This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on July 16, 2019.
In the end, the cruel bullies did not break his spirit.
Today, Gustavo Padron is an Austin-based yoga instructor and personal trainer who teaches with enthusiasm, positivity and kindness, putting the soul into his SoulCycle classes.
Growing up, Padron was often bullied for being overweight which led to insecurities about exercising in a gym or other public places. His quest, however, to heal his body and nourish his spirit far outweighed the uncertainty he felt. As Padron began to lose weight and become more comfortable in his body, he discovered a sanctuary in group fitness classes where he experienced an abundance of love and self-acceptance.
How did you get into the fitness industry, specifically to join the SoulCycle community?
My intention to live a healthier and more active lifestyle drew me to teaching fitness. I am a big yogi and I recently started teaching SoulCycle. I love the community aspect of SoulCycle because it doesn’t matter whether I am teaching or taking a class, the camaraderie of the room always gives me that feeling of inclusivity and acceptance. I know that I can always count on that dark room to workout my insecurities and my doubt. I can always count on the energy of the room to help me feel more confident and courageous, to let myself be seen and at the same time foster a space where others can experience the same.
What genre of music do you like at SoulCycle, what pumps you up and cools you off after a long workout?
Oh Gosh! I love to play all the things. I am here for a tribal/drummy vibe, but I also appreciate pop and hip hop as much as a gritty EDM moment. I am captivated by the vibration of music – I hope to evoke a sense of confidence, courage and charisma with the music I play in every class I teach. To cool off, I am a big fan of slow and mellow songs like “Falls” from Odesza or “Dancing on my Own” by Calum Scott.
What’s your training philosophy?
I am fascinated by what the human body can do, in particular, its ability to transform and heal itself. I used to punish my body for eating too much by working out for hours on end. I workout to break through my doubts and my perceived limitations, to feel connected to my body and my mind and because of how good I feel when I do. I always encourage my riders/yogis/clients to thank their bodies for all that it does for them and to be patient as it starts to heal and morph into a better, more confident version. Of course, if a cute set of abs or biceps pops up along the way, that’s also a win-win but it all starts with celebrating where you are.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from different places. I sometimes pull intention cards from this really cool unicorn affirmator card deck. I also like to read to stimulate my mind and journal to process my thoughts. Meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) have also been a crucial tool when it comes to receiving insights.
What’s your best fitness tip?
Trust the process. Have fun with it and stay consistent. Do small things every day that can accumulate in the long run. For example, if this is your first time working out, start small with 10 minutes of walking around the block three times a week. Then the following week, add five more minutes to your walk. With fitness, it has to be a part of your lifestyle and feel accessible and fun in order for you to stick with it and have long-lasting effects. If you are pretty active, switch up your workout,by taking it outdoors or trying a new class but do something different so you continue to make progress without getting bored or discouraged.