers.  Ankeen was actually kind of impressed by our abilities.  We were doing wall balls and it was doable for us, since we had always been into working out and fitness.

Karine:  I was stressed and nervous to start something different, and I had never boxed.  With Ankeen it was love at first sight.. I must say.  And the workout ended up being totally doable, and not what I had hyped it up in my mind to be as far as the impossible.

How Long have you been coming?
Both:  Ever since she opened really.. since June 2013.  Wow it’s almost been 5 years.  We should really celebrate our 5 year anniversary!

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Kathy: for sure strength.  I couldn’t do any weight lifting before… I was a total cardio junkie.  Gradually I increased my weights, and now I feel so strong.

Karine:  At Total Woman, the heaviest weight I would pickup was probably like 8 lbs.  Now I’m lifting 70-80 pounds consistently.  Oh and push ups… I couldn’t do ANY pushups before, and now I’m proud to say I have mastered that.

How do you stay so driven?
Kathy:  FOR SURE ANKEEN is a big part of that … she constantly motivates me.  

Karine:  Ankeen totally motivates me to get up early and driver over here, and our class is full of friends for me.  I love seeing these women first thing in the morning.

 

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Kathy: I love the bear complex a lot!  Coming from a ‘cardio junkie’ that is a surprise, I know,  but I love lifting the weights in this exercise.  You want to know what I hate?  Burpees and thrusters.

Karine:  I love burpees actually… and back squats.  Lower body exercises for sure.  

Haha what is there to like about burpees?
Karine:  I feel my whole body working… my arms, my core, my legs.  It’s also great cardio so I like the efficiency of it.

Does your husband know how much of a bad ass you are?
Kathy: (quickly responds) YES!  He knows how strong I am and wouldn’t mess with me haha.

Karine:  I hope so…. (for his sake right?).  There was a partner fitness challenge at KEEN and I asked my husband to come, and he said no twice.  I don’t know if he was intimidated, but he didn’t come. 

Any feedback about Ankeen?
Kathy:  10 out of 10 stars in every category.  Everything she does is perfect.

Karine:  I call her my sunshine, because we start our day with her and she gives me good vibes and energy every single day.  

Kathy:  Oh ya.. Even if you come into class not feeling it or having a bad day, you leave feeling phenomenal.  She is that kind of unique soul.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?

Kathy:  I used to work at a pharmacy, and it was super stressful sometimes, and one day I told a difficult customer to ‘shut up’ over the phone.  Straight up told her just to shut up.  I was pregnant and not very patient (obviously), and I definitely got written up by my manager after that.  I didn’t work there much longer after that .. oops! Haha.

Karine: I used to make shoes in Armenia.  Like literally make them using my hands.  It’s usually a male-dominated industry, but I worked at a shoe company, and I actually physically sewed the shoes.  

Were they cute shoes?  Ya men’s shoes that you had to sew the souls with heavy duty tools.   Oh and another cute fact:  I have known my husband since I was 8 years old. We went to school together all throughout and got married.

What is your food indulgence?
Kathy: I love sweets.  Any kind of pastries actually .. but I control myself and not eat it =(   I love to cook (and I would say I’m really good at it) so I make healthy versions of things that are still very tasty.

Karine:  Ice cream…. and chocolate.  With my coffee.  Any favorite ice cream flavor?  Ya the Russian Vanilla ice cream cones, called “Dadu”.. Those are irresistable.

 

What’s your jam right now?
Kathy: Hip Hop and Rap: I really like Post Malone and Black Beatles.  Oh and Travis Scott.

Karine: I love love love Latin music.. Marc Anthony and Maluma.  

Restaurant:
Kathy:  Amici at Americana.. I always enjoy going there.  I love to get their salmon with quinoa.

Karine:  Kabuki in Burbank… I love cooked sushi actually.  I never eat raw sushi.

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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 (Oct 2017): Tania Vartanians

Nope… that’s not Tania in costume.. and no she is not dressed up as a pregnant lady for Halloween.  She is actually pregnant as she continues to ROCK the gym in her 2nd trimester!  Tania is the definition of POWERHOUSE, as she is one of the STRONGEST ladies at the gym.  She never ceases to amaze me, not only by her sheer ability to overcome her personal bests, but also her phenomenal focus and motivation every day to just KILL it in her workouts.  Congratulations Tania on being member of the month… this is the first month that our winner is 1 and a half humans =).  We congratulate you and your family on your beautiful baby boy – can’t wait to meet the cutie! Check out my interview with Tania to learn how much of a badass mama she really is:

Congrats Tania on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m thirty—- hmm– six… I always have to think about it.  I have a daughter, 3 years old… and a boy on the way, as you can tell haha!

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Drive by.  That sounds bad.. Haha.  I was driving by Trader Joe’s, and saw it from the outside and it always looked very interesting.  I’ve always been into working out, but it took me several months of “Ankeen-Stalking” on Instagram to make the first move.

How long have you been coming?
Just over a  year and a half… and I feel spectacular.

 

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Physically or emotionally?  It’s so much of both… like even though I’m older, I’ve never been in better shape.  And emotionally, I can tell I’m mentally more clear.

Where do you think that mental clarity comes from?  Definitely from having time to myself, and when you do good for your body, it absolutely benefits your mind.

You always have such a determined attitude.. And your ability in the gym gets crazier by the day.  Have you always been this driven?
Yes… I’m a bit of an over-achiever.

Haha – So basically you just want to make all of us look bad?
Actually I’m not competitive with others.  I really hate competition in general.  But with myself, I’m super competitive.  I’m my own driver.

 

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
I absolutely LOVE the bear complex, because it makes me feel like a bear.. Like a beast.  I feel accomplished afterwards.. Super strong.

Why did I know you were going to choose the bear complex… you are a beast!
So you can lift some serious weight… were you always this mega strong?
No Actually… that  was all Ankeen haha.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
I think he’s in denial actually…  I don’t think he wants to accept the truth hahah!

So should we set up a sparring challenge with him?
Oh ya, bring it on… even while I’m pregnant!  He’s definitely not a couch potato.. But we do get some serious strength training here at Keen.

Any feedback about Ankeen?
She’s real.. What you see is what you get.  Listen to her and trust her.  That’s all you gotta do.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I’m a PA (Physician’s Assistant), and I specialize in hematology / oncology.

Is that difficult emotionally?
It’s challenging.. but it teaches you to take nothing for granted, and enjoy every single day of your life.  And be grateful for your health and to take care of yourself.

What’ advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Honestly JUST DO IT.   Come with an open mind.  Be prepared to fail the first week.  Be prepared to feel nauseous, and tired, and challenged… but push through, and after that, you’ll be amazed at the results you see.

How has working out while pregnant been a new experience for you?  And would you recommend it?
It’s an empowering feeling.  The female body is amazing, and we don’t give it enough credit for all it’s capable of.  We are strong beings.  And this is my bonding time with the baby… I think he enjoys Ankeen’s playlists too.  He’s always dancing around in there during the workouts.  I would absolutely recommend staying fit and active throughout your pregnancy if you’re able to.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
Definitely my protein powder and lots and lots of water all day long.

What’s your jam right now?
Don’t judge:  my toddler is into the “Sing” Soundtrack… so I’m into the “Im still Standing” song by Elton John, and “Shake It Off”.

Restaurant: Sake Sushi.. Even though I can’t have it right now =( … I love their Omega 3 Roll!

 

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Member of the Month (August 2017): Salpi Pirverdian

What better way to kick-off (umm maybe the better word is “celebrate”) back-to-school than by honoring our August member of the month Salpi, a mom to a 7 year old boy!  I can not get tired of the phenomenal progress and changes Salpi has seen in her strength, body, and overall fitness performance.  She is a true power-house… everyone in the gym knows when Salpi is around, because her kicks on the bag make thunder echoes through the building.. fa real!  Congrats Salpi on a long-time-coming, well-deserved Member of the Month win! 

Hey Salpi so congratulations on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m 36 years old… married for 10 years with a 7.5 year old son.

 

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
So Ankeen is my cousin, and I was at the hair salon and Ankeen told me just to come.  I tried to fight it hard, and told her there is no way I can do this.  After that first class, I honestly didn’t feel too bad.  I did much better than I thought actually.. I was mostly scared about heavy lifting.

 

That’s so funny that you say that, because you’re literally one of the heaviest lifters at the gym:
Ya I know huh.. It’s crazy how your body transforms.

 

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Well I’ve lost 17 lbs and I’ve built a LOT of strength.   

 

Can you give us tips?
Well working out is half of the equation.  Building muscle and and cardio strength is so crucial to success.  The other HUGE half of it is your diet.  Since March I started watching my sugar intake (I have an insane sweet tooth) and upping my clean protein and I started losing a ton of weight.  Abs start in the kitchen.. Guess that saying is true!  

 

How has that changed your day to day? 
Well I definitely have more energy and strength throughout the day.. Definitely a lot more confidence.  

 

You always have such a positive attitude and always smiling and laughing.. What’s your secret?
I love working out.. It’s my happy place.  At this intensity, I really get addicted to the rush of it.  It’s a natural high.

 

What’s one of your favorite workouts?
Bear complex for sure… I love the lifting part of it.   Which is crazy because I didn’t ever think I would come to love the weight lifting part of an exercise.  (Check out Salpi’s custom “Bear Complex Instructional” GIF below)

 

So most women think lifting weights won’t help them achieve their goals.  In fact, they think it will do the opposite and make them “expand.”  Can you give us your feedback on that?
Oh my god.. Lifting weights itself is a great cardio workout.  Like when you’re doing the bear complex, you heart rate is super high and racing.  You lose more weight in the long run too.

 

So you are NOTORIOUS for your kicks on the bag… is your husband scared.. Because we are.
I always tell him, “I swear I can kick you a** …”  jokingly of course, but in a little way I’m being pretty realistic.  I love kickboxing.. It’s the ultimate stress reliever.  I even told my husband that I’ll get so strong that I can power lift him too haha!

 

Does your son know the level of bad ass you are?
I was tell him, “you know I’m stronger than your dad right?” He laughs… doesn’t say anything.  I always show him the workouts we do but he’s shy about doing them too.  But I’m definitely always advocating fitness to him.

 

So we know you’re related to Ankeen… is there something you could tell us that we don’t know about her?   An embarrassing story would be great…
So Ankeen is 3 years younger than me, and when she was underage, she would borrow my ID.  So we had a good system where she would pick it up in the middle of the night from my mailbox, but she was also VERY punctual about returning it back into the mailbox the next day.  Well she knew she had too… or else she would lose that “privilege” real quick – haha!

 

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class? Specifically people who say it’s just too hard or intimidating?
I tell them that’s exactly how I felt.  Just come once… and you’ll see what an amazing environment it is.  Especially all the ladies here… all of them are just so amazing and supporting.  Just come once!  The coaches, all of them, are so awesome… all different with great variety – thank you to our coaches!

 

What’s your jam right now?
I love all kinds of music… except I hate rap…ehh and country is kind of blah to me, but everything else I love.   Right now I love that Martin Garrix + Dua Lipa song, called “Scared to be lonely”

 

Restaurant Pick:  TAKU-YA Sushi in Glendale.. The protein roll there is DA BOMB!

Those Crazy Salpi Kicks!

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Member of the Month (July 2017): Maria Dzulfayan

I literally can’t get tired of our Member of the Month Posts because I am constantly inspired and amazed at every one of our power woman stories.  This month we honor and celebrate a young woman who is truly remarkable: she is one of our youngest members – but don’t let that fool you on her level of determination, maturity, and focus.  Maria has had TREMENDOUS progress in just the short 4 months she’s been attending KEEN:  she’s lost 25 pounds and gained tons of strength and muscle.  Although she is naturally on the quiet side, don’t underestimate her   .. she is a true BEAST …  especially when she’s beatin’ up on those punching bags!

Hey Maria so congratulations on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m 17 and entering my senior year at Clark Magnet High School =)

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
When we were moving down the street, my mom saw it and told me about it and encouraged me to come so I started.  I’ve been coming for about 5 months… I love it.  I feel really really really good!

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I would go to the gym 4 times a week, and I’d always do cardio … and I never felt like I had a good workout.  The 1 hour I spend at KEEN ruly pushes me and I actually FEEL worked out EVERY SINGLE TIME!  Just from being at KEEN, I’m surrounded by so many positive people and that group motivation is sooo powerful.  It really makes a difference not doing things on your own and getting that professional advice and feedback.

What are some of your hobbies outside of coming to KEEN every single day haha…
I’m studying to go into art school.  I plan on going to Art Center after I get my general education at Glendale Community College.  I’m still trying to decide which type of art I want to go into:  either animation or illustration.

Cool.. what do you like to draw the most:
I love to draw eyes.. It’s always that one thing I go to.

What draws you to the eyes? (no pun intended.. haha ok just a little.  I love bad puns)
Well every eye I draw is different, and they all have their “voice”.. Like they’re trying to say something to you.  Really just like they say,  “eyes are the window to one’s soul”… I truly believe that.

What would be your dream job?
Probably working at Disney.  I would love to be part of their animation studios.

How do you feel about your experience at KEEN will help you later in life?
I feel like I’m getting an earlier start to be healthier in the future, and set a good foundation for good habits. Like already I’m changing my eating habits… and I’m already seeing such a huge benefit.  In this short amount of time, I’ve seen these new habits changing my life for the better.. I can’t imagine not coming to KEEN at this point.

What’s one of your favorite workouts?
Hmmmm… probably kickboxing and circuits, for sure.  I love the fast-pace of the kickboxing … and to be honest, I love beating up that bag =).

What is something we don’t know about you:
I love to travel a lot.. I was baptized in Italy actually.

Oh ya? What’s your fav travel spot?  My parents really like to go to tropical places, but honestly I love Europe.  I love discovering all the new mysteries and secrets hidden throughout the cities.

 

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
Oh definitely… It’s made me want to use every opportunity to be active.  Like sitting idle now is such a death trap for me.  I literally want to be in motion every moment of the day.  It’s an amazing feeling!  If I’m bored at home doing nothing, I want to go on a hike or on a walk.. I just can’t sit down and do nothing!

What’s your least favorite activity at the gym?
Burpees and running.

You literally gave me that answer instantaneously.. You feel pretty passionately about hating those exercises huh?  Haha ya for sure.

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class? Specifically people who say it’s just too hard or intimidating?
Honestly the positive atmosphere here is unexplainable.. The feeling of accomplishment every day is so powerful.  I’ve tried to convince my friends to come and honestly they have a ton of excuses that it’s too hard – but if you put your mind to it, it’s all doable.

 

What’s your jam right now?
I love Bruno Mars  … he always makes me want to get up and move.  Just love him.

Restaurant Pick:   Die hard sushi fan… My favorite spot is this tiny place nearby called Sushi Monster on Honolulu, and their volcano roll is awesome!

 

 

 

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