Brad Mcleod. Photo from Kathy Knox, CrossFit North Atlanta.

2011 CrossFit Games

Masters Challenger Brad Mcleod

In the Best Shape of His Life at 47

This past year was Brad Mcleod's best year of physical training. In his own words, "I don't know what PR I didn't set." Brad does not spend his life in the gym, either. The former Navy SEAL kept up an intense training schedule even while working a physically demanding job at an environmental consulting company.

Stories of like this are common in the CrossFit community. What is incredible about Brad's story, at least to his non-CrossFitting co-workers, is that he has gotten in the best shape of his life at an age in which most of his peers have given up. He's 47. 

Brad's history with physical training began three decades ago. With no background in high school sports and a history of asthma, Brad enlisted in the Navy and went to BUD/s, the training program for the Navy SEALs. He made it through the infamous Hell Week, but messed up on a math test in the second phase of training. The Navy sent him back to the fleet.

Determined to return to BUD/s, Brad continued to train hard with bodyweight exercises, the only training option available to him on his ship. When his tour at sea ended, Brad returned to BUD/s physically stronger and more determined than before. In 1982, he went through Hell Week a second time, graduated from BUD/s class 132 and went on to join SEAL Team 4. This experience taught Brad the value of mental toughness. The SEALs were looking for guys who would never quit, no matter what they were up against.

Brad's journey with the BUD/s paralleled his experience with CrossFit 25 years later. Like most new CrossFitters, Brad was humbled. Despite his SEAL training, and experience with rock climbing and kayaking, Brad discovered many new exercises he was not proficient at. Starting out, his squat was at 225, his deadlift around 200 lbs., and his press at 125 lbs. He had never done the olympic lifts, and his Fran time was in the 11 minute range.

Three years of hard training later, Brad has dramatically improved his weak points, reaching 360 lbs. on the deadlift and closing in on a bodyweight snatch with a 150 lbs. lift. He has hit a 3:37 Fran, a 350 lb. squat, a bodyweight press at 165 lbs., and ran an off-trail half-marathon. This week, Brad set a PR in Nancy with a 13:19, and took 7 minutes off of his Diane time with a 9:12 result, all within an 18 hour period. In Brad's experience, "You can improve as you get older – it is more mental than physical."

In 2011, Brad's training goals include winning a spot on the podium at the 2011 CrossFit Games' 45-49 year old Masters division. With a Fran time is 36 seconds faster than any athlete at the 2010 Masters competition, and 23 second faster Nancy, Brad will certainly be a contender next year. 

Brad's website, SEAL Grinder PT, which mixes Navy SEAL-style bodyweight conditioning with CrossFit training, is available here.

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7 comments on this entry

1. Patrick McCarty wrote...

I am coming for you Brad. I am 48, 400lb deadlift aiming for 430 by years end, and a current 3:21 Fran. See you on the podium.

2. CStreet wrote...

This guy is the real deal.

3. Travis R. wrote...

Good luck Brad, i'll be rootin' for ya!

4. Moto Mofo wrote...

real deal, indeed

at 47, i can only hope..

5. Mustafa wrote...


6. wrote...

Go Brad REPRESENT!! I'm 47 also -- we are the new 30! haha

7. Michael James's CrossFit Dad wrote...

Congratulations from CrossFit PTC. We wish you the best in regionals and Lord willing at the Games in California.


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