About The Man

THE Rich Massa

Rich Massa is a coach, speaker, author and creator of The Shock System. He is best known for coaching people on increased personal performance who exclusively works with men to achieve what they want with unstoppable energy and drive.

Interested in learning more about his journey? Read below.

Chunky Jehovah’s Witness
Once upon a time, in a small, tough Catholic town in Jersey City, New Jersey, was my great, but dysfunctional Italian family made up of my introverted father, extroverted mother, wonderful sister and our grandparents. My parents decided to raise us as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I loved food and it showed so much that I looked like “Chunk” from the Goonies. As you may have guessed I was, clearly, the most popular kid in school (insert sarcastic voice).

 

My life changed at the age of 13 when my dad bought an old-school cement weight set and put it in the attic. It felt like it was calling me and I got very curious. I sat on the bench, touched the bar and a shock hit my body. I knew I was meant to use this and prove to myself that I can be like, or even better, than the people that constantly made me feel different. I think every kid goes through that.

As I worked out, my confidence grew and after graduating high school, I realized that my faith was not for me. We couldn’t date, yet I loved girls, and the things I wished to explore were not allowed in the church. I was at that age where curiosity controls your life. My parents were not happy about this and tried to stop it from surfacing, but I was slowly getting attracted to the forbidden side of life.

Hey Mr. DJ!!
At 19, my family moved to Florida, but I stayed back and became a motivational dancer for a DJ company. You know that cheesy guy at one of your family’s party that won’t let you sit and mingle and makes you do the electric slide? Yeah, that was me.

Basically, I was hired to dance at Sweet 16s, weddings and bar mitzvahs. My job was to get people up and dance. I LOVED IT! It was fun to express myself physically and I had a knack for getting people to have fun. Yet still, deep down, I was not satisfied. I wanted something bigger.

Move over "Magic Mike"
When I was 23, I moved to Florida with my family. An opportunity to be a male dancer for the Florida’s Suncoast Calendar Men came up. I auditioned and got in. It felt like that person fighting to get out all these years was finally taking shape. What I loved was we weren’t “stereotypical strippers”. We were a performance group with a studio, choreographers, skits and dance routines. We travelled all over the Southeast five days a week entertaining audiences up to 500 women.

The group was phenomenal with some of the most talented men I have ever met and I finally found a place where I fit in. We worked as a team, bonded like brothers, lived to see the world. Some of the guys are my best friends to this day.

Of course, my confidence went through the roof and that thirst to understand that forbidden side of life was being satisfied. This was my “college experience” and I learned more about men and women that you can possibly imagine. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I can tell.

After about five years, I left the group because we weren’t growing and I didn’t want to be a 30-year-old stripper without a plan. I went to school for computer networking, bartended part time and dated someone in the industry.

(Yes, a female dancer you, pervert.)

But then…

Crash!
Then something happened that would change the course of my life forever.

One night, at the age of 28, I was driving to my girlfriend’s house after she won a bikini contest. Out of nowhere – BOOM! – a drunk driver hit me head on. I woke up to the rescue team cutting me out with the Jaws of Life; the sound of rain on metal, a mix of blood and rain dripping down my face. Shattered glass was everywhere. I could see my kneecap. MY FRIGGIN’ KNEECAP! So many bones were broken and it was not pretty.

My first question when I woke up was, “When can I go back into the gym?” Obviously it wasn’t anytime soon. My body was broken but not my spirit. I asked my girl to break up with me, because I knew it would be a long road to recovery but she wouldn’t. I looked around and all my family and friends were crying and scared. I knew even though I was hurt, I had to be the strong one and assure them that everything will be ok, even though I wasn’t sure it would be. Deep down, I was scared, but I couldn’t show it.

It took 11 surgeries to rebuild me. The doctors had to put so much metal in me that if you saw my x-ray, you’d see that I looked like a damn Terminator.

A New Path
Looking back, I realize that was the moment life was setting me on the right path. It allowed me to discover what I’m really made of. I truly believe the human spirit is unbreakable.

I could barely move for months and eventually looked like I had never worked out a day in my life. The man who could at one time make 500 women stand on their feet screaming, now looked like a shadow of his former self. I admit sometimes I had trouble looking at myself in the mirror.

Totally ignoring my doctors, I tried to work out as soon as I physically could. I swear I wouldn’t last 17 minutes in the military. Once the cast on my arm came off I tried to do push-ups and only got 3. Only 3?

But then…

As I was recovering, I saw one of the guys I performed with training people at the gym. I always wanted to be a fitness trainer so I asked him how he got started. I used my tax returns to get the two certifications he had and studied my ass off! Even though I passed the tests, I was still using a cane, but I walked into that health club and convinced them to hire me.

A month later, I proposed to my girlfriend knowing I would be successful at this new path and I was. I became one of their top trainers getting five national certifications, won top producer in the area five times and broke the area record in sales. Everything was going great!

Until…

The Break-Up
Unfortunately, that’s when the trauma of all that happened finally set in. The pain of the surgeries still lingered, pain medication didn’t help and I kept getting infections. It was hard for me to get back into shape. My self-value dwindled and I didn’t realize then like I do now that my self-image was shattered.

My wife and I started growing apart. I didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship because my own life experience didn’t give me the right tools for it. So naturally, our relationship was going to crap.

We ended up getting a divorced and I was crushed.

But then…

A New Beginning
It was time to start over again, so I picked up the pieces and moved to Orlando with my best friend, Jim, to rebuild my life. I transferred to the top-producing location of the company.

Then, it all hit me, like the drunk driver on that horrible night. I suddenly felt the heavy weight of the demons that were with me for so long: my childhood, all of the things I saw in the male dancing world, losing everything of myself from the accident and the shame I felt in divorce. It was time to rebuild areas of my life I thought I had lost, including my confidence, self-image and my worth.

I used humor to deal with my situation. When people asked, “Oh wow what happened to your leg?!” I’d say, “I was surfing in Australia during tsunami season and I got bit by a great white hammerhead. I got away by tearing out its eye – so if you think this is bad, you should see the shark.” (I don’t care what you say, that’s funny).

I started using growth hormones and testosterone to get my body and confidence back. I wasn’t proud of it. But it gave me a taste of what I felt like before my accident and it somehow killed the infections so I didn’t need the prescriptions anymore. But it wasn’t real, it was a Band-Aid on a shark bite and it wouldn’t last forever.

Then…

Father's Time
After a few years, the fitness industry started changing. I learned everything I wanted to learn there and because of my Jersey mouth, I had a write-up folder three inches thick.

It was time to take a leap and start my own thing or eventually get fired. Both were fine with me so I told them to go screw themselves. I left and started my own personal training business and a small bootcamp with a Zumba instructor. My leg was doing better so I decided to do a photo shoot for a charity. Life was getting pretty good and I started to feel like myself again.

Up until…

I lost my father after a long battle to colon cancer in October 2012. While we were all expecting it to happen eventually, it didn’t make his passing any less painful. He was my drive and motivation to accomplish great things. I always wanted to a make him proud of me and now he was gone. I was at a loss. You feel numb after something like that happens and I was getting tired of being numb.

Journey to the Mountain
I needed to get away. In December 2012, I literally went to a mountain to reflect what I wanted to make out of my life. I figured if the Mayans were right and the world was going to end, the mountains were the safest place to be anyway. I began asking myself, “Am I being tested? Is there reason these things were happening to me?!”

After a lot of personal reflection, journaling and meditation, I came back enlightened and with purpose. I had found my footing. It was like Moses going to the mountains to get the Ten Commandments, but I came back with the MASSAmendments.

I FELT LIKE I WAS ON FIRE!! The new and redefined me started iBootcamp, a place where I helped people become champions. I hosted workshops on nutrition and I programmed team workouts. My mission was to get people in the best physical shape possible to build their confidence and I was damn good at it.

During this time, though, I got into yet another unhealthy, emotional relationship with a married woman. It took this to help me recognize the one common denominator in all of these issues I’ve had: Me! I decided not to date or have a relationship until I figured this shit out.

I embarked on an intense journey of figuring out who I am. I practiced Buddhism to give me a spiritual blueprint and became very close with my family. I read books on leadership, Law of Attraction, the sub-conscious mind, watched hours of videos on religion and attraction between men and women. I trained in CrossFit, Jiu-Jitzu and competed in events to challenge myself physically. I didn’t want to become dogmatic about any one discipline. I also ditched anything unhealthy including the hormones.

I started applying my leadership and personal development skills into my business and it started to grow fast! In a record time, I rented two locations, coached over 500 people, convinced many of them to do obstacle course races to overcome their fears, and mentored several people to coach and start their own bootcamp.

But then…

Goodbye, Mom
My mom had severe mental illness and attempted suicide October 2014, exactly two years after my dad passed. Three weeks later, she left this world because she didn’t want to be a burden on her children anymore. Losing both parents at such a young age made me feel like an adult orphan. My sister and I were crushed but became closer than ever. She, my best friend Jim and, of course, my dogs were my rock.

Her death hit me hard. The night I got home from her passing, I drank a whole bottle of whiskey and lost control. I threw the bottle across the room, broke a glass painting, punched holes in the wall, flipped the couches and passed out. When I woke up and witnessed the destruction I caused, I looked around and said, “Well…looks like I was pretty upset last night.”

I felt like a punching bag. Just one of these traumatic events can break a person and I went through four traumatic events in a little more than a decade. I was exhausted and lost passion for my business so I let myself mourn and heal. Remember, I am unbreakable, and so are you. I truly believe that in my heart.

And now…

Rise from the Ashes
After reflecting on the trials I faced, and mourning the death of my parents, it made me realize that I am mortal and didn’t want to die without truly living. We define ourselves by overcoming our struggles and the pain from it will raise your game.

Two years later, it was time to get to work! I started studying, dieting and training harder than ever. I expanded my disciplines of philosophy and began learning public speaking at Toastmasters. I came out of male dancing hiatus for a short time to ELECTRIFY the stage yet again so I can complete the final steps back to the confidence I once had.

By the way, even though I’ve had 11 surgeries because of that accident, I can still dance like a motherf****r!

The journey was complete and I felt more powerful than ever before. The search for the next step began by asking myself, “What was this all for?” Then a small voice in my head said, “This was your training.” I fell to my knees, broke down and cried. THAT WAS IT! It was all training for this!

For a moment, I got angry at whatever you call “God”, the universe, or life itself but after we had a talk, we came to an understanding that through this painstaking process a new path was before me. It is to use my story and share the lessons I learned so other people can find their personal power like I did. To use my gift of being on stage and coach others so we can learn to love the true assholes we really are, and embrace it.

Come with me, won’t you?
I am THE Rich Massa.
Healing time is over, people. So get ready for a ride!