Set your DVRs: The 130th annual Rose Parade takes place in Pasadena, California, on January 1, 2019. This is your chance to ring in the new year with beautifully decorated floral floats and football—including 24 Hour Fitness’ very own Spartan-themed float.
This year’s float celebrates the partnership of 24 Hour Fitness and Spartan, with the theme “Tuned for Any Challenge.” Crafted from more than 45,000 flowers and standing 33 feet in height, the float displays a powerful female Spartan racer as she tunes up mentally and physically for the twists and turns of the parade ahead. Adorned with race obstacles, the float will also feature six of 24 Hour Fitness’ own Spartan SGX trainers and three 24 Hour Fitness–sponsored Spartan pro athletes.
Below, the six Spartan SGX 24 Hour Fitness trainers riding the float this January shared their excitement surrounding the partnership, the Rose Parade and what it means to be a Spartan trainer.
Why are you proud to represent 24 Hour Fitness?
Jake Kenney: 24 Hour Fitness has really helped me grow and develop as a trainer and a manager. They have given me so many opportunities in such a short time with the company, including working with NFL Play 60 and the Los Angeles Rams and helping me get certified with Spartan. Never have I worked with a company that was so invested in its employees.
Glenn Payne: This company invests in its employees to make us better. In my eight years with the company, I have gone from working overnights as a service representative to a fitness manager and brand ambassador. This company builds careers. When I first got hired, I didn’t plan on becoming a personal trainer. That option was presented to me by a fitness manager who saw something in me. Now I am celebrating close to a decadelong career with a company that takes pride in watching its employees grow.
Nancy Aceituno: I believe we are more than just a place where we work out. We are a community of caring and passionate individuals who love fitness and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Vinh Duong: It is a company that empowers not only members but also team members to live fit and healthy lives. I hold my originating intent close to me, “to empower others through fitness,” and 24 Hour Fitness completely encompasses this.
Alicia Ornelaz: On a personal level, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to affect as many people as I have in relation to their fitness level but also how they view themselves. I really appreciate having a career in which I can help people become healthier and happier while also improving their overall quality of life. Everyone deserves a chance to be healthy and happy.
Kaylen Danz: I truly believe in all the values that form the foundation on which we perform. We use our passion for fitness to help motivate and empower others, and we are dedicated to changing lives and connecting our members with results. I could not be more thankful that on a day-to-day basis, 24 Hour Fitness allows me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others through fitness and nutrition.
What does the Rose Parade and 24 Hour Fitness partnership mean to you?
Kenney: As a huge sports and football fan, I couldn’t be more excited to be on the Rose Parade float for 24 Hour Fitness. It is such a fun and unique opportunity that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Payne: Pasadena is my hometown. I grew up here, and I have been to a few Rose Parades as a kid. It will be a dream come true to ride through my city on a fitness float.
Aceituno: I am able to represent my club in such a special and well-recognized event in front of many people all over the world, including loved ones in others parts of the globe.
Duong: It shows the nation (and world) that we are a company with extreme passion for what we do. This extends outside the fitness industry into the reaches of both children and adults, exemplifying what we stand for as a company and what we do as a team.
Ornelaz: It excites me that 24 Hour Fitness will possibly be able to inspire millions of people across the country to make a positive change in their life. Personally, the Rose Parade is something that reminds me of my grandmother who passed away last year. I loved her so much, and she really built a foundation of movement and play in my life, and without her, I may not even be as active or passionate about fitness as I am today. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share what I love and what 24 Hour Fitness represents with so many other people.
Danz: It grants 24 Hour Fitness additional exposure, gives certain team members such as myself the chance to proudly represent a company that we work so hard for, and also broadcasts the exciting partnership between Spartan and 24 Hour Fitness!
What is the significance of the Spartan and 24 Hour Fitness partnership, for you?
Kenney: I have always really enjoyed obstacle courses and competition, so when I found out that Spartan and 24 were collaborating, I knew it was something I had to be a part of. I also have two clients who are husband and wife who also compete in Spartan races, and I thought it would be such a great opportunity to learn as much as I could in hopes of providing them with a better workout to get them prepped for their next race.
Payne: I ran my first Spartan Race in 2012, and since then, I have completed eight more races. I received one Trifecta medal, and I am working on more. This partnership brings together two brands that represent a fitness lifestyle, and I’m honored to be associated with both of them.
Aceituno: What excites me about the Spartan and 24 Hour Fitness partnership is that both are great in bringing fitness and fun together with working hard and challenges.
Duong: Spartan and 24 Hour Fitness go together like peanut butter and jelly for me. As a Spartan racer and coach, seeing this relationship connect future racers with specific training methods and Spartan veterans with access to more facilities only excites me for what more we have yet to offer still in the coming years.
Ornelaz: Before achieving my bachelor’s degree, I joined the California Army National Guard as a way to help pay for school. When I came home, I did a Spartan Race in Malibu the very next day in December 2011. I was definitely not in the best shape I’ve ever been, but it showed me that although I wasn’t where I wanted to be physically, I was still capable of completing the race with not just my own strength and tenacity but also with the help of others. I really love that the Spartan Race is truly all-inclusive no matter your size, strengths, weaknesses. It shows people that they can still work together, trust others and communicate in order to achieve a common goal. It is all too often that we get pulled into our phones and forget to communicate. The Spartan Race manages to bring people together in a way that not all forms of fitness can.
Danz: The partnership allows trainers such as myself the chance to learn new techniques and workouts through the Spartan SGX program and provides us with new tools to help our members conquer obstacles on the course, in the gym and in everyday life!
What does being a Spartan-certified trainer mean to you?
Kenney: Being ready for anything life throws at you, being mentally and physically tough to overcome any obstacle, and always continuing to learn and grow to be a better person and leader. I am a strong believer of leading by example, and Spartan gives me that opportunity.
Payne: It is an honor to be a Spartan-certified trainer. After participating in races and training for them year-round, it feels good to help people start or continue their Spartan journey.
Aceituno: To me, being a Spartan-certified trainer means bringing fitness to the next level, where challenges are created and overcome in order to grow as athletes and stronger individuals in all areas— physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually.
Duong: To be the bridge for new members/racers to the Spartan culture. It means to be the example of what a fit and healthy lifestyle can bring, what new challenges to take, and that the human body is much more fun to utilize outside the gym!
Ornelaz: As a Spartan-certified trainer, I hope to reach more people. I hope to be able to show people that they can exceed their own expectations and become capable in a way that they never thought they could.
Danz: It is living the Spartan code by example: It’s always finding new ways to challenge myself physically and mentally, continuously learning and being a leader, practicing what I preach, standing up for my beliefs no matter what, giving back to my community, living every moment to the fullest, and sharing this way of life with others!
Which Spartan Race obstacle is your favorite?
Kenney: I have not yet competed in a Spartan Race but will be doing one this December and couldn’t be more excited to do so. I know it’ll push me beyond my limits, and I am ready. Monkey bars have always been one of my favorite obstacles as a child and as an adult, so I can’t wait to tackle them when I do my first race this December.
Payne: I’ve done nine Spartan races and completed one Trifecta. All nine races have made me mentally and physically stronger. They have also showed me my limits and allowed me to prove to myself that I can conquer any obstacle. My favorite obstacle is the Rope Climb. There is nothing better than pulling yourself up to the top.
Aceituno: I am definitely looking forward to doing one in the near future. My favorite obstacles are the Tyrolean Traverse and the Wall Climb.
Duong: I have done two Spartan races: a Sprint Race in 2016 and a Stadium Series race in early 2018. It’s a lot of fun to see what you’re capable of not just physically with the obstacles but also mentally. There’s a sense of camaraderie in the air that is contagious. When I saw a fellow racer pushing through their mental fear of an obstacle, I couldn’t help but join the other racers in motivating and helping the person successfully complete it and move on to the next. Physical challenges are typical in races, but seeing and experiencing mental challenges overcome in the Spartan culture was the most fun I could have while doing cardio! My favorite obstacle is the Spear Throw. It was the only obstacle I experienced challenges in training for. (Hardly any people throw spears in Southern California.)
Ornelaz: I’ve done three: two in Malibu and one in Castaic. I’d love to do more. A Spartan Race is probably the only way anyone could really get me to run long distance. I like that the races are always different and no obstacle is ever predicted. It keeps me moving and challenged. The Barbed Wire Crawl and pretty much any type of wall obstacle are my favorite. I’m short, so I like the Barbed Wire Crawl because of the advantage, and I like the Wall Climb for the challenge.
Danz: I tackled my first Sprint on December 9 in Castaic, California, and I couldn’t wait to crawl through mud under barbed wire!
Meet the trainers
Jake Kenney has been a fitness trainer since 2015, and he has been with 24 Hour Fitness for almost two years. He is a NASM-certified trainer, Spartan SGX trainer and NASM fitness nutrition specialist. He is currently the fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness Simi Valley Sport.
Glenn Payne has been a fitness trainer for seven years, and he has been with the company for eight years, where he started as a sales representative. He is a NASM-certified personal trainer, AFAA- certified group exercise instructor, Spartan SGX coach, Schwinn-certified Spinning instructor, Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor, mixed-martial arts strength and conditioning specialist, Hyperwear SandBell trainer, GEAR indoor cycling certified, and IG7 Coach by Color indoor cycling certified. He is currently the fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness Pasadena Active.
Nancy Aceituno has been a fitness trainer for the last five years, and she has been with 24 Hour Fitness for almost one year. She is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and Spartan SGX coach at 24 Hour Fitness Mission Hills Sepulveda Super Sport.
Vinh Duong has been a fitness trainer for nearly seven years, and he has worked for 24 Hour Fitness for three and a half years. He’s certified as an ACE orthopedic exercise specialist and is a Spartan SGX coach. Duong also holds certifications in Functional Movement Systems Level 1 and Precision Nutrition Level 1. He is currently the fitness manager at the 24 Hour Fitness Apple Valley Super-Sport location.
Alicia Ornelaz has been a fitness trainer with 24 Hour Fitness for more than five years. She spent four years before joining the company coaching basketball at the middle- and high-school levels. Ornelaz is a Spartan SGX coach at 24 Hour Fitness Woodland Hills Topanga Super Sport and holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with a focus in physical education.
Kaylen Danz has been a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness for the past four years. She is a NASM-certified personal trainer with a fitness nutrition specialization. She is also a Spartan SGX coach and a certified barre instructor. Danz works at 24 Hour Fitness Burbank Empire Super Sport, and she is currently going to school for her associate of science physical therapist assistant degree.