As a kid, Charlie bought his very first stocks in Nike. He had always loved Nike for as long as he could remember. He felt they were a true “inspiration company” – motivating athletes, motivating people to become athletes.
“Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a Nike athlete,” said Charlie “but I was the chubby kid. It didn’t feel like I could be an athlete, so I put everything I had into business, and I got good at it. I had everything you could ever have in business, but I didn’t have my health”
Recalling his childhood dream of becoming an athlete, the newly transformed “Charlie Rocket” set his sights squarely on Nike. He asked himself, “What do Nike athletes have?” Well, for one thing, commercials. So he decided to make one. He produced a video, explicitly calling out the brand and even leaving a place for their logo to jump on board as a sponsor.
Charlie published the video on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It wasn’t long before it caught Nike’s attention, circumventing the traditional agency route and simply supplying authentic consumer-valued content.
— Nike (@Nike) February 7, 2018
After catching Nike’s attention, Charlie was flown to the Nike campus in Portland, foreshadowing what would be a continued relationship as part of the family. As someone who inspired them so much, they wanted to empower him to keep inspiring others. Through his relationship with Nike, Charlie’s aligned himself with additional Nike influencers such as Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams, and Lebron James. Influencers who, like him, dared enough to dream crazy.
“They put me in what I believe is the most culturally shifting ad campaign of all-time,” said Charlie
“It’s just an honor to be in it. I love it. It’s so inspirational. It’s talking about the crazy dreamers of the world, and that’s all I am. I’m one of the crazy dreamers. So thank you, Nike.”
Reversed Brain Tumor Through Plant Based Diet
A life-long junk food addict, Charlie had swelled to over 300 pounds by the age of 29. He had tried countless diets, but always gained the weight right back — plus a little extra. He even began running, completing three marathons with his best friend Scott. But, due to rewarding those training sessions with shame-inducing binges, Charlie continued to pack the pounds and his health rapidly declined. A brain tumor he had lived with since childhood started growing. It began to wrap around Charlie’s carotid artery and left optic nerve, with doctors telling him it could corrode the top of his spinal cord. Charlie needed to fix the root of his problem – his relationship with food and stress.
“And that was the point that I knew everything in my life had to change because I felt like I was facing an early death,” he says. “I went back, and I walked away from the music industry, completely. I said, ‘I’m going to follow my dream and be an athlete.’
He started with his eating.
“Meat was 80% of every meal,”
So, he asked himself what turned out to
be a life-changing question.
“If you are what you eat, is what I’m eating dead or alive?”
– Charlie remembers
That’s when Charlie decided to go vegan. His gut was telling him that the imbalance was the way he was eating all these years, all the processed foods, all the meat from the ketogenic diets he put himself on. He would literally go years and barely eat fruits or vegetables.
Charlie needed to heal
himself at the root.
“I wanted to consume things that are alive, and full of energy,” he says. “So, I shifted away from “dead” food, and I became plant-based.”
Charlie also learned about calorie density. Instead of dieting and restricting what he could eat, he found out what he could eat a ton of all the time! He learned that 1 cup of walnuts is equivalent to eight sweet potatoes. So he stuffed himself with sweet potatoes to lose weight. By visualizing the abundance that would come into his life when he lost weight, he pulled himself out of the scarcity mindset of focusing on what he couldn’t have, and finally learned how to heal himself at the root.
Weighing over 300 pounds, Charlie Jabaley had tried to lose the weight several times without success. One of his tactics was trying to run the weight off after being challenged to a marathon by his best friend Scott. Three marathons later, the weight wasn’t the only thing that was creeping back on; a lifelong brain tumor had started to grow, wrapping itself around his coronary artery and left optic nerve. He needed a bold solution—one that would guarantee the lifestyle change he so desperately needed to survive. Enter IRONMAN.
“I wanted to do something that was so bold, that when I told people I was doing it, I had no choice but to do it,” Charlie said. “I needed something that would push me so far that I had no choice but to reinvent my life.” He chose the IRONMAN New Zealand for the occasion in March of 2018, in part because of its beautiful countryside.
In the recap of his race experience, Charlie describes the moment he learned he was in last place on the bike and in danger of missing the cut-off to begin the run. Making it just barely into the last leg of the race, the once sauntering Jabaley (he literally danced his way to T1) struggled to find the strength to high-five his supporters along the way. He was hitting the wall. “When you’re at that wall, sometimes it isn’t just in front of you, it’s all around you,” he says. But rock bottom was just what he needed to rise up and conquer his ultimate challenge. He pulled through for a finishing time of 16:41 hours, just under the 17-hour cutoff.
With his first IRONMAN under his belt (a tighter belt these days due to losing 125 pounds since inking that contract with himself), Charlie has a renewed sense in himself and his purpose. “I don’t miss my old life,” he says of his days as a music exec. “I had a big business and I made a lot of money, but it was the extreme of working hard. I didn’t go partying. I was dealing with food addiction and anxiety. I wasn’t in a good place. With IRONMAN, I just applied that extreme to my health—to something better for me. My goal was to finish and to show the world that a regular guy could finish an IRONMAN.”
Charlie Jabaley has always been into business, and an avid entrepreneur at heart. But, despite all the characters he’s developed throughout his life, Charlie loves humanity and making the world a better place. He’s not big on showcasing what he does for other people, but he’s always been there helping others, even when he couldn’t help himself. This was made clear when he and 2 Chainz were so successful with their “Dabbin Santa” Christmas sweaters back in 2015, that the following year they launched the line again but had the proceeds worked into something called the “T.R.U. Foundation.” Through this 2 Chainz worked to give a large portion of the proceeds to a variety of charitable causes like homeless veterans, disabled children, and education programs.
In early 2017 when Charlie made the decision to live the second half of his life as Charlie “Rocket,” he left behind his business and his hometown of Atlanta and his mission became one that transformed 1 million people’s lives. While he’s been doing that through his story alone, he’s also made sure to help out a few others in personal ways. Starting with the Dream Machine tour, when he and his best friend Scott Cameron biked across America looking to give back and ignite others dreams along the way. Charlie met Rose Esparaza in Phoenix, who was battling breast cancer and working as an Elementary teacher’s aide. Charlie teamed up with Vero and paid off her mortgage, covered her medical bills, and bought her a new car. Then Charlie met 19-year-old Sionna Brenn, who was working at a Starbucks to support herself after escaping an abusive foster home situation. Charlie surprised her with a new car to be able to get to college where she had a scholarship waiting at the University of Texas. Charlie even brought his philanthropic efforts back to his hometown of Atlanta, in an effort to get the culture to be more active Charlie gave away 305 pairs of Nike running shoes over the course of one weekend.
Dream Machine Tour Bike Across America
CHARLIE JABALEY’S DREAM MACHINE BIKE TOUR ACROSS AMERICA WAS INSPIRED BY HIS OWN STORY OF PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION. THE TOUR SEES CHARLIE BIKING ACROSS AMERICA TO IMPACT LIVES BY GIVING BACK AND IGNITING DREAMS ALONG THE WAY.
- Stopping off in Phoenix, Charlie met Rose Esparaza, a teacher’s aide at Desert Mirage Elementary School, who is currently battling breast cancer. Despite having no paid leave, large medical bills and an uncertain financial future, Rose continues to put her students first. Moved by her courage and dedication to her students, Charlie and Vero wanted to help take some of the pressure off her, so – unbeknownst to Rose – Charlie and Vero paid off her entire mortgage, covered her medical bills and bought her a new car.
- Sionna Brenn, 19, moved to the US from Ethiopia when she was nine, and was placed in an abusive foster home. She managed to leave the family and move, but was declared homeless. An honor student working at Starbucks to support herself, Sionna received a scholarship to the University of Texas, but had no way to get there. Charlie surprised was her at work with a brand new car so she can get to college.
- Charlie visited his hometown of Atlanta to inspire a cultural shift to get the city active. He gave away hundreds of pairs of NIKE running shoes – 305 pairs to represent his highest weight to be exact –over the course of a weekend. On the final day he surprised Amira, an amputee who lost her leg in an accident, with a running prosthetic so Charlie and the Dream Machine Tour Crew could run with her for the first time!
CHARLIE JABALEY’S DREAM MACHINE BIKE TOUR ACROSS AMERICA, SUPPORTED BY VERO TRUE SOCIAL, KICKED OFF IN APRIL 2018 FROM L.A. – ENDING IN N.Y.C. JULY 2018.