Once Upon a Teenager

Wishing you found a love for working out earlier? Fuse student Avery Gordon does. Here’s why:

Pilates for teens? Probably not what they're teaching in gym class these days.

I don’t have too many regrets in life. Sure, maybe trying to stick my head through the banister on my stairs when I was 10; but a little baby oil did the trick so we’ll leave that one out. My time as a teen was pretty typical. We’ve all been there, don’t want to go to school, don’t understand what the point of homework is, life’s not fair, why am I grounded for accidentally driving my mom’s car into the garage and trying to blame someone else, etc.. Though I didn’t always make the perfect choices when I was younger, I decided to learn from my mistakes I made and move on instead of regretting them.

My biggest regret as a teen was definitely my lack of self-confidence. I didn’t feel very good about myself for a large chunk of time. I do regret that I spent much of my life not really loving myself and wishing I could change. Now that I’ve grown so much and have found that confidence, I can look back and recognize that one thing in my life I was missing was exercise. Now that it is a big part of my life, it is clear how much exercise correlates with my confidence.

I guess I should explain more fully the exercise timeline of my life.

When I was very young (post-tee ball and pre-high school), I played soccer. It was great for me – I made great friends, got a lot of exercise, and felt awesome being part of a team.

I ended up dropping soccer when I started high school. This happened once I decided it was the end of the world if I didn’t have free time to watch MTV2 after school. Not the best reasoning, but we’ll move on. After soccer, I really lost touch with the sports and exercise aspect of my life.

When you're a teenager, it's easy for you to find priorities. Most of the time, it's about your friends. Often, it's about what's on TV.

In high school, I chose to exclude myself from sports programs and instead do the alternate option of four hours in the school gym each week. Predictably, I didn’t put any effort in and dreaded going.

In college, I continued to pretend to be active by trekking over to the campus gym once every 2 weeks. During these years I had a very distorted self-image. I felt weaker than everyone else both mentally and physically, and I covered myself up with baggy clothes all of the time – basically I walked around campus looking like a male rapper, which may have been cool in 1991. Not so much a few years later.

After I graduated, I was launched into a whirlwind of drastic change to the same extent I experienced as a teen. I was confused and in a new place with very few people I knew, all while trying to start my life in the working world. I correctly convinced myself that I needed to establish a routine to feel more grounded. Oh, how I wish I had made this connection when I was a teen. I enrolled myself in my first fitness studio class at Fuse Pilates in DC and fell in love with it.

Fuse Pilates is perfect for me for too many reasons to count, but I’ll name the first few that come to mind.

  • First, you’re able to move at your own pace. I definitely wasn’t ready to jump into a side plank when I started, but I got there.
  • Second, the instructors are super motivating and play awesome music.
  • Third, and probably most importantly to people like me who don’t get naturally amped up about exercise, it’s really fun. The truth is, it never gets boring and you actually want to go to class.

Since Fuse Pilates and fitness have become a part of my life, I have seen myself improve immensely in many ways. I am definitely more confident for the first time in my life. Actually, I’m very confident. I was at dinner with a friend the other night and I was flexing my new bicep for him and it got really awkward there for a minute. I’ve watched myself grow stronger, leaner and more determined to overcome obstacles. Aside from the fact that I actually consider myself a self-assured person for the first time in my life, I have made some great friends, collected some great tunes for my iPod, and added true structure to my agenda. Even though I do regret that I wasn’t able to spend my whole life with this attitude, I’m so glad I started now. I wish someone would have taken my by the hand when I was a teenager and dragged me to a Fuse Pilates class. I’m sure I would have loved it – even then – and maybe I would have spent those difficult years with a bit more confidence.

Wish you would have found Fuse Pilates as a Teen?  Fuse is introducing its first Teen Camp this June- a mix of chats about clothes, music, and fitness, and Fuse Pilates signature mat classes, followed up by lunch provided by sweetgreen. To learn more, go to workshops here.

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