1. When did you join the Academy?
I joined the Academy in January 2011, when the gym was on Dundas in a garage. It was a groupon deal for a 1-month bootcamp, but when I got there and after my first class I was hooked! First it reminded me of Rocky and the kind of gym he'd workout in and second was because I like to have an efficient, challenging, and sweat like an animal workout and this was exactly that! Been here ever since.
2. What has kept you committed?
The Academy community. I love my Lion fams!! ...and Joel (insert heart eyes emoticon)
3. Were you physically active growing up?
I was not in any sports growing up and I didn't start working out until I was 19. My mom put me in every kind of lesson you can think of ballet, keyboard, magic, cooking but was afraid to put me in sports because I was little and she was afraid I'd break my face...
4. Have you competed in any physical challenges?
The physical challenges I've participated in have been the CrossFit Open, a trail run I do with my brother every year in May (since 2006), fundraising races like Scotiabank 10k, CIBC Run for the Cure. Along with Spartan Race, Wipeout Canada and Warrior Dash.
5. You have a passion for travel. Do you keep fit when you travel abroad?
I have HUGE love for travel! For the most part I don't workout when I travel but I walk everywhere. I love to walk all day and explore the city I'm in with no plan. Just wandering... It's only when I go for my fam jams or travel for work that I keep up with my workouts and I'll usually check out a Crossfit gym or do Bikram yoga. Namaste
6. You're a yogi?
I'm a Yogi. I started practicing Bikram Yoga in 2007 and it changed my life for the better. It is an amazing stress reliever and I feel that it clears all the toxins from my body and mind. I am addicted to Bikram and probably one of the biggest advocates. I wanted to change other people's lives like it changed mine and I always had a dream to become a Bikram yoga teacher but it was very expensive before and a huge time commitment. So when the studio I went to offered it for a weekend course over a 3-month period, and for a reasonable price, I knew this was finally my chance. I became certified in April 2016. I don't teach Bikram now for a few reasons, but I do have a deeper understanding of the practice and the postures and I will always be an advocate for the beautiful and healing practice of Bikram yoga.
7. Has your family had a strong impact on your lifestyle?
My family has had an impact on my life in the sense that they are very determined and dedicated people. They are not super physically active, except for my oldest brother - he's an ultra marathon runner, but he and I are the only ones that workout on a regular basis. My family does eat very healthy so that's had a positive impact on my life. We are Armenian and my mom cooked for us my whole life so I grew up eating delicious, spicy, healthy, homemade Mediterranean food. She actually still cooks for me...she makes these amazing beef kabobs that I freeze and I eat one or two a day with salata (salad in armo)
8. Do you have any goals that you wish to achieve in the next year?
This year my gym goals are the following: a) a perfect technique 75lb snatch, b) Karen (150 wallballs with no "no reps") in under 11 minutes, c) 100 unbroken double unders, d) Handstand away from the wall with a 5 second hold and if possible handstand walks!
9. Could you tell us something about you that we don’t know?
Something about me you guys don't know...I whistle very well and growing up my eldest brother (12 years older than me, the ultra-marathon runner) got me into collecting basketball cards, so I have an extensive basketball card collection from 1989 - 2005. They are all in mint condition! I also have about 19 Michael Jordan cards because I would buy one at every card show we went to with my allowance money :)
10.What advice would you give to an Academy of Lions newcomer?
The advice I would give to a new Lion would be the following:
- Be patient and learn technique before you increase your weight. Don't rush it and risk getting injured, just listen to the awesome coaches and learn the technique before you move up in weight
- Practice what you are not good at. Put in the time to improve what you don't like doing or can't do. Can't do a pull-up - practice doing one a day, can't do a push-up - start on your knees and work your way up
- Use the Academy for more than a place to get a workout in. It's a place to come de-stress, to socialize with friendly people with very different perspectives that you can learn from, a great place to workout and a place that can become your second home. From my valuable time here I've learned that it's changed and enriched the lives of many members...including mine.