While working in finance in NYC, Kate Shannon religiously took megaformer classes at SLT. When the studio posted an audition for instructors, she made a snap decision to give it a try. That’s when her life changed, and she started her journey moving through SLT’s demanding, months-long training program. She began to teach the rigorous method, as well as guiding other teachers.
But at that point she couldn’t have imagined where she’d be now: Living in her hometown of Grosse Pointe and owning her own Lagree method-based studio, Grosse Pointe Body Burn.
Returning home during Covid made it clear that life outside of the Big Apple and carving her own path in MI was her dream all along. Read on to hear more about her transition and how she’s grown her blooming business in Michigan.
SBS: What do you find most special about Grosse Pointe Body Burn and its approach to the Lagree method?
Kate Shannon: It’s so challenging to say what I like most about The GPBB workout. I love that every workout is full body, that we block-train to get the muscle to the moment of failure, that it’s zero impact on joints, that it’s fun, dynamic and engaging and that, of course, our clients see results fast!
The GPBB workout offers a completely different class each and every time, keeps you engaged mentally and physically, gives you a full-body, muscle-quivering and challenging workout. It also leaves our clients feeling lengthened, walking taller and feeling mentally and physically empowered.
SBS: What's Grosse Pointe Body Burn’s approach to teaching?
KS: Our teaching methodology at Grosse Pointe Body Burn is very different than any teaching style you’ll come across. Our instructors are encouraged to be not only your biggest cheerleaders, but to also always have your form and safety in mind. They go through a rigorous, several-month-long training program to learn the nuances of every move we teach. We emphasize a high attention to detail to prioritize your safety and give you the most for your workout. Expect to be engaged mentally and physically the whole time, for your instructor to motivate and challenge you, and to always have your form and safety in mind.
SBS: What style of teacher are you?
KS: Easy and no-nonsense. I teach with a very high attention to detail, and I have been known to say, ‘You guys have four seconds to get there.’ I bring as much energy and enthusiasm to my class as possible, and I expect my clients to, as well. You’re also guaranteed to get at least a few dad jokes thrown in there.
SBS: What's your approach to leading, managing and training a team?
KS: In training a team, I lead with the fact that they are representing my brand. Yes, my standards are high, and yes, I am very particular. But that’s because I’m trusting my team with my baby. I expect my team to be an extension of me when I cannot be there. In leading a team, I try to always put the brand first within the community. Not only does my team represent me and my brand in the studio, but they represent the studio within the community.
In managing a team, I try to be the kind of boss that I, as an employee, would want. My team knows that at any time I could show up, which keeps them accountable, but also they have the autonomy to add their own creativity to their classes. I also emphasize transparency and communication within my team, and try to be as accommodating as possible.
Our training process is intensive and challenging, but we know we have the best instructors. At the end of the day, I am super grateful for my team. And though I have very high standards, I am super proud of the way they conduct themselves both in and out of the studio. I hope to inspire my team to be vibrant, engaged members of the community, and that that energy permeates into the studio.
SBS: How has your COVID journey been? What were you doing before and how has it shifted, both professionally and personally?
KS: Covid has changed my life so much. I was living in New York City in the beginning of 2020, working at SLT, living in 600 square feet, but happy to be there (though I missed Michigan tremendously). When Covid hit, I came home, thinking I’d be here for two weeks, at the max.
Once I realized that Covid was here to stay and I was in Grosse Pointe to stay, I started brainstorming about opening a megaformer studio in Grosse Pointe. While few will say they are grateful for Covid, I’m happy that it forced me to be vocal about what I wanted and to pursue a dream.
SBS: What's your own wellness practice? How has it changed?
KS: Pre-Covid, if I didn’t get my one or one-and-a-half hours of exercise every day, it absolutely ruined my day. I was a big gym and fitness class groupie. When those options became unavailable with Covid, I was forced to get creative with exercise, and to give myself a break. Now, if I get some cardio in (even if it’s just 20 minutes) and some kind of megaformer work (again, even if it’s short), I am happy. I have also embraced rest days as necessary for not only the body but for the mind, as well.
SBS: What tips/advice would you give to new instructors post-Covid quarantine?
KS: Be flexible. The past year and half has been tough on everyone in a variety of ways, and the people that will enter your studios have all had different experiences. An instructor should be flexible, able to improvise and adjust, and provide an energetic and safe environment to welcome clients back to fitness.
SBS: What tips/advice would you give to clients doing Lagree for the first time? What about via virtual gatherings?
KS: I always say, ‘Be brave enough to be a beginner.’ When you take your first megaformer class, the machine may feel awkward, or you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged. I tell my newbies to accept the clumsiness and the struggle and know that each time you will get stronger and more confident. Be brave enough to know you don’t know everything and to be humble enough to learn from those around you.
SBS: What's your approach to nutrition?
KS: I think of food as fuel, and in order to live such an active lifestyle, eating lean proteins, fruits and vegetables always makes me feel my best. In full transparency though, I have also never said no to French fries!
While I have no formal training in nutrition, I’ve always chosen to think about the way we eat as a bank account. If I know I’m going out for dinner and will splurge, I will eat a slightly healthier lunch. It’s all about balance, and I won’t pretend to have found that balance...but I try!
The best, zaniest part of being Kate: I’m a relatively calm person. You know the movie Fever Pitch, where Jimmy Fallon is the biggest Red Sox fan? That’s me with Notre Dame football. If you can watch a game with me and still like me, you’re a brave soul.
Kate’s SBS Mantra:
Be Bold. I’ve always tried to live my life in a bold way. I try not to back away from challenges, obstacles or tough decisions, and those who know me best know that I don’t hold my tongue. I’ve always believed that you won’t get anywhere fading into the background and to live in bold is the only way to do so. My grandma always reminded me: ‘A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.’
Kate’s Michigan Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Beyond Juicery + Eatery
Splurge Restaurant: SheWolf in Downtown Detroit
Nightlife Spot: The Monarch Club
Fitness Studio: GPBB, obviously!
Fun Activity: Cooking, hanging with my family and tennis
Calming Activity: Walking my dog
Books: My favorite book I’ve read recently is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delta Owens