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Member of the Month (Oct 2017): Tania Vartanians

Nope… that’s not Tania in costume.. and no she is not dressed up as a pregnant lady for Halloween.  She is actually pregnant as she continues to ROCK the gym in her 2nd trimester!  Tania is the definition of POWERHOUSE, as she is one of the STRONGEST ladies at the gym.  She never ceases to amaze me, not only by her sheer ability to overcome her personal bests, but also her phenomenal focus and motivation every day to just KILL it in her workouts.  Congratulations Tania on being member of the month… this is the first month that our winner is 1 and a half humans =).  We congratulate you and your family on your beautiful baby boy – can’t wait to meet the cutie! Check out my interview with Tania to learn how much of a badass mama she really is:

Congrats Tania on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m thirty—- hmm– six… I always have to think about it.  I have a daughter, 3 years old… and a boy on the way, as you can tell haha!

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Drive by.  That sounds bad.. Haha.  I was driving by Trader Joe’s, and saw it from the outside and it always looked very interesting.  I’ve always been into working out, but it took me several months of “Ankeen-Stalking” on Instagram to make the first move.

How long have you been coming?
Just over a  year and a half… and I feel spectacular.

 

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Physically or emotionally?  It’s so much of both… like even though I’m older, I’ve never been in better shape.  And emotionally, I can tell I’m mentally more clear.

Where do you think that mental clarity comes from?  Definitely from having time to myself, and when you do good for your body, it absolutely benefits your mind.

You always have such a determined attitude.. And your ability in the gym gets crazier by the day.  Have you always been this driven?
Yes… I’m a bit of an over-achiever.

Haha – So basically you just want to make all of us look bad?
Actually I’m not competitive with others.  I really hate competition in general.  But with myself, I’m super competitive.  I’m my own driver.

 

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
I absolutely LOVE the bear complex, because it makes me feel like a bear.. Like a beast.  I feel accomplished afterwards.. Super strong.

Why did I know you were going to choose the bear complex… you are a beast!
So you can lift some serious weight… were you always this mega strong?
No Actually… that  was all Ankeen haha.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
I think he’s in denial actually…  I don’t think he wants to accept the truth hahah!

So should we set up a sparring challenge with him?
Oh ya, bring it on… even while I’m pregnant!  He’s definitely not a couch potato.. But we do get some serious strength training here at Keen.

Any feedback about Ankeen?
She’s real.. What you see is what you get.  Listen to her and trust her.  That’s all you gotta do.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I’m a PA (Physician’s Assistant), and I specialize in hematology / oncology.

Is that difficult emotionally?
It’s challenging.. but it teaches you to take nothing for granted, and enjoy every single day of your life.  And be grateful for your health and to take care of yourself.

What’ advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Honestly JUST DO IT.   Come with an open mind.  Be prepared to fail the first week.  Be prepared to feel nauseous, and tired, and challenged… but push through, and after that, you’ll be amazed at the results you see.

How has working out while pregnant been a new experience for you?  And would you recommend it?
It’s an empowering feeling.  The female body is amazing, and we don’t give it enough credit for all it’s capable of.  We are strong beings.  And this is my bonding time with the baby… I think he enjoys Ankeen’s playlists too.  He’s always dancing around in there during the workouts.  I would absolutely recommend staying fit and active throughout your pregnancy if you’re able to.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
Definitely my protein powder and lots and lots of water all day long.

What’s your jam right now?
Don’t judge:  my toddler is into the “Sing” Soundtrack… so I’m into the “Im still Standing” song by Elton John, and “Shake It Off”.

Restaurant: Sake Sushi.. Even though I can’t have it right now =( … I love their Omega 3 Roll!

 

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Member of the Month (August 2017): Salpi Pirverdian

What better way to kick-off (umm maybe the better word is “celebrate”) back-to-school than by honoring our August member of the month Salpi, a mom to a 7 year old boy!  I can not get tired of the phenomenal progress and changes Salpi has seen in her strength, body, and overall fitness performance.  She is a true power-house… everyone in the gym knows when Salpi is around, because her kicks on the bag make thunder echoes through the building.. fa real!  Congrats Salpi on a long-time-coming, well-deserved Member of the Month win! 

Hey Salpi so congratulations on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m 36 years old… married for 10 years with a 7.5 year old son.

 

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
So Ankeen is my cousin, and I was at the hair salon and Ankeen told me just to come.  I tried to fight it hard, and told her there is no way I can do this.  After that first class, I honestly didn’t feel too bad.  I did much better than I thought actually.. I was mostly scared about heavy lifting.

 

That’s so funny that you say that, because you’re literally one of the heaviest lifters at the gym:
Ya I know huh.. It’s crazy how your body transforms.

 

What is the biggest progress you’ve had?
Well I’ve lost 17 lbs and I’ve built a LOT of strength.   

 

Can you give us tips?
Well working out is half of the equation.  Building muscle and and cardio strength is so crucial to success.  The other HUGE half of it is your diet.  Since March I started watching my sugar intake (I have an insane sweet tooth) and upping my clean protein and I started losing a ton of weight.  Abs start in the kitchen.. Guess that saying is true!  

 

How has that changed your day to day? 
Well I definitely have more energy and strength throughout the day.. Definitely a lot more confidence.  

 

You always have such a positive attitude and always smiling and laughing.. What’s your secret?
I love working out.. It’s my happy place.  At this intensity, I really get addicted to the rush of it.  It’s a natural high.

 

What’s one of your favorite workouts?
Bear complex for sure… I love the lifting part of it.   Which is crazy because I didn’t ever think I would come to love the weight lifting part of an exercise.  (Check out Salpi’s custom “Bear Complex Instructional” GIF below)

 

So most women think lifting weights won’t help them achieve their goals.  In fact, they think it will do the opposite and make them “expand.”  Can you give us your feedback on that?
Oh my god.. Lifting weights itself is a great cardio workout.  Like when you’re doing the bear complex, you heart rate is super high and racing.  You lose more weight in the long run too.

 

So you are NOTORIOUS for your kicks on the bag… is your husband scared.. Because we are.
I always tell him, “I swear I can kick you a** …”  jokingly of course, but in a little way I’m being pretty realistic.  I love kickboxing.. It’s the ultimate stress reliever.  I even told my husband that I’ll get so strong that I can power lift him too haha!

 

Does your son know the level of bad ass you are?
I was tell him, “you know I’m stronger than your dad right?” He laughs… doesn’t say anything.  I always show him the workouts we do but he’s shy about doing them too.  But I’m definitely always advocating fitness to him.

 

So we know you’re related to Ankeen… is there something you could tell us that we don’t know about her?   An embarrassing story would be great…
So Ankeen is 3 years younger than me, and when she was underage, she would borrow my ID.  So we had a good system where she would pick it up in the middle of the night from my mailbox, but she was also VERY punctual about returning it back into the mailbox the next day.  Well she knew she had too… or else she would lose that “privilege” real quick – haha!

 

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class? Specifically people who say it’s just too hard or intimidating?
I tell them that’s exactly how I felt.  Just come once… and you’ll see what an amazing environment it is.  Especially all the ladies here… all of them are just so amazing and supporting.  Just come once!  The coaches, all of them, are so awesome… all different with great variety – thank you to our coaches!

 

What’s your jam right now?
I love all kinds of music… except I hate rap…ehh and country is kind of blah to me, but everything else I love.   Right now I love that Martin Garrix + Dua Lipa song, called “Scared to be lonely”

 

Restaurant Pick:  TAKU-YA Sushi in Glendale.. The protein roll there is DA BOMB!

Those Crazy Salpi Kicks!

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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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Member of the Month (Nov ’16): Kirstine Shirvanian

 

I’m super excited to announce this month’s Member of the month, because this woman’s middle name can literally be changed to kris-3“COMMITMENT” !  She has demonstrated a crazy level of dedication and consistency, which has led to her amazing success over the past year.  I’m constantly amazed by how much better and stronger she gets week to week, and it’s people like Kris who make me feel like a proud mama!  Check out her super cool interview below, and get to know Kris a little better!  Congrats girl =)

Tell us some quick bits about you… are you married?
Well I’m 38 years old, happily married… and I have 2 kids:  an 11 year old boy, and a 12 year old girl.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I heard about Keen from my friend – I really  needed something to change my body and I wanted to be much stronger. Oh and I hated going to the gym.  I’ve been coming to KEEN since Oct 2015, so a little over a year now.

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I did spin like 4 days a week but no lifting at all.  On the first day when I had to lift at KEEN I thought it was going to be impossible. I thought I can’t lift anything.  Now I can’t wait to come to the gym and lift weights.  It’s my favorite part of my workout.. even though I sound like I complain all the time haha.

What were your goals when you first joined/started?
To get myself to come at least 3 days a week and be physically active.  And to gain strength because I knew I needed that.  I feel like I’ve accomplished that… and I’m striving for the next level of strength.

Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I literally had a fear of lifting weights… I would envision the weights dropping on myself or it slipping out of my hands.   Looking back on it now, I understand that my ignorance of weight lifting is what was fueling that fear.. I’m so much more confident about it all now.
Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
I’ve made friends from the gym.. Great ladies here.  I’m also definitely kris-1trying to incorporate what I learn at the gym at home with my kids .  Of course they always make fun of me but that’s ok.

Going from hating the gym to now coming 2x a day sometimes, what a transition.  Anything you want to say about why KEEN is so special?
The people here are special:  everyone is so supportive, we cheer each other on… it’s never a competition.

I was one of you out there, super intimidated to coming to this gym thinking I would get judged or I’d be surrounded by super athletes.  KEEN is the total opposite of that… everyone pushed me, challenged me. Supported me… and mentally made me stronger.

Have you seen changes in your body since coming for a year now?
Yes!  I’ve lost a total of 18 pounds actually .. I feel much tighter on my legs, and very compact.  Generally I feel amazing.. And my jeans fit!!!!  That’s the true test of progress right?

Would you say you’re more fit than you husband?
Haha yes… hopefully he won’t read this lol.

kris-2

 

 

Aren’t all of us more fit than our husbands here?
That’s right!

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Just try it… every woman should come in here at least once and see what it’s all about.

Favorite Restaurant:  It’s gotta be Stinking Rose… I love their garlic with bread… it’s an amazing appetizer.  Oh yum… haha.

 

 

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Member of the Month (Oct ’16): Mama Silva

mama-silva-1

It’s a very special moment this month to announce our Member of the Month for October:  (Mama) Silva Alksanian.  She is a true hero for us, in all aspects of the title… she’s a breast cancer survivor, a woman who can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, a sweetheart we love, and a tremendously hard worker.  Oh … and she’s the Mama… now Grandma, of the gym.

Some quick facts about you:

I’m Married, I’m 52 years old, and I have 2 beautiful adult daughters.

 

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?

Through my daughter’s friend 3 years ago.  I always worked out and I love a good challenge.  I love pushing myself to try new things.

 

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?

Going to the gym, walking… nothing this intense.  I stuck with it because my daughter’s friend told my daughter “there is no way your mom can stick with it.”  That made me think “oh yeah, watch me!”  Out of our group of 3, I’m still coming strong to KEEN!
What were your goals when you first joined the gym?
My goal was to just do things I could never imagine doing: like lifting, pull ups… I LOVE the kickboxing. I do every move I can.  

Tell us why this month is so special to you?
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this month marks the 10-year anniversary of my diagnosis.  I’ve been cancer free since my treatment, so 10 years now.  

Any advice to someone reading this who may be experiencing what you did 10 years ago?

It’smama-silva-2 so important to eat healthy, live healthy through exercise and just stay positive and mentally focused.  It will help you get through this.
What were your thoughts after your first workout?
I thought to myself, “Yes I can do it!” I was so happy… I love to be challenged.  

You’re a new grandma right? How does that feel?
I love every minute of it.  I get to babysit and come workout every day – what can be better? I enjoy my grandbaby, and really experiencing every precious moment with her.
When you’re not at the gym, where are we most likely to find you?
At home… I love being at home.   I love to cook… Armenian food, Persian food.  I love to try new recipes all the time.  
Do you like the nickname “Mama Silva”?  You’re the mom of the gym…

Yes I love it. It makes me feel important and proud.

Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I love to travel with my husband… one of my most memorable trips was to France and Italy. The first year after my cancer treatment, when I was in the clear, my husband took me to Italy and Spain.  It was fantastic and unforgettable.

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
It gives me a ton of energy, and I’m much more active.   I have a lot of confidence that I can achieve what I want to do.  C’mon I’m more fit than my husband… he actually encourages me to come more often.  He likes me to be fit!

What advice do you have people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Everybody can do this.  It’s the best gym I’ve ever experienced.  Over the years, I’ve been a member at many gyms.. And Ankeen is such a special person.  She has shown me I can do whatever I put my mind to.  This gym is like a home… very welcoming, yet challenging of course.

Days that I can’t make it to KEEN it actually gives me anxiety.   I hate missing a day, and when I do, I make sure I’m back the next day.   This place is one of the best changes that happened in my life.  

Since you love cooking, can you share with us one of your favorite restaurants:  My favorite restaurant is Geoffrey’s in Malibu… anytime someone wants to go there I’ll go.   I love seafood!

mama-silva-3

Ankeen always pushes me.. today I get to challenge her!

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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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You know.. just some Before & After Pics during the Summer

Consistency.

Dedication.

Passion.

Determination.

before and after working out hard mom before and after photo mom before and after photo BnA Summer 2016 -4

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