The Metamorphosis of Martin Binning, Wisconsin to Las Vegas

Martin Binning is a champion of the people, and he deserves his belt. The health coach and entertainer found himself in the spotlight at a young age in his hometown of Tampa, Florida, and has found his way back to center stage on the Sin City Makeover show produced in Las Vegas. Through his life experiences, Martin has transformed into a passionate and aggressive, but considerate and giving man, scrapping and fighting for his dreams, while keeping his family, friends, and history in Wisconsin close to chest.

I recently reconnected with my high school friend, and I immediately recognized the opportunity for us to put together this story. Martin has always been open and honest with me, as long as I’ve known him, and after we caught up a little, I realized he would be the perfect person to get me writing features again. We took a deep dive into his motivations and aspirations. I listened intently and asked tough questions, knowing he could handle them, and I learned a lot about the person, but I also found myself motivated to look inward and initiate self-change immediately.

Martin was born in Tampa and lived a hectic life there in a large family. His biological parents adopted one son. He had 5 other siblings. Martin says there were typically 12-15 people in the 2 bedroom house between the 7 kids, grandma, aunts, uncles, and others coming through as the result of his parents’ propensity to help those in need. The Florida native says he has some fond memories from his home state during those first 8 years of his life, but it was chaotic. His time in the Sunshine State ingrained in him the desire to give back, but there was also negativity that came with that lifestyle.

The family plotted moving to get some composure. His father was an orphan in Chicago, and didn’t have relatives, but his mom had family in Wisconsin, so that’s where they went. This is where Martin lived from age 8 until 32. His family dynamic changed when he, his parents and siblings, moved to Wisconsin. Martin’s father got a job at the post office, which came with consistent pay and benefits, so they moved into in a 4 bedroom house. He said they went from living on the edge — low class, no benefits, food stamps, — to middle class.

“All my clothes were my brother’s clothes.”

He was homeschooled through 6th grade, at which point he started at DeForest Middle School. We played football against each other back in the day but didn’t meet as friends for a couple of years. High school wasn’t great for Martin. His father had a stroke, his parents divorced, and he wound up not graduating with our class at DeForest. He transferred to LaFollette, and wound up getting his HSED from there. Martin was 22 when his father passed away.

“My dad was kind of the anchor that kept us from drifting too far away. He was a strong masculine man that worked hard and believed in principle and respect. He was sober. He never drank. I never saw my dad drink. He lived by a certain code, and with the chaos that I’ve kind of touched on a little bit, he was like that man that everybody-All my mom’s brothers looked up to him. Obviously, I looked up to him. My siblings looked up to him. He kind of kept everything together.”

Martin started working at the Sun Prairie YMCA in afterschool programs with kids. I used to go there. That got him into the Sun Prairie school district, where he started working in special education with kids who had EBD (Emotional Behavior Disorder). After working as a teacher for some time, the young educator decided that he wanted to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Martin matched with a Little Brother named Kyshawn, who was 5 years old at the time. Coach Binning knows him by his nickname Booka.

Not knowing what to do with this little kid, Martin started taking him to basketball practices at the Y. Some other parents suggested that he put his name in the hat to coach Booka. He had experience in school wrestling, and playing street ball, but didn’t have any experience coaching hoops. He knew how to Youtube, though. Martin fucked around and made it happen, and wound up coaching Booka all the way from 1st grade through senior year of high school. The young coach worked with parents to put together an all star youth team. Martin says they won over 50 tournaments during these years. He funded it too.

“We beat the best teams from Chicago and Milwaukee. We won the Chicago Summer Classic. We won the Chicago Winter Classic. We made the Elite 8 in the NY2LA. Look, I could name drop players that are going to UNC and Duke and stuff that we beat, that we played against. Some that we lost too. But that was a fucking awesome journey. That was like all I did until right around age 30-31.”

Martin wasn’t paying for this on a teacher’s salary. He moved on from his position at the school and started selling medicare to the 20% of people who weren’t being covered by the government’s standard plan. He says it was a combination of self employment, income, and time, that allowed him to fund those boys. Martin ran 200 TV commercials a week on local TV. He was “Winning with Binning”, alongside his mother, while he was at Binning Insurance. Martin was a celebrity at gas stations, as he was passing through, on the way to the next customer or tournament. He wrote 8 commercials and directed each of them.

Martin was paying for tourney fees, the gas to get there, hotel accommodations, new Nikes, and jerseys. He went around the Midwest with his guys — to Milwaukee, Green Bay, Illinois, and Iowa. He chopped it up with coaches and players at AAU tournaments to form super squads. Martin and his guys teamed up with Tayshawn Bridges and Nasir Beamon, and flew to Houston, Texas for a tournament.

“Good players wanted to play with good players. Coaches wanted to steal your players.”

After Booka and his team graduated and moved on, Martin felt a bit of hooper empty nester’s syndrome, but he continued coaching, working with Alando Tucker’s son and his AAU team for a season. The fire wasn’t there, though. Covid happened in 2020. He was coaching 2 teams all through Covid but says he might’ve been pinged just because nobody else wanted to get involved around Madison. “They were all liberals, scared as shit,” says Martin. “I said fuck it. Got practice space at gyms that were shut down, had a lot of connections.”

His players grew up and insurance got boring. In 2021-2022, on the tail end of Covid, Martin had grown to almost 300 pounds. The basketball coach says he blew the whistle on himself at this time, saying, “Why don’t you coach yourself to be the best fucking man that you possibly could? So that’s what I did.” I remember Martin as a big guy, as in muscular. He was doing more power lifting in his 20s, but selling insurance, he was eating out a lot. The traveling salesman drank a lot of alcohol too. The weight slowly accumulated. He might go on a run and lose 20 pounds but then yoyo back up 30.

He was bartending, making good money at BB Jacks in Cottage Grove, making residuals off of his insurance, but had no college degree. So he lost the weight, and then decided it was time to pack up and leave, figuring if he could bartend in Wisconsin, he could bartend anywhere. His buddy and girlfriend convinced him to go on this trip to Orlando, Florida. In retrospect, Martin thinks Tampa would’ve been a better idea. Orlando wasn’t his vibe. He was bartending at a strip club, living with 3 other shady characters, so he knew that wasn’t it, but didn’t know what direction to take the next step in.

One night, while smoking weed with the strip club’s DJ, Butch Turner, Martin decided to take some booms with his coworker. They were both tripping, and then this woman Martin had been talking to called. Martin spoke with this Vegas by way of Rockford friend, and after he hung up, Butch Turner told him he should’ve left yesterday to go see her. So Martin packed up his shit and left for Vegas. He found that it was not easy to get a bartending license in Vegas, and said “you have to get like 4 different cards”, but he figured it out right away.

“If you can kind of tell my vibe. Like, I’m super dominant, aggressive, I got a personality, I get what I want mentality. It kinda fits in here. I walk in places, people offer me jobs all the time. If you walk in, you’re a timid little kid cat, you’re gonna struggle. They’re gonna eat you alive. But a dude like me, I do fine here.”

Martin bartended the Super Bowl, for Formula One, EDC, Lovers and Friends. He says he’s typically making $500-2,000 for a day or a weekend of bartending. Martin likes that he gets to experience the events as part of his job too. I know that’s one of my favorite parts of bartending, being immersed in the party. Bartending is not the ultimate goal for Martin but he has gotten more involved with entertainment lately. His mission for his new Youtube channel (@MartinBinning) is to inform those looking to improve their lives, and to talk his shit.

“My vibe is to give back, to teach people.”

The health guru wants to take us back to our roots, eat good, and look good. He said his friend Cole from Florida was on him for a year in Orlando to get on social media more but Martin wasn’t having that. Now he finds himself again at the center of attention, being on this Sin City Makeover show. He played the role of Martin on the local Tampa TV show David D TV as a child. Then he was “Winning with Binning”. Now, he’s in Vegas, staying fit, getting good sun, finding opportunity, and getting turnt up by celebrities on a daily basis. I asked the confident young man why he thinks he keeps finding himself at the center of attention.

“I have a really intimate relationship with God, and I think that God has been preparing me my whole entire life to be on this journey that I’m at. Everything I’ve done isn’t practice, but why? It has to do with my personality, it has to do with how loud I am, it has to do with how I look, it has to just do with my vibe. I got a good smile, I make strong eye contact. I always say hi to people. And people just gravitate and draw to that.”

From age 8-12, Martin was locked in a room every night with his abusive older brother. He talked with Jesus and God a lot during that time. This spiritual connection stuck with him for many years. Martin says that he is on a mission from the holy man himself and believes that he has been sent here to act on behalf of God. He also knew as a little boy that he had to go somewhere hot and get shredded. This was a vision that he had in his conversations with God.

“Why did I get so fat? Dude, I had fallen away from God later and I was using cocaine and drinking a lot. And masturbating a lot. And just doing anything that felt good quick. Ya know, and I had lost my grip with everything. I was still volunteering and helping kids in the community, and like being this good guy, but then I’d go back home and I’d just like let everything out. Ya know, and just snort an 8 ball of coke, drink a bottle of booze, it was ugly.”

God told him in his head that this wasn’t enough. He says he was commanded from the man upstairs, “Bro, you’re only 30. Get your life together. C’mon man. This isn’t how you go out.” He heard this and knew he wasn’t doing the right things that would get him where he wanted to be — and that was a problem for an accomplished and inspired Martin Binning. The Christian, coach, teacher, family man, and friend, wants to show others that they can find peace by accepting who they are and allowing God into their lives.

“The number one thing of fellowship is to expose yourself and your weaknesses. Like, here I am, but I’ve figured it out.”

The forthcoming, strong willed speaker says that he has this deep embarrassment and shame about some of this stuff, but says with God, he can say fuck it and do the thing anyway. As long as he has God, he’s good. Martin believes God makes us go through the suffering so that we have something interesting to put into our stories. He struggles with other Christians because they are so self-righteous and try to make themselves out to be perfect. Martin says that as long as you sincerely accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, God will be ok with your sins.

“That’s why Jesus died on the cross. It’s not so now we’re perfect. I watch some of these Christians and they act like they’re perfect, and they’re the ones doing the weirdest fucking shit.”

Martin says he drinks, binges on junk food, and curses, but he prays on it.

“I get on my knees every morning and say, dear God I want to have a good day. I’m sorry for my sins of yesterday. Like, I’m going to go out and conquer this day. Like, give me some strength today. I get up and I feel damn good.”

He is not afraid to speak on God and preach the teachings of the Bible.

“I believe God is real. I believe God created Earth, and said holy shit, what did I do. These people are fucked. I believe he sent his son for our sins, and to end the issues of the Old Testament. Right, like sacrifice.”

The believer in Christ goes on to say, “Because God sacrificed his son, that was the last sacrifice that was needed.” I did not realize Martin’s faith until this interview but that was one of those conversations that we avoided in our teens and early 20s. Like, I’m sure he didn’t know my past with the Lutheran church or where I stand today, until I made this video. I am a firm believer in religious freedom and I will not be Christian bashing today. Not on any day, actually. There is nothing wrong with using personal experience and science to challenge the church. You shouldn’t ever have to be a part of a church that you don’t want to be either. But nah, flat out condemning Christianity is bigotry.

“I guess, Lutheran, evangelical, what is it? No, I don’t align myself with one specific group, but I don’t know if I could even tell you all the differences. But I believe that God is real, that Jesus is the son of God. I believe that he walked on Earth. And I believe that he will come back, for sure.”

The longtime Wisconsin resident quickly turned well traveled when he quick picked up and shipped across the country to Florida, and then from there packed up and shot out all the way out to Vegas. Martin says he probably played ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” 50 times on his way out to Vegas. Music is extremely important to Martin. He’s currently into “Blood On Me” by Sampha and the acoustic EP From Juice WRLD. Vegas feels like his new home. Martin has a dog named Jack, he loves climbing, hiking, bouldering. The expeditionist says he wants to explore the area around Vegas too, go out to Cali, and Utah. He recommends the movie Free Solo, which chronicles the ascent of El Capitan by legendary climber Alex Honnold.

“I love sun. Sun makes me happy. When I step outside and I blast this skin with this sun, I say holy shit I feel you lord. I’m ready to go.”

Mr. Binning is sober. This changed man doesn’t drink or do hard drugs. That being said, he does not consider marijuana or magic mushrooms to be drugs. Neither do I. He calls the THC in weed and the psilocybin in shrooms — medicine. This is how I feel too. Naturally occurring plants that have medicinal qualities straight out of the ground, should not be considered hard drugs. The self-improvement specialist thinks that psilocybin will change the world, especially for rape victims and those those suffering from PTSD. This magical mushroom medicine has healed “a ton of trauma” for him and he highly recommends it to those who have been through serious emotional wounds that need healing.

The Wisconsin-made man recommends the film Fantastic Fungi, which features professors from my alma matter University of Wisconsin – Madison. He believes in the power of microdosing and the help that it can provide others, but his personal approach to shrooming is slightly different. Martin shrooms hard and then chills on that trip for a month. The effect of the medicine decreases over the course of that period, but he explains that as long as he plans out his sessions, and keeps the recreational binge hand full of booms aspect controlled, he can functionally work psilocybin into his top tier health regimen.

He’s living this new lifestyle with a sunny disposition, bartending is holding him over, and he enjoys working on the concrete crew. He’s learning Spanish from his coworkers and proudly says he moved over 15,000 pounds of material in one day. Flexing muscles mentally and physically. He has a new confidence, and this is what Martin wants us to see from his new Youtube channel — his voice, the real him, his transformation in raw form. Martin Binning has put on planet shifting mass. He’s drawing big names and celebrity types into his orbit now. They’re talking him up. People are asking for his fitness advice. The coach and teacher says that he has been asked to put together training programs for others, but he’s not currently working that angle.

 He met his friend Trey (@itsTreyStevens on YT), who is now in Sacramento, California, back in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Martin says he was living below Trey and his mom. His friend was making a killing selling products online — mostly socks. They met and talked some shit. Now, Trey is working with Martin to help him reach a sustainable point with his Youtube channel. He wants Martin posting every week to both Instagram and Youtube. Martin records these straightforward gritty one take videos when he’s feeling it and then sends them to Trey who cuts them up. They have a plan, and that makes saying no to some things that may seem like incredible opportunities to others, easier to do.

Martin enjoys TV but he is not into reality TV. He finds it to be a turn off for the most part. It’s too fake and dramatic. So when people try to mess with him, it pisses him off. “That ain’t sustainable, I’m sustainable,” he says. Recently, a famous rapper asked him to hold a bottle with him for a promotional photo. This did not go over quite so well with Martin, and I appreciate how he handled it. Some of this Hollywood shit can get out of hand, and it never makes the news because then you’re blacklisted from whatever industry just for maintaining your integrity and telling the truth. The name has been removed as requested by Martin.

“I was supposed to meet fucking [rapper]. So yea I love the guy. But the agreement is, I was supposed to show up, and take a picture of a bottle of alcohol, and shake [rapper’s] hand. And the producer is like, I shouldn’t have to tell you why you should have to show up and meet [rapper]. And I go, I kid of get what you’re saying, but Martin Binning is a real motherfucker, and I just started a channel, and my last 3 videos are telling motherfuckers not to drink. So now you want me to come out and do a picture with [rapper] just because he’s fucking [rapper]? Fuck [rapper]. Fuck his bottle. I don’t give a fuck. Is he gonna pay me? No. This is all publicity for your fucking show.”

Martin goes on to say:

“I’m disappointed. If [rapper] would’ve wanted to come to the gym with me and work out, that would’ve been badass. Ya know? But no, I was supposed to hold his bottle of booze and smile like a dumb little white boy. Nah, I ain’t doing it. Like, I ain’t your fucking puppet. Ya know?”

The influencer has been moving with a different crowd now that he’s moved on from Florida and Wisconsin. I know that finding yourself in a room with big names can change your perspective on life. “I gave Taylor Swift a drink at the Super Bowl. I’m going to Ryan Garcia’s fight. I was hanging out with Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick. I met Ray Lewis,” he says. “I served Jim Harbaugh and his wife, laughing cause I’m from Wisconsin, I said congrats on your Michigan title.” Martin has met Kevin Durant and Paul Rudd but was most impressed when he saw the CEOs of Apple and Google at the party, as they were surrounded by their security teams.

Martin figures that his Youtube channel, or show, is not going to blow up today. He wants to build it up to 100 or more videos first so that people can scroll through and see all of the work that he’s put in on telling his story. He’s talking about overcoming adversity and health in the web series so far, and plans to get more into work out videos. Bro is working with Kim Couture to put together a workout series, which will be filmed at her private gym. He wants to share information, breathing techniques, and film entire workouts. “She’s the smartest trainer I’ve ever been around,” he says. Martin believes in this show concept and stands by it.

“I think you have me, this guy who’s made this incredible transformation already on himself, partnering essentially with one of the best trainers here in Vegas, I think there’s something there.”

Like the motivational speaker David Goggins, he is super intense and passionate, and lost 100 pounds. The contestant on Sin City Makeover admires that Goggins was able to make so much money from telling his story. His show is just going to be on Youtube for now but if somebody wants to pick it up he would be cool with that. Kim’s positivity has motivated Martin and given him a new level of confidence. Others from the show too. Being appreciated by people from that level of monetary success did a lot for Martin’s confidence. Martin feels that his story needs to be heard.

The Midwestern gentleman says he is a humble guy but cocky at times. I like to reference folks to this quote from Nelly on “#1”. He says, “I’m cocky on the mic but I’m humble in real life”. This is how the most talented and authentic rappers are when I meet them in person. They don’t have this certain jealousy ingrained in their psyche like the majority of other emcees do. You can almost see it in their eye — this extra level of empathy and care for their craft. It is truly inspiring and I hear this same type of energy from Martin.

“You got to be delusional to believe in yourself prior to the success, otherwise that success never comes.”

Both quotes speak to the same type of tragically comedic mindset. Martin says that you can step into a space and it could be filled with an air of opportunity, but unless you create some sort of chaos, you won’t be able to cut through the smokescreen. If you come from the gravel, you have to believe in yourself even when others don’t. When other people tell you that you’re doing it wrong, you’re dumb, or hyping yourself up too much, you have to stay strong and committed to your aspirations. You will find no solace in the quick hitters of bitterness and pettiness after you’ve drained away the majority of your life in the name of passive aggression and fake life stories.

Martin references the Muhammad Ali quote, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” He is going all in on social media and I’m here for it. He’s going in on anything that comes to mind and showing his bravery as he navigates through different rooms and levels on his adventure. Martin wants to start a multiple angle workout series within the next 30 days but he wants to keep it real too. The innovative content creator doesn’t want to deviate from the plan and start doing something where he looks to be too uppity.

“There’s an aspect that I want to remain gritty. I want to still be the guy who goes to the gym, just me. I want to like show the grittiness. I want a back and forth, like the gritty dude into the lights, but I don’t want to be a sellout. And I want it to go back and forth, and I want it to be super real, super genuine. I want a 300 pound dude who’s beating his meat, sitting at home, to like believe that it’s real, and that he can become me. I don’t want him to look at me, like I’m wearing makeup and hoity toity, pants Joe. I want him to look at my scuffed up shoes, and I want him to see and feel me, hear me, and be like dude, I don’t want to be a bitch anymore. This guy’s for real. Like, I can do it. You know what I’m saying?”

He doesn’t want to be heard, as putting down somebody else, which stands contrary to the status quo bro code of the time. Bro podcasting may have peaked during Covid but it is still going strong. Martin doesn’t stand with the women bashing Andrew Tate’s of the world or other bro podcasters who need to stand on women or other groups of people to succeed. He wants to look internally, where as most of these other guys in the creator game are obsessed with others’ perceptions of one’s outward appearance, and material possessions. Martin might deter some people by talking about God, and he knows that, but he also won’t be going the way of vulgar asshole towards women.

“I grew up with a really good father that taught me really how to treat women. Yea I’ve slept around a little bit in my life, but I’ve never put my hands on a woman my whole entire life. I can say that no matter how famous I ever got, no woman would ever say I put my hands on them. I don’t talk bad about women, like fuck that stupid bitch, cunt. That’s not my thing. I think women have a lot of issues. I think that social media hurt the dynamics of men and women a lot. But if men want to earn the respect of women back, they need to like invest in themselves, build their bodies, build their confidence, build their businesses, and I think society right now is at an all time low, because so many men-Men have a lot of responsibility for this. They watch so much pornography, they use so much drugs, they drink so much alcohol, they eat all this bullshit food, and they want to go out and get respect from women. And when they don’t, and when they abuse women, and talk down on women, and freak out, it’s because women don’t respect you bro. I don’t have these conflicts really with women usually because women really respect me. They see how hard I work, they see how sober I am, they see my body, and you just command a certain presence when you’re that dude. You don’t deal with these little bitch issues. You know what I’m saying? So I feel like that is a way for young men to regain the respect of women.”

Martin wants to be vulnerable and have others feel some of his pain. He wants you to know that he has battled with God. Showing his scars is important but so is getting in front of the mic. He was Martin on on David D TV as a child, he had his image plastered on the front of the bar by management at BB Jacks, he was guy on all the TV commercials in Wisconsin, and now he’s on this TV show Sin City Makeover, working on his new health and fitness podcast.

“I feel like it would be really selfish if I didn’t share my transformation. It would be really selfish if I just stayed hidden. It would be really selfish if I just came home every night and didn’t work my ass off telling this story. Because this story could save 10 people, 100 people, 1,000 people, I don’t know how many men or women. And I think that is super important, and I think a lot of people are sitting in their homes, trapped, watching TV shows, eating food, and they’re scared to go out into the world. They’re scared to face their fears. They’re scared to be judged. They’re scared that people will have their opinions, and thoughts on them, for your race, for your sex, for gender, or whatever it is. It’s like, nah man. We gotta be bold. We gotta be brave. We gotta step out into the light and be who you are. Or find who you are inside and go on that journey. Be brave and know that it’s going to be ok, as long as you’re true, and sincere, and genuine, and honest, then you don’t have anything to fear. If yea you’re going to step out into the light and be a liar, step out into the light and be a phony, step out into the light and not tell the truth, then yea I guess you should stay home. Take that deep breath, and if you’re willing to step into the light, do it, and really show who you are, and tell your story, man, I think we all owe it to each other to do that.”

6 thoughts on “The Metamorphosis of Martin Binning, Wisconsin to Las Vegas

  1. great read. well written piece. you are always winning with binning! can’t wait to see you skyrocket to $500MM!!! don’t forget about us little guys when you get there 😉

  2. A true inspiration. Thanks for sharing his story. This will help so many people and give them the confidence and inspire them to make change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *