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Member of the Month (September 2018): Sam

September marks the beginning of Autumn, and the end of Summer of course, when things go back into a routine, and school is back in session.  What a perfect month to celebrate this special member of the month, since she is a busy mom to 2 grown boys, who decided 4 years ago that it was time for a change.  Time for her to focus on her health and well-being, and really start a workout routine that nourished her physically and emotionally.  Sam, I am so proud of you.  You have been committed to the gym and to your fitness routine for 4 straight years, and your results are truly remarkable.  You bring a smile to my face every time I see you in here, and your ‘can-do’ attitude is contagious.  Congrats, you deserve to be celebrated!


Congrats Sam! So let’s start by establishing how old you are: Hmmm… I’m 43… I don’t know how I became to be 43, but ya I am.  Are you sure?  Haha yes!

Are you  married? Kids?
Yup.  I have 2 fully-grown boys.  One is 22 and the other is 17 years old.   Was that hard raising 2 boys?  They are super energetic and athletic, so ya keeping up with them has always been a lot of effort.  I was never active like I am now.

So for those who don’t know you here at the gym, you’re always focusing through on a workout, and getting it done with no complaints.  Were you always this athletic? NO, not at all.  It was very difficult for me to actually come to my first class because I was always so inactive.  Running around the block for my first ever warm-up at KEEN was torture.  I thought I was going to collapse after that warm-up lap actually!

How long have you been coming to KEEN?
Since January 2015 actually, so it’s gonna be 4 years this January.  Crazy how time flies. When you’re having fun right?  Haha always.

How did you hear about KEEN?
I had tried personal training with a small group of women, but after a year it unraveled and it didn’t work out.  So a friend of mine had told me there was an all-women gym in Montrose and we decided to give it a try. It really appealed to me that it was all-women, and I felt comfortable coming in for my first class.

So what was that first class experience like?
It was physically challenging.  I had never done anything that hard in my life, honestly.  It took me a couple months to get over my fear of coming to every class haha!  It took me 6 months to feel comfortable coming into each class. So what made you stick to it then?  Most people wouldn’t stay committed like that.  I just loved the energy of the gym.  I feel so accomplished after each class, and that feeling is so much more worth than being scared of coming into the class.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
I don’t have a favorite since everything is still very challenging for me.  I can’t say that I have mastered any one exercise yet.  Burpees are the hardest for me for sure. But I am the most comfortable with back squats, and I’ve gotten so much better at them throughout the years.  
So after coming consistently for 4 years, what are the biggest improvements you have seen?  Well of course my endurance has increased quite a bit.   It’s a night and day difference. I was somewhat emotionally depressed prior to joining, and that has improved so much. My life has gotten brighter and happier, and just more full of energy.  Does your family pick up on that?  Yes, they see the difference in me.  My husband pushes me to come, because he sees the difference in me after EVERY class.  He is very supportive, and in fact if I have missed coming to class a couple days in a row, he encourages me to go to the next upcoming class. 

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Well, I do a lot of hand work.  I do pottery and ceramics, and I take classes very often.  Wow, I know ceramics isn’t as easy as it looks.  No it isn’t at all… it’s very skill-oriented actually, and I learn new techniques all the time. I do quilting and cross-stitching… hand crafting give me a lot of stress-relief.   Do you ever sell your hand-crafted items?  No, I just make things for my kids and family members.  I still have my son’s first quilt I made him.

So we know your husband is super supportive and proud of you.  But does he know how strong and fit you have become?
He says he actually ‘feels’ my punches now, haha!  He says he can tell how strong I have gotten, so ya he knows!

So you’re a hiker right? Yup, I love to hike.  I have hiked the tallest mountain in the US, which is Mt. Whitney.  How long did that take? Well I had to hike overnight, and it was about 25 miles in total.  It was a looooong hike, and it was definitely hard. I went with my husband, and we were part of a larger team.  What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
Ankeen is one of the greatest people I have ever met.  I admire her so much… not just her physical fitness, but her emotional fitness.  She is so self-aware. Her energy level, and her passion for every single member is remarkable.  She is such a special person in my life.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
First of all, come to the first free class.  And plan to stick around for a month. Your first week will be hard, regardless!  So please stay committed and you will see fantastic results.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
I love love love Kauai! The scenery is gorgeous and everything is so green and lush.  The beauty of nature always gets me. It’s so soothing and peaceful.

What is your food indulgence?
Brownies for sure.  Oh and chocolate cake. I’m guess you like chocolate? Not really, but when I’m really tired and my energy level is low, my craving turns to chocolate cake.  Do you bake it at all?  No no no, I try not to make any sweets because then I will go crazy eating it!

What’s your jam right now?
I’m really into Maroon 5 lately.  Cardi B too. It totally pumps me up, every single time.

Restaurant:
Around here, I really like Sol BBQ on Foothill Blvd.  Interesting, another member of the month had recommended them too. Ya, it’s super tasty!

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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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