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Fitness Instructor Katie Gallagher Shares Her Love for Spin Classes and Spotify Playlists

Name: Katie Gallagher

Age: 21

Year: Senior

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Major: Dietetics

Her Campus (HC): What made you want to come to Florida State?

Katie Gallagher (KG): Even though I live in North Carolina, I was born in Florida, which means I have Florida Prepaid. So I was pretty focused on schools down here while researching options for college. I fell in love with Florida State’s campus, as a lot of people do. I also wanted to go to a big university where there was a lot of school spirit and a great community. I don’t necessarily go to all the sporting events, but I still definitely appreciate the communal spirit that they bring to FSU.

HC: What organizations are you involved with here on campus?

KG: I’m a RENEW (Realizing Everyone’s Need for Emotional Wellness) member here at FSU. We’re affiliated with the university counseling center and it’s an emotional wellness peer-counseling group. I’m also a fitness instructor at the Leach.

HC: How did you get into teaching classes?

KG: In high school I worked at a gym and from then on I knew that I wanted to do something within the realm of fitness. My mom actually teaches fitness classes, so it’s somewhat of a family thing. I got certified to teach as soon as I could, once I got to Tallahassee my freshman year.

HC: What specific classes do you teach?

KG: This semester I’m only teaching spin because I’ve fallen in love with it so much that I only want to teach that specific class. However, in the past I’ve taught everything from total body sculpt to barre.

Courtesy: Carlos Crespo 

HC: Can you explain the different types of spin classes that are available?

KG: We have endurance, strength and interval rides. We start out with endurance because our program is progressive, which is special because most spin studios don’t do that. Instead, they’ll just weave classes in and out without having any specific order in mind. At FSU we go from endurance to strength and then to interval rides. In an endurance ride, you’re seated the whole time and you just work on building up your stamina for future rides. Strength is heavy work and you get to stand out of the saddle. Intervals are short spurts of work to get your heart rate up, similar to a Tabata workout.

HC: Do you have a favorite type of spin class to teach?

KG: Definitely strength rides. I really like standing up out of the bike and climbing. That’s the position where I feel like I can push myself the most in my workout. There aren’t any breaks between songs in a strength ride, which I like because I like to just get in my zone without having the distraction of taking a rest.

HC: How do you go about making playlists for your classes?

KG: I used to use SoundCloud because they have great remixes, but it would take me hours to find the right songs. So now I use Spotify. I usually check out what songs it recommends for me and then pick the ones I like from there. Then I’ll put them all in a folder and go through that and choose songs based on their beat and whether I’m teaching endurance, strength or interval that day. I always go with an EDM remix song. Those are my favorite kind to spin to. If anyone wants to checkout my Spotify my screen name is just Katie Gallagher. I have great playlists!

HC: Have you ever been to a SoulCycle?

KG: I used to go to Flywheel all the time back in Charlotte. I know there’s one down south here too somewhere, maybe in Boca. It’s similar to SoulCycle. I also used to spin at the YMCA, but Flywheel was my main studio. 

HC: Do you think there are any misconceptions about spin classes?

KG: I think that there are two misconceptions, mostly based on gender. Most spin classes that I teach are only women and that’s because a lot of women think that they should only be doing cardio, even though in reality they should be working out with weights as well. Vice versa, a lot of men don’t like doing cardio and opt for weights instead. So, I really just think that everyone should try it out and maybe even incorporate it into their weekly workout routine. Spin is a really fun, communal way to get your cardio in. I’d much rather do spin than run stadiums or walk the StairMaster. 

Courtesy: Carlos Crespo 

HC: Do you have any advice for someone who would want to teach a group fitness class at FSU?

KG: I think combining a love for fitness with being able to talk to people and knowing music are the three keys to teaching successfully. Knowing the science behind what you’re teaching is also important so that when you’re adjusting people and teaching them the proper form, you know the reason behind it all. Also, it can be nerve-racking to put yourself out there in front of a group of people, so it’s important to be confident in what you’re putting out and giving to them.

HC: How would someone go about getting certified to teach spin classes?

KG: Here at FSU, we do our certification through Mad Dogg spinning. Based on interest they’ll actually come to FSU once a year, usually during the summer so that you can get certified right here on campus. If you miss that, they always have certification courses down south here in Florida, usually at a YMCA. It’s only a one or two day event. There’s a test you take at the end, and overall it costs about $300. It seems like a lot, but it’s definitely a good investment. Especially if you’re going to teach for longer than a year because you’ll easily make back that money.

HC: Do you think that you’re going to continue teaching spin after you graduate?

KG: Yes! I’m looking to move to a Flywheel location actually. I just love to teach and the pay is good.

HC: How do your Dietetics major and teaching fitness classes go hand in hand?

KG: Nutrition definitely correlates directly with fitness. What I really enjoy is seeing both sides of wellness. I like being able to tell people how much water they should be drinking before and after class. Knowing the science behind everything also helps a lot for when people ask me questions. It’s a really common thing for students to ask their fitness instructors questions. I’ve gotten questions like, “What supplements should I take and what food should I be eating?” I’m not allowed to give dietary advice, but I can give them advice that has some substance to it since I’ve taken four years of classes on the subject. I think if I do become a dietician, teaching fitness classes would help within my practice because I would be practicing what I preach.

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