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Hammer CrossFit


September 25, 2020

Brad Schmidgall

The Member Spotlight showcases those who demonstrate the characteristics necessary for success, both in and out of the gym. Brad has been a long-time member of our community, coming over from Cactus CrossFit, and even though he travels often (sometimes weekly) for work, still makes getting the gym a priority and continues to make progress after over 6 years in CrossFit. We asked him some questions about his journey at the gym so far:

  1. What led you to CrossFit? Describe your experience.

I grew up playing pretty much every sport and I always enjoyed competing, both against others and myself. After graduating from college, my main focuses turned to my business and my family. I quit exercising and became somewhat soft. In my early 30’s when I was living in Iowa, I got sick of being unhealthy and out of shape, so I joined a boot camp class, started running, and lost about 40 pounds. In 2013, one of my cousins told me about this crazy CrossFit stuff and I started doing WODs in a globo-gym with a few other people. When I moved to Scottsdale in 2014, I joined a legit box (Cactus CrossFit). When it closed, a group of us came over to CFIS and I haven’t looked back since. I love the methodology and intensity of CrossFit, and the fact that the workouts are scored and measured so that I can track my progress over time.

  1. What have been the most significant changes you've noticed? These could be lifestyle, body composition, or performance.

My absolute strength numbers grew quickly early but now I look to maintain them as I get older. I feel pretty good about my progress in the area of gymnastics, especially being a bigger guy. Even though there’s still a lot to improve upon, I feel like I have much more body control and awareness than I did in the past. This is an area I want to keep working on. My conditioning has continued to improve also, and I’m still hitting PR’s whenever we do repeat workouts.

  1. What's your favorite (or least favorite) exercise? If you could program a workout, what would it be?

Because I’m a relatively large athlete, I definitely have a bias for movements that aren’t penalized by body weight (like barbell work) and really like movements where size helps like the rower and air bike. I would think I died and went to Heaven if James would program the following WOD:

Buy-In: 50/35cal Echo Bike

Then, 5 Rounds of:

5 Hang Power Cleans (225/135)

5 Bench Press (205/125)

15 Toes-To-Bar

Followed by:100/70cal Row

  1. Tell us something we don't know about you! Something not fitness related.

I may have the world’s worst luck. In 2011, I made my first trip to Japan. Actually, I was in China and simply had a 2-hour layover in Japan on my way back home. During that layover, the big 9.1 earthquake/tsunami hit, and all hell broke loose. I survived (obviously) and made it home a few days later with some really good stories to tell at dinner parties.

  1. What's next? Have you set any goals for the future?

My primary fitness goal is very simple: keep getting better/fitter for as long as I can. I just turned 40 and I’m still making improvements in nearly all areas of CrossFit. My goal is to keep that up until I’m 50. So, I want to be fitter at 41 than 40, fitter at 42 than 41, etc. all the way up to 50. When I get to 50, I’ll reassess the goal situation again. In order to make this happen, I have to tighten up my nutrition a bit, keep training hard, and most importantly avoid injuries. I have some lower back pain that I fight from time to time and I think that would have the greatest chance of derailing my plans if I didn’t care for it with some routine maintenance. In the short term, I am trying to focus on my glaring weaknesses for the next Open. This would primarily include double-unders, ring muscle-ups and strict handstand pushups. Any out-of-class accessory work that I do for a while will be focused on this.

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