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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 (August 2018): Elena

A big part of being successful at KEEN, and in any fitness routine for that matter, is passion and emotional commitment.  You have to be all in, and you have to be real with yourself.  And with that, it’s my great pleasure to announce this month’s member of the month… Elena.  She is the poster child for holding yourself accountable, and making the right changes to get to your goals.  She’s lost 20 pounds in the past 4 months, and gained a lot of muscle during the process too.  She is a silent force to be reckoned with… very shy, quiet, observant, but an undercover beast!  Congrats sister… you earned it!


Great job Elena.. really, so awesome.  Ok, let’s start out with your age:

I’m 28.   Ahh, what a great age to be at!  Married? Nope not yet!

So how did you hear about KEEN?
Just driving by honestly.  I came once 3 years ago, but I got super busy with my master’s program and stopped coming.  About 7 months ago, I knew I needed a drastic change in my routine and I knew I needed Ankeen back in my life.  I was going to the gym here and there, but nothing compares to the intensity and efficiency of the workouts here.

What were you studying for your masters?
Global medicine actually.  Lots of info about disease control haha.

Oh wow.. so what’s the weirdest disease you learned about?
For sure schistosomiasis. It’s a super rare condition that happens when you get infected by freshwater worms carried by snails.  So gross.

Ok so let’s back to working out haha.   How would you describe your first KEEN class experience?
Well, I definitely remember that I couldn’t walk straight for a week afterwards.  Ankeen was sooo welcoming. I felt like I had known her for years.

So what is your favorite workout here?
Deadlifts, actually, as weird as that sounds.  I always prefer lower body workouts, and deadlifts are amazing for your legs.  I always feel the soreness the next day.  My hamstrings are on fire but I absolutely love it.

How different do you feel now that you’ve become a KEENFIT power woman?
I mean this is definitely the fittest I have ever been in my life.  I feel so strong and energetic all the time.  I try to come 4-5 days a week, and this is the best hour of my day.  I get so excited to come here.. it starts my day off right.  Literally an hour of not worrying about anything except your workout and just focusing on YOU.

So what do you think about Ankeen.. how does she influence you?
Her energy is insane.  She is extremely helpful, and never judgmental.  She is hilarious also… I literally enjoy her company all the time.  I have never seen someone like her at a gym.  She genuinely cares about every member on a personal level, and she really has helped me individually with a very unique perspective and approach.  I truly love her!

 

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
I’m a very shy person, and someone who had a lot of fears trying something like this.  You just have to put those fears aside and come in.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  I love spending time with these women, and we all empower each other.  Everyone is here for the same purpose.

So you’ve lost about 20 pounds recently right? How did you get to that milestone?
I completely upped my protein and increased my water intake.  Exactly what Ankeen tells us to do every single day.  I started doing that, and guess what, she was right!  I’ve been taking in more lean chicken protein, a few protein shakes here and there, and lots and lots of hydration.

That’s awesome.  Great job on changing your eating habits.  Diet is extremely crucial for getting drastic results. 

Real quick… tell us something we don’t know about you?
Well I’ve been technically diagnosed with misophonia, which is hatred of loud sounds, such as chewing or frequent sneezing.

Like will you punch them in the face if someone is just schlapping their food into their mouth?
Yes.  If someone is chomping away at a bag of chips in class, I want to punch them in the mouth.  Literally.  I haven’t done that yet, but let’s just say it’s very distracting.

Restaurant:
I’m really into Medici Pizza in Sherman Oaks right now.  Typically I’ll be obsessive about some place until I get over it, and then I switch to my next obsession.

Jam:
Kygo, “Remind Me To Forget”.. I’ve been listening to that nonstop lately.  Are you a good singer? Definitely not.  Does your singing qualify as a ‘misophonia’ obnoxious sound?  I would say absolutely yes.  I would understand another misophonia individual wanting to punch me in the mouth after hearing me sing haha!

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Member of the Month (June 2018): Helen

Summer is finally here (yay!) and y’all know how much I love this season.. especially enjoying the sun as it brightens up our beautiful LA days.  So why am I randomly bringing this up?  Because this month’s member of the month, Helen, does exactly that for all of us at KEEN, every time she steps inside our four walls.  She is a bubbling ray of energy, always so positive and I just realized that she literally brightens up my day every time I see her.  So fitting for her to be this month’s spotlight member, since she is our first super star of the summer season.  Helen exudes commitment, focus, dedication, and a ‘can-do’ attitude with every workout, which has translated to her phenomenal results over the last couple years.  Congrats Helen… and this time, I get to call you the ‘brilliant’ one (said with a British accent of course… you’ll find out why below).



Ok let’s start off with your age.. is that ok?
Haha ya of course.  I’m 49 years old.

Damn lady you look good! When do you turn 50?
Actually next May. Any big plans when you turn 50?  Nothing special, no.  Actually I take that back, I want to have abs like Ankeen.  That’s my goal.

Are you  married? Any kids?
Yup… married and have a daughter who is 14 years old.  Does she like to workout too? I think I can probably take her in most things, haha.  I think she likes the idea of working out. She wants me to train her more on push-ups.  We’re working on her noodle arms at the moment.

Have you always been athletic?
I would never call myself athletic per say.  At school, I always got the score of ‘she tried’ in the area of physical education … and I still feel like that applies to my mode of operation today.  I always try. I give it 110%. Well you realize you found the secret right?  What’s that?  Consistency… you always trying means you’re consistent.  That’s the most important piece.

So you’re from England right? Yup!  So how did you end up as an LA transplant? I was working in London for an animation company, but when it got acquired by Dreamworks, the team moved to Los Angeles.  I met my husband in animation too, so we all ended up moving to LA at that point.  Wow that’s so cool.. what do you do exactly in animation? I work in whats called ‘traditional animation’… I’m the person who puts the character on model, and puts details on it. I never went to art school… I just started working in the industry since I was 17 years old, and just stuck to it, and learned everything through experience.  Hmmmm … there’s that ‘trying’ and ‘can-do’ attitude again.  I love it!

How did you hear about KEEN?
I actually heard about KEEN from Coach Ani, because I was taking spin class with Ani at the spin studio.  I took the free class here at KEEN and literally jumped into a 6-month membership. That first class was the most amazing class.  It was with Ankeen, and I’ve never looked back ever since. It’s now been a little over 2 years, and I absolutely love it.

So what was that first class experience like?
Obviously I was already going to the gym, so I wasn’t totally out of shape or anything, and she still completely kicked my ass.  It was just ‘brilliant’ (said with British accent… love it). I’ve been to many many gyms, and this place is HANDS DOWN the BEST one I’ve experienced.  This place transformed me, and my body totally changed for the better.

How do you motivate yourself to stay so consistent at the gym?
Well I come at least 6 days a week.  Sometimes I do 7 days, but I listen to my body because sometimes my body needs a day off.  I have double-dipped on days too.  Those are interesting, haha!  It’s this contagious awesome cycle that when you start coming more and more, you crave it more and more.  KEEN is a huge part of my daily routine and lifestyle.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Usually anything that involves upper body work.  But in general, I love every class because of the variety.  You never know what you’re going to get walking into class, and that’s exciting and fun.  It’s hard to pick a single favorite exercise.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I am half Greek.. My dad is from Cypress.  I have 6 siblings, and the youngest of our siblings is 15 years younger than me.  Sadly, everyone is back in England but when I do go home to visit, it’s ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ style.  So, is there lamb roasting on the front lawn when you arrive?  Haha pretty much… definitely lots of people constantly feeding me – that’s for sure!

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
Yes he does…. he calls me Rocky, haha!  Of course he’s teasing me, but I think he ultimately admires my dedication.  He acknowledges he doesn’t have the same drive for fitness as I do, but I try to push him to do things as well.  We like to take walks as a family together, and just be outdoors together.

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
Hmmm, what would I say?  Where do you start? She has a HUGE personality, that lights up the room.   She is HILARIOUS, which was a huge draw for me.  She cracked me up on that first class, while she kicked my ass, so that hooked me in.  She is a great motivator and leader, and has put together an amazing crew of coaches. This place is my happy place. I love all of the girls here… it’s such a great energy.  If I miss a workout, I legitimately feel sad about it.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
Look at me.. I’m 49.  I wasn’t an athlete. You just have to TRY. YOU are the one who is in charge of your destiny at the end of the day.  You gotta persevere… when I first started, I couldn’t even do a burpee. Fitness is not about how much you weigh … it’s about how you FEEL.  Just come and get your endorphins going and you’ll realize how this one hour workout will change the entire energy of your day, for the better of course!

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
I think diet is super important, because if you don’t watch that, you’re basically unraveling what you’ve worked so hard for in the gym.  I literally go through a carton of egg whites a day. A day?!  Are you drinking it straight up? Haha sometimes, if I’m in a hurry.  Or I make a huge scramble, and sometimes I add it to a shake.

 

 

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Well I grew up in London, so I’ve been all around Europe but that was normal for me.  Moving to LA, I was so excited to visit Mexico actually. It’s so beautiful and exotic. My worst vacation, for sure, was Tahiti because it was soooo expensive and it rained the whole time we were there.  I’m sure if we hadn’t had weather issues, it would have been amazing.

 

 

What’s your jam right now?
I’m kind of old school… I like what I like.  David Bowie and Queen, you know them?  Haha of course.. That’s the good stuff!  Oh good, my daughter warned me not to embarrass myself on this question.

Restaurant:
My daughter and I always go to sushi on Wednesdays, as a girl’s afternoon out.  We typically go to Blue Fin, but sometimes try new places too. I’m Greek.. I love food. I will eat anything.

 

 


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Member of the Month (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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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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