Professional Opera Singer Drops Pounds and Inches and Becomes Pioneer and Role Model to Women

     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.

Current Diet

  • 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.

Yetta Mae Hansell
Professional Opera Singer

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

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!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColorFitWorkz.com EatbyColor.com

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.

From Obese to a STRONG, Fit Woman… a New Me Began to Emerge.

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. 

93 Pounds Down but it So Much More then the Weight and Before and After Pictures!

Brooke Dieringer

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.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: Knee Tucks

Form Cues: Begin in pushup position, drive both knees upward toward chest between elbows.

Posture Cues: Keep lower back flat, tight core, butt dropped down, strong and stable knee drive.

Breathing Cues: Rhythmic, alternating breathing.

Modifications: for ease, regular plank, for difficulty add floor sliders.

FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: Reverse Lunge w/ Knee Flexion

Form Cues: Stand up straight, slowly step back into lunge position. At the bottom of the lunge the client will lift up and propel the lunging knee forward, past starting position into a high knee tuck.

Posture Cues: Back straight, stable chest, stable core, focus on the knee hinge and lift.

Breathing Cues: Inhale on the lowering phase of the lunge, exhale on the way up when returning to starting position.

Modifications: Modify for forward lunge, remove flexion outright.

FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: Plank

Form Cues: Drop into plank position, hold tight and stable.
Posture Cues: Elbows bent at 90’, flat lower back, stable core, butt dropped down
Breathing Cues: Rhythmic & Consistent
Modifications: Drop to knees for ease
FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!
Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!
#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: Dumbbell Pullover on Stability Ball

Form + Posture Cues: Position lower back on ball. With both feet stable on the ground extend the weight upward until arms are straight. Slowly lower the weight backwards aiming to get the weight parallel to the torso.

Breathing Cues: Inhale while slowly lowering the weight, exhale while lifting weight upwards back to starting position.

Modifications: Individual can use a flat bench or a box if the ball is too unstable.

FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: Side Plank Hip Raise on Bosu

Form Cues: Raise into side plank position, then slowly drop hips down toward the ground. Slightly bend at the core and then return back to starting position.

Posture Cues: Keep back and core tight, emphasize straight arms, straight legs. Slow and stable lowering of hips and core.

Breathing Cues: Rhythmic breathing relative to each side

Modifications: Perform side plank on ground for ease

Misc: FORM OVER EVERYTHING! Slow and controlled! emphasize bending!

FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.

Fitworkz Instructional Series: TRX Stagger Push Ups

Form Cues: Get into a push up position with a vertically staggered grip. One hand should be on the ground and the other should be in a slightly elevated TRX strap. Lower body toward ground until lowest elbow breaks 90' then push back up to starting position.

Posture Cues: Keep back stable, core tight, drive the body through the elbows.

Breathing Cues: inhale on the lowering phase of the pushup, exhale on the upward phase of the pushup .

Modifications: Elevate or decline the elevated arm to a more specific degree. Flat pushups on ground, incline / decline TRX pushups.

FitWorkz is the largest 24 hour training facility in DeKalb.  FitWorkz offers 15,000 square feet 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 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!

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices.  There are 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 channel and take advantage of the more than 1,500 videos on nutrition, exercise, motivation and more!

#FitWorkzDeKalb#EatbyColor FitWorkz.comEatbyColor.com

Ray Binkowski is the Owner of Fitworkz, DeKalb, a 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 doesn’t appreciate clowns.