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.
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.