Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kasey Yeargain: Another inspirational BariChunk to BariHunk story

Kasey Yeargain
We've featured some amazing stories about singers getting in shape, something that we've dubbed "BariChunk to BariHunk" for the lower voiced men in opera. Perhaps none was as dramatic as Michael Mayes' losing 50 pounds to perform Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, which we featured almost two years ago. That story generated an unbelievable amount of traffic to the site and continues to get frequent hits to this day. It also generated a basket full of emails from singers who were inspired by Mayes' story, including one from an Eastern Europe soprano who claims that it saved her life and gave her new found hope.
Chris Carr toned up. He looks and sounds better than ever!

Michael Mayes became a much ballyhooed operatic sex symbol after his weight loss
Now we've come across the story of another emerging young singer, whose story touched us and we felt needed to be shared with the world. Meet Oklahoma native Kasey Yeargain, who was an apprentice artist at the Des Moines Metro Opera where he performed scenes from Moby Dick, Silent Night, Cosi fan Tutte, and Billy Budd and performed in the mainstage performances of Peter Grimes, Elektra, and Romeo and Juilette. Des Moines Metro Opera seems to be where a lot of singers get in shape. It's no coincidence that Michael Mayes regularly performs there and drags unwitting singers to the gym willingly or by force!  
On May 2nd, Yeargain will make his professional debut as Zuniga in Carmen with Tulsa Opera.
Here's his story of personal transformation in his own words:

"So, in March of 2013 I had just broken up with my girlfriend, I had an absolutely horrible audition season, and the reality of the struggles of being a professional opera singer were really hitting me hard. At this point in my life I was anywhere between 270 to 300lbs, very overweight, depressed, and so insecure about every aspect of my life that it was starting to effect my personal relationships. So, one day, I woke up and said "I'm tired of being a schmuck." That's when I began the change. I did as much bro-science/Youtube research that I could and decided to start cutting my calories and begin Intermittent Fasting. I combined this with weight lifting and hour long walks. The weight practically fell off. I was losing between 3-5lbs a week. At this point I would fill my calories with whatever, but trying to stay clean.
Mezzo Mary Beth Nelson and Kasey Yeargain looking good!
My greatest obstacle: One of the only good things that came from my auditions last year was earning a position as an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. But, I knew that summer programs tend to do two things: increase your daily drinking and make you gain weight. I was determined to drink very little and LOSE weight. I was tempted by scotch and snacks EVERY night. That combined with after show parties, group dinners, and the never ending treats, I was constantly tested! My secret: Epic cheat days. Every Saturday I ate anything and everything I wanted. My fellow apprentice artists called it Faturday. It satiated my taste for junk food and gave me something to look forward to. I ran and lifted weights every day, and I was constantly looking for pick up games of basketball to play with the other apprentice artists. (I kept them in shape!!!!)

My weight loss continued throughout the program and after I left. However, I was an idiot and let my calories get cut down to 1600. That combined with the amount of exercise I was doing, I was in full blown starvation mode. My weight loss stalled completely. I did some more research and began reverse dieting "Slowly adding in calories," still indulging in my cheat days. My weight loss picked up again. I got down to 203lbs and began focusing hard on increasing the weight on my big lifts. Bench, dead lift, squat, pull ups and dips. I also began to track my macros, making sure I got efficient amounts of protein. I bulked back up to 211lbs and began a small cut to get the lean, scrappy look I wanted for Frank Maurrant in Street Scene. I stopped looking at the scale and focused on the mirror. I got lean enough where I even had a (brief) shirtless scene.

After completing Street Scene and my recital, I finally weighed myself again. I weighed 196lbs. I had lost anything between 80-100lbs. I went from a 40inch waist to a 34. AND, I got stronger. But, more than anything, I now have a sense of confidence that I've never had before. I know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. If anybody has any questions, please feel free to hit me up."


  1. Truly amazing. Good for him; he looks happy and healthy.

  2. I'm so proud of Kasey. He truly inspires everyone he meets. I loved working with him as "the missus" Street Scene!

  3. I was in the audience at the Met Auditions Tulsa District on January 4 and thought Mr. Yeargain was a real winner. Also enjoyed the winners' dinner seated with Mary Beth Nelson, a lovely lady with a lovely voice. Carleton James

  4. Wow! They are all amazing! Hope that I can do this also.. Thanks for sharing this very inspirational story.
    inspirational articles