2020 Articles

A Cool Life Story: John “Rum” Rumcik

“The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. If I can see it and believe it, then I can achieve it.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger

As a longtime admirer of Arnold Schwarzenegger, John “Rum” Rumcik, of RE/MAX Gateway, has adopted the same mentality expressed in the above quote and, as a result, has achieved some amazing feats in life, including starting his own business, losing 65 pounds, and not only meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger but retaining him as a life coach over a two-day visit. In fact, it was Arnold who encouraged Rum to go after his recent goal of participating in his first-ever bodybuilding competition, the 2019 NPC (national physique committee) Virginia State Championships and 2019 Mid Atlantic championship.

“The proudest moment for me was when I took Arnold’s advice and stepped on stage in a bodybuilding show. At 42 years old, I won several divisions. Arnold is the one that said to me, ‘everybody knows that you can’t do it, because you haven’t. Believe in yourself and go out and achieve it.’”

John Rumcik has always looked up to Arnold Schwarzenegger — even as a kid growing up in Braddock, Pennsylvania, an old steel town that was left desolate after the collapse of the steel industry. Rum recalls not being able to walk down the street at night. His family was very close, however. In fact, before there was Arnold to really inspire him, Rum looked up to his Uncle Bob.

“Seeing my Uncle Bob go from a kid in Braddock to a leader in the Army during the Vietnam War to becoming a president of a large steel mill in Pennsylvania showed me that with hard work you can achieve anything you want,” says Rum.

Always considered a “big guy,” Rum played football in high school at Woodland Hills, in Pittsburgh, and at Gannon University, in Erie. Rum, and loved lifting weights and working out. Playing football had a huge impact on him. “I learned more about life, adversity, and overcoming challenges as a team than any other experience, playing football,” he says.

Although Rum originally set out to enter law enforcement after college, he realized it wasn’t going to be a long-term solution for him after he received his first paycheck as a special police officer at George Washington University. Rather, he followed his love of sales and obtained a position working for a large corporation. After years in the corporate world, Rum desired more autonomy and control of his professional success.

Then, in December 2006, he met his broker, Scott Macdonald, and decided right then that he was going to join RE/MAX Gateway and go all-in on real estate. He credits Scott and RE/MAX Gateway for teaching him everything he knows about real estate and contributes much of his success to them.

Rum agreed to stay on with his old job until March 2007, and just days after finally leaving, the markets crashed. That Monday, when Rum went to his first real estate sales meeting, a fellow agent, who was leaving the business, told him to “run and get out.”

Ever the contrarian, Rum instead decided to run towards the collapsing market, knowing that as more people left, the more opportunity he would have to be one of the few left standing. And he was. Even today in his business, Rum chooses to not follow the norm. While he ran a team at one time, he found that he just didn’t get the same satisfaction as when he was an individual agent and restructured his business.

“I prefer to run my business on a scale that allows me to be the direct contact helping my clients. I have support staff to help, but I keep it to me as the only agent. I view myself as the trusted advisor for my clients. My mailing and marketing list are smaller than most agents’, I am sure. And 85 percent of my business is based on referrals and repeat business,” he says.

Although Rum learned how to run a healthy business early on, his physical health suffered for years. He ignored his doctor’s warnings about his weight and high blood pressure, thinking that just because he could lift a lot of weights that he was healthy. Then, in December 2017, just before his fortieth birthday, he went in for a physical and the doctor asked him, “How many 300-plus pound 70-year-olds do you know?”

“I got the point. And that was the day that my body transformation began,” says Rum.

Rum lost his first 25 pounds by eliminating processed foods and working out five days a week. Then, he went to a high protein (low-fat proteins like cod, tuna, chicken, salmon, and eggs), cycled-carb diet that includes brown rice, sweet potatoes, and, of course, vegetables. He’s gone from weighing 315 pounds to 240 and feels more healthy than at any other time in his life. His bodybuilding is all-natural and he has never taken any performance-enhancing drugs.

Rum and his wife, Kristin, enjoy an active, fitness lifestyle together. Along with their rescued Greyhound, Cash, they take advantage of everything the area has to offer. Kristin, a pain management nurse at Georgetown University Hospital, practices yoga and is also on the board of The Espwa Foundation, a group that organizes medical mission trips to Haiti.

“Figuring out what I enjoy in life, my passion for real estate and for bodybuilding, has given me more satisfaction and enjoyment than I ever imagined. And having a loving, supporting wife who is with me each step of the way makes it that much more amazing,” says Rum.

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