My name is Matt Schifferle and I’m the founder of the Red Delta Project. Some call me the Fit Rebel because I don’t practice many of the common diet and exercise rules. I don’t lift weights, I don’t stretch, I don’t “do cardio” and I don’t “eat right.” I also don’t take any supplements, nor do I care much for popular fads or trends.
I didn’t always have this take on fitness. I first fell in love with the idea of using diet and exercise to change my body around the age of 14. Before that time, I was fortunate to have grown up in rural Vermont where fast food, cable TV, and sedentary habits were hard to come by. By the age of 10, my family had moved to the suburbs where I discovered snack cakes, MTV and Nintendo. I started to realize the condition of my body depended on my daily habits so I vowed I would make diet and exercise an important part of my life.
The only problem was fitness information and resources were hard to come by in Vermont at that time. Gyms were few and far between and I didn’t know anyone who was into working out. I was pretty much on my own to figure out how this diet and exercise thing worked.
I quickly figured out that pain and gain were linked in some way. The more I pushed myself the stronger I got. This pain and gain approached worked very well, but only for a short time. I had yet to learn that hard work is incredibly difficult to scale. Sooner or later everyone hits their limit as they can’t continue to work harder and impose more stress on their mind, body or lifestyle.
I spent about 15 years in an endless cycle of working hard for meager results, hitting that glass ceiling of progress and then falling back. At first, it was with doing hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups each day. Then it was training as much as I could in Taekwon-Do. When I was in college, I became obsessed with bike racing and rode until my legs couldn’t turn the pedals anymore. After college, I discovered lifting weights and started working as a personal trainer in local gyms. Every phase of my training involved working my tail off and making some initial progress before burning out and falling back. I was constantly in a tug of war between the results I wanted to achieve and how much stress my mind and body could withstand.
This tug of war started to really take its toll on me around the age of 30. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and my body was a collection of daily aches and pains. I almost quit fitness entirely figuring my best days were behind me.
I started to shift my attitude and instead of trying to work harder, I started to work smarter.
Thankfully, I started to shift my attitude and instead of trying to work harder, I started to work smarter. The biggest change I made was I stopped caring about what supposedly worked in diet and exercise and started focusing on what was necessary. In a sense, I was becoming more lazy as I wanted to make the most progress from the least amount of work.
Over the next several years I learned about the value of minimalist diet and exercise habits. Not only did scaling back on unnecessary rules significantly reduce stress, it also produced vastly superior results. Since I was no longer wasting my effort on weak or useless habits, I could focus on the things that held the greatest influence toward success.
Along the way, I discovered progressive calisthenics, healthy eating and wrote the book on Fitness Independence. I still practice my Taekwon-Do, ride my bike and ski while working as a full-time personal trainer in New England. I’m also a PCC Team Leader for Dragon Door Publications and contribute regular articles to the PCC Blog.
Looking back, it feels funny that fitness could have been such a source of stress in my life. I still practice many of the same habits but with significantly less stress. Whereas I once thought of quitting, I can’t imagine ever retiring from fitness. It’s not because I feel like I can’t quit, but more like I don’t want to. I’m enjoying so many benefits with so little stress there’s no reason to stop.
I know I still have a lot to learn, but that’s the fun part about the R.D.P. It’s a project that’s constantly evolving and growing just like I am. I’m excited for what the future by bringing and look forward to sharing what I learn with you.