Brandan Schieppati wants to kick your ass. Not in a physical violence kind of “kick your ass”. He wants to kick your ass in the gym. If you’re familiar with his past musical efforts with Bleeding Through, all it takes is one listen to Brandan on the stick to know he has the ferocity and unfiltered aggression of a wolverine going after it’s dinner. But it’s that same “in your face” mindset that translates to his approach to fitness and training. Just one glimpse of Rise Above Fitness and you’ll see trainers pushing clients to failure with box jumps, ropes, ball slams, chains, Olympic lifts and anything else he decides to put into the Huntington Beach facility. Do you want to learn MMA? Rise Above has you covered. Functional training? You got it. Anything you need in this gym, he’s got the gear and the training crew to make it happen.
And though he’s most known for his time crushing audiences with Bleeding Through and their successful years together touring the world, Rise Above represents Brandan merging the two things he loves most, the intensity of metal and fitness into one. And it’s turning heads in both worlds, as he was featured in the recent Revolver Magazine issue (alongside Doyle and Alissa White Gluz) for metal heads that live a life of fitness and health. To him, they go hand in hand. And we at Metal Made Fitness tend to agree.
But just because Bleeding Through came to a close, don’t think for a second he’s done with the music either. He’s got some new tunes in the works with Mick Kenney (Anaal Nathrahk) that will be heavier than your dead lift PR. The reality is, Brandan is our kind of guy. Setting goals, busting ass to reach goals, and then keep on rolling towards the next set. We caught up with him recently to discuss the many happenings in the world of the man who chooses to Rise Above.
MMF: Thanks for taking the time, first off. Second, before we dive into the fitness side of things, really random here…the project Suffer Well…. Beings I’m a huge Anaal Nathrahk guy, this is my favorite side project you’ve been involved with. Was that a one time thing? How did that come about in the first place? The fan in me says “work more with Mick!!”
Brandan: Well that is a random story. We met because he saw Bledding Through play a show on our tour with Satyricon which was just a huge bum out because Satyricon was a huge favorite of mine growing up and the people in that band are complete assholes and we actually dropped off the tour because they treated us like total shit. The one good thing that came from it was Mick saw us play and the next day “Myspace” messaged me about some songs he has been working on and because I was a big fan of his work I listened and loved it. The next day I went to his house and recorded a song and it just clicked. I love that Suffer Well record and after the record was released some things in life happened for the both of us that tore us apart. Now 3 years later we re united and are actually working together on my new project called Iron Son which is a solo project. Good things on the horizon.
MMF: Clearly the gym has become a huge focus for you post-Bleeding Through. But even when touring it has been a part of your life. How did you bring about the whole concept of the gym? Was there a moment in the past where you said “I need to open a gym” or what it always a goal way before your music and touring days?
Brandan: When ever we toured working out was the only time that I had alone to clear my head and get a release. Playing shows was a release as well but not like working out. Towards the end of our touring career I would work out with the members of Bleeding Through and little by little, the members of the other bands would peek over and I would invite them to join. I saw the power of it and how it changed attitudes and self esteem with people in bands and a lot of those people have interjected fitness in there life since. I figured out that I could inspire people through fitness just like with music. I knew in my heart that I was eventually going to have to figure out post Bleeding Through life and I started really educating myself in fitness and I knew that I could create the same type of culture of acceptance that I created with Bleeding Through. I worked my ass off to gain clientele and then I just took that leap and invested in myself and opened my gym and so far it has been hard work but a dream come true. Plus I still get to create my own way.
MMF: The gym itself from what I’ve seen is an athlete’s dream for getting some intense work done. Tell the readers a bit about what the gym has in it, and the types of trainers you’ve brought aboard and what they can offer someone looking to come in for help with their goals and how do you think it differs from other personal training facilities?
Brandan: Most personal training facilities have a very cut and dry approach to training with no attitude and grit. The vibe at Rise Above Fitness is one of perseverance and hard work. All people that come in get trained like an athlete, no matter what their fitness levels are. We offer top notch basics that will mold you into a total badass. We have every piece of equipment that you can think of. if you dream it, then we have it. The trainers that we have all specialize in different things but that vibe is the same. Come in and work out, chat a bit with friends and then get the fuck out!
MMF: Are there elements of training that Rise Above hasn’t incorporated as of yet that you’d like to get into, such as expanding to work more with sports teams? You did some work with a high school football or semi-pro team I think I read?
Brandan: We have a lot of ideas of how to expand the training at Rise Above. I am working on a Rise Above Fitness certificate and are always looking to think outside the box with the methods. I have worked and still work with high school to pro athletes. I am the strength and conditioning coach at Los Alamitos High School going on 3 years and nothing makes me happier then to work with kids. I would love to create a template for young athlete development.
MMF: Recently you were a part of the Revolver “Metal Health” issue. Why is it you think that more and more metal heads are starting to take to fitness as to where in the past it was all about the party and booze image?
Brandan: I think that metal is more positive now if that makes sense. It is a new age where we have seen legends from the founding metal bands die because of excessive drug use. I think that has opened bands eyes to the fact that they can die if they don’t take care of them selves. I also think that people like Danzig, Rollins and even Doyle have changed the perception of what people in this industry are suppose to be. if I had a part in that then that is awesome.
MMF: Leading back into music, you mentioned working with Mick on the new Iron Son project…But has Rise Above Fitness been able to satisfy the creative side of you with coming up with new ways to improve it? Or are you still dead set on balancing music and fitness as much as possible?
Brandan: Rise Above Fitness satisfies me fine but music is my life. I have the project Iron Son which is similar to Suffer Well but more angry! (laughs) I have managed to do both and feel like one works with the other very much. Rise Above does take up most of my waking days though. I run 5 businesses through Rise Above and plan to open more gyms and license the name.
MMF: So for the metal kids who might not get why fitness is just as important as metal, what kind of message would you want to give them about the importance of being active and staying healthy as well as loving their metal?
Brandan: I have made it a mission of mine in life to be a positive influence even though I have not been totally positive in my life. I have battled with bi-polar and anxiety my whole life and music and fitness saved my life and I know it can serve as a light for others as well. Don’t be afraid to fail and if you do then pick yourself off and try again.
Check the gym out at http://www.riseabovefitnessoc.com/ and peep the promo video below!