Building her body while nourishing her soul

by Melissa Martin

As a longtime certified dance and fitness instructor and owner of Prana Yoga & Dance in Broadview Heights, Angela Kossman is constantly looking for ways to challenge herself and inspire those around her.

Over the past two years, not only has she discovered a new avenue to test her physical and mental strength, flexibility and endurance, she has set out on a mission to show her students that fitness is a state of mind and a lifelong quest.

“When thinking about my personal fitness journey and wanting to challenge myself and inspire others, I decided to set a goal to enter the body building world,” Kossman said. “And so for the last two years, that is exactly what I’ve done.”

Kossman said she was introduced to competitive bodybuilding when her uncle trained and competed in 2014.

“I was drawn to the passion, commitment and hard work it clearly took,” she said. Her uncle recommended she use his coach, Nilsa Anderson, based in Chicago. 

After her first meeting with Anderson, Kossman said she had a better understanding of what her journey was going to entail.

“For starters, I had no idea going in that this was going to be a two-year process,” she said.

Kossman began her transformation in July 2021 with a plan to gain 10 pounds of muscle before she could begin her prep.

“With my experience working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I was under a slight impression that this part would be easy,’’ she said. “But I sure was wrong.’’

Not only did she have to lift a lot of weights, Kossman emphasized that she “had to lift heavy,” something that was new to her.

A bigger change in her routine, she said, was that she had to eat a lot, noting that by the end of her building or “bulking” phase, she was consuming approximately 3,000 calories a day.

Having begun dance training at the age of 6, Kossman is no stranger to discipline. Along with more than 30 years of experience in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and modern dance, she also has taught for two decades.

She mastered her craft by training at various dance centers in New York City, including the Broadway Dance Center, and trained with Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman and Tyce Diorio.

She went on to choregraph dances for various musicals, performances and philanthropic events and has served as the dance coach for the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School for 15 years.

Along the way, she has learned that dance is much more than technique; it also is a “passionate art form.”

So is the world of bodybuilding, Kossman said.

While the bulking phase took a little over a year, Kossman said she was able to increase her strength and weight enough to begin preparation for competition in the spring 2022.

“This quickly proved to be the most difficult phase,” she said. “I was in what’s known as the prep stage for about 20 weeks. That meant I was dieting way down, but still lifting heavy.”

In the last eight weeks, Kossman said she added 21/2 hours of cardio a day to her regimen.

“The good part was that I never needed to restrict calories in a way where I was left feeling unsatisfied or hungry,” she said. “To the contrary, my coach knew I could put the work in at the gym.” 

After five months of prep, Kossman was show ready and took her body to the stage, competing in Akron at the Natural Muscle Association Oct. 29.

“I entered in four divisions and took first place in all of them,” she said. 

On Nov. 5, she headed to Covington, Ky. where she participated in a NPC Natural competition. Again she entered four divisions and took third place in three of them. 

Kossman said the experience has been one of the best in her life, so much so that she’s decided to compete in bodybuilding in 2023. 

“Being in the health and fitness space for so long, now this really taught me about being mentally tough,” she said. “As I say to my clients of every age, it’s not about being the hot person at the beach. It’s about feeling mentally strong and physically strong. When you have those two things you are unstoppable.” ∞

Angela Kossman, co-owner of Prana
Yoga & Dance, began competing in the
bodybuilding world last fall and won
first place in her first competition. Photo