- Al Painter, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, Stick Mobility
GAIN YOUR FITNESS INDEPENDENCE WITH MATT SCHIFFERLE PART I
What if there was a way to all but guarantee you'd never get stuck in another workout rut again? What if this methodology allowed you train LESS, eventually get MORE results and turned exercise into a rut free lifelong learning process?
There is, it does and it just might transform not only the way you train, but the way you view working as a whole. It's called "Fitness Independence," and Red Delta Project (RDP) founder Matt Schifferle wants to help you reach it.
It is pretty common in the fitness world for people to force their fitness in an effort to work harder in the pursuit of better: fitness, muscle tone/fat loss, strength, etc.
Sweat more. Mash the muscles regularly. Essentially fry yourself to reach your fitness goals.
This is sub-optimal. There's a much better way to go about building a stronger, more fit you.
The ABC's of how many, how much and how often aren't that hard to program with the right approach.
This is why Schifferle's caloric common sense approach to training can help you. It's also why he wrote his book "Fitness Independence" (awesome read btw, highly recommend) to help people navigate said workout waters.
You see, he used to be stuck in the same rut a lot of people hit at the gym until he "began to focus on what was necessary instead of what worked." This helped him discover that "we don't need most things (to workout), we only need basics and simplicity" to reach a fitness goal.
I thought this approach is something my readers would like to learn more about so I reached out to Matt (incredibly down to earth person), and he was gracious enough to share his time with me, we had a great conversation, and here's how it unfolded.
What is the Red Delta Project ?
"The RDP is the title given to a collection of resources and info to achieve fitness independence. To be set for life when it comes to this fitness thing."
This is where Schifferle's approach to fitness excels. Simplicity reigns supreme, and it is what allows you to master the complex over time. His goal is to help people get to a place where you don't have to train according to your gym/equipment/movement limitations to get more fit.
He wants people to get on the path of an ever expanding menu of self sufficient fitness and get off the hamster wheel of the never ending struggle of "getting to the gym, eating right all of the time and thinking that once you hit your fitness goal, you're set."
The RDP approach removes this preconceived notion by getting you to realize the train to drain approach might work for a short period, but ultimately take you further away from your fitness goals. It was this exact crossroads that brought Schifferle to the realization he needed to change his approach in the gym to sustain a lifelong exercise habit. Hit the video below for a great explanation of this point.
"I started to figure out how to get into great shape without having to worry about diet or building your life around working out," he says. "How much do I need to do? Do I need to take this seriously? What's the least amount (of effort) to achieve moderate degree of fitness?"
This is how he shaped his minimalist muscles approach to training. He began to focus on "what was necessary instead of what worked." This allowed him to discover "we don't need most things" and that all we really need is a basic approach rooted in a simple plan.
"Fitness Independence helps you gain freedom to be set for life: you stay lean, you stay strong, you stay healthy," says Schifferle. "You can do what you feel is best to get better results."
Fitness Indepence Gives Your Workout a K.I.S.S.
Back in March, I had hit a point where the program I was on wasn't working. My body let me know as much with new aches and pains. I was lifting too much on a poor movement foundation because I was letting my inner 16-year-old call the shots instead of following the 16 years of training experience my outer 46-year-old has accumulated.
There was a very brilliant person I didn't listen to, who was trying to help: my wife (which is where most of fitness foibles start btw for some reason). She tried to talk some sense into me, but, you know, testosterone.
She said "don't lift as heavy." I kept doing it.
She said "if it hurts, why are you doing it?" To get stronger, AMIRIGHT??
I can find the right regression, I always do for my clients. Of course that would've entailed actually starting the search. Again, you know, testosterone.
Then the ultimate sucker punch to my soul, "would you tell one of your clients to train through pain?"
(While stomping out of the room, grabbing wubby blanket and teddy bear along the way...)
"NO! NO! I! WOULDN'T!"
It was then that three things happened:
1) Once again, she proved that she is amazing at saving me from, well, me.
2) I randomly happened upon the RDP YouTube channel searching for joint friendly fitness suspension trainer information.
3) My approach to self lead training became completely overhauled.
I put both my ego and things made out of iron down and started picking me up (figuratively and quite literally). Bless me Arnold for I have sinned, it has been about five months since my last (insert iron name here)-bell fueled caloric confession.
I experienced "Fitness Independence" first hand, and let me tell you, IT. WAS. AWESOME.
I typically go all in, or not at all when I do something (shocker, right?). This is why I went full on bodyweight focused minimalist in my workouts.
I went back to working on my diagonal patterns with Stick Mobility. I took my intensity level down to about 5/10 to dial in technique and introduce more tension in the muscles (more on this in a second). I went back to incorporating isometrics into every workout as many ways as possible.
The outcome? A whole lot of good things started to happen:
Previous aches and pains began disappearing at a pretty good clip.
Less stress from a significantly more simplified training plan
My movement foundation got a lot stronger
My mobility increased
My joints felt better
An incredibly busy parent suddenly had more time
Most importantly, I learned how to use my brain to create just as much tension in a muscle without weights as I could using them. Game changing is probably the best way to describe that. I'll let Schifferle tell you why that happened in the video below...
The downside? Through RDP, I learned about John Bruney's "Neuro-Mass" workout. Which is brutal.
Like you've run out of coffee and the store is closed brutal. The only thing harder I've done from a workout perspective is the first 10-minutes of a MTB race.
Awesome workout. VERY ADVANCED workout. A workout you can do, AFTER you've built your isometric mastery of all things plank IMO.
Fitness Indepence: Basics Work Best
"How are you going to become a world class musician?," says Schifferle. "Playing hard or (playing) well? Which one gets you to Carnegie Hall?"
Playing well involves putting in the time to master monotony. Also known as building your foundation. Also known as dedicating yourself to get enough reps in to master a movement.
This is a big gap in most people's program omit because, well, science isn't sexy. Science doesn't make the highlight reels. Science will however, get you very strong and help you move a lot better.
"We have an infatuation with hard work," says Matt. "Ending a workout decimated. BUT, as great as it is, its overrated it doesn't hold as much promise of (long term) success."
He's getting at there's a limited success factor, and I agree. He wants to know can you do your workout for the next 20 years? Can your body sustain the effort? That's the core of the Fitness Independence approach.
"How long can you keep it (your workout) up? You Have to go much deeper than hard work, if that's the plan and all we're doing it, it won't end well," he says.
Schifferle believes we are built to be healthy, strong and fit. If we are, our bodies will take care of things for us.
The problem with that approach? Its too simple. Most people aren't ready to do that much less to achieve that much more.
The majority of our fitness success "takes place on autopilot." He believes all we need to is slow down, give the body a nudge and the rest will happen on its own.
"When we force things, it (success) doesn't happen," he says. "Allow the process to happen on its own."
He likened it to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. This is one of the best examples of nature's artistry: let things unfold as they are supposed to, and very good things happen.
"We have a ton of info, but rarely is info the issue as to why we don't get results. It’s the understanding of the application on a deeper level."
This ties in perfectly to his basics work best approach because "basics never get boring, they never get dull. There's always another level to reach." If you approach your training with a beginner's mindset, this thought process is the key to workout progress as the video below explains.
And in regard to bodyweight/calisthenics training, this is the key to the whole thing. Technique reigns supreme and if you want to make something harder, you simply vary your technique.
"I'll never get bored with pushups. The deeper I go, the more rewarded I feel. The deeper the understanding of technique."
There is a lot more to this conversation that I want to share, but I don't want this post to get too long in the tooth.
So as they say on TV, "that's all we have time for this week. We'll pick it up here next time."
Stay tuned for Part II of "Gain Your Fitness Independence With Matt Schifferle." In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about him and the Red Delta Project, you can email him directly or use one of the links below: