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Member of the Month (August 2018): Elena

A big part of being successful at KEEN, and in any fitness routine for that matter, is passion and emotional commitment.  You have to be all in, and you have to be real with yourself.  And with that, it’s my great pleasure to announce this month’s member of the month… Elena.  She is the poster child for holding yourself accountable, and making the right changes to get to your goals.  She’s lost 20 pounds in the past 4 months, and gained a lot of muscle during the process too.  She is a silent force to be reckoned with… very shy, quiet, observant, but an undercover beast!  Congrats sister… you earned it!


Great job Elena.. really, so awesome.  Ok, let’s start out with your age:

I’m 28.   Ahh, what a great age to be at!  Married? Nope not yet!

So how did you hear about KEEN?
Just driving by honestly.  I came once 3 years ago, but I got super busy with my master’s program and stopped coming.  About 7 months ago, I knew I needed a drastic change in my routine and I knew I needed Ankeen back in my life.  I was going to the gym here and there, but nothing compares to the intensity and efficiency of the workouts here.

What were you studying for your masters?
Global medicine actually.  Lots of info about disease control haha.

Oh wow.. so what’s the weirdest disease you learned about?
For sure schistosomiasis. It’s a super rare condition that happens when you get infected by freshwater worms carried by snails.  So gross.

Ok so let’s back to working out haha.   How would you describe your first KEEN class experience?
Well, I definitely remember that I couldn’t walk straight for a week afterwards.  Ankeen was sooo welcoming. I felt like I had known her for years.

So what is your favorite workout here?
Deadlifts, actually, as weird as that sounds.  I always prefer lower body workouts, and deadlifts are amazing for your legs.  I always feel the soreness the next day.  My hamstrings are on fire but I absolutely love it.

How different do you feel now that you’ve become a KEENFIT power woman?
I mean this is definitely the fittest I have ever been in my life.  I feel so strong and energetic all the time.  I try to come 4-5 days a week, and this is the best hour of my day.  I get so excited to come here.. it starts my day off right.  Literally an hour of not worrying about anything except your workout and just focusing on YOU.

So what do you think about Ankeen.. how does she influence you?
Her energy is insane.  She is extremely helpful, and never judgmental.  She is hilarious also… I literally enjoy her company all the time.  I have never seen someone like her at a gym.  She genuinely cares about every member on a personal level, and she really has helped me individually with a very unique perspective and approach.  I truly love her!

 

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
I’m a very shy person, and someone who had a lot of fears trying something like this.  You just have to put those fears aside and come in.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  I love spending time with these women, and we all empower each other.  Everyone is here for the same purpose.

So you’ve lost about 20 pounds recently right? How did you get to that milestone?
I completely upped my protein and increased my water intake.  Exactly what Ankeen tells us to do every single day.  I started doing that, and guess what, she was right!  I’ve been taking in more lean chicken protein, a few protein shakes here and there, and lots and lots of hydration.

That’s awesome.  Great job on changing your eating habits.  Diet is extremely crucial for getting drastic results. 

Real quick… tell us something we don’t know about you?
Well I’ve been technically diagnosed with misophonia, which is hatred of loud sounds, such as chewing or frequent sneezing.

Like will you punch them in the face if someone is just schlapping their food into their mouth?
Yes.  If someone is chomping away at a bag of chips in class, I want to punch them in the mouth.  Literally.  I haven’t done that yet, but let’s just say it’s very distracting.

Restaurant:
I’m really into Medici Pizza in Sherman Oaks right now.  Typically I’ll be obsessive about some place until I get over it, and then I switch to my next obsession.

Jam:
Kygo, “Remind Me To Forget”.. I’ve been listening to that nonstop lately.  Are you a good singer? Definitely not.  Does your singing qualify as a ‘misophonia’ obnoxious sound?  I would say absolutely yes.  I would understand another misophonia individual wanting to punch me in the mouth after hearing me sing haha!

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Member of the Month (May 2018): Stella

We are so close to the official start of summer, and what better way to kick it off than to congratulate one of my bestie beasts on winning this month’s ‘Member of the Month.  She is the POSTER CHILD of no excuses, no BS, and no frills… she is the real deal.  Stella shows up pretty much every day of the week, bright and early at 6 AM, ready to conquer the world.  She’s SUPER competitive, but always with a smile (those are the ones you gotta look out for! =)   Her commitment to health, fitness, and improving herself, has resulted in massive results, not only in weight loss, muscle and strength gain, but also in endurance and overall fitness level.  Great job Stella, I love you so much sister!


So you’re known around KEEN as a total beast, and a veteran of the gym.  So how old are you exactly?
I’m 39, and I have an 8 year old son and a 10 year old daughter.

Wow so you’re almost 40… and a mom?  Have you always been athletic?
Yes, I was always into sports as a kid. I was on the swim team and in water polo, in both high school and college.  I’m super super competitive… I’ve just always been that way, and sports has always been a huge part of my life. My husband is on the same boat … we love being active, especially with our kids.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
My friend joined actually, and she told me about it.  I kept seeing KEEN show up on social media, and it took me two full months after my friend invited me to join, to actually come to my first class.  I had always been into fitness, but at that time, I hadn’t worked out in a while and was at my highest weight ever.  I remember walking in at 6 AM, and back then, 4 years ago, Ankeen only had a few people at that morning class.  I’ve consistently been coming for 4 years now, at least 4-5 times a week, at 6 AM, bright and early!

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Definitely my energy level  and my endurance in general.  I mean my body is completely different too, and clearly I have more muscles tone, but my endurance is so much better now.  I don’t feel like quitting ever in a workout, and I am able to keep going and have a great day after an amazing morning workout .

What was your first experience at KEEN?
I remember my first class was heavy on pushups, and I hadn’t ever done real pushups.  I remember doing just one, going down and up, was impossible for me. Now I can do a ton… in fact, in my 2-minute pushup challenge I did 69.  I love seeing progress like that when you reflect back over a long period of time.

What made you stay so persistent?
Well like I said, I’m a SUPER competitive person, especially with myself.  So giving up and not coming back to master the push-ups, or the next workout, was just not an option for me.

How does working out affect your personal life?
KEEN is my sanctuary … It’s my go-to place where I don’t have to think or worry about anything: life, kids, work, whatever.  That 1-hour is my time of meditation. It allows me to go home and be more calm. Everyone in my family knows this is my ‘me-time’, and they see me more happy afterwards, and of course, that allows them to be more happy.

Haha you said the gym is your sanctuary… you realize we have like gangster rap or reggaeton blasting all the time right?  Does that help your ‘meditation’?
Haha I love the music.. It pushes me so hard.  Ankeen is ON POINT with the music.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Bear Complex:  I love it. I knew you would say that.. All the gym beasts say that.
Well because it’s mostly upper body and I love working on that!  But you know what? It’s also a lot of lower body.  I love it because it’s such a full body movement.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
(immediately responds) Yes!  He calls it the “KEEN Cult Club” …    He knows I can take him down in anything fitness (editor’s note: Stella’s husband literally walked into the gym when we asked this question)… haha!

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
She’s is the super woman of fitness, and she makes every class just so much more enjoyable because of her genuine dedication, her extreme passion, and her motivational energy.  She literally loves every single one of us, and we feel it.  But let me be clear… she’s FAR from being a softy.  She will stare you down if you pickup a light weight that’s not challenging for you, because she genuinely wants you to achieve your best.  She is what makes this gym so special, and it’s why I have been so loyal to this place. She is a lifetime friend.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I think people at the gym who know me, or my friends and family, know how OCD I am about cleaning and organization.  It’s actually really really bad, and it’s getting worse by age. Like after a crazy tiring workout, I’ll be super exhausted, but I HAVE to organize the dumbells all in ascending order, with the numbers facing up, and all aligned properly.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Dubai… I actually lived there for 2 years.  My husband got a job opportunity there, so we packed up our bags and went.  It was awesome. Were you scared at all? Not all, but it was hard because we had to shift our life entirely.  It was difficult for sure, but an amazing experience. We met people from all over the world.  My daughter actually went to preschool there. Of course my parents were in shock at our initial decision, but it was a good family decision for us.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
You know what… every person I have a class with who is trying out their first class:  I tell them, you GOTTA stay consistent. You GOTTA commit to it and then you will see results and progress.  I know making that first decision to get here is so difficult, because that was me 4 years go. But it’s all about just doing it and getting here.  You will LOVE your new KEEN Cult family haha!  And you know what, it’s totally OK to throw up on your first day. Just Sayin’

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
OMG I’m all about routine haha… remember I’m OCD.  But with my husband, we love doing active things together… like hiking or walking the dog.  

What is your food indulgence?
I can’t really say I’m a food fanatic or a person who watches what I eat either … but my go-to cuisine is sushi, for sure.   Albacore and salmon sashimi is my JAM!

What’s your jam right now?
I’m such an 80s music fan, since I grew up with an older brother, and so anything 80s, especially the old school stuff.   Like Madonna, Prince… omg even Elton John. You’re not going to include that right? (hehe of course we are)

Restaurant:
Joselitos in Montrose, FOR SURE!  Margaritas Baby!

 

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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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