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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 (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 (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 (April 2017): Crystal Bairian

crystal-kickThis month’s member of the month lives up to the phrase, “So What’s Your Excuse?”  This woman literally came to the gym and kept up her fitness until her last month of pregnancy!  I’m so proud of what Crystal has achieved prior to her pregnancy, and just the phenomenal shape she maintained during her entire pregnancy.  Crystal comes to the gym with her positive and HILARIOUS attitude, and always puts a smile on everyone’s face.  We’re lucky to have her at the gym!

Hey Crystal, so congrats on being this month’s member of the month.  Tell us some quick facts about yourself:
I’m 29 years old and I just had my first baby.  She’s 4.5 months old and her name is Arianna.

So now you’re no longer annoyed when people tell you their kids’ ages in weeks right?  Haha not at all.. clearly I just did it too!

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I moved to La Crescenta and was looking for a local gym. On Instagram, I saw Keen Fitness was opening and I signed up in Ankeen’s garage actually.  I was here on the first day it opened.. and fell in love and haven’t stopped coming since.

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I would do reformer pilates 4x a week.  This is different:  it’s a good mix of cardio, strength training… it’s a fun environment and getting in shape is a plus.  A lot of my friends come here too so it’s an opportunity to see them and get fit together.

You literally came to the gym up until giving birth to your first baby.. How did that feel?  Was it challenging to motivate yourself to come?
I came until I was 8 months pregnant and yes towards the end I had to really give it my all to come.  But seeing that it was keeping me in a healthy pregnancy weight range, and that it was giving me more energy that kept me motivated.  I honestly think my strength training and fitness level led me to have a more positive and easier labor, and definitely faster post-partum recovery. All those damn squats!

Do you feel like your experience at KEEN, or just being fit will affect how you parent your kids?
Oh definitely.. I think even making it a priority for me and my spouse to make time for each other to work out is important because then your kids can see you valuing that, and they learn to understand the importance of being fit and healthy. That’s how I was raised and it totally attributed to me valuing my health and level of activity as an adult.

What’s one of your favorite workouts?
Oh Boy! I like when Ankeen does circuits… oh my god, I love Abs.. I always make Ankeen do abs for me.

crystal-punchingSomething we don’t know about you:
I’m a clinical pharmacist (aka legal drug dealer) at a Kaiser anti-coagulation clinic.

So that makes your really smart right?
I wouldn’t say really smart.. Just have a lot of training, education  and a sh*t ton of student loans to pay off haha!

You have a quirky side to you don’t you… tell us a bit about that:
I’m always trying to make fun out of any situation, and be positive.  I’m a bit of a goof ball… and even if I have to embarrass myself, I feel it’s worth it if it makes someone else feel better.

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
My husband and I both motivate each other to work out, and I feel like now it’s something we both have in common.  It’s definitely contributed to the confidence and morale in the marriage, because we’re both on the same page on fitness.  It’s fun to do active things together and actually enjoy it as well!

What’s your least favorite activity at the gym?
Bear complex… I just hate the process of it.  I feel like it’s such a long exercise …

Are you too ADD for that?  Haha yes.

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Whether you’ve never worked out, or you have experience working out.. Or even if you’re post-baby seriously just try it.  It may feel tough initially, but just stick it through and in the long-term you’re going to feel healthier.  Also specifically for women who are pregnant now, I definitely want to stress the fact that working out and being fit contributed to a healthy labor and delivery for me, and my recovery was so much quicker and easier!


crystal-pressWhat’s your jam right now?
I love listening to Hip Hop twerking music.  That’s what keeps me going.

 

 

Is that what you listen to at the Kaiser anti-coagulation clinic when you’re filling drugs for patients?  Ya when I’m not with a patient, you can find me twerking in the corner with headphones on.. Haha jk!
Fav Restaurant:   I love Bestia … I recommend getting the Barrata pizza for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crystal-and-baby

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Member of the Month (Mar ’17): Melineh Morad

I’m so proud of this month’s member of the month!  Melineh is the pure embodiment of perseverance, determination, and overcoming challenges.  Mel comes to the gym at least 4 times a week, if not more, and gives it her all.  Her results are clearly tremendous and noticeable, but I think what impresses me the most is that her level of commitment and determination hasn’t faded one bit.  Congrats Mel on being this month’s featured member!

mel-weightsHey Mel.. first off congrats.  Tell us some quick stats on yourself?

I’m 35 years old, and I have a 4-year old daughter.
How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Honestly I drove by and got curious. thinking, “What is this place?”  I kept seeing women working out and honestly I drove by like 10 times before I finally made the decision to try it out (best decision I have ever made by the way).
What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I wasn’t really working out… on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 3 at best.  At first when I joined, I really just wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to get it together. I had gained a lot of weight, and I knew I needed a big change in my life.  I knew it was going to be challenging, and I had some fears, but I just knew I needed big changes in my routine.
What’s one of your favorite workouts?

I really like the boxing… definitely a great  stress release.  Your time to just break sh*T up ! … and just funnel that energy into a killer workout.  I like weights now too because of Ankeen.  It totally makes you stronger, and when they tell you you will burn fat throughout the day it’s true.  I actually feel myself having more energy throughout the day too.

 

Something we don’t know about you:

I’m an accountant haha… if you know me, that will probably surprise you.  Oh, also I have a set of identical twin sisters… they’re a year younger than me.

Dang your mom was busy huh!

Yes I don’t know how she did it.. I couldn’t handle it!

 

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?

It’s totally made me stronger and healthier, and the friends I’ve made here are priceless.  Generally, I’m so happy.  Working out is a natural high for sure.
What’s your least favorite activity at the gym?
Oh my god RUNNINg… I hate it!! People who say they love running … I don’t understand those people.  BUT I understand that it’s so important for cardio.

 

mel-and-ankeen-mar-2017-keen-fitnessWhat advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Just do it… don’t be scared.  the people here are so great… don’t be intimidated.  My first few weeks, I couldn’t keep up with anything.  After a while, I got stronger and stronger.  Everyone here is so motivating.  And Ankeen… oh my God I thank God every day that I met her.  She really pushes you and has your best interest at heart.

I’ve had a LOT of trainers in my life…and no one even comes close to Ankeen.  This place is like family to me.

 

 

Do you workout with your daughter?

Ya she’s 4 years old, and I have her do squats and plank with me.  She actually enjoys it.

 

What’s your jam right now?
I’m all about rap… Future and Drake.

 

Fav Restaurant:   Rocky’s Fish & Poultry in Burbank… OMG best food ever.  Very clean and healthy… get the lemon chicken + brown rice.

mel-before-and-after2

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