Being a teen can be a confusing time filled with change, stress, and new responsibilities. Adulthood seems far away, but so does being a child, and the pressure of homework, sports, and peers can be challenging for someone with a lack of life experiences.

Sometimes we forget that this is the age we start looking at our bodies and peers differently. To parents, it may seem that teens are “too young” to care about appearance, building muscle, or their weight. However, this is a crucial age for gaining confidence and pursuing healthy hobbies.

As a youth trainer, I often hear from self-conscious kids. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how fitness changes lives. It goes beyond physical change; and teaches work ethic, dedication, and consistency. During an age of uncertainty, it’s a constant.


So, what can you do when you have a teen struggling with finding their confidence?


1. Open Communication. Listening to your teen’s thoughts may help you make a more informed decision on what’s best for them. Whether they’re embarrassed in their gym class or they want to be a better player on their sports team: if they have a goal and work towards it, they may gain invaluable life skills. Allow them to talk to you about these things.

2. Encourage Workouts. Regardless of their current fitness level, a healthy lifestyle is always helpful. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen workouts turn into a skill set of determination, dedication, and focus. I’ve watched teens transform their habits by merely engaging in a workout program. The confidence found in fitness is life-changing.

3. Focus on the positive. Everyone has insecurities! It’s completely normal for your teens to have them too. During my work with teens, I always point out what they are great at and remind them as often as I can. Encourage them on what they do best and offer constructive criticism on areas you see need improvement.

4. Hard work beats talent. Sometimes I even have to remind myself this. Someone may be “better” than your teen at any given skill, fitness-related or not. However, hard work is unbeatable. I like to remind my clients that someone may better, but their hard work will always rise above natural talent. I think teaching teens how to work hard is extremely important in finding confidence because it’s the key to reaching any goal in life.

5. Make goals together! Even if they’re small, having a goal, and working towards it can really be a confidence booster. Have them compete against themselves! There’s nothing better than reaching a new PR for the mile run or improving their math grade.

Confidence doesn’t always come naturally, and that’s ok! Focus on small goals, and your teen will be well on their way.

By Paytra Gessler, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, Certified ISSA Fitness Professional

To find out more about our customized in-home fitness programs, contact Bonita at, or call 212-879-1566.