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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 (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.

 

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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?

 

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