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Member of the Month (October 2018): Leah

I view the Autumn season as a time of transition.  Leaving the hot summer months, seeing the tree leaves turn to orange, red and yellow and fall to the ground, only to prepare for an upcoming new Spring.  As corny as this sounds, I feel like Leah is the PERFECT choice for our October member of the month, because I have literally watched her grow from a teenage girl to the amazing young woman she is today.  She joined my gym at the age of 16, when I first opened my doors, at a time when she had never attempted anything fitness ever in her life. And now she is one of our strongest ladies, powering through her workouts, life for that matter, as she goes through law school and achieves all the goals she sets for herself.  Seeing the confidence and determination in her every day makes me smile and fulfills me as a coach and friend.  Congrats girl… you deserve every bit of the accolades.  Can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the next 5 years!


 

Congrats Leah.   Did you expect to be chosen? Honestly, no, it was a total surprise.  But I’m definitely very honored and excited.  KEEN is a big part of my life, and it means a lot to me. Well you mean a lot to KEEN too!  Let’s start by establishing your age.  I’m 22 years old =).  Damn, to be that young again…haha!

So how long have you been coming?
Since it opened in 2013, so it’s been 5 years.  So you were like what, 4 years old then? Haha, I was 16.  I stopped coming for a while when I went away to college in San Diego, and it was torture being away from KEEN. What did you study?  I studied communications at UCSD, and now I’m in law school.  Awesome! So if you slip and fall in the gym, you can sue me in 3 years right?  Haha.  Technically, I can sue you now but I would never do that to KEEN!

Have you always been athletic?
Not at all!  I literally failed PE in middle school. I had straight A’s and 1 F, and it was PE.  Running was my worst nightmare, and now I, myself, am even surprised in myself how fit I’ve become.

How did you hear about KEEN?
I saw one of my friend’s cousin’s transformation on social media or something, and became very interested.  What was your goal at that age? I was really lazy as a teenager, and I really wanted to do something to become more active and just increase my overall fitness level.

So what was that first class experience like?
I don’t know if I remember.  Haha, it was that bad?  I know it was one of the hardest classes I had ever done.  It was a great experience though, and it was with Ankeen, and she provides such a unique experience.  Were your parents on board with you coming as a teenager?  Actually, my mom started coming with me, and it was a mother-daughter thing in the beginning.  Was she fit? Ya totally, she really held her own.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
I would have to say the bear complex.  How did I know you were going to say that? Haha how did you know?  Well because the girls who have evolved into strong beasts like yourself all love the bear complex.  Haha that’s true, I can see that.  It’s an exercise that I really feel so strong afterwards.  I can really tell how strong I have become after that workout since it involves so many different movements and muscle groups.

After coming for about 5 years, on and off, what is the biggest improvement you’ve seen?  I truly feel I have gained a lot of strength.  I haven’t noticed any raw weight loss, but I’ve become so much more fit and strong.  I can lift heavy things, I can do intense workouts. And my running is so much better. 

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’m actually a vegetarian.  I have been for 5 years. In fact, I started being a vegetarian around the time I started at KEEN.  So, what’s your favorite vegetarian meal? Cheat meal or legit meal?  Ok, cheat meal: for sure fries or cheese pizza. As a vegetarian, it’s so easy to indulge in those since they’re always available at a restaurant, and they’re so damn good.  And legit meal? I love avocado rolls… it’s totally my go-to snack.

So besides working out, what do you like to do for fun? Hanging out with friends and my boyfriend.  Ahh so you have a boyfriend? Yes I do, hehe.  I have the typical 22-year old life of a student.

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
Ankeen is one of my biggest motivators.  She’s one of the most inspiring women I have ever met in my life.  She has inspired me to change myself a lot, and just how to view myself.  Just to be more confident, and more comfortable to be a stronger, tougher girl.  She’s been in my life since I was 16 years old, so her impact on me has been tremendous and deep.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try KEEN?
At a minimum, they should take the first class.  C’mon .. it’s free! Everyone starts somewhere, and really you have to stick to it for a month to know if it’s right for you.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
St. Petersburg, Russia.  I looooooved it. The vibe and energy of the young generation there is so diverse, and the city itself is gorgeous.  That city does not sleep. The vibe there is very different than Moscow.

Random question: are you a good driver? Umm, yesss? Yes.  I’ve improved a lot, let’s just say that.  So I didn’t get any tickets for the 5 years I have been a driver. And then I literally got 4 tickets in the past year.  Wow, that sucks! Did that bankrupt you? Haha, I got it taken care of 😉.   Good pre-law experience for sure!

 

What is your food indulgence?
Again, for sure fries.  Smothered in cheese and ranch dressing.  Yummmmm.

What’s your jam right now?
Definitely Hip Hop.  “No Stylist” by French Montana and Drake is high up on my playlist right now.

Restaurant:
I love Mediterranean food.  Lemon Zest Cafe in Glendale is really good – totally recommend them.

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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 (April 2018): Lernik

If you know me, you know how much I preach consistency and determination as the key to fitness success.  If you wanted a poster child for those 2 characteristics, it would be this month’s member of the month, Lernik.  She shows up to class at least 4 times a week, if not more, and is laser focused on her workout.  She is strong as HELL, a sweetheart through and through, and one super determined power lady.  I love you Lernik, and am so proud of your success over the past few years.  Can’t wait to see the goals you surmount in the coming years as well!  Congrats!


Yay for Miss Determined Lernik! You rock… ok let’s start with how old are you ?
I’m 29 years old, but in 3 months I’ll be 30.

So your wedding is coming up right?
Yea it’s actually Sept 21st, so coming up in a few months.  

Oh so you’ll be 30 already at your wedding? Yup!

Are you having a large wedding? Ya kind of.  How many guests? About 400.  Holy shit, that’s ‘kind of’ ?!  Do you know all of them?  No not really… haha, but I’ll smile and take pics with every single one like I do.  

Are you ready for married life?
Kind of yeah.  We just bought a house too… So lots of stress, but it’s labor of love all around.  We are very excited.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Actually I was with my close friend.  Her name is Lernik as as well, funny enough.  She encouraged me to give KEEN a try, so we both came to our first class together.  It’s been 3 years now since I’ve been coming, and I absolutely love it.

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Strength, first and foremost.  I feel healthier and much more toned.  I would always wear loose clothes, but now I wear fitted clothes and have a lot of confidence doing so.  I feel good in my own skin now.

What was your first experience at KEEN?
It was with Coach Stephanie actually: a non-stop kickboxing class on a Saturday.  I was sore for a week, maybe more. I had sharp pain in my upper body from how sore I was.  But you know what … I got over it. So yea Stephanie KICKED my ass, big time, but I was hungry for more.  I was determined to get better.

Haha that’s funny since you would never think it looking at Stephanie.  She is a downright beast. Yup, she proved that to me on my first day.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Kickboxing – especially when I’m stressed out, I can take it out on the bag.  It’s a perfect combination. And I also love how much it has molded my body into a more toned physique. My legs especially … I’ve never had this much definition in my legs, and now I take pride in them haha! I terms of lifting, I love the bear complex.  

Does your fiancé know how much of a badass you are?
Oh ya.. He’s a little scare

d of me.  Haha actually he is very proud of me.   

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
First off: she’s an amazing woman, period.  Her strength and determination is like no other.  She wakes up at 4 AM, and deals with us women until 9 PM, working straight through.  And any time I’ve seen her, she lifts me up. She literally changed my life. She improved my life.  I’m so happy my friend dragged me here that first day 3 years ago. Also I love that she pushes me to my limits, even when I think I have achieved those limits.  It truly is proof that she genuinely cares.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I have bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  Right now I’m in social work, but my goal is to work in crime scene investigation in the near future.  I love the mystery part of working a case: taking all of the evidence and piecing together, and hopefully cracking it.

Whoa … your fiancé better be on good behavior all the time then huh?! Haha ya for sure!

Does working in an intense line of work like social work affect you, emotionally, after you leave work?  Ya totally, but you really have to learn to compartmentalize and separate the two.  I’m a really good listener, and I love to help people, so it’s a great fit for me. But there’s a lot of intense situations out there, especially in the realm of mental illness, so I’m happy to be able to contribute to being part of the solution.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
I would tell everyone even considering coming to just give it a try.  Just don’t give up… You owe it to yourself to see it through. Everyone can accomplish the goals they set for themselves… trust me, one day you will see the results you are seeking.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
Liquid protein after workouts is a must for me… Churro flavor all the way.  It keeps me full, and helps me recover, especially after heavy or intense workouts.

What is your food indulgence?
Sweets, anything sweet!  If you give me quadruple layered chocolate cake, I will take that thing down!  But since this past December, I stopped eating sweets and I lost a lot of weight and saw great results.  But it’s depressing… haha I need my sweets. On my honeymoon, all bets are off… dessert table here I come!

What’s your jam right now?
House music.  Can you really sing to that? Ya some of them have lyrics.  So can you do beats? Well my fiancé is a DJ, so I better have some rhythm huh

Restaurant:
Cheesecake Factory.  Their Caesar salad… omg and their bread.  Can’t get enough.

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Member of the Month (Mar 2018): Jennifer

So you know those people in your life, that are quiet, dainty, and gentle, yet you know that deep down, they are also bad asses with a lot of spark and a force to be reckoned with?  Well that’s Jennifer.  She is extremely kind, pleasant to be around, but if you give her a challenge and some dumbbells.. welp, she morphs into BEAST MODE real fast. I’ve had the privilege of coaching this lovely woman for the past 4 years, and I’m so excited to crown her as this month’s member of the month.  She is the embodiment of HARD WORK PAYS OFF! Love you Jennifer!


Congrats on being this month’s featured member.  Let’s start by establishing your age (just to get these youngins a bit jealous):
Haha.  I’m 41, Any Kids?  Yes! I have two littles.  A 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. They take up so much of my energy, but as time goes on, they’re really getting better at being self-sufficient.  

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
I moved to this area about four years ago, and I was looking for a place to get back in shape after having my 2nd baby.  I had really stopped working out, and I had belonged to 24 hour fitness gym nearby, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there.  I wanted classes, so I went onto Yelp, and KEEN was the first place that I found. I looked at Ankeen’s profile and read her bio, and I got super inspired.   I decided to email Ankeen and try it out.  That was 2014 – almost 4 years ago actually!

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Noticeable strength, hands down.  I feel healthier; I feel more active and energized.  For me, it’s about feeling healthy and being here long term for my family.

What was your first experience at KEEN?
My first class was the Fran workout, and I should have ran away and never come back. (Attention Reader:  The “Fran” workout is considered CrossFit’s most difficult workout around 😳). I came home and was crying from being so tired, but I thought to myself, “hey I got what I asked for”.  During the class, I just wanted to get through it, that’s it.  But now, I look forward to my workout. This place is a FEMALE POWERHOUSE full of positive energy.   Encouragement and good vibes all around. Always.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
It’s not Fran for sure haha.   Probably any kind of upper-body lifting.  I’m trying to increase my upper body strength, and I love the Monday circuits, because it gives your whole body a workout all in one night.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
He sure does – I think he notices the extra energy that I have now.  Interestingly, the energy I gain from working out consistently has transferred into my household, and creates good vibes in the home.  Now that the kids are older, my husband and I make lots of effort to be active outdoors with them.

Do your kids know you’re a badass?
Yes I think they really do.   My son is fascinated by me kickboxing on the bag, and honestly I think he likes seeing me beat up that bag.  Hmmmm.

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
I gotta use that word “POWERHOUSE” again:  not only does she talk the talk, she walks the walk.  How she trains us, is exactly how she trains herself, so you know you’re getting the real thing.  On a personal level, she has given me so much confidence in knowing that I can push through something that is extremely challenging, both mentally and physically.  And then seeing you come out of it not only feeling ok, but energized from accomplishing that. It’s magical really.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
Well I’m planning to go through the training to become a reserve deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County, and had I never come to KEEN, I wouldn’t even be in the realm of being physically prepared for this.  This is a huge goal of mine; I’ve always been fascinated with law enforcement and I’m a lawyer now. The reserve program is something I can do while I continue practicing law as an attorney.

So can you give me a ticket once you’re a deputy?
Hehe no, I’ll most likely be part of the search and rescue teams (that is once I go through the training, graduate and get certified of course)

OK so can you clear a ticket for me?
Um probably not. Haha!

So speaking of being a lawyer, we see you multi-tasking conference calls and roundhouse kicks on the bag.  How does that work out for you?
You know it’s all about managing my demanding job, while sticking to my fitness.  It’s nice to have tools to be able to plug into work when I need to, remotely, and have an ease of mind that I’m able to fulfill my work duties as well.  Usually those multi-tasking events have been during less important calls, let’s leave it at that!

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Don’t hesitate.  Just try a class, and have an open mind.  My first class was very tough, but I decided to stick with it.  You will get to your own goals as long as you are consistent and preserver.

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
I have a protein drink right after the workout, and I can totally see how it helps with muscle recovery.  Also stretching is very important – I mean I can’t do the splits or anything, but helps me be more agile in the gym

What is your food indulgence?
Chocolate chip cookies.  For sure. I can’t turn down a cookie.

So if I was in a litigation case against you… all I would need to do is bring your some cookies?
Oh ya, I’ll hand over anything you want and settle the case that second.  

What’s your jam right now?
I don’t sing well, at all, so I would be dancing.  I love any music that makes me feel like I can get up and dance, especially songs from The Weeknd.  I love his songs.

Restaurant:
I’m in love with this Korean teriyaki chicken place on foothill, called “Chicken Day”  – it’s soooo delicious. It’s addicting.  

 

 

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Motivation: The Key to a Better 2018

So just like that .. it’s the first day of 2018!  Let me start off by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I’m sure you are tired of seeing all the “New Year New You” posts.  I know my eyes are tired of being rolled after seeing so many of those posts myself! After all, how many people actually keep their New Year resolutions? As you probably guessed, not many. Roughly 80% of Americans give up on their resolutions by the second week of February! Yup, that’s pretty disappointing 😔 .
Building the Right Habits
I take my health and fitness very seriously, and I understand the importance of eating right and exercising.  Since our health is the one thing we can’t buy back, why should we wait ’till Monday, or next month or the beginning of the year to take care of it?
PEOPLE – The time is NOW to get started (kinda funny that Jan 1 actually lands on a Monday this year though huh)!  So what is stopping many of you guys from reaching your goals? The answer is MOTIVATION
If you are looking for long lasting results, you must be able to identify what drives you, what motivates you.  Many of us know “what we should do,” however if there isn’t a meaningful reason to change…  it’s highly likely you will fall way short of your goals.
The reason again is LACK OF MOTIVATION
Let me give you an example.  For those who even slightly know me, know that I have an insane sweet tooth.  I mean, Yogurtland was practically listed as my emergency contact address since I was there so often.  Well, on Thanksgiving of 2016 I decided to give up sweets until my birthday, which was the following February. I mean this was something seemingly unsurmountable since I love sweets so much, but guess what .. I did just that!  As a matter a fact, I went ONE ENTIRE YEAR without eating any candy, chocolate, cake, or ice cream. You know what my motivation was? It was everyone who ever doubted me. I wanted to prove a point to myself and everyone that if you put your mind to something it can be done. 

4 Ways to Motivate Yourself
  1. Incentives & Rewards: This is pretty obvious. People driven by rewards or incentives are willing to take action when they know they will have something tangible at the end. Creating “S.M.A.R.T.” goals will help us reach our goals:
    • make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timeable.
  2. Fear: Ask yourself, “Why do you want to make this change? What would it mean to you and others in your life if you made these changes?” The other question you need to ask yourself is, “Who you are making these changes for?” Your motivation must be significant to you. You’re always going to choose feeling good over feeling uncomfortable, so be honest with yourself. 
  3. Growth: If you want to grow as an individual in the new year, you have to make this a priority and take initiative.  An easy way to make sure you stay on track is to have an accountability partner who will you keep you in check. This is where KEEN comes in!  We are here to keep that booty in check 
  4. Support: We all need encouragement and support throughout our journey of change. You don’t have to do this alone. Plus, it’s no fun that way. Whether, it’s KEEN or another fitness group, find what you like to do and stick with it! 💪🏼
Why is it so hard to stick to your goals? Because change is big. It’s scary. But you don’t want to hit next January with the same resolution.  How boring. How tedious. How last year haha!

So what do you do? Put one foot in front of the other for a start.

You need to lose weight and get healthy?  Go to the gym, preferably KEEN, so you can get all 4 of the motivational steps above in one place!

So remember, you have to give yourself tools and methods to execute your resolution.  Like, ‘You need to think positively?’ Well, try giving yourself a mirror mantra every day. ‘You need to quit smoking?’  Ok, go buy yourself some nicotine gum.  Change starts in small ways.

 

Knowing what you value is a big part of motivation. 

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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 (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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping FIT while on Vacay

 

We all live in a busy world. As much as we want to be able to stick to our normal gym schedule, life throws us curve balls: an emergency staff meeting, playing the chauffeur to and from soccer practice, that guy you met at the party asks you to catch dinner tonight. These things happen.  It happens to ALL of us! Guess what though: you can have results… or you can have excuses. NOT BOTH.

Allow me to share some top excuses that I hear all day long:

  • I don’t have enough time
  • I’m way too tired to workout
  • I don’t like exercising
  • I have kids to look after
  • The gym is too expensive
  • I need to start off slow on my own, first.

 

BLAH…BLAH….BLAH. 

What… do you think people who workout consistently never feel those same things? Of course we do!

I have a confession to make. I am an exercise addict. I work out six days a week, like clockwork. I work out almost every single day on vacation. I’ll work out in a tiny hotel room, an empty field, someone’s driveway. It doesn’t matter how the conditions are, I will still work out. Why? Because it’s become part of my lifestyle. I don’t even think twice about. Yes, this can be viewed as a bit excessive. I am here to tell you how leaving town or missing the gym should not derail you from your goals. But once you build up the habit, it actually becomes harder not to exercise because you become so used to prioritizing it in your life.

The holidays are right around the corner. Which means tons of food, alcohol, parties, and vacations. Putting on a few pounds seems effortless around this time of year, but believe me trying to shed them later is much more difficult.

Vacay Tips

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when leaving town.

  • Eat before arriving at the airport
  • Beware of buffets
  • Don’t drink all your calories
  • Take the stairs
  • Check to see if your hotel has a gym
  • Do it anywhere (I mean bodyweight exercises. Duh)
  • Take your workout outdoors

 

Visit “The Traveling WOD” for countless workouts you can do when stuck at home or out on vacation, without any equipment.

“I regret that workout” – said no one, ever.

 

vacay-workout5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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