Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice has a unique reputation. He is the NASCAR team executive that is always smiling and posting videos of his fitness journey. Rice doesn’t have to use his social media platforms for this purpose, but he chooses to do so as part of a mission to help others potentially make life-saving decisions.
Rice provided some insight into his habit of posting these photos and videos during a sitdown with Heavy. He explained that it can often be hard to get up and show people his med ball slams, wall walks, or time spent on the Concept2 RowErg. These workouts are difficult, and he isn’t always happy. However, Rice continues to do so due to the belief that he might help someone else make positive choices in their own life.
“I feel like if I can help one person, one person in the world, it’s all worth all the videos that I do. Whether people like them, love them, hate them, or whatever,” Rice told Heavy. “I am a smiling type person. I am a happy person. When you think about Chris Rice now, you think about smiles.
“Matt [Kaulig] can vouch for this. We go to race tracks now, we’ll be walking down through the race track and people go, ‘Chris, I see you smiling.’ So if I can help one person — like you said — a wall walk. You doing a wall walk or you putting some effort into getting your health where it needs to be. Maybe I saved somebody’s life.”
Multiple Factors Led to This Focus on Health
Rice’s journey didn’t start with a New Year’s resolution or something similar. There were multiple factors that led to him making the change. The first was Kaulig Racing crew chief Nick Harrison passing away in 2019. His death hit Rice and served as a wake-up call.
The second factor was a conversation on the golf course with Tim Clepper, President and CEO of Kaulig Companies Limited. Rice realized that he had to put in some work to get back to a better place after attempting a push-up.
“I didn’t really know how big I was, honestly,” Rice said. “We were at a golf course one day. We had been testing or whatever. We were at a golf course, and I couldn’t do a push-up. Like I legit couldn’t do a push-up. I was 300 pounds, close to 300 pounds. I was a big guy.
“Tim could do maybe one or two [push-ups]. And we just started talking about health. Then if you think about when I stepped up to be president, like legit, it is a hard job. You’ve got to have something that mentally can clear your head.”
The efforts in the gym have paid dividends in multiple ways. Rice lost around 50 pounds, which helped with his overall health. The changes also affected his attitude. He had less intensity when he walked into the shop, and he began smiling more, which only helped with shop morale.
Kaulig Racing Has Put Emphasis on Personal Health
As Rice explained, he doesn’t always have the free time to pursue his personal health. There are days when he is at the shop from 7 a.m. until nearly 11 p.m., leaving little room to fit in a workout. He still finds time to put in the work, even if it’s 30 minutes at Matt Kaulig’s house. Rice also works for a race team that puts an emphasis on personal health.
“You’ve always got time to worry about yourself,” Rice said. “We preach it in this shop — Family, family, family. Get your health right. We have a nurse on staff. So I’ve seen that affect our race team more than you would know.”
As an example of this emphasis on health, Rice put in time to support a critical member of the team. He told Alex Yontz, the crew chief of the No. 11 Chevrolet, that he would do whatever it takes to help him with his health. Rice didn’t beat up Yontz about his weight. He just supported the crew chief as he changed his diet and put in the work to lose 48 pounds.
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