Bleeding Through's Brandan Schieppati: Mr. Heavy Metal
The former vocalist tells TeamRock about Rise Above Fitness, and why he's swapped moshpits for deadlifts
Even when Brandan Schieppati was the singer of California metalcore act Bleeding Through, weight training was a huge part of his life. Now though, some six months after the break up of that band, the sole focus of his creative energy is Rise Above, the company and Orange County-based gym he founded back in 2010. But, as Schieppati explains, his gym venture is not just about physical fitness – it’s as much about mental well-being and breaking down stereotypes as it is pumping iron and building muscle.
**Tell us about how Rise Above Fitness came about...
**"I started the company Rise Above Fitness in 2010, so the existence of the company has been in existence for closing in on six years now, but when I first started it I was training out of a different facility, but the plan was always to open my own spot eventually. It kind of happened a little bit sooner than later. I told myself when I went out and started training people that I’d give myself a year and see where I’m at and if I had enough clients to move then I’d move, and after eight or nine months, I had about 50-60 clients and that just seemed like the time to open my own spot.”
**Were you surprised at the way it grew so quickly?
**“I was. The thing is, initially, because of my band and because of my history of touring and music, I got a little bit of recognition at first. And people ask me all the time if the people I train are just fans of the band and I’m like, ‘No, not at all, actually’. I’d say there’s only five per cent of the people I actually train on a day-to-day basis that actually know I was in a band before. So it’s really crossed over into the realm of fitness. I will say that being in a band definitely helped initially. The way I came up playing music and building that brand recognition and culture with music is the same way I approached the gym. So for me, creating a company first and foremost even before I had a gym, so you can call it something so people can identify themselves with it, and then when I opened the gym they want to be part of that culture because it spoke to them in a certain way. It wasn’t a normal gym. You go there because you want to be part of something. So from day one I really just tried to work on the branding of the company, and because I did a pretty good job of branding it, it made people want to pay attention. At the time, it wasn’t really the norm to have tattooed people working out and doing videos, so it garnered a lot of attention. So I am definitely surprised by the way it’s taken off, but we put a lot of work into it. There’s 18,000 times more work that goes into it than doing the band.”