The Lumberjack’s Legacy: The Story of Gregg Rudolph

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” These words by the titular character in Rocky Balboa (2006) are part of one of the most inspirational speeches to ever grace Hollywood screens. And they could not ring any truer than in the life of Gregg Rudolph.

For some, life challenges can be overwhelming and debilitating – while for others, they become stepping stones towards greatness. Rudolph, an extraordinary individual who has battled through countless obstacles, stands as a testament to the determined human spirit. Dive into the remarkable journey of Gregg Rudolph: a now family man, entrepreneur, and professional fighter who defied the odds, conquered adversity and built an empire.

As a young man, Rudolph decided he was never going to settle for an average life. At 19 years old, he chose to attend college and find success taking the traditional route of formal education. However, after just one semester of classes, he realized that path
wasn’t the right fit for him. He didn’t let this deter his ambitions, though. Shortly thereafter in 2002, he took a leap into entrepreneurship, founding a residential and commercial tree removal service, carving out a niche for himself in the industry.

Choosing to handle the more difficult and dangerous commercial jobs that required extra skill, extra resolution, and extra hard work allowed him to charge a premium for his services and make a name for himself in his field. Rudolph’s work ethic, business savvy, and willingness to take risks swiftly catapulted him to millionaire status within a mere three years. His massive success also earned him the nickname “Lumberjack,” a moniker which has stuck to this day.

However, reaching massive financial success at such a young age came with its own set of troubles. His meteoric rise to the top was a double-edged sword; he had simultaneously cut his own path to success and was cut back down to his humble beginnings, when he says he “began to live a life of partying, luxury living, and overindulgence.” At the age of 29, Rudolph was filing for bankruptcy.

He may have been down, but he certainly wasn’t out. As they say in the fighting world, it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get back up. For Rudolph, staying down was not an option. A born fighter, he got up off the canvas, dusted himself off, and started to rebuild his life from scratch.

However, this time the road to success was met with new challenges. In 2008, his daughter Gia was diagnosed with leukemia; this was one fight that he wasn’t sure he was ready for, but a battle that had to be won. For three grueling years Rudolph fought alongside his daughter, combating this merciless disease that became an entire family’s fight for Gia’s life. Rudolph, now financially broke, spiritually devastated, and on the verge of potentially losing his first-born child to cancer, he had reached his emotional breaking point.


His anger, pain, and disbelief started to spiral out of control, and he quickly fell back into a life that he once knew all too well. But this time drinking was no longer about the party: it was now a way to escape his pain. However, in Rudolph’s words, “as the alcohol was consumed the pain only got worse,” and a once happy, free-spirited young millionaire was starting to feel alcohol-induced rage.

This rage led a very strong and fast street fighter into several bar-room brawls.

Once again, he realized he was quickly becoming his own worst enemy. The blueprint that he once had for his life was going up in flames. At this point, Rudolph recognized that he was the only one with the power to change his future and redraw the plan – not only for himself but for his beautiful daughter who still deserved the life that he was always determined to give her.

A dear friend, Rick Borowski, noticed Rudolph’s pain along with the trouble he was getting into, so he made a humble but impactful suggestion – a suggestion that Rudolph now credits with saving his life. Borowski proposed he take the fights out of the bar and into the ring, and that’s exactly what Rudolph did. Stepping into the world of mixed martial arts and boxing – and developing new skills by training with professional fight coaches like Christopher Williams and Matt Leyshock – quickly introduced him to a little thing called humility. This was completely different than the bar-room brawls he had been used to.

“In the world of fighting, I got a reality check in the form of humility. I had to face a hard truth: I needed more discipline than ever if I wanted to survive in that ring. It wasn’t just about flexing muscles, it was about digging deep and humbling myself. In thos moments when my ego took a hit, I discovered something extraordinary: true strength comes from embracing humility and pushing ourselves to the limit. With every punch I took, I learned that being humble is not a sign of weakness but a source of raw power. It’s what fuels us to improve and keeps us on track. Being a warrior isn’t just about physical prowess. It’s about having the discipline to rise above and become the best version of myself.”

While training for his new fighting career, Rudolph got a rare opportunity to purchase Fight Club Pittsburgh, a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. With newfound clarity and a fresh passion for life, he jumped at the opportunity to combine his love for fighting with his entrepreneurial spirit and took the leap to become a gym owner. Rudolph now had a fighting career and a business that he loved.

Taking his ferocity inside the ring earned Rudolph an impressive undefeated amateur and professional record, retiring in 2017 ranked in the top 100 in the world as a super middleweight professional fighter. Unfortunately, the Fight Club didn’t have the same fighting power, and proved not to be a successful venture, despite producing multiple MMA competitors and even UFC world champions. Rudolph found it was a niche business not profitable enough for him to pay his bills. He was now back at square one.

Now in survival mode, Rudolph began to job hunt. He obtained a position at a local car dealership, working in the service department. Later he would transition to their sales department where his personality shined through. This would be a vital moment in his life, unveiling natural skills and abilities that would eventually lead to his financial comeback.

In this new sales position, Rudolph utilized not only his interpersonal skills, but the confidence and resiliency that he built in the ring to quickly become a top earner in the industry. Not succumbing to the “car salesman” stereotype, his genuine desire to be fair with others and be a man of integrity while earning a living for himself was the catalyst for his journey back to success. His drive, ambition, and tenacious mindset was turning heads not just in the auto industry, but across Pittsburgh’s vast business network as

It was during this time that Simon Arias, founder of Arias Agencies and an MMA fight-enthusiast who had been following Rudolph’s fighting career, decided to reach out. The two men became fast friends; they talked fighting, they talked business, and they talked values. Realizing how much they had in common and in admiration of Rudolph’s never-quit attitude, Arias asked Rudolph to join his company. And just as in his previous endeavors, Rudolph took the challenge head-on. Year after year, he has been the recipient of multiple awards in the company, from top producer to company MVP, and in just 5 years has climbed the ranks to serve as a vice president at Arias Agencies, with over 150 people under his sales leadership.

Taking his role in this field a step further, Rudolph also currently sits on the leadership council for Globe Life, a Fortune 500 company and official company of the Dallas Cowboys. In this position, he works alongside some of the best of the best in the insurance industry, using the opportunity to learn, lead, and grow.

Always aware of the importance of adaptability and taking charge, Rudolph decided not to stop at just these initial comeback successes. A true believer in the “go big or go home” mantra, he established another business that has experienced triple-digit growth year after year in the bodybuilding arena. Through his involvement in fighting and bodybuilding, Rudolph co-founded and launched Project 1 Nutrition with friends (and one of his first fight sponsors), Patrick Williams and Zach Williams.

Project 1 Nutrition is now exclusive to GNC and is sold in 50 countries and over 6,000 stores across the world. With Olympic Gold Medalist wrestling champion and WWE legend Kurt Angle representing his brand, Project 1 has lit the supplement scene on fire and has put his company on the world stage with some of the biggest companies in the world. Projections show Project 1 on a fast track to become a quarter-billion-dollar company as one of GNC’s hottest new brands to hit the market.

But once again, Rudolph didn’t stop there. He has expanded his business assets to include laser car washes – named Lumberjack Carwash as a nod to his very first entrepreneurial endeavor – as well as a portfolio of commercial real estate through another of his companies, Gregg Rudolph Enterprises, LLC. And still, he continues to seek new avenues for growth and success.

This impressive and ever-growing list of accomplishments might inflate the ego of many individuals who have achieved such success. However, Rudolph remains a shining example of humility and gratitude. Despite the setbacks he faced and the heights he has reached, he continues to embody a grounded and appreciative attitude towards his achievements. Rather than letting success define him, Rudolph acknowledges the role of resilience, support, and opportunity in his journey. His humility serves as a reminder that true success is not just measured by material wealth or professional accolades, but by the strength of character and the gratitude one holds for the journey they have undertaken.

When we asked Rudolph the true secret to his success, he offered this advice: “Find your reason “why”. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Start by removing the naysayers from your life. Remember that the conventional route is not the only route. Surround yourself with motivated, like-minded people who all share a positive and high-performance vision for the future. Forget about partying and stay away from people who refuse to evolve. Work hard to take care of the people you love because family is everything.”

In 2016, Gregg married his wife Kendal – who he describes as his best friend and soulmate. As a loving husband and father, Rudolph doesn’t have to look very far to find his “why.” His beautiful wife and three lovely children Giavanna, Gregory Jr., and Gabriella inspire him to keep striving for continued improvement.

Today, Gregg Rudolph stands tall as an inspiration to those who have faced insurmountable odds. His unparalleled determination and relentless pursuit of success remind us that adversity is merely an opportunity for growth. As Rudolph himself emphasizes, “when you wake up in the morning, you better start running. Because in business, if you’re not running it, it doesn’t run.” His life journey serves as a poignant reminder that we have the power to shape our own destinies, no matter the challenges we face.

As we look to his incredible journey, let us be reminded that with resilience, passion, and the will to succeed, we too can overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds that life throws our way. In the words of Gregg Rudolph: “keep pressing forward, trust in God, and never give up no matter how bad it seems.”

Follow Gregg on Instagram @thegreggrudolph and @project1nutriton

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