Saturday, July 15, 2017

Valued Voices #4 - Chris Ruden

Last week at the Friends for Life conference, I had the pleasure of seeing Chris Ruden speak. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing him for you guys. He is one of the most incredible people I've had the chance to meet, and I hope you find his words as inspiring as I do.

So first, I just wanted to start of by saying hi. Second, I wanted to tell you that it was amazing seeing you speak at the conference, and also wanted to thank you for doing this little interview with you.

I’ll start by letting you introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about what you do.

Chris: My name is Chris Ruden, and I am probably the only 7 fingered, diabetic, disabled, powerlifter, motivational speaker, and online fitness and nutrition consultant that you know. And if not, that other person is lying, because that is definitely only me.

So I train people from all around the world. I’m also a powerlifter, getting into bodybuilding, modelling and all kinds of stuff, and I speak professionally.

Do you find that your childhood was different from other kids because of being “different”?

Chris: Absolutely. 100%. I had to grow up quicker than most, you know, mentally. I had to learn how to be okay with what people say, and how to choose my reactions wisely. So, a lot of it was was the mental burden of being different, even though everyone is different. Being physically, or seen as different, it kind of just forces you to understand that everyone’s different. I don’t think that it was necessarily a bad thing. Some of the stuff I went through really sucked. But I think it was a necessity for me to become who I am. Because I’m a big believer that a lot of people don’t experience enough pain in their life to make a change, or to do something, so they just kind of coast in this purgatory of a life where it’s not good enough to change. It’s not good enough, it’s not where they want to be, but it’s not bad enough to change so they’re just coasting.

I’m curious, were you powerlifting before you were diagnosed with Type 1, or did you only start after your diagnosis?

Chris: I started after I was diagnosed with Diabetes (at 19). So I was hitting the gym here and there, you know, it wasn’t until Diabetes that I made the full-on commitment to fitness. And I was going to be a lawyer. Until I got diagnosed with Diabetes. So I made an entire life change because of my diagnosis, which is why I stand by that whole message, “Sometimes the obstacle in the path, becomes the path.” What happens to you is the right path. Lots of people think that it’s screwing up their dreams and their goals, but sometimes you have to be realigned with what you need to do in life. And sometimes what you need to do in life is become an advocate for your condition, or an advocate for what happens with you.

When you started powerlifting, was there a learning curve to to making sure that you didn’t go too low or too high? Or were you already kind of used to that because of going to the gym?

Chris: I was already kind of used to it but I didn’t know it played that big of a factor until I had a really bad low, and it screwed up my whole workout and I was like, “Okay, well that can’t happen.” Then I had a bad high and and I was like, “Well that can't happen either,” so I kind of developed these lines of moderation. And it was through experience. It probably would have been smarter if I knew about it before, but definitely, you learn in the process. So now when I teach people, I kind of help them with that.

Can you describe one, or some of your clients that have really left an impact on your life?

Absolutely. I have a few that come to mind. The first one was David, the 11 year old with Cerebral Palsy. He couldn’t really walk straight, and in a few months he was running on the beach. Not perfectly, but he was running. He was just so positive and giving up wasn't even an option. For most people it is, but for him it just wasn’t. He was 11 years old and he had a better mindset than people I know double, triple, quadruple his age.

Another lady was an 85 year old woman named Shirley, she relapsed from cancer twice. She could barely get up out of a chair when she came into my office. Within a few months, she was like, standing up and pushing weights over her head, and she wrote a letter to the gym saying “Chris gave me my life back at 85 years old.”

Another was a Type 1 named Taylor. In three months she lost 21 pounds with Type 1 Diabetes, and she went to show people that weight loss is possible. Losing body fat is possible, even with insulin, and all these other issues that happen, and all this. So every client I work with, I get pretty personal with. And I love to see them progress as far as they’re willing to take themselves. I don’t believe that there’s an ideal body. I don’t believe that there’s an ideal physique, or an ideal strength. It’s personal for everyone. I’m just here to help.

Chris and David

We all want to know, what is your favourite low snack?

Oh, Frosted Mini Wheats 100%. I absolutely love Frosted Mini Wheats, but it is also the worst low snack, because I can overeat the crap out of them.

We all know that no one can be positive 100% of the time, but you seem to do a pretty good job at it. How do you lift yourself up when you catch yourself starting to feel down?

Chris: So, I’m not a big believer in the whole positivity thing. I’m more of a realist. And in being a realist, you understand that being negative doesn’t help. Even in a crappy situation. You wreck your car, and something happens. It happened. You can’t fix it, and being negative, crying, doing all this other stuff, isn’t going to help. So what can I do to help? Well, I can start thinking of the things that are going to help me and move forward from here. We have the ability to control our reactions to things. That’s the one thing we can always control. We can’t control anything else. We can always control our reactions. Sometimes it’s hard, yes, but we can. And that’s just constantly in the back of my head all the time.

Do you have a favourite motto?

Chris: I have a few. The one I created for my own business is “Limitations are self-imposed.” You create your own crap. And if you want to live in it, that’s your choice. Also, “You teach best what you need to learn most,” is definitely a big push for me. And Michael Jordan spoke, “I hate losing, more than I love winning.”

Which social media platform is your favourite to raise awareness?

Chris: Instagram. Definitely Instagram.

You can find Chris on Instagram @chrisruden, on Facebook here, or at his website,

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