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Three, Two, One - Go!

CrossFit isn’t for the faint of heart. Fans of the exercise program find themselves pushed in new ways with every workout and often brag about ripped open blisters, sore muscles and exercising to the point of nausea. And yet they come back for more. Years before it gained widespread recognition, CrossFit already had many devotees in Fayetteville and throughout the military community, so it’s not at all surprising to learn that one of Fayetteville’s own, Nate Schrader, is now ranked among the top CrossFit athletes in the world.

This year Schrader placed second in the men’s division at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Games and 12th for men at the worldwide CrossFit Games, held in Carson, Calif. He took first place in two events, broad jump and sprint, and secured his place on a list that includes CrossFit celebrities like Rich Froning, Matt Chan and Jason Khalipa.

“My friends and coaches aren’t afraid to critique me, which is good and needed,” Schrader said. “I work out with my business partner and my trainers once a week usually, which is also needed to help keep the competitive drive there instead of always working out alone.”

Schrader, who co-owns and operates Iron Forged Athletics on Russell Street Downtown with business partner Rory Hanlin, joined the Army in 2005 and soon found himself at Fort Bragg. In 2008, during a deployment, he was introduced to CrossFit. He’d grown up playing baseball, football, wrestling and running track just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. and that background, coupled with his career as a professional soldier, meant he was no stranger to CrossFit’s tough style of workouts. In 2010 he left the Army and decided that same year to compete in the CrossFit Games, a bold move for someone who’d only been a part of the sport for just over a year. He performed well, but narrowly missed qualifying for the finals. In 2011, he was able to finish 14th overall in the finals. Moving up to 12th place this year at the CrossFit Games, he is now officially one of the “Fittest Men on Earth” — as the Games’ motto declares.

“I changed up my programming this past year continuing my focus on a high volume of bodyweight movements,” Schrader said, “but also I think I rested a lot more than usual due to the stresses of opening up the gym and running the business.

Schrader says his favorite exercises are the olympic lifts: the clean and jerk and the snatch.

He and Hanlin opened Iron Forged Athletics last April as a 1600 square feet facility, but they’ve already expanded into an additional 2500 square feet.

“The final touches haven’t been done yet, but the space looks great and works well for classes and allows us to do personal and specialized programming and training with people in our front space while CrossFit classes take place in the new space simultaneously,” Schrader said.

Iron Forged Athletics also has a kids’ program, does personal training and individualized programming, and just began a beginners program for people who are interesting in getting back into shape.

“(We will also have) upcoming specialized programs and clubs for people who really like one thing like weightlifting, endurance races, etc.,” Schrader said.

CrossFit primarily combines elements of strength training and gymnastics with traditional cardiovascular exercises to create short, but very intense, interval work outs. A CrossFit work out of the day, called a “WOD”, might include several rounds of sprinting, heavy weight lifting, pull ups, box jumps — even tractor tire flipping — performed as quickly as possible. Friendly competition is frequently involved and participants aim to both quicken their times and increase the amount of weight they are able to lift.

So what does Schrader think this new year will bring for him?

“Well, I have a girl on the way, due April 1, and plan on competing in Regionals again in May and plan to try and make it to the Games again,” he said.

Fayetteville's CrossFit Gyms

Anderson Creek CrossFit 7135 Overhills Road 910.436.1032

CrossFit 910 1559 Wilmington Highway 910.703.6787

CrossFit Fort Bragg 425 West Manchester Road 910.436.0607

Iron Forged Athletics 444 West Russell Street, Suite 101 910.229.2214

RedPoint 5213 Raeford Road 910.868.7625