I played sports my entire life, basically growing up on the soccer field. It was all I knew, and it consumed my life as I began to get more and more serious. I traveled the country, had early Sunday morning practices every week, and essentially gave up my social life in high school to go to showcases to try and get recruited for a college scholarship. When the opportunity to play in college arose, I felt as if my dreams were coming true. Two ACL surgeries later, I was going to continue my soccer career into college. What could be better? I was on cloud nine entering my freshman year of college with my cleats laced up. I sit here now, writing to you from my apartment couch as my teammates are out on the field practicing.

You might be wondering how I ended up here? Some of you may not care but I am going to tell you anyway. My collegiate soccer career ended prematurely. It was more challenging than I anticipated and came with more stress and less reward for me personally. This left me with a difficult question towards the end of my sophomore year as I began to think about wanting to study abroad and what my future would look like. Suddenly, less and less of it had soccer in the picture. How did this happen? I came to college for soccer, and now it's as low on my priority list as my laundry (and that's low). I had to follow my heart and make a decision for my personal best interest. It definitely put me on a different path, but one that I believe I was ready for and one that has given me so many new, exciting opportunities. I traveled the world for an entire semester, visiting some of the most beautiful places on this Earth. While that was incredible and interesting, I'm here to talk about a more subtle experience that has become my passion.

Pilates.

A less widely known form of exercise, pilates has a reputation of being for older women as it is low impact and gentle on muscles, joints, and bones. However, it is being popularized and recognized by millennial-aged girls like me who are seeing what a great workout it truly is. My mom always did pilates, and I wrote it off as a "mom" workout that couldn't be competitive like my soccer practices. Right?

Wrong. I finally tried pilates one day shortly after my soccer career had ended just out of sheer boredom truthfully. Why not? I left drenched in sweat and wobbling. I was immediately addicted. My perspective was completely transformed, and I gave my mom all the credit I took from her in the past. It was an AMAZING workout that made both my mind and body feel good. I was sore as hell, but in a good way. I wanted to go back.

Since that day, I have consistently done both Reformer and Barre classes and found that Barre is my favorite of the two. This takes place in a studio with a ballet bar and uses a variety of exercise gear such as weights, balls, yoga mats, and bands to make your entire body shake. I love the sore feeling the day after a tough workout and the complete adaptability this training has. The instructor can make it what they want, and once you find a studio or instructor that targets your favorite movements, stick to them like glue.

So here I am, a retired college athlete that's still in college, telling you that you can still find your passion. I found mine at the Barre, and you can too.