Ray Binkowski has lost over 60 pounds and kept if off for over 20 years! He is the Former Owner of a 15,000 squat foot, 24 hour hybrid fitness training center, author of several fitness and health books and the producer and host of the OCB Midwest States bodybuilding and fitness competition. Most importantly to us, he is an expert on functional fitness that has consulted military, law enforcement, tactical entities, professional athletes and people from all walks of life to optimizing their physical readiness and capabilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Illinois University and various fitness certifications. He is also a husband, father and loyal dog owner who does not appreciate clowns.
Cake, Cookies, Ice Cream and the Rest of Your Forbidden Favorite Foods...
First no foods are off limits.***
Second if you really want it have it.
Third there are ways to make great tasting snacks, treats or what have you that will not wreck your progress.
Any of these sound appealing?
- Key Lime Protein Pie (Triple Zero Yogurt, Graham Crackers and Whipped Cream)
- Pumpkin Protein Pie (Pure Pumpkin, Protein Powder, Pumpkin Spices)
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Pudding (Peanut Butter, Frozen Berries, and Protein Powder)
- Cookies and Cream Protein Yogurt (Greek Yogurt and Cookies and Cream Protein Powder)
- Retro Protein Pudding (Heavy Whipping Cream and Protein Powder)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Moose Poop (Protein Powder, Oats, Peanut Butter, Water)
- Protein Popsicles
- Chocolate Mocha Pudding
- Of course they do appealing
Yes, most are protein based. But this allows you to get your protein but not all of the excess carbs and fat.
Everyone of those recipes is in Healthy Simple & Tasty.
At 55, I feel better than I ever have in my life, but it has not always been this way. Most of my adult life was living on a diet and exercise roller coaster, with my weight fluctuating up and down over the years. But with the right mindset and hard work, I have lost over 50 poundsand made it my life mission to achieve and maintain the best health possible. After making changes in exercise and nutrition, I was able to achieve a new level of fitness that I previously thought impossible.
Enough is Enough
From my 20's to my mid 40's I lived on a roller-coaster ride of yoyo dieting. Like a lot of women, my weight had fluctuated throughout the years. At my high I weighed 173 pounds.
A Wake-Up Call
At one point I landed in the ER. I was told I had a heart attack. After meeting with a cardiologist, it was revealed that it was not a heart attack, but it was a serious wake up call. If I was going to see my kids grow up, I had to make some real lifestyle changes. Both of my kids were in scouts, I wanted to start engaging physically in life again. I loved the outdoors and I wanted to participate in the physical challenges alongside them.
Change is a Process and does not happen overnight
It did not happen over-night or involve an all at once lifestyle change. It was a process of learning, adding on, and evolving my activity level and nutrition. Getting fit is a very long process of adding strength, building muscle fibers, and shedding fat.
First you have to have a CAN-DO mindset. After mindset the right tools are needed to achieve the body you want. I had to build muscle, strength and endurance. This allowed me to burn fat until the point that I wanted to maintain. A steady combination of the right types of exercises, diet and rest days I found were keys to success.
Nutrition is also a mindset. I found the word “carbs” is not a bad word. The right balance of carbs, fats and protein is necessary. Some days are a challenge, but it's just part of the journey. Life is meant to be enjoyed and some day's you just need to enjoy life by treating yourself to something unhealthy. It's not the end of the world. You just enjoy it, not stress over it and get back to business the next day.
How has being stronger made your life better? Not just the bathing suit before and after.... life! Confidence, esteem, relationships, career, school, and healthy?
In my 50’s now, I feel and look better than I have my whole life. I have accomplished amazing things going from overweight and stuck in midlife spread to being where I am now. Everything is better by living a healthier lifestyle from more confidence to do the things I want to do and better relationships with people. I have also learned that taking care of yourself is a priority not a self-indulgence. If you want to be a better person and help other people, you have to start with yourself.
Have a motivating story of change of your own? Interested in sharing it? Let us know!
I’ve always had problems with my weight. Starting all the way back in college. My body loved to yo-yo. 2004 was my breaking point and needed to change my life after I found my mother dead. She dropped dead at 57 years old from a heart attack. She weighed over 320 pounds. I wasn’t that heavy but i was obese and was heading down that road because of unhealthy eating habits, minimal exercise, and drinking lots of alcohol.
My husband at the time and I decided to go on a diet and we did the Body for Life Program by Bill Phillips. I got down to my goal weight and got interested in taking my fitness goals to the next level by competing in fitness competitions. I competed for 7 years until I had a car accident that changed my life completely. I ended up with neck-back spinal injuries that forced me to retire from the sport.
I had to go to physical therapy for months and was told I was unable to do overhead movements, pull-ups, running or plyometrics. I got very discouraged and depressed. I was used to training all or nothing. I ended up quitting exercising and would emotionally eat. I ended up blowing up to over 200 pounds and couldn’t get the weight off for many years.
I tried losing weight numerous times and failed. I reached rock bottom. I wanted to completely give up until one day I decided to change my mindset to positive thoughts and starting believing in myself through self help books, subliminal affirmations, solfeggio music, mediation, crystal therapy, prayer, and the Herbalife program.
The Herbalife program helped jump start my fitness goals and helped me to get to my goal weight. After I got to my goal weight, I decided I wanted to compete again and hired a trainer. I’m currently training for my comeback show in September with IFBB Pro Kelly Lynn. I will be doing a crossover physique/figure and plan to bring home some hardware and qualify for nationals.
- Lean Protein
- Green Vegetables
- Complex Carbs
Current Training Program
- Weights and Cardio six days per week
It has been a very long road but triumphant one. My results are truly a miracle. I thought my fitness career was over because of my injuries and I essentially gave up on life until I change my mindset and then my whole world changed for the better. I’ve gained confidence, esteem, positive relationships, and boost in my music career.
Being a professional opera singer demands a lot on the body stamina wise because Opera singers use their whole body to produce sound. Opera singers are essentially like athletes. When I was heavier, I would get tired easily, I had a lot of issues with supporting my sound and with my breath support because I was overweight. Now that I’ve lost the weight I have more energy and I’m able to sustain vocal phrases with ease and power.
I want to motivate and inspire others by sharing my story. I want to be a pioneer and role model to women and my 9 year old daughter. My future plans are to go back school to get my Doctorate in Music, write a book titled, “Overall Wellness for the Performing Singer”, compete in fitness competitions, be a personal trainer, and start my own line of exercise videos.
Do you have an inspiring story of your own to share and motivate? We would love to hear it!
Find and follow us on Instagram @TheProjectStrong and DM us if you have a story.
Don’t Think, Just Get Going
Sometimes what you need to do is the last thing you want to do.
Don’t want to work out? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Don’t want to run? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Don’t want to write? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Don’t want to eat the meal on your meal plan? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Don’t want to do your homework? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Don’t want to get up with the alarm? Stop thinking about it and just get going.
Funny thing is one you get going it is easy to keep going. That short workout turns into a legitimate training session. The short run becomes the 3 miles you were supposed to run. The paragraph becomes and essay, a short story or a book. You find yourself full and satisfied after that meal you were supposed to eat. The homework is done. Turning off the alarm and starting the day…leads to a more productive day.
When I was a fat guy trying to lose weight here is how I made myself get going. After working all day as an engineer and commuting to and from work, the last thing I wanted to do was exercise. Recognizing this, when I got home from work, I would put my workout clothes on, set my alarm for 5-10 minutes, and then sit and relax. No music or tv just silence. When the alarm went off I would get going to the gym. No thought, no debate just up and moving to the gym. A little over an hour later I would be back home, workout done and feeling accomplished.
Don’t think, just get going.
Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices. There is no counting calories, points, macros or anything else with Eat by Color. Get your copy of Eat by Color on Amazon Today! Subscribe to this channeland take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!
Ray Binkowski has lost over 60 pounds and kept if off for over 20 years! He is the Former Owner of a 15,000 squat foot, 24 hour hybrid fitness training center, author of several fitness and health books and the producer and host of the OCB Midwest Statesbodybuilding and fitness competition. Most importantly to us, he is an expert on functional fitness that has consulted military, law enforcement, tactical entities, professional athletes and people from all walks of life to optimizing their physical readiness and capabilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Illinois University and various fitness certifications. He is also a husband, father and loyal dog owner who does not appreciate clowns.
My name is Laura Nieves and This is my story:
In December 2012 I sat staring at a picture someone took of me and I was shocked by the person I had become. I had a ton of health issues fighting diabetes, high cholesterol and a fatty liver due to the loss of my gall bladder a few years back. The scale was climbing and was eventually near 300 pounds. My doctor had asked me several times to get healthy. My dad pushed me to get back to being fit. He asked me to change my way of eating.
I watched a film about a man fighting for his life and it hit me, I had 2 daughters and a husband that I wanted to be around for. I prayed for the strength to do this. In January of 2013 I started exercising. Gradually I started eating better. It was all trial and error. Slowly I was making progress and in 2014 I became a vegetarian.
I was to go to a weight room full of men. Worse, I was sure how to work majority of the machines. My husband and I transformed my full basement into a gym. I started weightlifting and loved the way my body slowly started transforming. I went to the doctor early 2014 and I no longer showed signs of diabetes or high cholesterol. I no longer woke up from panic attacks or back issues.
My dad had stage four lung cancer. Even with cancer, my dad would wake up with me every morning at 5am and we would go jogging for 2-3 miles every day. How he found the strength and energy amazed me every day. He was so proud of me trying to get healthy and fit. My dad was such a fighter. I lost my dad in 2014.
The sadness and stress of losing my him caused me to gain weight back. I remembered how proud he was and how he motivated to keep going. In 2015 I started to focus on me again. I lost a ton of weight. My clothes started shrinking. My waist started getting smaller. From obese to a strong, fit woman, a new me began to emerge. I got my confidence back. My daughters got their mother back. My husband got his wife back. Full of energy and life.
In 2017, I competed for my first contest to honor my dad and his battle with lung cancer. I lost so much weight and was a far cry from the almost 300 pounds I had once weighed. Despite me being one of the biggest girls on stage in the contest, I got out of my comfort zone in a bikini. This experience was amazing and changed my life. I glued a piece of my dad’s favorite shirt inside my bikini bottoms. I felt as if my dad was standing right beside me on stage.
My life has forever changed. I am no longer sick or need to take medicine. My lose skin is a testament to my journey. It shows how much weight I have lost. My scars and stretch marks show I am a warrior that persevered. Fitness me the fountain of youth. People tell me I look younger now than when I was in my 20s. I say hello to being fit and strong in my 40s. I am now pescatarian still have not had a piece of meat since 2014. I am still a work in progress. I lift weights 5-6 days a week and my body is forever changing.
My advice…never think a dream is to big. You can change your life. If you think you are stuck, trust me you are not. You are the author of your own story. You got this.
My story started February 2012, I was at a dance for our county 4-H and they took pictures; I saw myself in the picture and was disgusted with myself. That’s when I said, enough was enough. I was in a strength and conditioning class my senior year of high school and I started watching what I ate, counting calories like it was my job and I would run on my mom’s treadmill before school every morning. I was 220 pounds when I started. By the time I graduated, I weighed 170 pounds and I had dropped 7 pant sizes and 2 shirt sizes.
Through college, it was yo-yo dieting and trying every kind of exercise there was just to try and lose more weight. In 2014 I decided to join Anytime Fitness and hire a personal trainer where I learned more about strength training and started watching what I ate more closely; eating cleaner. In 2015 I decided that I wanted to do my first bodybuilding contest. I hired a coach and I thought it was normal for a prep to be miserable with super low calories, insane amounts of cardio and feeling tired and drained constantly.
After that contest experience I fired my coach and hired a new one that I thought would work better for me. I started a crazy long contest prep again fall of 2016 and by early 2017 I decided to call the prep off because I was consuming little to no carbs, doing 60 minutes of cardio 7 days a week and I was getting hurt. I was miserable and I decided then and there that I was never going to step on stage again.
In the fall of 2017, I ballooned back up to 170 pounds. I was not happy. I remember meeting Nicole Goodno, my current coach. She helped me create a healthy relationship with food by giving me just a set amount of macros. I finally learned how to properly count macros and I was able to fit the foods I truly enjoyed while not feeling guilty. While counting macros, I was doing CrossFit 5 times a week and feeling fantastic. December 31st, 2018, I pulled the trigger and decided to do another contest prep! I felt healthy, happy, I now have a great, healthy relationship with food.
My relationship with my fiance couldn’t be any healthier. I was eating halo top ice cream with cereal, French-toast, lasagna, tacos, burgers, and plenty of other great foods; proving that eating during a contest prep doesn’t have to be boring….same for those looking to lose pounds and inches. I switched from doing CrossFit to more conventional bodybuilding lifts and still doing little to no cardio, which makes me happy!
93 pounds down but it’s not just about the weight and before and after pictures. I have a fantastic relationship with food, I am happy with my body, I am confident, and my mindset has changed a whole 360 degrees. I am learning how to take my favorite recipes that are more comfort food with a healthy spin on them. Once my fiance and I decide to have children, it will be easy for us to teach them how to be mindful when it comes to food. Our kids will know that eating fun foods is ok but that eating healthy like mom and dad is a good thing as well!
I am able to make this health and fitness journey not just into a hobby but a lifestyle that I will be able to maintain long-term. As a dairy farmer, I learned that it is important to keep an active and healthy lifestyle. In life, I have learned that you only live once so you need to live life to the fullest and that you should keep an open mind in everything you do.
I love the lifestyle of “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) because it gives me the freedom to have “fun foods” while also balancing with healthy whole foods. I would have never been open to trying IIFYM 3 years ago when I did my first contest prep. Back then I had no freedom to eat whatever I wanted. Throughout these last 3 years, I have learned how amazing IIFYM can be and how I can make a lifestyle out of this.
Today, my relationships have gotten so much stronger. I feel so much more confident and my self-esteem has been boosted. I feel like I am able to be myself around people now and I am so much happier since I finally found myself through fitness.
Have a motivating story of your own to share? We would love to share it! Send us an email rayatfitworkz.com.
Better back to school eating. No matter the age or school the same tips apply.
Avoid the sugary cereals, fat free or 2% milks, pastries and pancakes.
The better options are eggs, whole grain toast, oatmeal, overnight oats, or even make your own protein pancakes or waffles. See EatbyColor.comfor recipes. Hard boiled eggs and fruit are portable and available in most dorms and can easily be made at home.
Avoid the fried foods, highly processed carbs and high fat foods. Hit the salad bar and load up on a variety of fresh vegetables first. Favor the lean protein like grilled or baked chicken, fish, beef or turkey. Pair with vegetables as a side and some complex carb. There is nothing wrong with sandwiches just pick a higher fiber bread or go with a wrap like flat outs or fold its.
FitWorkzis the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb. FitWorkzoffers 15,000 of exercise equipment and space. There is never a wait for equipment and plenty of parking. Being open 24 hours 7 days a week allows members to train when their time allows.
FitWorkz is a hybrid training gym offering cardio, machines, and free weights including 4 sets of dumbells, squat racks and more! Plus there is over 3,000 square feet of functional training space offering bumper plates, Rogue rack, tires, kettlebells, TRX and MORE!
Eat by Colornutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices. There is no counting calories, points, macros or anything else with Eat by Color. Get your copy of Eat by Color on Amazon Today!
Get access to training and coaching for as little as $8 a workout or less. Many training membership options are available.
Subscribe to this channeland take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!
|Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 24 hour hybrid fitness trainingcenter, author of several fitness and health books and the producer and host of the OCB Midwest States bodybuilding and fitness competition. Most importantly to us, he is an expert on functional fitness that has consulted military, law enforcement, tactical entities, professional athletes and people from all walks of life to optimizing their physical readiness and capabilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Illinois University and various fitness certifications. He is also a husband, father and loyal dog owner who does not appreciate clowns.|
Meet Ray Binkowski of Eat by Color and FitWorkz in Northwest Chicago
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ray Binkowski.
Ray is a former fat guy that has lost 60 lbs. and kept it off for 20 years. Ray has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked in that field for some time. In his free time he helped others struggling to lose weight and get healthy. This lead to the starting a training business and then the purchase of a health club. In addition he is an author, blogger, promotes two fitness contests and even had his own radio show.
As an Author…
In an effort to share a simple approach to making better food choices he wrote Eat by Color. Eat by Color is available in print and e formats on Amazon.com. Eat by Color codes type of food by color and makes eating to lose and maintain weight as simple as children’s paint by number.
Get Fit and Live Healthy followed Eat by Color and is a collection of almost two decades of tips and tricks Ray has seen many use to be successful in their quest for health, wellness and weightless
The third title Exercise Galore, The Beginner’s Guide to Weight Training is a how to weight train. The book is intended to be read in digital format like that of a Kindle as there is a video for each exercise. In addition, readers learn how to build in a plug and play fashion their own result producing workouts.
In addition to books he has written and ghost written articles for magazine and other print mediums.
Training Center Owner…
Ray owns Fitworkz a 24-7 hybrid training gym. The 15,000 square foot facility is located in Northern Illinois. FitWorkz is a hybrid training gym offering cardio, machines, and free weights including 4 sets of dumbbells, squat racks and more! Plus there is over 3,000 square feet of functional training space offering bumper plates, Rogue rack, tires, kettlebells, TRX and MORE! It is open 24-7 and is located in Northwest Illinois in DeKalb.
He has consulted and trained military, law enforcement, tactical entities, professional athletes, pageant winners, Blue Chip companies, and people from all walks of life to optimizing their physical readiness and capabilities.
Since 2005 Ray has promoted the OCB Midwest States one of the country’s largest 100% drug tested and natural physique contest. Competitors from all over the world have competed in categories like bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding.
On YouTube Ray has shared his experience, tips, advice and other tools to help people reach their goals. To date there are over 1500 videos on his YouTube channel youtube.com/fitworkzdekalb.
After requests to make content portable he started turning his content into video and audio podcasts. On Get Fit and Live Healthy with Raymond Binkowski contact becomes portable. Plus if you dig deep in the pod casts you will find some of his radio shows content.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Life is never a smooth road. There are always obstacles and opportunities. When I started my training business I had known idea where to even start. At this point in my life I was still working full time. I knew I wanted to help people AND that I wanted to own my own business.
So I asked the few people I knew that owned a business. I even went so far as to ask the president of the company I was employed by the best route to become a business owner.
This taught me what questions I did not even know to ask and where I could find the answers.
No matter the industry and obstacle everything comes down to people. It is amazing what just asking will do. Most people just are not willing to go ask questions though.
Take my gym….
I started my training business and asked the owner of the local gym if I could train his members.
So I would stop in and ask periodically….
Then I asked a friend if he know the owner….and if he would put in a good word or ask for me.
My friend did and next thing I knew I was set up to meet the gym owner.
Interestingly enough I had asked the better part of a year before this. When I finally sat down to talk with the gym owner he said he was going to retire some time sooner than later and that I could rent office space and train while we got to know each other. Then maybe one day he would sell me the club.
Well that is not what initially happened. Initially, the owner changed his mind and said it would be a few years before he was ready to sell and retire.
Every one to two months I would ask the owner to lunch. At lunch I would ask if he was ready to sell me the club.
His answer was no…And we would order food and eat.
It took more than five years before I got a yes…and to be honest I almost gave up.
Again, regardless of challenge or industry… leverage the network of people you know, ask questions and be persistent.
Eat by Color and FitWorkz – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our club has been open for 4 decades.
In the words of our members and clients… we can. Rather than rent access to equipment we provide the service and accountability that people need to reach their goals in the world of health, wellness and weight loss.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Watching our clients crush their goals and change their lives. As I am writing this I had two members/clients step into my office to ask questions and share their progress.
One is down tens of pounds and numerous dress sizes….
The other has cut her dress sizes in half….best part… she is middle aged!
Watching former employees and interns go on to do amazing things helping others using some of the tools they learned here working for us.
Last week we got an email from a former intern that just got a job as a manager in a fitness facility… he said it was because of his experience here.
In May another was posting pictures of her graduation from a Doctor of Physical therapy program.
Or the former employee that is finished residency in Chicago that we helped transition from athlete to trainer to med school.