One of San Marino High School’s familiar stairway towers is visible to the northeast from where Pam Eamranond is explaining her decision to bring her workout studio to town and the next question became obvious.
Did you want to move close to your old school?
“Yes,” she immediately responded. “That and Tony’s Pizza. I was raised on that stuff.”
As positive and upbeat as she was almost two decades ago when she played tennis, basketball, water polo and swam at SMHS, Eamranond is genuinely enthused about her craft and recent relocation of CrossFit 626, her gym and personal training studio, after seven years in South Pasadena and Pasadena.
“Not bad for somebody who never took PE,” she joked, the previous mention of her athletic exploits providing the silent explanation that her participation in sports precluded her requirement of taking physical education classes. “Whenever people talk about PE, I don’t know what it is.”
Eamranond graduated from San Marino High School in 2003 and went to the University of California, Riverside, where she earned a degree in business.
“I always loved being active and I couldn’t see myself sitting at a desk or in a cubicle,” she said. “Ironically, now I spend between four and six hours at a computer doing administrative work.”
Eamranond also designs personal workout regimens for her athletes, as individuals, and classes, as a whole.
Though she didn’t participate in organized sports at Riverside, Eamranond found the campus fitness center to her liking and added weight training to her regular fitness routine of running and swimming.
Upon receiving her diploma in 2007, Eamranond encountered that age-old existential challenge…
“What do I want to do?” Eamranond said, rhetorically.
Stints as a real estate broker and medical coder failed to provide the answer, and she quickly realized she wanted to become a personal trainer.
“I decided I was just going to go for it,” Eamranond explained.
She earned her certification and began training clients—she and her staff adamantly refer to them as “athletes”—in 2008. Three years later, she and a couple friends opened CrossFit 626 in South Pasadena’s Garfield Park and later in a friend’s converted one-car garage.
It was on to a studio on Fair Oaks Avenue in 2011 before the recent move to San Marino, which presented the opportunity for further expansion.
“I love it here,” she said of the 3,900 square foot space on the south side of Huntington Drive. “The members all say they love it. There is a lot more room and that is something we are getting used to.”
CrossFit 626 is class-based, with sessions beginning at 5:15 a.m. and the latest kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
“We cap each class at 12,” she explained. “We like to have a good coach to athlete ratio. If it gets any bigger than that, it doesn’t work.”
Eamranond personally designs each workout and offers nutritional direction as an additional service.
“I do it a lot differently than most people do,” she added. “I don’t always do templates of a menu and I don’t count the grams and the cups and the ounces. In life, you are not always going to be able to follow that template. I base nutritional plans on what the athlete can sustain. I teach people a sustainable way of eating and how to build healthy habits. It’s also important to be able to manipulate your diet based on what you want.”
And pizza must be included in that diet?
“Yes, I love it,” Eamranond said with a hearty laugh. “And that is the message. Don’t be so restrictive in your diet. If you want a slice of pizza or a cookie or a cupcake every now and then it’s not going to be the end of the world.”
Eamranond practices what she preaches. She regularly works out at the gym and participates in Crossfit competitions, having reached the regional stage on multiple occasions. And she also coaches track and cross country at San Marino’s Huntington Middle School. She got a referral from HMS physical education teacher Samantha “Sam” Gin, herself a former San Marino High School basketball player and one of the athletes Eamranond trains.
CrossFit 626 also offers classes for young people between the ages of 5 and 17.
“It’s an all-encompassing fitness program for anyone of any age,” Eamranond concluded.
“The program can be scaled to any level of fitness. Many people in our older population are hesitant to lift weights and, ironically, they need it the most. Between myself and the professional trainers on my staff, we can tailor a workout program for anyone.”
CrossFit 626 is located at 2456 Huntington Drive in San Marino. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 5:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and 8-10 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, please call (626) 765-1348 or email info@CrossFit626.com.