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