On the surface, Chris Cavallini’s story appears to be the simple tale of an entrepreneur living out the American Dream, a former elite Navy Deep Sea Diver, he is the founder of Nutrition Solutions, a highly successful company that provides fitness-specific meals to superstars from the UFC, NFL, and WWE, through to anyone with health or lifestyle goals they are seeking to achieve. However, most would never have assumed Chris would be where he is today, as the direction he was originally headed looked like it ended in nothing but disaster, despair, and hard time in the US prison system. Chris was arrested 20 times and faced years behind bars for deeds he thought he had finally put behind him. His journey to change his life’s path is an incredible and powerful story of redemption for anyone who finds themselves at the end of their rope, having lived a life that has led to dire consequences or where the future seems bleak with no way out and no way to turn it around. Chris went from the very brink of the abyss to becoming the founder of an 8-figure, multi-million dollar company, and a philanthropist dedicated to helping veterans, homeless, and abused children.
Chris Cavalinni’s story reads like a movie. Just a few years ago, Cavallini was anything but the nutrition business icon and thought leader he is today. in 2015 he stood in from of a federal judge awaiting his fate, one that most likely led to a long stretch in a federal penitentiary, far longer than he could have gotten away with, that’s because Cavallini a repentant former drug dealer, had, against the wishes of his attorneys, the prosecutors who offered him a deal, and most people assessing his outcome from the outside looking in, took extreme past ownership of his past and plead guilty to a raft of felony charges, as opposed to accepting a reduced sentence for turning in those he had been associated with.
Cavallini had only 3 years earlier left behind a life of fast cars and cash to burn after having an epiphany that he was meant for something greater. His desire to make a better, more honest life for himself became ever more urgent as the police began targeting many of his associates. As more and more of his friends were taken down by the law, his sleepless nights and anxiety grew, and he could no longer shake the feeling that his time was fast running out. Cavallini felt that should he end up in prison because he lacked the courage to turn his life around, then it would he would be left with the psychic pain he felt so often as a child, having grown up in and out of foster homes, at times living on the streets, a constant feeling of humiliation that led Cavalini to lash out and find himself in trouble with the law over and over again as a teenager. He was arrested 20 times before standing in front of a judge who would, for the first, but not the last time, play a role in changing the course of his life. At the age of 18, Cavallini was given a choice, join the military or go to jail. Cavallini chose to enlist, eventually becoming an elite Deep Sea Diver for the United States Navy.
“For the first time in my life, I was in a situation where I had purpose, I had structure, I had real true significance. I was very proud of what I did. When I served our country. I was a Navy deep-sea diver, I was in a very elite community. And I guess I guess I knew that I knew that going in that it wasn’t like the normal branch of the military. You’re in a very elite community, amongst other special operators. And I knew that it was a privilege for me to be in that situation and that position, and to that point in my life, by a landslide, that was the most significant thing that I had ever accomplished. It was the thing that I was most proud of. I spent five years of my life in that community, and just grew up a lot, I started learning about the importance of discipline, attention to detail, about taking pride in your work, and the importance of having a mission and doing what needs to be done to accomplish that mission at all costs. And that was a really good thing. Having that structure, having that discipline, as I was the youngest guy from the time that I checked into my command, to the time that I checked out, so having all these older, more experienced, more educated people who I looked up to as mentors was the perfect recipe for somebody like me who came from the circumstances that I did.”
After leaving the Navy, Cavallini wandered aimlessly, he lacked a mission and a team, and devoid of the discipline and structure that was instilled in him while in the service, he once again found himself lost and looking for trouble, He took a job working at a strip club to make some quick cash, but traded that gig in to deal drugs, a move that saw Cavallini rise quickly. In his newly minted world, money was no object, he led a lifestyle of Lamborghinis and never-ending parties, but one in which felt empty, having created a fake persona that he liked better than what he knew lurked within, a rudderless soul with no purpose. “So I remember what that feeling of just, just not being in control of losing hope, just being like very, very sad, and insecure in your own skin. I remember what that felt like. And I just felt that that was where I was. headed. I mean, I was on a collision course with that scenario. And that thought just really, really started to eat away at my soul.”
After seeing a number of his associates get arrested, cut deals and turn on each other, Cavallini knew he had to make a move, it was now or never, however, he had no idea how to turn his life around, he needed help, the only way out was to come clean and ask for help, to find a mentor.
“I went to somebody who was a friend of mine, a guy that I looked up to at the time and I basically laid out all my cards, I was very honest with him. I told them what I had been doing that told him what I was feeling and I said I feel like I can do something great, I know that I was put on this planet to be someone who’s important and I just honestly have no idea what that is. And I would appreciate that there’s anything that you could show me, teach me, tell me, put me on to, I would be forever grateful. And, you know, he put me onto two things. And those two things were personal development, he said that I needed to basically read every book that Tony Robbins had at the time … and, he told me that I needed to start surrounding myself with people who are better than me.”
Cavallini took his friend’s advice to heart and began frequenting environments where successful people congregated, from galas and functions through to networking events and noticed a common denominator amongst those he sought to model, he noted that most highly successful people were in shape, they radiated health and appeared to prioritize their fitness. Cavallini may not have had the experience, skills or career that many of his would-be mentors had, he did share their dedication to exercise, and although his nutrition had never been a priority, he saw this as an opportunity to elevate his game and not only double-down on his physical training and personal development, but to immerse himself in the study of nutrition. Cavallini read 1000 self-help books and became a fanatic with his diet, in doing so he saw his energy skyrocket, and his thought patterns become more clear. It was during this time of commitment self-betterment that he came upon what he saw as an opportunity, a path to escape living life in a perpetual state of fear, and of always having to stay one step ahead of the law. He realized that, much like himself, most people wanted to eat healthily but had no idea how to prepare and cook nutritious food, it was then that he left drug-dealing behind for good and started Nutrition Solutions.
Cavallini built his business from humble beginnings, starting from scratch, he sold pre-packed foods out of his car in a parking lot to his first few clients, and slowly grew a small but consistent client base. It was a struggle, and he wasn’t making much money, but he was no longer wracked with soul-crushing anxiety or suffering through sleepless nights, he once again felt as if he had a purpose. And then Cavallini’s world flipped upside down. He was approached by detectives who had flipped one of his associates years before, unbeknownst to Cavallini his former connection had become an informant and had set him up. The detectives stalking Cavallini had held the evidence for years waiting for just the right time to leverage his criminal past in an attempt to force him to testify against his old associates. The District Attorney offered him a deal, 2 years in prison in exchange for his cooperation. The case they had against Cavallini was airtight, the proof of his wrongdoing cataloged and recorded on 3 separate occasions. But it was here that Cavallini faced his Damascus moment, and he turned the deal down, he decided he would not take the easy way out and make others pay for a debt he felt he owed, and abandon the ethos that had finally allowed him to find peace and fulfillment.
“I wanted to be somebody who helped other people when I could, and I wanted to be somebody who just lived his life in a state of gratitude. And I guess I became aware through, you know, I’ve read over 1000 books to this day, but early on, I read something somewhere that basically, I decided to adopt and hold on to it to this day, I still live my life under this code. And it’s basically you know, to experience fulfillment at the absolute heart. level, you have to serve others you have to get back you have to contribute beyond yourself. When you do good, good things come back to you. And I think people miss out on a lot of opportunities because they believe that they’re going to do good or something or someone and that it should come right back to them, like right there, right then from that person. And that that is just not the way that it works. The good that you know, we do, it’s going to come back. It’s going to come back when we really need it. Not when we want it, not when it’s most convenient, it’s going to come back we absolutely need it. That’s when the magic happens. That’s when that law of attraction is able to activate as it did for me, in July of 2015, when the judge addressed me in front of my peers, my defense, the police and prosecutors working my case, and she said that she’d be on the bench 30 years to that point, and in all her years on the bench, she had never seen anybody do what I had done. And she went on to tell me that the purpose of prison is rehabilitation and that she felt that I had done that on my own, that I should be very proud of the things that I’ve done with my life and in the community. And it was for that reason that she did not see any value in sending me to prison. That was the day that everything changed. It was like the universe was saying, okay, here you go, now, what are you gonna do with it? And that’s something I took to heart. And since then, I’ve just taken on the frame of mind that I will get the most out of every single second of every single day
Listen to the rest of the interview to learn more about the lessons Chris Cavallini learned along the way to turning his life around, building a multi-million dollar a year business, and finding his life’s mission!