By Ashley Pereyra
From barbells to benches, a trio of Baylor students are out to help people reach their full potential.
Linden, Mich., junior Alex Barbaretta; Colorado Springs, Colo., senior Eric Press; and Linden, Mich., sophomore Shawna Tharp are a part of Barbell Fitness, a team dedicated to spreading awareness of health and fitness and bringing the tools to help people succeed.
The website, www.barbellfit.com, was originally a place to schedule sessions with Barbaretta, a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise.
“That’s really where it started as a place for clients to reach me,” Barbaretta said. “And then I started getting a lot of questions from Facebook and email that they wanted answered. So I thought, ‘OK,’ Eric and I were good friends and he’s like ‘just go for it.’ We started putting more on the website.”
The website features free workouts, recipe ideas, an online store and the opportunity to train with Barbaretta. However, Barbell Fitness is more than just a website.
They post weekly videos on YouTube featuring question-and-answer sessions as well as work out routines, host giveaways on Instagram and offer an avenue through Facebook and Twitter for people to share their success with others.
“We do this thing every once in a while called Flex Friday giveaways,” Barbaretta said. “We did it for two weeks in a row and we had no female entries. So we’re like ‘OK, we’ve got to do something.’”
Last month Tharp was brought onto the team as a fresh, female perspective.
She collaborates with Press and Barbaretta on ideas for work outs that are more appealing to women.
“A lot of times girls, I think, are afraid to work out with weights and go down in the area where the guys are working out,” Tharp said. “But I like to show that it is not that bad and is really beneficial.”
Since the launch in November 2012, their Facebook page has garnered more than 1,200 likes from people around the U.S.
“We are promoters for a protein product called ViSalus,” Tharp said. “Because of that we have a bunch of connections with people all around the country.”
Barbaretta said he hopes to continue Barbell Fitness even after he graduates. He also hopes to possibly open his own training facility.
“If we can motivate or inspire just a couple of people, you know that’s our goal. To transform lives is the goal,” Barbaretta said. “We have a YouTube channel as well. And we try to get people to interact with that and ask us questions. We actually just drove to Dallas this past weekend. The whole way there we were taking questions from Facebook and all that and answering them through video.”
While Barbell Fitness is made up of students, they utilize their education to inform the public on the correct way to reach their goals.
Tharp majors in nutrition science with a pre-med focus, Barbaretta majors in athletic training with a minor in nutrition science and Press majors in health studies with a concentration in pre-physical therapy.
“We try to push science but also we push experience,” Barbaretta said. “For instance, bro science says eating every two or three hours helps you lose more fat. There’s science that says it’s absolute bogus. So we don’t tell people to go eatsix to eight times a day. As long you go by the calorie in versus the calorie out. Energy balance is what we focus on. But I always say from my experience that I feel better when I eat every two to three hours so, you can experience over science but use the science to support your argument.”