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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 (July 2017): Maria Dzulfayan

I literally can’t get tired of our Member of the Month Posts because I am constantly inspired and amazed at every one of our power woman stories.  This month we honor and celebrate a young woman who is truly remarkable: she is one of our youngest members – but don’t let that fool you on her level of determination, maturity, and focus.  Maria has had TREMENDOUS progress in just the short 4 months she’s been attending KEEN:  she’s lost 25 pounds and gained tons of strength and muscle.  Although she is naturally on the quiet side, don’t underestimate her   .. she is a true BEAST …  especially when she’s beatin’ up on those punching bags!

Hey Maria so congratulations on being this month’s member of the month.. so how old are you?
I’m 17 and entering my senior year at Clark Magnet High School =)

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
When we were moving down the street, my mom saw it and told me about it and encouraged me to come so I started.  I’ve been coming for about 5 months… I love it.  I feel really really really good!

What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I would go to the gym 4 times a week, and I’d always do cardio … and I never felt like I had a good workout.  The 1 hour I spend at KEEN ruly pushes me and I actually FEEL worked out EVERY SINGLE TIME!  Just from being at KEEN, I’m surrounded by so many positive people and that group motivation is sooo powerful.  It really makes a difference not doing things on your own and getting that professional advice and feedback.

What are some of your hobbies outside of coming to KEEN every single day haha…
I’m studying to go into art school.  I plan on going to Art Center after I get my general education at Glendale Community College.  I’m still trying to decide which type of art I want to go into:  either animation or illustration.

Cool.. what do you like to draw the most:
I love to draw eyes.. It’s always that one thing I go to.

What draws you to the eyes? (no pun intended.. haha ok just a little.  I love bad puns)
Well every eye I draw is different, and they all have their “voice”.. Like they’re trying to say something to you.  Really just like they say,  “eyes are the window to one’s soul”… I truly believe that.

What would be your dream job?
Probably working at Disney.  I would love to be part of their animation studios.

How do you feel about your experience at KEEN will help you later in life?
I feel like I’m getting an earlier start to be healthier in the future, and set a good foundation for good habits. Like already I’m changing my eating habits… and I’m already seeing such a huge benefit.  In this short amount of time, I’ve seen these new habits changing my life for the better.. I can’t imagine not coming to KEEN at this point.

What’s one of your favorite workouts?
Hmmmm… probably kickboxing and circuits, for sure.  I love the fast-pace of the kickboxing … and to be honest, I love beating up that bag =).

What is something we don’t know about you:
I love to travel a lot.. I was baptized in Italy actually.

Oh ya? What’s your fav travel spot?  My parents really like to go to tropical places, but honestly I love Europe.  I love discovering all the new mysteries and secrets hidden throughout the cities.

 

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?
Oh definitely… It’s made me want to use every opportunity to be active.  Like sitting idle now is such a death trap for me.  I literally want to be in motion every moment of the day.  It’s an amazing feeling!  If I’m bored at home doing nothing, I want to go on a hike or on a walk.. I just can’t sit down and do nothing!

What’s your least favorite activity at the gym?
Burpees and running.

You literally gave me that answer instantaneously.. You feel pretty passionately about hating those exercises huh?  Haha ya for sure.

What advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class? Specifically people who say it’s just too hard or intimidating?
Honestly the positive atmosphere here is unexplainable.. The feeling of accomplishment every day is so powerful.  I’ve tried to convince my friends to come and honestly they have a ton of excuses that it’s too hard – but if you put your mind to it, it’s all doable.

 

What’s your jam right now?
I love Bruno Mars  … he always makes me want to get up and move.  Just love him.

Restaurant Pick:   Die hard sushi fan… My favorite spot is this tiny place nearby called Sushi Monster on Honolulu, and their volcano roll is awesome!

 

 

 

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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: 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?

 

dinah4

 

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