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Meet Trish DaCosta of Barbell Pilates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trish DaCosta.

Trish, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started off as a martial arts instructor in my teens, and later as an indoor cycling instructor after college. I was obsessed with learning about exercise and strength training but I wasn’t convinced you could make a career out of it.

Personal training and group fitness remained my side hustle for nearly a decade, all while I juggled a corporate career. During that time I dabbled in a variety of fitness methods – long-distance racing, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. I was also doing an apprenticeship in Pilates as a certified instructor. I just had no idea how to use it!

What really changed the game for me was when I hurt my shoulder and couldn’t lift weight overhead without serious pain. The more I practiced Pilates though, the better I felt and the nagging dull ache started to disappear on its own. Pilates helped all my workouts feel better! my lifts felt smother, the constant stiffness and muscle tightness went away, and I was able to train harder and better because pilates filled in a lot of the mobility gaps my training was missing.

That’s when I started teaching other lifters like me how to use Pilates to bulletproof their bodies, and before I knew it, I had an entire company that taught people how to train intelligently and injury-proof their bodies with Pilates as a complementary system to lifting weights.

Today, I work as a full-time trainer and Pilates instructor and run an online business called Barbell Pilates that teaches everything I know about how to lift weights, get strong, improve your body as you age, and of course, how to do Pilates to stay out of pain and injury.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No way! Starting a business, especially online, is never a smooth road; there are so many unexpected challenges you can never prepare yourself for. The biggest struggles have been around developing a stronger mindset and changing my internal programming around making money and failure.

It seems counterintuitive to think that failure is necessary when you build a business, but it really is! I’ve built programs that have flopped and wasted time on areas of the business that didn’t serve my audience very well, but I’ve also learned more through those mess ups than through some of the successes.

In the corporate world, you’re supposed to avoid mistakes as much as possible, but in entrepreneurship, that’s what makes you grow the fastest! The second struggle is really the change in lifestyle. Going from a secure, regular paycheck to irregular paydays is tough on anyone, especially in the early years.

So at first, I had to downgrade my lifestyle in a big way – no dinners out, no vacations, no frivolous purchases, and you have to say “no” to a lot of opportunities or events that don’t directly align with your vision. You’re basically living in the unknown for a long, long time and that can really wear a person down.

I believe these are the growing pains of every entrepreneur. It’s just another step in the journey! no matter how hard it gets, I love doing this.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Barbell Pilates is the online resource for women that want to perform well in the weight room and learn how to do Pilates to injury-proof their bodies and keep them active for life.

What I find is that really active or athletic women start with a lot of cardio in their 20s, and by the time they reach their 30s they are burnt out and frustrated by a number of things: Lack of results, boredom, injury, low energy, bad posture, and weak abdominals, are just a few of them. We still want to look good and feel confident, but we don’t want to spend hours and hours on the treadmill to get there like we did when we were younger.  So my company is very much the antidote to what we see in women’s magazines today. I teach sustainable fitness; no fast fixes.

My content — 99% of it is free — teaches you exactly how to train. How to squat, deadlift, bench press, for example. It teaches you about mobility, how to warm-up properly, how to tackle back pain, core strength, and just get stronger and better in the gym!

But what really sets us apart from the rest is how we educate people on using Pilates. My background in strength sports puts me in a perfect position to educate lifters with zero Pilates experience how to use the method to their advantage. I don’t think Pilates needs to be the primary form of exercise for the active population, I see it more as the Yin-Yang of strength training.

I created an online course called Pilates FloWOD for this exact purpose. It’s a digital program that teaches the Pilates newbie who likes to lift weights on how to do Pilates at home in order to complement their workouts and keep them out of pain and injury.

It doesn’t matter if it’s snowboarding season, Powerlifting season, or you’re just a casual gym goer who loves lifting weight – Pilates FloWOD sets you up to bulletproof your body, strengthen your movements and improve your performance.

One-on-one Pilates training is pretty expensive, and I felt like people need an affordable and accessible option to learn Pilates from someone who teaches this in real life!

What were you like growing up?
I grew up really shy and naturally very curious. I’d spend hours at the library reading and learning about subjects I was interested in, everything from sports to crafting, to fitness or business. I’m still like this today, and I read several books a month because I’m constantly trying to learn. Thankfully, I’ve grown out of my shell since then, and I’m more of a risk-taker than a rule follower now!

My interests have evolved over time regarding fitness, too. I was very serious about TaekwonDo growing up, and that was the only sport I was involved in until about high school when I started dabbling in other activities. I just loved being active and pushing my body to the limits, which is why I got involved in competitive running, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting and Powerlifting. That has been the foundation of my athletic endeavors and my career as a coach, trainer, and Pilates instructor.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Justin Nunez @justnnunezmedia –
Adam Bartlett Heavy Athletics –

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