#StrongWomen: Isilda da Costa

Isilda da Costa, our very own Fitness Mag Blogger, is a qualified holistic health coach, raw food nutritionist, personal trainer, women’s fitness specialist, blogger and health shop owner.

Her passion for helping women achieve optimal health and wellness is what we love most. We chat to her about what inspires her, and what keeps her strong.

What are your qualifications and achievements in the health and fitness industry?

I have been studying and attaining qualifications in this industry since 2012. The list has become quite long now as I love learning and growing in this industry, but I have qualified as a personal trainer, Dr Sears health coach and women’s fitness specialist. I studied raw nutrition through David Wolfes institute, body mind nutrition and sports and fitness nutrition as well as weight management. My most recent qualification is a holistic life coach.

You’re a busy lady! Where do you find the motivation and energy to pursue your passions, run a business and still stay active and healthy?

I have been so fortunate to have my family’s support. Without them, I would have never been able to start following my passion for health and fitness. My motivation comes from sharing education and information with people: influencing clients and friends alike lights the fire in me. I have suffered many health problems and so my main purpose, I believe, is to share all the wellness info I have with as many people as I can.

Take us through a day in your life.

I wake up either at 5:15 or 6 am, depending how many clients I have for the day. I have a quick breakfast and then pack up my goods for the gym. My training is squeezed in somewhere throughout the day – whenever I have some time. I train clients until about 10:30 and then I head to my shop and have a snack as well as start work on emails and orders. It is very difficult to work at the shop with clients coming in and asking questions and needing one on one attention, but that is the nature of the business and why I work in the evenings. I head back to the gym at 3 pm for my afternoon clients and finish around 5:30 pm. By this time I close up my shop and head home to finish off work and studying. 

How do you switch off and relax?

My evenings are for my self-care. I either take a long bath and read, or do some yoga and meditation. Sometimes it is a combination of all of that. I like to feel like I have done something for myself in a day rather than trying to achieve a lot all the time.

What dietary/nutritional approach do you follow?

I am a pescatarian and avoid gluten and dairy as much as possible. I do not believe in being very strict, but I do aim to eat a certain amount of carbs and protein in a day. With lupus, it is so easy to have crazy weight fluctuations so I do need to be aware of what I consume and how often.

Moderation is key: if you restrict anything for too long you can end up in a binge cycle and also damage your hormone function. It is important to enjoy what you do on a daily basis, while keeping your ultimate health in mind. Listen to your body, it knows best!

What approach do you take to training, and why?

I train 5-6 days a week with a mix of weight training and HIIT workouts. I really enjoy weight training and thoroughly believe that what you enjoy you will sustain. Weight training and HIIT are certainly the most effective forms of training to change your body composition and to boost your metabolism, however, I do think picking a movement plan that works with your happiness and satisfaction ensures longevity in it!

What are your biggest challenges with regards to your training?

The biggest challenge in training is that I have my limits. I cannot work non-stop and not have some health issues arising. If I push heavy weights and cardio I do eventually start to feel the consequences. I have had to find a good balance of hard work and training recovery.

Who/what inspires you?

This is a tough question. I think watching clients fight their daily battles and still come out stronger really fires me up. Watching others doing what they can to conquer life’s battles gives me the courage to beat mine. There are so many amazing women on social media these days too who absolutely embrace this lifestyle and it really makes me happy and empowers me to do more.

What advice or tips do you have for people who want to get fit, find balance or maybe lose weight? 

Just to start where you can. Do you think you can manage to drink more water? Can you afford to hire a trainer or to get to your local Zumba class? Maybe you love the kitchen so trying new recipes is right up your ally and you can focus on that. You need to do what you can manage for now. As you learn and grow through reading more and being open to more (this industry has a way of teaching you so much) your lifestyle will blossom into a wonderful wellness-focused one! I started when I was 16 and only in the last year feel like I am where I need to be. It takes time, dedication and figuring out what is going to be for you and what isn’t.

What is your favourite workout we’ve shared on the Fitness Mag platform?

Definitely the glute-focused resistance band workout! It’s challenging and really effective. 

What is your favourite #strongwomen quote?

The devil whispered in my ear, “you’re not strong enough to withstand he storm”. Today I whispered in the devils ear, “I am the storm” – author unknown

Who inspires you to be a strong woman?

There are so many great women out there doing amazing things. I think I just draw a little bit of inspiration from every single one of them. Every struggle I may be going through is made light by watching someone with similar challenges. Fitness Mag has always featured women I look up to!

Do you have a strong woman moment to share with us? 

To be honest, I cannot pinpoint one. In my life, every day has been a battle. It sounds extreme but living in a body that constantly wants to fight back is difficult, but I choose to get up every day and I keep going and these are my #strongwomen moments. There will always be battles in work, relationships and life in general but there is no way to describe the way this disease gets to me. It takes everything I have every day and to be honest I still wouldn’t have it any other way.

Follow Isilda on Instagram and check out her blog.

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You'll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.