Behind The Scenes With The Energetic ‘Power Remix’ Instructors

As a mere passer-by at the White Building or Intramural building, you may peer into one of the fitness classes on your way to the cardio machines and think, “Why are all these people dancing?!” The real question should be: why aren’t you?

You may have heard of the popular “Power Remix” class before. This high-energy, lively fitness class is by far the most taken when it comes to Penn State fitness. It’s comparable to Zumba but includes songs that are more popular, along with moves that are a bit simpler.

Power Remix is a fun-filled cardio workout filled with aerobics and dance moves. Though it may just feel like silly dancing, this class leaves you sweating and fulfilled.

The class is notorious for being a good time, but this workout would never be famed if it weren’t for the hardworking, energetic staff of fitness instructors behind it all. Walk into just about any Power Remix class and you’ll be greeted with an outgoing, mega-friendly instructor whose goal is to make you feel comfortable and excited. Whether teaching a slow Monday night or an excited 4 p.m. Friday class in the gymnasium, the Power Remix instructors give it their all.

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A gym full of students enjoy a Friday afternoon Power Remix session in the White Building.

Fitness Coordinator Jill Garrigan is the powerhouse behind it all. Garrigan has been enjoying and teaching fitness since 1982. After piecing together a handful of part-time fitness jobs, she decided to jump on the opportunity to work at Penn State as soon as she could.

Much like a Varsity team, the Penn State Fitness instructors are close knit. There are incoming freshmen, upperclassmen, and senior instructors. They each have a role and responsibility to hand down their knowledge of the program and the craft to the next group.

“Current instructors serve as mentors to a younger instructors. They work extremely hard practicing and perfecting what they do. I have never been around a more energetic, hard working, dedicated group of young leaders.” Garrigan explained.

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Lindsay Randall instructs a Monday night Power Remix class.

Prospective instructors must complete 32 weeks of fitness training, which often comes down to 8 hours of practice and lessons a week.

Fitness instructors include experienced workout veterans like senior instructor Kelsey Holland, who has been teaching for years. Holland had a background in dance and fitness before she came to Penn State. After her first Power Remix class her freshman year, she was hooked.

“I loved the instructor at the time and her energy,” Holland shared. “I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do.”

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The Fitness Instructors pose with the Nittany Lion. (Photo: Jill Garrigan)

Holland teaches other classes such as Full Body Workout and Butts and Guts. She also enjoys teaching yoga, proving she’s a master at both high-energy cardio and more meditative forms of exercise.

“What people don’t know about Power Remix is that there’s tons of aerobics,” Holland explained, “It’s just disguised in moves that feel like you’re dancing.”

Though the squad of instructors includes masters like Holland, there are many eager, bright-eyed instructors in training. Sophomore Julia Magowan has been learning the ways of Penn State fitness since her freshman year and is now an official Penn State fitness instructor. Like many, Magowan has a particular affinity for Power Remix.

“I love watching students start off shy and awkward at the beginning of class, and then gradually let their inhibitions go and let loose,” Magowan shared. “The best feeling is when you really engage a class and make them laugh. When they go home smiling and feeling stress-free, I know I did my job right.”

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Fitness Instructor assistants take part in the Power Remix fun.

Magowan wants to make fitness more approachable and exciting for the everyday student. She believes working out should be something you look forward to, not a chore that you dread.

As you can see, the Penn State fitness instructors are accomplished and driven, whether they’re underclassmen or senior instructors. Jill Garrigan is extremely proud of her instructors and is confident each and every one of them will continue to shine in and out of college.

“I have no regrets and the past 21 years have gone by at lightning speed,” she said.

If you feel like getting your groove on, don’t hesitate to attend a Power Remix class. All Penn State fitness classes are available to any student with a gym membership – so there’s no excuse not to join in on the fun.

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About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with. (Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])

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