My Story

“You’re cute, but fat.” My Weight Loss Journey

It all started when I was just 12 years old.

After weeks of anxiety I finally summoned up the courage to ask my crush to be my girlfriend.

“I don’t think so. You’re cute, but fat.” was her reply.


If she’d hit me with a sledgehammer it would’ve hurt less.

I went home and looked in the mirror.

“She’s right. I AM fat. Who wants a fat boyfriend?”

It was at that exact moment I hated my soft, fat body…. and began my weight loss journey.

I used my paper route money to buy a weight set and bench from Consumers’ Distributing (you have to be a certain age to even know that store).

And I sent away for the Charles Atlas “dynamic tension” program from the back of a comic book.

I was going to look like Arnold and get the girl – just like the guy in the comic book ad!

I never did lose the weight and I never did get the girl.

Not exactly a storybook ending.

Over the next 30 years I’d fail at every diet, workout and weight loss program that came along.

It would all start with some trigger that reminded my I was fat.

I remember this one time I was going to a funeral so I grabbed my best suit which I hadn’t worn in years. No matter how hard I pulled there was NO WAY could I button up those pants. The suit coat was the same way.

I was disgusted and ashamed.

“On Monday I’m buckling down and working out every day for an hour or more. No junk food, no cheating!” I’d say to myself with conviction.

So I’d start an extreme diet or crazy fitness routine to “punish” myself.

And I’d crash and burn.




I’d soon fall off my fitness routine and into a dizzying frenzy of bingeing, emotional eating and depression.

I’d lose the same 20-30 pounds over and over again.

With each miserable failure I’d beat myself up again:

“Am I doomed to be a fat f**k for the rest of my life?”

“How come others can lose weight and I can’t?”

“Am I that weak-willed and undisciplined?”

“What is wrong with me?”

Every morning would start the same depressing way.

I’d rummage through my closet looking for clothes that fit me “right” and hid my fat body. I’d end up wearing the same few items over and over until they became tattered, but I didn’t want the anguish of buying, larger clothes.

It was a negative spiral that lasted for almost 30 years…

…and then I discovered KETTLEBELLS

The Discovery

I was searching the internet one day looking for my “next big thing” that was going to miraculously melt the fat off my body when totally out of the blue a page selling kettlebells came up.

I’ll never forget what it said:

“Get strong as a Russian strongman and lose weight without the dishonor of cardio.”

I was intrigued.

By this point I was over 40 and I had tried it ALL!

Gym memberships (I never went).
Running (boooring).
Diet pills (Remember PhenFen?).
Extreme diets (more cabbage soup please).
Regular diets (Hello Dr. Atkins).

Plus over $5,000 in home gym equipment (all gathering dust).

The only thing that got lighter was my wallet.

Even after all that I’d never heard of a kettlebell.

“Get strong as a Russian strongman and lose weight without the dishonor of cardio.”

QUITE Intriguing.

I must’ve read the sales page a dozen times until I finally said “What the heck?” and plunked down $200 and bought my first kettlebell.

Little did I know it would change my life!

“You Can’t Hate Yourself Thin.”

I’m not going to lie.

I started training with kettlebells the same way I started all my weight loss programs… as a way to punish myself for being sooo overweight and disgusting.

I was 41 years old, pushing 300 pounds and rated as “severely obese”.

Needless to say I absolutely hated my body.

I used to jump on the scale after every workout to see how much weight I’d lost. “Did I punish myself enough with this workout?” was my thinking.

The scale will tell me.

Hating my body is the only thing that got me motivated to try losing the weight.

Looking back this was a completely insane way to live. But it was the only way I knew.

Luckily, things changed.

Enter The Kettlebell

When my kettlebell arrived I realized I had no idea what to do with it so I followed the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) and Anthony Diluglio (Punch Gym).

My two mentors had me focus SO much on proper technique and there were so many moves to learn I quickly stopped thinking about my workouts (aka kettlebell practice) as punishment.

The workouts barely took me 30 minutes!

Which was great because as a divorced Dad of two active boys I had NO TIME to workout.

Plus I was actually having fun playing around with my kettlebells. They were tough, but fun. And the workouts were different all the time so I NEVER got bored.

Each day I could see my skills improving… I was getting stronger and getting more and more work done.

I actually started feeling better about my body and what it could do.

Just as the sales page promised, the stronger I got THE MORE WEIGHT I LOST with NO Freakin’ Cardio!! (I hate boring cardio)

And it only took me 30 minutes a day.


Because it was only 30 minutes and so much fun, for the first time in my life I’d stuck with a program. In fact, I started looking FORWARD to each day’s workout because I couldn’t wait to see what I could do next!

My 30 Minute Transformation

Then one day “it” happened… I ran out of holes in my belt!!

I knew I’d lost some weight, but I didn’t realize just how much.

In 4 months I’d dropped 55 pounds without even really trying!

It wasn’t that noticeable because it was winter and I was wearing my usual baggy “cover up my fat body” clothes.

Within another few months I’d lose another 20 plus pounds.

                Rob Before & After

My jeans just hung off me and my tailor couldn’t alter my suits enough to fit me.

I didn’t just lose 75+ pounds, I had completely re-shaped my body.

You see, I’ve lost weight in the past but I always ended up a smaller, weaker version of my roly poly self.

This time I was strong, fit and dare I say… “athletic”!?

Friends and relatives I hadn’t seen since before Christmas literally didn’t recognize me.

One day when my Uncle didn’t recognize me out in public, I went home and looked in the mirror with my shirt off.

For the first time in my life I no longer considered myself fat or hated my body.  (No, I didn’t cry, but I did get a little choked up.)

I had transformed my body and even MORE importantly I had transformed my mind.

As I overcame each new obstacle my self-confidence grew right along with my strength. It spilled out from the gym and invaded all areas of my life.

I no longer thought myself as a fat failure.

Stop eating junk food every day? I can do that!
Stop drinking 3 or 4 beers a night? I can do that!
Complete an Obstacle Course Race? I can do that!
Work out for 30 minutes a day? I can do that!

My strength, my energy and my self-confidence went through the roof!

Helping Others Feel Good About Themselves

One day my cousin saw me and couldn’t believe the change in me and asked if we could train together. I said “Of course. Let’s do it.”

He saw results even faster than I did! (Which reinforced the value of having a coach).

He said “I can’t believe what you can do in just 30 minutes. You have to get this out there. People NEED this now!”

With his help I opened the first Punch Gym [now Ironcore Kettlebell Club] in Canada in 2008.

Since then I’ve help over 3,223 people get stronger, lose weight and feel good about themselves.

I get an incredible rush helping people go from anxious and unsure to strong and confident.

I love hearing stories of how their “gym confidence” shows up in other areas of their life, even before they lose any weight. Many do their first 10K or Obstacle Course Race. Some go skiing or ziplining for the first time. Others lose 50, 60 and even 100 pounds and go on carnival rides with their kids.

And one special lady told me how proud she was that she carried a bag of salt to her car by herself after the cashier offered to help. “It was heavy, but I knew I could do it.” she told me. And thanked me for giving her the confidence to give it a try.

THAT was a great day for me.

I have a TON of amazing stories just like that one.

It’s why I love what I do!

My Mission is to change the lives of 1,000 people each year in Windsor/Essex County.

I’d be honoured to help you change yours.

All you need is 30 minutes a day and a good attitude.  We’ll provide the right coaching and an amazing, supportive fitness family.

Why not start today?

Call me at (519) 979-5412 for your Free Easy Intro.

I hope to see you soon.

~Rob Santarossa
Transformation Expert
IronCore Kettlebell Club