Fitness Instructor Pet Peeves

Hey friends! Happy Friday! How about this crazy hot weather, right?! I don’t understand how it goes from 50’s to 90’s overnight. Something just doesn’t seem right about that. I am going to Tia’s on the water for drinks after work and I can’t wait! Perfect way to spend a hot, Friday afternoon ūüôā

Yesterday was not a very good day at work. My work computer got a MASSIVE virus and IT said that it killed everything on my computer and could not be removed and/or fixed. Fantastic. So, from 9am to 1pm, I was dealing with computer sh*t (sorry, but that’s how frustrating it was!). With my job, I literally cannot do anything without a computer, so, what did I do to pass the time, you might ask? Well, I came up with some blog post topics… duh ūüėČ

Since I teach a fair amount of classes each week (6 this week, to be exact), I see loads and loads of interesting things while I am there! Some make me laugh, some drive me cray-cray, but I thought it would be fun to share them with you today. Anyone else who spends any time at the gym can surely agree with me!

Fitness Instructor Pet Peeves

  1. People who come in late and make a big scene getting their equipment and finding a spot.¬†I understand¬†PT delays or traffic (we have all been there!), but¬†please try your best to sneak in quietly, grab your stuff quickly, and get to work. I get in a “groove” while teaching, so when I have to stop and help someone set up while also trying to keep the class going, it’s super hard.
  2. Just because I am a female instructor and the class is 95% females, doesn’t mean it’s an “easy” class and won’t be a kick butt workout for guys, too. Trust me, it will, and if you don’t believe me, I dare you to come to a class!
  3. Don’t come to class in just a sports bra. Actually, don’t go to the gym in just a sports bra. Working out in your home by yourself? Go for it. But at the gym? Please be courteous¬†(even if you have a rocking hot bod) and wear a shirt. I’ve witnessed a “nip slip” in my class and I’d love it if that never happened again!
  4. When people come in each week and lift the same weights, expecting to see a change. Change happens when you do something different. Get out of your comfort zone and listen to me when I say “go heavy”.
  5. When people roll their eyes at me when I throw¬†in crazy/weird things into class.¬† Please humor me and at least TRY to do what I am instructing (jump squats with weights, full burpees, crab walks, etc.). I understand injuries and other limitations that¬†inhibit¬†you from doing some of what I teach, but I know there are “fakers”, who just don’t WANT to do what I’m instructing because it’s hard ūüėČ I’m onto you!
  6. People who come in and talk to their friend the whole class. Class is 1 hour out of your day and it’s so distracting to me and the other members when you’re having a full on conversation with your friend, so save it for before or after class.
  7. When people are not mindful of their space, my space, and their neighbors space. No one wants you up in their space!
  8. Speaking of space, don’t “share” equipment like steps/benches. Get your own!
  9. When members give me¬†the¬†evil eye when I tell¬†them that¬†they only need a mat and weights. You don’t need every piece of equipment in the room to make it a “good” workout, so put your barbell, body bar, 4 sets of weights and step away. K? Thanks!
  10. Smelly people. Please be courteous of everyone else in the room (which tends to get hot when we are all working hard) and wear deodorant. ’nuff said.

Anyone else feel the same way about any of these?! Any that I missed? What is your BIGGEST pet peeve when you’re at the gym?


We just got news that our best friend, Sara, is on her way to the hospital to hopefully have her baby soon! If she has it today, my sister and I will head up to Maine after I teach tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday Workout: Discussion time! Compound vs. Isolation Exercises?

Hey everyone! I do have a workout for you today, but before I get to that, I want to take a minute to talk about something I’ve been thinking about since my SHRED class last Thursday. Compound Exercises vs. Isolation Exercises. What’s the difference, you might ask? Well, simply put (read: VERY¬†simply), compound exercises or movements work more than one muscle or muscle group at a time and isolation exercises work only one muscle¬†or muscle group at a time. Some of my favorite compound exercises are squats with¬†and overhead press, lunges with biceps curls, deadlifts with a row, whereas isolation exercises would be JUST biceps curls or rows.


(Compound vs. Isolation)

Since compound exercises generally¬†work both upper and lower body muscles, they burn more calories, which is why I tend to teach those types of exercises in my class; “more bang for the buck,” shall I say. Since I only have an hour to teach, including warm up and cool down, I want my members to get the most out of that hour and keep their heart rates up even when we are not doing cardio.

However, last week I changed things up in my SHRED class and decided to focus on isolation exercises. You may remember this Jump Rope & Strength Circuit¬†Workout” that I did at home about a month ago.

Jump Rope and Strength Circuit

I decided to take the basis of this workout- isolation exercises- and change up the cardio to make it doable in my group ex. class. In order to make this work, I switched the 5 minutes of jump rope to 3 minutes of cardio (3 moves at 60 seconds each), while still keeping the strength portion the same (except I replaced one of the triceps exercises to biceps curls). I encourage my members to go HEAVY on the weights for the strength portion since we were only focusing on one muscle/muscle group rather than spreading our energy throughout our whole body to work more than one muscle group.

Since I have gotten to know a bunch of the members in my classes, I know what they usually lift and it was nice to see them go heavier. As much as I love compound movements, I think that when we do them, we usually have to go a little lighter with the weights, but with isolation movements, we can go heavier since we are only focusing on doing ONE thing. This made me wonder: do we lift BETTER and STRONGER and more EFFICIENTLY when we focus on isolation exercises? What do you think?

Personally, I think I do have a better workout when I only focus on one muscle group. If I am just doing biceps curls, or shoulder presses or lunges, I only have to focus on ONE thing, rather than multiple, so I think I can push through and gain better muscle by doing this. When we are doing timed intervals for compound movements, I think one of the exercises tends to suffer; maybe you don’t squat as low in a squat and OH press, maybe you don’t lunge as deep when you are doing lunges with biceps curls, maybe you’re not lifting as heavy weights when you’re doing squats and overhead presses,¬†etc. Now, I am not saying that compound movements are not wonderful ways to get the best “bang for your buck,” but I think we have to be extra careful to not get “messy”.

I want your opinion, though. What do you think? Do you prefer compound exercises or do you prefer to lift heavier and focus on isolation exercises? Does it differ depending on whether you’re in a class or working out on your own? What’s your favorite exercises for compound and isolation exercises? I’m really interested to see if anyone feels the same way as I do.


I know I promised you a workout, so here is the running workout I did on Monday when I was in Maine!

run + strength training

I ended up running a 5K (3.1 miles), so I saved the 3rd set of 25 rep exercises for when I finished. And then, to make things even (I like 100 much better than 75!), I did a 4th set of the exercises. I finished with some push-ups into side planks, full burpees and stretching. Stretching with Charlie is not easy…


So, there you go! Let me know if you try this, and let me know what you think about my recent revolation! Enjoy your day, friends ūüôā

Memorial Day Weekend at the Gagnon’s

Hey everyone! Who else is feeling a little bit of a let down after the long weekend? I was so happy the sun finally decided to come out yesterday, but where was it the rest of the weekend?! Thankfully, we had loads of fun inside and really didn’t notice the gross weather too much. Since my weekend in Maine was filled with so many fun things, let’s get right to recapping them!


Danielle and I met mom in Springvale for lunch at the Springvale Publick House (clearly, we love that place). Dad dropped mom off and took Chuck home so he didn’t have to sit around in the crate for any longer than necessary. After lunch, we grabbed Dairy Queen and puttered around Ocean State Job lot and the Dollar Tree and decided to grab margarita’s at Fresco Mexican Grill. Holy Yum! I had the Pineapple Mango Sage infused margarita with dry ice- such a fun afternoon treat!

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After drinks, we came home and got going on our homemade pizza on the grill night! Dad made his homemade dough and we split it into 6 pieces so that we could have lots of mini pizzas. I made a caramalized onion, zucchini and fresh mozzarella cheese and I think it was the best out of all of them!

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We had such a fun night filled with lots of laughs, good food and wine (duh!).


Since we were going to 11am mass, we had plenty of time to hang around and relax when we got up on Sunday. And, with rainy/gross weather, being lazy was totally ok. After church, we all went to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart to get plants and whatnot. By the time we got home, I was STARVING and couldn’t wait to dig into the left-over pizza! Late afternoon, before our BBQ, mom, Danielle and I went for a 1/2 hour walk which felt great!

Sunday night, we hosted a Memorial Day BBQ for our close family friends. There ended up being 15 adults and 2 babies! So fun!



My mom obviously has lots of friends, but she has 2 best friends that she is always with: Jean and Jeanne, aka “The Jeans”. One cannot do something without the other two, so it is no surprise that when the Jean’s went shopping earlier in the weekend, they had to get mom a matching shirt!


It was an extra special party because Matt and Courtney came and brought their new baby boy, Alexander! What’s really neat, is that they are letting people choose their own nickname for him: Alex, Xander, Al (although, I wouldn’t call him Al since that’s what my dad’s name is and that would be weird).

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And no Maine post is complete without a picture of one of our favorite babies… Emma Jean! She is getting SO big and is so much fun.

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Sara, as you remember, is so very pregnant at this time! She is due on Wednesday and could give at any moment. It was fun to see her with the babies and know that she will have her own so soon! Come on out, Zeke, we want to play!!

016 Sara baby pose

As always, the food was delicious! Asian salad, broccoli-cauliflower salad, pasta salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, steak, pork, and so many desserts!

018It was really so fun to see everyone, and even more fun that everyone was referencing Burpees to Bubbly! I love to hear people say “let’s get a pic for Burpees to Bubbly”. Music to my ears:) This pic seemed only fitting since we were most definitely drinking bubbly!


We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends around all the time! Never a dull¬†moment at the Gagnon’s ūüėČ

Memorial Day

I woke up to a bright, sunny sky and immediately decided that it would be awesome to go for a run! As I was running, I realized how quiet it was compared to the city running that I usually do. No sidewalks, no cars, no people, just my music, the pavement and a sunny sky. I really focused on being present and enjoying the moment, something I should probably do more often!


I made my run more fun by adding in strength exercises after every mile- I’ll post it later this week!

Here are some pictures of “Shapleigh Corner”… I am from a very small town and this is the “center” of town. A whopping blinking light!




028Yup, you’d call this Maine, small town living!

The rest of the day was filled with LOTS of planting and gardening with dad and visiting with our cousin, Karen, who is visiting from Michigan. Always nice to visit with family!

And now we are back to the grind! This week got a little busier when I agreed to sub back-to-back classes tonight (Kickboxing followed by SHRED at the South Station BSC).

Questions for you: Best part of your weekend? Did you have or go to a BBQ for Memorial Day? Are you from a big city or small town?

Weekly Workouts!

Hey everyone! Happy Memorial Day! Anyone going to any parades? We usually do, but¬†not this year… bummer! I LOVE parades. Anyway, let’s get to the workouts.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Besides walking to and from work from the T and walking home from the T (in all, about 2.5 miles), I rested. I was really sore from workouts over the weekend and wanted to make dinner, so I opted to take the time I gained from not working out and be productive around the apartment!
  • Tuesday- I went to the Wellington BSC and had an awesome workout! I went on the elliptical for 30 minutes, ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill, did lots of ab stuff on the TRX bands and did this:


I ran these stairs- they were killer.



  • Thursday- I taught SHRED and Kickboxing. In SHRED, rather than compound movements (like I usually like to do- more bang for the buck), I focused on lifting heavier and only focusing on one exercise (squats, biceps curls, etc.). Fun to switch things up!
  • Friday- I played around for about 30 minutes practicing new kickboxing combinations for Saturday, trying out some new moves I learned from Women’s Health and used my band for upper body work.
  • Saturday- Taught a VERY sweaty kickboxing class. I’d show you a picture of my sports bra (signs of a good workout=sports bra soaked), but that would be gross. Athena came, which is always fun!
  • Sunday- Mostly a rest day, although I spent some time in the morning doing glute and ab work!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I am still home in Maine and will definitely be doing something, just not sure what that is yet. Maybe a jog, maybe Deck of Cards, maybe a strength workout with mom and my sister??
  • Tuesday- I’ll head to the gym after work and probably do something similar to last week: cardio and strength training!
  • Wednesday- Cardio before class and then teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- SHRED and Kickboxing
  • Friday- something low-impact, as I have realized that I need that after teaching (and doing) a double and knowing that I have to¬†teach Kickboxing the next day. I like to use Friday’s to focus on strength training!
  • Saturday- 3rd week in a row of teaching Kickboxing at the YMCA! Woohoo! Such a high energy crowd- I love it.
  • Sunday- Rest ūüôā

Questions for you: What was your favorite workout last week? Try anything new? Anything make you really sore? Looking forward to anything this week? Do share!

Scenes from Saturday (Maine Edition)

Good morning! Here’s a little glimpse into our day yesterday! I taught kickboxing at 10 and then my sister, Charlie and I headed north. We met mom for lunch (dad drove her and took Charlie home with him) and then spent the rest of the day running errands with her! For dinner, we had quite the grilled pizza dinner… nothing is ever simple with the Gagnon’s ūüôā Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


(Dinner Friday night)

















Questions for you: How was your Saturday? Did you go away for Memorial Day weekend? Where is “home” for you?