News

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 channel and 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 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.

 

 

Recipes for Living Well, Healthy and to Lose Weight

 

I remember getting my first cook book.  I thought I had struck good.  A fat free cook book.  It was the 90s and fat free was the rage for those looking to drop pounds and inches.

 

I could not wait to get cooking.  When I got home from the book store (remember those?) I opened the book.  To my surprise the book was full of recipes requiring ingredients I did not have.

 

Epic failure.  So much for my new holy grail of fat loss recipe book.

 

Healthy Simple & Tasty is 220 pages of recipes that I make at my own house.  All have 6 or so ingredients that you will actually have in your kitchen.

 

The recipes are easy to make and taste great.

 

To help you get the most out of your nutrition in terms of health, wellness and yes even weightloss there are two sections to help you figure out how much food you should eat.  Calories, carbs, protein and fat and how much you should eat.  It is all in the book.

 

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 is About So Much More then the 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.

BBQ Chicken Flat Bread

I made this at home and so can you in minutes! Meal planning, recipe and cook book coming soon! Get a sneak peek at some of the recipes.
 
Click or copy https://bit.ly/2zWhgj4
 
Ingredients:
. 8 Ounces Chicken Breast (left overs)
. 6 TBS BBQ Sauce (get the low carb/sugar if you please)
. 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar
. 1 TBS Olive Oil
. 2 High-Fiber Wraps
 
 
Low carb. High protein. High fiber. Save time by using left over chicken. Kids love them! What
more can you ask for? Put foil on a cookie sheet, this saves time at clean up. Coat the foil with olive oil.
 
Set oven to 350-375F. Slice the chicken thin. Place the chicken on the wrap. Spread some BBQ sauce. Top with cheddar cheese. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the wrap is crispy. Bonus, you can control the BBQ sauce or go with low carb and go easy on the cheddar…this will drop the calories, carbs, and fat.

 

 

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices. No counting calories, points, macros or anything else with Eat by Color. Get your copy of Eat by Color on Amazon Today! #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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

How I Got Promoted 3 Times in 1 Year!

Everyone has a story. Mine started many years ago, after having 3 kids in 6 years. I was 190lbs with 43% body fat. I got home every day to 3 kids under the age of 5.  At the time they demanded every bit of energy from me. I was tired. Always tired.

 

At night, I couldn't sleep because heartburn would flare up.  The heartburn got so bad, I had to seek medical attention. The doctor prescribed medication. I took it, put it in my medicine cabinet and a light bulb moment happened. I told myself that I was tired of being tired and I will not take that medication.

 

The following day, I went to the gym to get an assessment. I already knew what they were going to say....I needed to lose weight.

 

I started with cardio. In the first week, I lost 5 lbs. No change in diet yet. I was elated. I started reading about eating right and started working on my diet. The weight continued to fall. I then hired a trainer. Weights incorporated with cardio did wonders. I did this for about a year....but something happened. The weight stopped dropping.

 

Yes, I hit a plateau. This plateau lasted for months. And it happened over a couple of years.  Why? I was doing the same thing over and over again. I did what I thought was weird..i ate more. Yes, more...I was lifting more, and I needed more fuel. That was the trick, weight started dropping.

 

My body morphed to the point, that I was encouraged to compete. A scary proposition for me. A person who's never worn a bikini, never wore heels higher than 2.5 inches, and loose skin on my belly. There were lots of excuses. I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea.  But, I learned long ago that magic happens outside my comfort zone.

 

In my 40th year of life, I competed. I placed 5th. Mission accomplished. But the idea of competing again totally scared me. I did not again until I was 48 in 2016. In the 8 years between competing I got my personal training certification and became a nutrition wellness specialist. I wanted to help other people. I became my clients' motivation. Change was happening still.

 

Due to my improved health, I do not go to the doctor because I am sick, instead I go for prevention.  Mentally I am more confident.  I started to speak up more in meetings at work. As a result, was promoted 3 times in one year!  People started asking me how I got promoted so many times in such a short amount of time. I was a healthier and more confident person inside and out.  I also have noticed that I am attracting the right people in my life.  People that can challenge me to grow and continue to improve.

 

Has my journey ended? No! It continues. It morphs. And my physique? Continually changing and evolving. I'll be turning 50 this year and my body has never been better. I look like I'm in my 30s. THIS is my lifestyle forever.

I have already won my biggest trophy: I have my health and wellness back!

In the winter of 2016, I found myself in a job that made me incredibly unhappy due to a toxic environment working as a medical surgical nurse on a very dynamic unit. My weight sky rocketed up to 190 pounds due to maladaptive coping mechanisms which included binging on both food and alcohol. I became increasingly aware that I would end up in a hospital bed myself if I did not start making some changes. I never had an issue with working out. I always had a gym membership of some variety, but my lifestyle choices along with my stress level never lead to any lasting results.

 

I started working out at Custom Fitness Specialists in March of 2016. Shortly thereafter, I also started working with Lisa Feran on macro counting, which was a huge behavioral adjustment for me. It held me accountable to eat more throughout the day. Macro counting also made me aware of my previous binge eating and made me honestly evaluate times when I would go over my allotted daily macros.

 

I dropped about 25 pounds by being 75% compliant with my macros and working out at Custom Fitness 3 days a week. I was still drinking alcohol quite heavily several days a week. In February of 2017, I contracted influenza which then turned into a septic pneumonia. I missed almost a month of work due to the severity of my illness. As a result of my illness, I decided that if/when I got better I would put more effort into my personal wellness.

 

I started a new job as a RN in the emergency department which reduced my stress and increased my life satisfaction immensely. I drastically reduced my drinking and did not miss AM workouts due to being hungover. I also became 100% compliant with following my macro nutrient plan. As a result, I started seeing my body fat melting away. I started at 44% BF and dropped to the upper 20's. I was able to hit my "Tier 1" weight goal of 155 pounds.

 

My Coach, Lisa, encouraged me to continue my progress by signing up for the OCB Midwest States Body Transformation competition last Spring. I ate, trained, and practiced posing alongside Lisa's bodybuilding competition team. I had such an amazing experience with the team and at the OCB Midwest States that I continued moving forward. I had a short but successful reverse diet and am now preparing to compete in figure competitions this Spring!

 

Never in my life would I have thought I would be getting on stage 3/4 naked with a fake tan at the age of 37! I have experienced a personal revolution over the past 3 years. For me, the easy part of this transformation has been going to the gym. I have always been athletic and enjoyed physical activity. The hard part was getting my mind healthy by changing thoughts and behaviors that triggered maladaptive coping responses. Once I got a handle on my stress, anxiety, and depression, I was able to honestly evaluate and address my issues.

 

I am so excited for what my future brings personally and professionally. I am working on my health coach certification to pay forward all I have gained throughout this mental and physical transformation. I also wouldn't mind collecting a little "hardware" this Spring, but I have already won my biggest trophy: I have my health and wellness back!

 

Easy to Make, Healthy Chicken Enchilada Soup and Wraps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Enchilada Soup and Wraps

Healthy chicken enchilada soup, repurpose the leftovers as a great tasting wrap! 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 Pound Chicken Breast
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 10 Ounces Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 14 Ounces of Black Beans
  • Can of Corn
  • 4 Ounce Diced Green Chiles
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 Tsp. Salt

 

Drain and wash beans. Drain Corn. Mince or press two cloves of garlic. Peel and dice the onion. Toss everything into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours…. or on high for half as much time.  This makes chicken enchilada soup.

 

Now repurpose the leftovers as a wrap.

 

This is made with leftovers from the Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken Recipe from above. You only need to buy some high fiber tortillas.

 

Ingredients:

  • Leftover Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken
  • High Fiber Wraps or Tortillas
  • 1 TBS Butter

 

Microwave leftover cilantro lime chicken. Place butter in frying pan and bring to medium heat. Place wrap/tortilla in pan at low heat and flip as it begins to get crispy and toasty. Spoon leftover cilantro lime chicken into wrap/tortilla and fold in half making a half-moon shape. Flip so each side is crunchy. Remove from heat. Optionally top sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce or whatever suits your fancy. See recipe for nutrition facts and be sure to add in calories from tortilla or wrap.

 

Eat by Color nutrition is not a diet and teaches interested members how to make better food choices. No counting calories, points, macros or anything else with Eat by Color. Get your copy of Eat by Color on Amazon Today!

@EatbyColor #EatbyColor  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 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.

 

Build Better Glutes, Hips and Thighs with Out using the adduction and abduction machines at the gym.

 

 

Build Better Glutes, Hips and Thighs with Out using the adduction and abduction machines at the gym.

 

Adduction and abduction machines are the scissor machines that most gyms have.  Should you use them if you are looking to Build Better Glutes, Hips and Thighs with Out using the adduction and abduction machines at the gym?  Are there better exercises you can be doing?

 

 

The adduction and abduction machines were like gold for health clubs in the 1980s and 1990s... shady membership sales people would put predominantly women on them and the following would ensue.

 

Shady salesperson

“Mrs. Smith hop on this machine and do 15 to 20 repetitions.”

 

Mrs. Smith would get on the adduction or abduction machine and do 15-20 repetitions.

 

Shady Sales person

“Mrs. Smith how does feel?”

 

Mrs. Smith

“my thighes are burning right where I want to tone, sclupt and slim them down.”

 

BOOM

 

Mrs. Smith was sold a membership.

 

There is a time and place for these exercises.  That time and place is after you are doing the larger multi joint version of exercises like the squat, lunge and deadlift.

 

Time is better spent doing multi joint exercises.  You will burn more calories, train more muscle groups and do it in less time.

 

Here is a great lower body program.

 

Lower Body Day 1

3 Sets of 10 Repetitions of Each

DB Goblet Squat

DB Stiff Leg Deadlift

DB Reverse Lunge

Barbell Hip Thruster

 

Lower Body Day 2

3 sets of 10 repetitions of each

Step Up

Step Down

1.33 Squat

DB Lunge

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! 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#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 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.