Body Transformation: Sheryl Gesinghaus-Gatzke Found Meaning From Muscle!

Sheryl used to look in the mirror and imagine her body without layers of fat. Now that image is real. See how she lost 90 pounds, 21 percent body fat, and changed her life!

Why I decided to transform

I was chubby for most of my childhood, but my weight got really out of control when I hit puberty and gained 30 pounds during one summer. At 5-foot-1, the extra weight showed clear as day. I tried dieting constantly and would lose 10 pounds and gain back 15 pounds. This cycle went on for most of my life.

I frequently stood in front of the mirror and moved fat around to see what I would look like if I changed. I always knew there was a fit, athletic person living in the wrong body. I just needed to figure out how to find her.

After giving birth to my second beautiful boy, I hit an all-time high at 205 pounds and was very unhappy, so I decided to try to lose weight one more time. It was now or never and I picked a start date. I spent lots of time thinking about my upcoming change. When the date came, I felt ready and had a sense of clarity like never before.

I started a weight-loss program that was livable and flexible and the weight started to come off. I lost about one and a half pounds every week and it stayed off. It was slow but steady and I felt amazing going to the gym twice per week. I started to see the person I knew was inside appear on the outside. I felt in total control and nothing could stop me.

I made my desire to change public and kept everyone up-to-date with my changes. I didn't hide my goals, which inspired others around me. After I lost a good amount of weight, my family and I went to a cottage for a week. I couldn't go to the gym, so I ran every day and still lost four pounds on vacation.

Before /// 205 lbs
After /// 115 lbs
AGE 32 / HEIGHT 5'1" / BODY FAT 35%
AGE 37 / HEIGHT 5'1" / BODY FAT 14%
Post To Fitboard

Running ignited my love of exercise and made me feel athletic. I ran a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon. I loved pushing my body to the limit. Running was good for me, but then I met my trainer, Craig Bongelli, who took my training to another level.

I worked in dentistry for 10 years and was paid well, but I quit dentistry when I started to change my life and began working at a local gym. I met Craig shortly after I started. He saw potential in me and was impressed with my accomplishments. Craig is a pro strongman competitor and a professional strength and conditioning coach. He offered to train me, and after some hesitation, I agreed.

Weight training is the reason I still maintain fat loss. Craig ignited a fire that drives me to train consistently. Craig helped me see abs for the first time. It's amazing how my life change affected my children. My youngest son, Eric, doesn't remember me as big, but my oldest child, Ian, does.

Ian loves to work out, understands healthy eating, and asked for an hour of training with Craig for his sixth birthday. Craig, being the amazing friend that he is, happily trained Ian for an hour at his gym. My boys understand that working hard is worth it. If you want something, go after it with everything you have.

"My boys understand that working hard is worth it. If you want something, go after it with everything you have."

How I accomplished my goals

I accomplished my goals because I decided to finish what I started, no matter what. It felt like the right time and I had the right frame of mind. I thought about my goals before I started the change and was determined to be the person I was meant to be.

When I got rolling, quitting never entered my mind. I approached it as a life change. I was real with myself before I started and knew I couldn't eat bags of chips or devour pizza. I let go of my old life and was ready to start again. Food is a drug that I was done with. I wanted something different.

I lost nearly 100 pounds and never gained weight back. I looked inside myself every day, thought about what I was doing, and viewed it as rehab. I was addicted to food and self-harm for most my life. My inspiration came from the control I felt and the person I could see emerging.

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What aspect challenged me the most

Grasping how to eat like an athlete was challenging. Learning how to eat to grow and not be afraid of see the scale change was hard. I wanted a muscular physique, but I wasn't prepared for the scale to move as I grew. Letting go of a number was hard. It's been a journey full of wonderful feelings, highs, and lows. Change isn't easy, but it's 100 percent worth it.

"Transformations take time and a complete lifestyle overhaul."

My future fitness plans

I gave up my career in dentistry altogether. I enjoyed that aspect of my life, but felt that I accomplished something worth sharing. I completed my ISSA training course and look forward to helping others understand the power of weight training.

Craig introduced me to powerlifting and I've become a good deadlifter. I weigh 115 pounds and pull 195 pounds. Entering a powerlifting competition would be awesome. I have mixed feeling about getting on stage to compete in bikini or figure.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

"If you want it bad enough, it will happen. If you don't, you will fail."
  • Consistency is the key.
  • Take progress photos.
  • Accept that people will judge your body, lifestyle, and training.
  • Take time to think about why you want to change.
  • Transformations take time and a complete lifestyle overhaul.
  • You may look worse before you look better.
  • Seek out help, find a good trainer, research training, and learn about dieting.
  • If you want it bad enough, it will happen. If you don't, you will fail.

How helped me reach my goals

I read lots of info by Dr. Layne Norton because I eat a macro diet like he recommends.

I also enjoy reading the transformation stories. It's motivating to help others achieve their goals.

Sheryl's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
  2. "My Body" by Young The Giant
  3. "Hypnotize" by Biggie Smalls
  4. "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce
  5. "Wake Me Up" by Avicii


  • To Craig Bongelli and Alyssa Coppolino for the help and support.
  • To my husband and children for their support.

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