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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 (May 2018): Stella

We are so close to the official start of summer, and what better way to kick it off than to congratulate one of my bestie beasts on winning this month’s ‘Member of the Month.  She is the POSTER CHILD of no excuses, no BS, and no frills… she is the real deal.  Stella shows up pretty much every day of the week, bright and early at 6 AM, ready to conquer the world.  She’s SUPER competitive, but always with a smile (those are the ones you gotta look out for! =)   Her commitment to health, fitness, and improving herself, has resulted in massive results, not only in weight loss, muscle and strength gain, but also in endurance and overall fitness level.  Great job Stella, I love you so much sister!


So you’re known around KEEN as a total beast, and a veteran of the gym.  So how old are you exactly?
I’m 39, and I have an 8 year old son and a 10 year old daughter.

Wow so you’re almost 40… and a mom?  Have you always been athletic?
Yes, I was always into sports as a kid. I was on the swim team and in water polo, in both high school and college.  I’m super super competitive… I’ve just always been that way, and sports has always been a huge part of my life. My husband is on the same boat … we love being active, especially with our kids.

How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
My friend joined actually, and she told me about it.  I kept seeing KEEN show up on social media, and it took me two full months after my friend invited me to join, to actually come to my first class.  I had always been into fitness, but at that time, I hadn’t worked out in a while and was at my highest weight ever.  I remember walking in at 6 AM, and back then, 4 years ago, Ankeen only had a few people at that morning class.  I’ve consistently been coming for 4 years now, at least 4-5 times a week, at 6 AM, bright and early!

What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen?
Definitely my energy level  and my endurance in general.  I mean my body is completely different too, and clearly I have more muscles tone, but my endurance is so much better now.  I don’t feel like quitting ever in a workout, and I am able to keep going and have a great day after an amazing morning workout .

What was your first experience at KEEN?
I remember my first class was heavy on pushups, and I hadn’t ever done real pushups.  I remember doing just one, going down and up, was impossible for me. Now I can do a ton… in fact, in my 2-minute pushup challenge I did 69.  I love seeing progress like that when you reflect back over a long period of time.

What made you stay so persistent?
Well like I said, I’m a SUPER competitive person, especially with myself.  So giving up and not coming back to master the push-ups, or the next workout, was just not an option for me.

How does working out affect your personal life?
KEEN is my sanctuary … It’s my go-to place where I don’t have to think or worry about anything: life, kids, work, whatever.  That 1-hour is my time of meditation. It allows me to go home and be more calm. Everyone in my family knows this is my ‘me-time’, and they see me more happy afterwards, and of course, that allows them to be more happy.

Haha you said the gym is your sanctuary… you realize we have like gangster rap or reggaeton blasting all the time right?  Does that help your ‘meditation’?
Haha I love the music.. It pushes me so hard.  Ankeen is ON POINT with the music.

What’s one of your favorite exercises?
Bear Complex:  I love it. I knew you would say that.. All the gym beasts say that.
Well because it’s mostly upper body and I love working on that!  But you know what? It’s also a lot of lower body.  I love it because it’s such a full body movement.

Does your husband know how much of a badass you are?
(immediately responds) Yes!  He calls it the “KEEN Cult Club” …    He knows I can take him down in anything fitness (editor’s note: Stella’s husband literally walked into the gym when we asked this question)… haha!

What would you say about Ankeen and how does she influence your experience at the gym?
She’s is the super woman of fitness, and she makes every class just so much more enjoyable because of her genuine dedication, her extreme passion, and her motivational energy.  She literally loves every single one of us, and we feel it.  But let me be clear… she’s FAR from being a softy.  She will stare you down if you pickup a light weight that’s not challenging for you, because she genuinely wants you to achieve your best.  She is what makes this gym so special, and it’s why I have been so loyal to this place. She is a lifetime friend.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I think people at the gym who know me, or my friends and family, know how OCD I am about cleaning and organization.  It’s actually really really bad, and it’s getting worse by age. Like after a crazy tiring workout, I’ll be super exhausted, but I HAVE to organize the dumbells all in ascending order, with the numbers facing up, and all aligned properly.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Dubai… I actually lived there for 2 years.  My husband got a job opportunity there, so we packed up our bags and went.  It was awesome. Were you scared at all? Not all, but it was hard because we had to shift our life entirely.  It was difficult for sure, but an amazing experience. We met people from all over the world.  My daughter actually went to preschool there. Of course my parents were in shock at our initial decision, but it was a good family decision for us.

What  advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try the gym?
You know what… every person I have a class with who is trying out their first class:  I tell them, you GOTTA stay consistent. You GOTTA commit to it and then you will see results and progress.  I know making that first decision to get here is so difficult, because that was me 4 years go. But it’s all about just doing it and getting here.  You will LOVE your new KEEN Cult family haha!  And you know what, it’s totally OK to throw up on your first day. Just Sayin’

Any routine outside of the gym that helps you?
OMG I’m all about routine haha… remember I’m OCD.  But with my husband, we love doing active things together… like hiking or walking the dog.  

What is your food indulgence?
I can’t really say I’m a food fanatic or a person who watches what I eat either … but my go-to cuisine is sushi, for sure.   Albacore and salmon sashimi is my JAM!

What’s your jam right now?
I’m such an 80s music fan, since I grew up with an older brother, and so anything 80s, especially the old school stuff.   Like Madonna, Prince… omg even Elton John. You’re not going to include that right? (hehe of course we are)

Restaurant:
Joselitos in Montrose, FOR SURE!  Margaritas Baby!

 

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Member of the Month (Mar ’17): Melineh Morad

I’m so proud of this month’s member of the month!  Melineh is the pure embodiment of perseverance, determination, and overcoming challenges.  Mel comes to the gym at least 4 times a week, if not more, and gives it her all.  Her results are clearly tremendous and noticeable, but I think what impresses me the most is that her level of commitment and determination hasn’t faded one bit.  Congrats Mel on being this month’s featured member!

mel-weightsHey Mel.. first off congrats.  Tell us some quick stats on yourself?

I’m 35 years old, and I have a 4-year old daughter.
How did you hear about KEEN? And what made you try it out?
Honestly I drove by and got curious. thinking, “What is this place?”  I kept seeing women working out and honestly I drove by like 10 times before I finally made the decision to try it out (best decision I have ever made by the way).
What was your level of activity or fitness prior to joining?
I wasn’t really working out… on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 3 at best.  At first when I joined, I really just wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to get it together. I had gained a lot of weight, and I knew I needed a big change in my life.  I knew it was going to be challenging, and I had some fears, but I just knew I needed big changes in my routine.
What’s one of your favorite workouts?

I really like the boxing… definitely a great  stress release.  Your time to just break sh*T up ! … and just funnel that energy into a killer workout.  I like weights now too because of Ankeen.  It totally makes you stronger, and when they tell you you will burn fat throughout the day it’s true.  I actually feel myself having more energy throughout the day too.

 

Something we don’t know about you:

I’m an accountant haha… if you know me, that will probably surprise you.  Oh, also I have a set of identical twin sisters… they’re a year younger than me.

Dang your mom was busy huh!

Yes I don’t know how she did it.. I couldn’t handle it!

 

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?

It’s totally made me stronger and healthier, and the friends I’ve made here are priceless.  Generally, I’m so happy.  Working out is a natural high for sure.
What’s your least favorite activity at the gym?
Oh my god RUNNINg… I hate it!! People who say they love running … I don’t understand those people.  BUT I understand that it’s so important for cardio.

 

mel-and-ankeen-mar-2017-keen-fitnessWhat advice do you give people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?
Just do it… don’t be scared.  the people here are so great… don’t be intimidated.  My first few weeks, I couldn’t keep up with anything.  After a while, I got stronger and stronger.  Everyone here is so motivating.  And Ankeen… oh my God I thank God every day that I met her.  She really pushes you and has your best interest at heart.

I’ve had a LOT of trainers in my life…and no one even comes close to Ankeen.  This place is like family to me.

 

 

Do you workout with your daughter?

Ya she’s 4 years old, and I have her do squats and plank with me.  She actually enjoys it.

 

What’s your jam right now?
I’m all about rap… Future and Drake.

 

Fav Restaurant:   Rocky’s Fish & Poultry in Burbank… OMG best food ever.  Very clean and healthy… get the lemon chicken + brown rice.

mel-before-and-after2

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Member of the Month (Sept ’16): Jen

jen-1We’re excited to announce this month’s Member of the Month! All of our members are bad asses, so it makes this decision a truly difficult one.  But this member has shown tremendous motivation, mental focus, dedication, and positive attitude from day 1.  Jen Lee, congrats on being this month’s spotlight member.  Checkout our interview with Jen below.

So let’s start with how old you are and where you’re from:

I’m 26 years old, and was born and raised right here in La Crescenta actually.

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

I went on Yelp, and found KEEN because I was looking for a good workout.  I was in a slump and and wanted to do something for myself.   I loved this decision… I never thought I could weight lift and be this strong.  Everyday I feel amazing after I come here.

 

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

I did pilates twice a week before I came here, but I never did cardio or anything strenuous.  Coming here I realized I had to push myself.  

 

So what makes you push yourself?

Uhhhhh… Ankeen..  Haha.  My biggest fear was people would be judgemental if I wasn’t doing things good enough, but the vibe here is not like that at all.  The members and the trainers are super supportive and helpful.  It’s such a great environment.

What were your goals when you first joined/started?

To get Abs!  And they’re starting to show… and of course to  become stronger, and I’m definitely feeling that.  I think I’m pretty girly, but I want to be strong nevertheless.


Considering you are now lifting 60lbs or more (actually 145 when you see the photo below…Ankeen is solid mass!), and by the way 60 Lbs is one of the heaviest weights being lifted at the gym, how does that make you feel?

jen-and-ankeenWell I was always scared that if I lifted weights I would get “bulky” but that’s simply not the case.  My strength makes me awesome.  My body is more toned, leaner, and just more solid, and I see and feel it everyday.

We see you at least 5x/week in here, but is there something we wouldn’t know about you?

I’m a total introvert, and I like to be quiet.  Coming to KEEN is totally out of my element.  Oh and I’m a die-hard Bieber fan… and I’m not embarrassed to say that!

What were your thoughts after your first workout?

This is ridiculously hard and the trainer is on you!  But I wanted to come back because I never was excited to work out until I came here.

What’s your favorite workout?

Bear complex for sure… I never thought I would like lifting weights, but it really gives me a rush and it really requires mental strength.

When you’re not at the gym, where are we most likely to find you?

Probably at the beach.

Has your experiences at KEEN affected your life outside of the gym, and if so how?

I feel like I have more energy.  The one thing I look forward to on weekdays is working out.. And that positivity carries throughout my week.

What advice do you have people thinking about trying out a KEEN class?

Don’t be afraid.  Everyone was once where you are now.  You will be surprised how strong you can be, especially being surrounded by such strong and positive women at the gym.

 

You Fav Music: Hip Hop, and anything Bieber of course.  Oh and country music … I know I’m Asian, you’d never think it.  I secretly wish I was from the South. (check out Jen’s Southern impression below … love it!)
jen-2

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Voyage LA Article: Meet La Crescenta Fitness Trainer: Ankeen Tashdjian

voyagela-article3

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ankeen Tashdjian.  Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Ankeen.

 

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

Growing up, I was very involved in sports and loved to be active. TV was never for me. I was a waitress at Hot Wings cafe for many years and throughout the years customers would ask me for advice on health, what to eat and how to exercise. It came to a point where they were literally asking me to start a fitness camp, so I did just that. I left my comfort zone and rented out some space at a kickboxing gym that I attended. I started off with a group of 10 women 3 days a week for a few hours. A year later and over a 100 women later I had no choice but to expand. This is how Keenfitness came about. Truly a blessing! We just celebrated our 3 year Anniversary and looking forward to celebrating many more! Keen Fitness is an all women’s gym located in Montrose, CA. Our classes are one of a kind, just come see for yourself.

 

Has it been a smooth road?

Absolutely NOT! There have been countless battles and struggles along the road…..

READ MORE

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