Post reshared from: https://mashable.com, Chris “CT” Tamburello — just CT to those of us who love MTV’s The Challenge — didn’t undergo a midlife crisis when he turned 40. Just the opposite. He calls it a midlife breakthrough.”Instead of getting myself a big fancy car or anything like that, I went to a doctor,” the longtime reality star, now 41, told Mashable in an interview Wednesday. “And I was like: ‘What’s wrong with me? I’m not living right.’ Basically, it was mental health. It was in my own head. I was slowly killing myself, really.”After a heart-to-heart with his wife and his doctor — and a whole slew of tests — Tamburello made the conscious decision to start taking care of himself, physically and mentally.
I was slowly killing myself, really.
“Honestly, I just cut a lot of the bullshit out of my life,” he said. “I found peace and just started taking care of myself, you know. [I] laid off the bottle, laid off crappy food, stopped eating my feelings… and really [had] people that I could talk to.”The changes in his life have borne fruit. If you saw Tamburello this season on The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies, he looks like he jumped into a time machine. Gone are the days of “dad-bod” CT. He looks like the dude who once carried fellow champ Johnny Bananas on his back like a toddler.
But despite appearances, CT himself would tell you he’s a different person now. And that is why, in part, he (SPOILER ALERT) won this season of The Challenge. He took home a whopping $400,000, his share of the grand prize won alongside Kaycee Clark, his partner for the closing sprint of the grueling final. That’s back-to-back wins for CT and titles in three out of the last four seasons. That’s an unheard of level of success in the modern era of the show, where contestants train for The Challenge like it’s a pro sport. “I feel vindicated,” said Tamburello, who previously walked away from the show for years. “I kind of came out of retirement because after having a kid, I didn’t want him to see me from the past. I wanted to get back [on] my feet, get in shape, and to get right. I feel like I’ve done that.”
CT, in action.
It was a perfectly played season by the vet. This year, MTV stacked the cast with tons of new faces, plucked from other reality shows across the globe. The veteran players smartly aligned, eliminating rookies and pitting rooks against themselves, helpful cannon fodder that kept the pros safe. This was especially helpful for CT, considering he entered the season a four-time champ and the reigning winner. The target on his back was at least delayed until the rookies were churned through. That was a little surprising to CT, considering the usual cutthroat nature of a game.
I wanted to get back [on] my feet, get in shape, and to get right. I feel like I’ve done that.”
“So many people this season had a chance to take a shot at me,” Tamburello said. “But they stuck to their word, for whatever reason, and I appreciate that. Things could have been completely different for me. My road to the final could have been a hell of a lot harder.”Yet, even as things got down to the nitty-gritty, Tamburello managed to keep himself out of eliminations. Then, when the final came, he made zero mistakes. He burned through puzzles, was as strong as ever, and never tired over the excruciating multi-day run.
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Still, Spies, Lies & Allies made clear that CT’s best traits as a competitor might not be physical. He avoided drama. He whispered self-serving ideas into other people’s ears without putting himself in danger. He was nobody’s top ally but nobody’s top enemy, either. Back in the day, he was a known brawler with a bad temper, often stirring up chaos in the house.”One thing I’ve learned over the years is work smarter, not harder,” he said. “I’ve taken a backseat and a more passive approach to The Challenge.”In a house mostly full of younger people who spent their whole lives watching reality TV, and who’ve carved out lives as reality TV stars, CT is different. His season of The Real World: Paris, aired 18 years ago. There were no formulas for being a reality star back then — people weren’t thinking about how to get storylines, there were no meta conversations about airtime or which archetypal character you were — you just kind of appeared on TV and that was that.”A lot of people try to find where they fit in and how they fit into the show,” CT said about the modern era of The Challenge. “I’ll be honest with you: I’m still not quite sure what my role is. I’ve been sort of grandfathered in, I’ve been doing it for so long. At the same time, I took the opportunity to take that hand and play it the best way I could. What can I say, it’s paying off.”SEE ALSO: MTV’s ‘The Challenge’ is America’s finest sportTo viewers and fans, he fulfills the role of the living legend in the house. The player everyone respects and definitely fears. He’s Tom Brady now, or Michael Jordan during his second Bulls run. He’s also one of, if not the only, remaining connection to The Challenge’s roots, back when the show was a boozefest with far less money on the line. After this recent run from CT, you could argue either he or Bananas are the best male Challenge contestants ever — no one else comes close. Bananas won seven times to CT’s five, but a fair number of the former’s wins came when the show still had its training wheels on. Tamburello, who has now raked in more than $1.3 million in prize money, has also eclipsed Bananas in lifetime earnings.
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CT could have won even more from Spies, Lies & Allies, but in the season’s thrilling finale, he and Clark decided to share some of the cash with their fellow finalists. Host TJ Lavin threw in a twist right at the end: The ultimate winners decided how much of the $1 million grand prize they took home. Tamburello and Clark — who only teamed up for the very last sprint — elected to give the other four finalists $50,000 apiece. It was a bit of generosity that their fellow competitors greatly appreciated. And maybe also shows just how far CT has come since his first Challenge in 2004. “It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as I did If it wasn’t for all of them in the final,” CT said. “And look,I know what it’s like to go all that way, make it to a final, and to walk away with nothing…. 400 is enough, man, you know what I mean?”
“A lot of people try to find where they fit in and how they fit into the show… I’ll be honest with you: I’m still not quite sure what my role is. I’ve been sort of grandfathered in.”
Tamburello indicated in the season finale that he’d be back. And in our conversation, he talked about the show being a fantastic escape, jokingly referring to the Challenge house as Never-never Land.”I get to go be a kid again,” he said. “I live in a bunk bed. I have to ask for snacks. I gotta wait for someone to pick me up in the morning and tell me what to do.”As fun as it is, CT is under no illusions about what lies in wait for him the next season of Challenge. The target on his back is mountain-sized after winning back-to-back titles, especially when the vast majority of the cast has never won at all. His age be damned, CT’s not sneaking up on anyone anymore.”It’ll go back to how it used to be,” he said. “I’m going to step off the plane and straight into the fire.” Source: Read More