Chad Church

Why do we fall?

So we can learn to pick ourselves up. 

In his mid-20s, Chad Church was essentially a functioning alcoholic and had ballooned to over 500 pounds. 

“I was drinking all the time and eating anything in sight,” Chad remembers. “Life was just blowing by.”

He had been in all the different commercial gyms, gone to all the "trainers" and classes, and tried all the diets, but it was just a go-through-the-motion type of activity. He didn’t feel a personal connection with someone who wanted to help him. 

“Nothing stuck with me,” Chad said. “Then I heard about the Pat Tillman race when I moved to Arizona and he was so inspiring, I knew I had to give it a shot. We formed a team and called ourselves ‘Fat and Furious’ because one of the guys was a marathon runner and, let’s face it, I was just the fat kid. The race is 4.2 miles long and the first year I did the race it took me almost 80 minutes to complete. I was going as fast I could and was just in pain the entire way. When I got to the finish line, I looked at one of my friends and simply said, ‘I don't want to be the fat kid anymore.’”

Knowing he needed to make a life change, and that he’s always loved boxing and MMA, Chad figured the only way to get healthy is to give a boxing/MMA gym a shot. If that didn’t work, Chad was prepared to just sit around and wait to die.

“I took a tour and APEMAN Ryan Bader was in the middle of training,” Chad said. “He stopped his workout to welcome me into the gym and told me it was a family environment. I couldn’t believe a famous athlete would do that. I signed up on the spot.”

Chad needed a gym where they actually caredabout you and your goals and they understood that not everyone is a one-size-fits-all type of person. He started working with a trainer and with groups of people who ranged from top-level athletes to just regular men and women. He became addicted. 

“I still remember my first workout,” Chad said. “I was literally ducking under a bar that was set to about a foot lower than I was tall and I was stepping up on a box that was the smallest in the gym. Needless to say this turned into an addiction of its own and eventually I started doing things like powerlifting and running hill sprints with the athletes on Saturday morning instead of being hungover and dead to the world.”

Overall, in a relatively short period of time, Chad dropped around 150 – 170 pounds. He’s even started heavy bag training and Brazilian jujitsu. He’s also done a podcast called Listen Up Don't Give Up (LUDGU), and if you google “300-pound mountain climber” he is the first and only video that shows up. 

“I want people to understand that just because you don't look like the other people in class, in the gym, on the street, or whatever that you can still try,” he said. “People will tell you that you shouldn't be doing something but there might be that one person or one event that tells you that maybe, just maybe, you should at least give it a try. That changed my life.”

Chad knows that the journey is full of ups and downs; maybe this next time he’ll hit his goal, or maybe he’ll get knocked down again and have to pick himself back up. Whatever comes his way, he’ll face it head on.

“I love APEMAN because they don’t believe everyone should wear size smedium and exclude their bigger clientele,” Chad said. “That inspired me. You just never know where inspiration could come from; it could be a simple little conversation, a huge event or a lifelong interest, but the key is finding something that keeps you elevated even when you are down, hurt or just plain out of it. 

“APEMAN has done that for me.”