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.
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!