Battered, bruised, dejected, broken and failed! These are few adjectives you would refer yourself with, if by the age of 38, you lived in a car, had two failed marriages, had 4 kids but you could not meet them, because of court orders and had no real identity. Add to it, bad fitness, out of shape body and there is literally nothing that is going right in your life.
But not for Keith Rocheville!
Overcoming all these obstacles in life, and turning into an aspiring MMA fighter, Keith is one man I would look up to, when it comes to taking inspirations in life. Over-awed by his story that I read on internet, I decided to try and get an interview with him, which he duly obliged me with. And here we are, with an exclusive chit-chat on www.stylerug.net with Keith Rocheville, covering on various topics of his life.
SV: Hi Keith, thanks for talking to us. It’s a fantastic feeling to interview you for our readers. For those who do not know you, please tell us a bit about you. Where you are from, about memories from childhood and your aspirations from early life!
KR: I grew up in New Jersey outside NYC. I’m the youngest of five children. Three brothers and a sister! I always wanted to play a professional sport of some kind, but life had its own twists and turns to make.
SV: Your story is very inspiring, to which we will at in detail later in the interview. For now, tell us, how was your early teen life? Were you a dedicated worker in life, or you took it as it came?
KR: When I was 18-20, I was somewhat listless young man searching for my place in this life. I took a bus to St. Louis when I was 20 to try and start a life for myself. I was married at 21 and worked as an electrician and a security guard.
SV: What happened after marriages(s) not working out? I am aware that you shifted back with your parents. Tell us about those days!
KR: Actually, my first marriage ended after 4 short years and I have two sons with her. But at 25 I was starting all-over again. Those were tough days, as I lived in my car and struggled a great deal. When I was 28, I met my second wife and we also had two children. A girl and a boy! We bought a big house and life seemed to be moving forward. But after 10 years of her infidelity and around 30 attempts by her to call police and get me removed from my own house, things got ugly. Not once was a charge ever filed, and she really abused the system there.
SV: How difficult is it for one to take money from parents at an age of 38. Of course, I can sense the feeling that it gives, but to you as a person, did it make you strong in anyway?
KR: Man, I would literally borrow $5 from my ma and walk to the local drug store. At 38 I was feeling pretty pathetic. I really wanted to just crawl in a hole, which I did basically, for 3 months or so. I don’t know if it made me strong, but it definitely embarrassed me to the point where I didn’t want that to be my legacy- Failure!
SV: How did you come to the decision about hitting the gym? Was it a difficult choice, considering you were approaching 40 and had no permanent job to go with it?
KR: The people I stay with were training to be amateur wrestlers, and I originally began working with these young men. A fateful trip to Philadelphia and the Rocky statue got us into using the wrestling ring to box instead.
SV: Take us through your workout routine. How did you start and what was the regime. Who planned it for you?
KR: We began just with body weight exercises and brisk walks of two miles or so. We used a park playground to do pull-ups and bench hops and I would just find different things to keep some variety. But the main idea was to strengthen my back and legs as they were affected from being broken. I am diagnosed with stenosis, although I do not know to what extent!
This causes some nerve issues in my left leg. At one point I had drop foot, which basically means- my leg below the knee wouldn’t respond to any muscle commands. I thought I would be like that for life.
SV: Losing almost 32 kgs in one year and removing all that fat, what kept you going day in and day out? How did you manage your expenses, considering body building can be expensive?
KR: What kept me going was seeing the results. After a month or so, I began to see quite a change. However I had lost quite a bit of weight prior to beginning working out because I literally didn’t have enough money to eat very well. The people I stay with live in a communal way, so if we all work we all eat and pay for a roof over our head. There wasn’t much money in the work we were doing, but we all were getting by just barely. But we were using places in the park as a workout and mopping-up after the wrestlers to use their ring.
SV: What kind of workout did you get involved into? Was it more towards body weight training or lifting weight or a mix of both?
KR: Once I was working a better job, I began to go to a regular gym. Three days maybe 4 a week and I still ran every morning. About 2 1/2miles daily. I don’t lift huge weights, probably not what you would think of. I prefer to stay lean and not add too much bulk. At 6’0 and fighting at 145 lbs, I’m incredibly strong and faster too. So my goal is just for strength and endurance, but I do bulk-up quickly as well. I’ve been 165 a couple of times this year. As I get older, I don’t want to really add mass to my frame now. I’m just getting used to my body again.
SV: How about your food? What kind of diet plan was and are you on right now?
KR: I eat a gluten-free diet, lots of protein; eggs, chicken, pork and I rarely eat beef. Greek yogurt and peanut butter and nuts (any kind of, but I love peanuts in a shell and almonds). Some fruit like strawberries and blueberries, oh and apples. Basically if it’s clean unprocessed food made from corn or rice, as opposed to wheat. It’s not as complicated as it seems. I can order loaded nachos in a barroom and they’re pretty much not going to hurt my diet. And I love to cook.
SV: And then MMA happened? Talk us through that!
KR: Just had an opportunity to get into the sport and it wasn’t what I was training for. However, I always admired the guys who did it and the sport itself. I can’t think of anything more challenging and real. “Two men enter, one man leaves!” Is what I needed to bring myself alive! Sometimes, a man must reach down inside and find out what he is made of. And I had nothing to lose, which makes me the most dangerous of all. It was a positive place to channel all that I was dealing with.
SV: You lost your first fight, but I must congratulate you for the courage that showed, especially in sewing back your broken body. Were you scared getting into that cage with a pro-fighter? Scared for your life may be?
KR: Well, not for my life, but if you’re not afraid, how can you ever be brave? To be honest, I was excited. I knew I was capable and strong, I had 3 years of pent up emotion to let fly. After losing though I did kind of chide myself and ask what I thought I was doing. But I met my coach and began an MMA class soon after and after my first session there was no doubt in my mind that I belonged.
SV: Do you have any plans to open your own fitness centre or something like that?
KR: That had been a thought. There are so many though. First I would need to become certified in some way. But I do think I could effectively help people who wanted to make a change. I like to think the proof is in the pudding, I do feel like I know what works. But I also know my way is one of many. What matters in fitness is consistency, even when you don’t have the best energy, you have to get up and get yourself in motion.
SV: If you could rewind your life and make some changes to it. What would that be, and why
KR: I can’t say how much I would change, except not try and save my house and pay my child support so I had a license. That one thing has impacted my life in every way. But as far as my life goes, I’ve really had some great people in my life, even if they aren’t with me now, but I loved and I lost and I have four great kids and I’m pretty sure I know who I am and I’ve grown to like myself.
SV: What is next for Keith in life? A re-union with your kids would make it worth all, isn’t it?
KR: I’ve been trying for 3 years to see my kids. It is purely a matter of finances and I don’t have $37,000 to pay. I can barely pay my phone bill sometimes. I’ve never really recovered. I’m 40 and I have a couple bags of clothes to my name. I have been a good dad, the family court here in the US is significantly broken, as they make no effort to keep both parents in children’s lives. It is strange how one parent always has to prove they are good enough to be a parent, even after a divorce. The court rewards those who are good at playing games, not those who genuinely love their kids and would co-parent accordingly.
We would be publishing the complete workout schedule of Keith Rocheville in our next post, so stay tuned to it to know his training secrets, right here, exclusively on StyleRug.
My thoughts: We all make mistakes in life, but what matters is – what we learn out of them. For Keith, he has turned his life upside down, in order to become a better man and more so a better dad, than he was couple of years back. He is already in touch with a television network for a reality show and been offered a movie. To make changes in his life at this stage is not only inspirational to other dads of his age, but even for people like me who have faced their own fitness issues in life.
I was diagnosed with a broken disc in my spine, 4 1/2 years back with surgery adviced as the only option – two plates and four screws to be put in my back to re-shape my broken structure, but after looking at his pictures, and then after talking to Keith, I have hit gym again and started mild workout to make sure that I get back in my best possible shape.
Ironically though, he still is barred from visiting his kids from both (ex) wives and has to raise approximately USD 37,000 to be able to pay for child care and seek further legal assistance.
Though he never asked me to write this, but I still am – If anyone of you would like to help Keith in anyway to make sure that he is able to hold his children back into his arms, then do get in touch with us and we will connect you to Keith. You can also directly get in touch with him via his Facebook Profile.
– Sandeep Verma