From Heartbreak to Happiness – Anna’s Tear-jerking Journey

Anna Collage


This long, sad journey has a very happy ending……..


Back in January 2001 I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. My OBGYN gave me devastating news.  After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, which is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure in pregnant women.  If left untreated it could lead to strokes and seizures during pregnancy placing me and my unborn child at risk.

I was told to quit my job and was put on complete bed rest.  My blood pressure required 3 pills a day and 3 trips to the hospital per week to monitor the health of myself and my unborn child.   This was a very exhausting and scary journey for me and my husband.

I gained 91 pounds and simple tasks like bending over to tie my shoes became a challenge.  I constantly felt like I was going to faint and I had built up so much fluid due to my condition that it would ooze thru my skin.  Three weeks before my long awaited due date I weighed in at 235 pounds.  Simple breathing became work.

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Finally, I was blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy who weighed in at 5 lbs and 9oz. I was confused that I had gained such a tremendous amount of weight but yet my baby weighed so little!  From that point I began a constant yo yo battle of losing and gaining weight.

I tried many unsuccessful programs like gym memberships, boot camp classes and Zumba. Walking for hours on end, sometimes in a sauna suit (I was pretty desperate.. ) and many times skipping meals just to find that I was gaining even more weight at a much faster pace.  I made excuses upon excuses not to go on vacations just so I didn’t have to wear tank tops, shorts or a bathing suit.  My friends and relatives would invite me out for lunch or dinner and I would make every excuse not to go.

In February 2011, I lost my dad 2 weeks after his 57th birthday (way too young). This led me to become an emotional eater and therefore gained even more weight, I was eating out of sadness, anger and denial.  I was tired hiding behind my baggy clothes, constantly wearing black, not being able to sleep, feeling muscle fatigued and brain fogged.

Most of all, I was hiding behind my smile. Day after day I was literally just getting by.  I made an appointment to see my family doctor and explained how after many unsuccessful years I was very frustrated and desperate with my weight and didn’t know what else to do.  She told me the best thing that would help me was to go on anti depressants.  I told myself “there is no way that a pill could help me achieve my biggest dream of being fit and healthy”.

I honestly believed deep down in my heart that no drug, shakes, powders or injections could help me lose weight and keep it off for good. I know too many people that went down this route, only to be more frustrated than when they first started.

Soon after, God answered my prayers in a very discreet manner.  Shortly after the Christmas holidays (I believe I actually gained 8 pounds in those 3 weeks) I was reading my emails when another email from IronCore (Punch) came thru.  This time, it caught my attention. It was from Rob Santarossa and I thought to myself this guy keeps sending emails even though he doesn’t really know me. He must care.  It was regarding a 28 day weight loss challenge.  I thought to myself this is my LAST hope. My last hope ended up becoming my BEST hope for me and my family.

In April 2013 I called Rob. He was very down to earth, extremely understanding because he had been down this road himself and could relate to all of us who are struggling with weight loss. Soon after, we met up at the gym and he took his time to listen to all of my weight loss struggles and gave me hope.

Rob was very inspiring to me as he explained and showed me photos of his own weight struggles. He assigned me an eating plan. I will not call it a “diet plan” because the food on this plan was unbelievably generous.  It was all healthy foods like salmon, chicken , brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables etc. I simply followed it everyday and felt content. I showed up to my workouts 5 days a week, with only a half hour workout per day and that was it!!

In 4 weeks I had lost 13 pounds and felt amazing.

I finally had faith in myself again and my confidence level went up. From there my husband and I decided the best decision was for me to continue the program and see where the journey would take me. I made the commitment to join up for a year and I have been there for 8 happy months.

As we speak, I am down almost 40 pounds and realistically I can’t even believe what I have achieved in such a short time.

It has been the most healthy 8 months of my life. I am more energetic, stronger, healthier and most of all happier. My own children tell me “mom, I love how you’re happy and always smiling”.   They too noticed the transformation!   This transformation has made me a better person, a better friend, a better wife and most of all, a better mother to my boys.

Everyday they ask “mom did you go or are you going to your workout?”(Lol).  They too keep tabs on me to make sure I’m going to my class.  They understand the importance of the workout and the difference it’s made in my life!  I feel great knowing that I have been an inspiring role model to them.

Kettlebell class has become by best friend (lol).  The magic behind the kettlebell workout is that in one half hour it works every muscle group.  This is what my body needed and was longing for. I noticed a difference immediately.  My arms started to tone up and the best part… I started to lose that stubborn cellulite off my legs.




As I write this today, I can say I am finally “living life”.  Now I understand why Rob Santarossa adds “live life “at the end of each and every one of his emails.  Three months ago my cardiologist was very impressed with my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.   He discontinued my blood pressure medication.  I was amazed that after all these years I was finally able to stop taking medication that would have eventually damaged my kidneys.


I no longer feel sad like I am living in a dark world.

I don’t feel exhausted nor feel the need to wear black or baggy clothes.

I can proudly say that I am no longer scared, hopeless or in hiding.


Rob is extremely dedicated and passionate about helping people achieve their health to the fullest using his program. Rob, Tiz, Cary, Juliette and Annie, thank you all soooooo much for always being there for me, not giving up and believing in me.

Most importantly, thanks for making every class fun, challenging and extremely comfortable. I could have never done this without the help of each and every one of you “Saints”.

What is unique about IronCore Kettlebell Club is the bond between the clients and the trainers.  The clients have similar stories- up and down weight gains, frustration with fad workout programs, or simply just wanting to get stronger and healthy. Working out together brings us close in friendship and we feed off each others’ accomplishments!

The trainers also have been down similar paths and can relate to every one of our stories while providing clear instruction to each individual client. They are patient, kind, loving and unbelievable motivators to all!

This is why I make every excuse not to miss my workouts, I look forward to my kettlebell workouts each and every day and they keep me focused, energized and living my life to the fullest.

Rob thanks for creating an atmosphere that has inspired people to bring out their very best.

I am proud to be part of IronCore Kettlebell Club team!!!!

Anna Piunno, Wife, Mom of 2, Lasalle