When Matt and I talked in Part 1 of "Gain Your Fitness Independence with Matt Schifferle," he told me about a movie called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." It details the way a master sushi chef from Japan approaches his craft.
It is truly a story of a lifelong dedication to not only hone his skills, but embark on a never ending journey to achieve fundamental mastery. It goes way beyond the experience of someone merely paying the bill after a 3-star Michelin rated meal. It is the step by step process of everything that goes on before that: a daily trip to the fish market to pick out the perfect denizens of the deep, the way they are prepared in the kitchen, the presentation on the plate and eventually what restaurant patrons eat.
It is a look into what it takes to make the mundane magical.
That's what the Red Delta Project is all about. Helping you achieve your fitness goals through gaining the deepest appreciation possible of why basics work best and how to put that into a lifelong strategy of exercise success.
So with that said, let's take a deeper dive into how Matt's artisan like approach to training can help you obtain "Fitness Independence."
The Calisthenics Transition
Schifferle wasn't always "the greatest living expert in bodyweight bodybuilding alive today" as "Convict Conditioning" (a book widely considered to be the defacto guide to bodyweight training) author Paul Wade calls him. He was a weight lifting endurance athlete who had ignited the candle at both ends who was well on his way to hitting a caloric crossroads that would forever change his approach to training.
"I wasn't strong in my hips, posterior chain, etc. MTB was (was about) how fast, how quickly, how much speed," he said. "In the gym, it was about how much weight can you put on a bar."
He said he was feeling beat up from the accumulation of training on and off the bike and that he didn't know how to control the his body moved. This forced him to find out how well he was actually moving, or more importantly, not moving.
"You can work hard if you can do advanced movements," says Schifferle. "I couldn't do that because I didn't have the stability."
Combining that with he limitations of gym/equipment access and that got him looking into calisthenics as the main mode of transportation when it came to working out. This is when he achieved his fitness independence.
Bodyweight training forced him to think about how to do things. He could no longer just work hard and get results. It made him not only think about everything he was doing, but more importantly, how to do it better.
His martial arts practice of Taekwondo since the age of 10 set him up perfectly for the direction his fitness training was about to take.
"You're in this for the long haul," Schifferle says. "You always feel like you're learning for the first time. I'm just now learning how to lean into a side kick."
He says working hard in martial arts isn't something you do for a few months, it doesn't have a season.
"This isn't something you do for a few months. You've go to have a long term mentality of 3,5,8 years down the road."
Schifferle wants to know if you can only keep your workouts up for the next few months, or can your body perform them for the next 10 years. At the age of 46, I'm all about what can be sustained for the next ten years and that means joint friendly fitness that sets me up long term. This is why his methodology is so effective.
The RDP approach asks you to figure out can you do this (workout) for 10 years? 5 years? 3 years? 1 year? 6 mos? If you can't, then you need to reevaluate your approach.
Here's a great explanation of what he's getting at in regards to long term sustainable fitness.
What's it going to take for a mindshift for people to slow down to get faster results long term?
"We have to hit a frustration point. Have to hit a point where people realize 'this isn't working out like I wanted it to,'" says Schifferle. "My goal is 'HEY GUYS! YO! I've got the answers for you!'"
Once my ego allowed my common sense to look in the mirror of how strong I wasn't back in April, Matt's answer screamed at me loud and clear of where I was, what I needed to do, and ultimately, it helped me figure out where I wanted to go.
"When people think I can't trust anything other than busting my ass, that works well to a point, he says. "You can trust hard, but people haven't yet learned relying on hard work alone is like running at full into a brick wall and stopping before impact. You either plateau, burnout or you'll get hurt."
The RDP's goal is to show you the benefit of changing your mindset around exercise. It shows you how constantly striving to improve your core movement skill set truly unlocks an "infinite pool of potential."
Not from working harder, but from learning what it takes to successfully move your body. Working from a foundational strategy rooted in striving for continual improvement and technical proficiency.
"It is broad, how many different ways are there do to an exercise? So many ways to regress and progress you'll only scratch the surface," Matt says. And I agree 100%.
I've been working out since the age of 16, and thanks to what I've learned from the RDP philosophy, I've just now learned the proper way to drive force against my feet with my hands to reflexively unleash my glutes and core in a pushup. It is a much better way to leverage the tension in one against the other for more a more powerful movement rather than to try to activate them as a la carte movement menu items.
Its a hell of a lot harder, but the flip side is it is a lot more effective at not only creating muscular tension, but in getting the entire body involved in a push pattern.
You Are Here
You know the direction markers at a mall that say "you are here" that denote where you are? They tell you, in the moment, right now, this is where you are but there are an infinite number of ways you can go to shop.
You can easily apply this same concept to your life long fitness journey. Bet you didn't know going to the mall was actually a metaphorically existential life commentary did you?
"You don't have to do anything a certain way or how you think you're supposed to do it. There is no real right or wrong way," Matt said. "There's the way you do it now, and where you can progress."
The point here is that there is "no right/wrong way, there's just a way." And that's the brilliance of the RDP approach to training: "Do it however you can (now) and then how you want."
I hope Matt Schifferle and his RDP has gotten you to think about how you approach your workouts and what you can do to optimize them. I hope he has helped you see that it isn't about instant gratification of sweat now, be fit later but a continual process that is much more a mindset than it it is something to be done.
Thanks a ton to Matt for sharing his time with me. It was one the most enjoyable conversations I've had in the 16+ years I've been the fitness industry.
Until the next post drops, to quote Matt once again:
"Please post your thoughts down below. Until then, live fit, be free."
If you'd like to learn more about Matt and the Red Delta Project, you can email him directly or use one of the links below: