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

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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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2 Pounds Never Looked So Good

Do you want to look better in and out of your clothes, improve your health, and perform better in the gym? If so, go grab your scale and get rid of it.

Seriously !!!

Whenever somebody tells me that he or she is going to get in shape, it’s always something like: “I’m going to lose 50 pounds,” or if “I can just get down to ___ I’ll be good.”

I’m here to tell you not to step on the scale anytime soon. Why? Because although picking a goal number for weight loss is a decent starting point (and definitely good to set goals), your scale certainly doesn’t tell the whole story and can send you on an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions (which I have to eventually deal with, haha!)

This is the PERFECT before and after to help validate my point. Here is a very committed KEEN FITNESS member, who never spoke to me in numbers but instead set goals that were not weight oriented.

What? Really? Yes!!! There is only a 2 pound  difference between both pictures, but a SIGNIFICANT difference in her body! A HUGE transformation, if you ask me.

So What Gives?  This should help you wrap your head around it more:

  • Muscle is more dense than fat, and that’s why a woman who’s been training hard and despite losing fat , she hasn’t seen the number on the scale change very much, if at all.  It’s because she’s built muscle during her training. My client (pictured in this post) clearly looks leaner, more toned and more athletic. Good thing she didn’t let the number on the scale upset her!

Here is what she had to say:

Hey Ankeen! The picture on the left (eek) was taken early 2015 – yes, I took a couple of breaks lol – and the picture on right was taken a few weeks ago. Although on the scale Ive only lost 2 lbs, I have never felt healthier and stronger than I do today and best of all I have lots of energy to run after my kids. Thanks to you and all the coaches at keen fitness!

Use these tools as your new “scale”

  • How do you look in the mirror?
  • How are your clothes fitting you?
  • How do you feel? Strong and healthy? Do you have more energy?
  • Are you eating well? Are you training consistently?

 

Testimonials and Photos like this one from my clients just add to the daily passion I have:  helping women build strength and love for their bodies.

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Are you suffering from “Gymtimidation?”

 

After class we typically gather around to stretch and chat in order to cool down and catch our breath. This particular evening I had two new ladies who had officially joined KEEN FITNESS and here is what they said:

You know it took me a year to finally join Keen because I was so intimidated. I am so happy that I did!

Now this was not the first time, second time or even the third time that I have heard this from members who have finally decided to give KEEN a try. Have you ever felt this way? Well you are not alone: 75% of women put off exercise for fear of what others think. Women are most afraid of appearing out of shape and looking clueless in class, or maybe their biggest fear is ME, the crazy coach who is always yelling.

So you may also think that an all-women gym can mean just a bunch of catty jealous women.

I am writing to let you know that KEEN FITNESS is a “NO DRAMA” facility. The members here at KEEN are caring, encouraging, motivating and just a nonjudgmental group of ladies.  Once you give KEEN a shot you will experience the support and warm welcome that I am talking about it. KEEN takes pride in being the home to all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and goals.

 

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Our community feels like a family you don’t ever want to leave.  You will find yourself surrounded by other like-minded women who’ll support you, offer you encouragement as things get tough, and are willing to go through the same daily workout as you. After all, this is your chance to break away from the kids, have adult interaction, enjoy a healthy break from men, and forge new friendships. Ohhhhhh and hear me curse like a sailor!

So, stop putting if off and come see for yourself! (book online, your first class is free to try out!)

 

Have any of you felt “gymtimidation?” Please share below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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