Catching Up with Brad Clifford from Migration Unlimited Training
By Greg Poisson
Photos by Matt Johnson
As a casual onlooker, we see motocross athletes as daredevils, throwing around a 200lb motorcycle through various situations and wonder how they do it…
Most top racers these days have a trainer, someone to take the thinking out of the hard work they put in. Brad Clifford is one of these trainers to some of our top racers, like Tyler Medaglia and Tanner Ward. Let’s hear what got him started in the sport and what his background is.
Direct Motocross: Brad, you’ve had some great success with your riders this season. Tell us what got you started in the training game and tell us a bit about your history.
Brad Clifford: Hey, man! Thanks for the questions and the time. Our athletes have had great results thus far and I’m very proud of them all!
My life has always revolved around high level sport stemming from various platforms. I’ve always had an innate interest in pushing the human limits. The body and mind are fascinating and when you allow yourself to push further than you ever imagined it’s unlike any feeling you can experience. I think that’s really the driving force behind what we are trying to accomplish and it’s what makes this line of work so rewarding.
I grew up in the road racing and mountain bike industry and found my off season training grounds (Arizona & California predominantly) overlapping with some friends in moto. The idea sparked there as I saw some similarities and where I thought some could improve in how we prepare the body and mind for racing.
There’s obviously some differences in training but the sport of motocross is amazing in terms of the physical nature as well as the technical abilities in these riders to understand multiple components of the bike and various tracks/conditions. Obviously there’s a lot going on and I always admired them for how much work and time goes into the craft.
Over time when I was in University I decided it was something I wanted to be a part of. I love the grind from the training to the road life and everything in between hold some of my favourite memories. The beautiful struggle.
COVID-19 obviously has altered much of how the world operates. For our riders and their programs it’s been a big change in digital learning and communication (hopefully not for long). There is a lot of positive in this pandemic, however. It’s made us all realize what’s truly important and I feel it’s opened up a new line of communication and accountability.
How has COVID changed the way your riders prepare? What is your favourite form of cross-training for Motocross?
I really enjoy ski touring and cross country skiing but there isn’t one cross-training that I feel is superior. It has to be fun. These aren’t Moto specific but they activate the entire body in a way handlebar sports don’t. By training in a different environment and activating more of the body that lies dormant in some situations it’s only going to aid in the athlete’s overall wellbeing. It’s also a good mental break which is always needed, in my opinion.
What are some tips you can give racers for maintain focus throughout the season? Staying true to their program and keeping on track.
My advice on maintaining focus throughout the season is different for each athlete. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Knowing the athlete’s strengths and weakness determine how we improve our program, and focus is always improved by consistency in training and structured approach to the goals that they have. This changes constantly and we will always be learning how to better the focus of each rider, but when it comes down to it, it’s how bad each individual wants to succeed and making sure we are finding positives in defeat while learning from mistakes and communicating as we go forward.
Without giving away any trade secrets, what does a typical program look like for your athletes? Off Season, Pre Season and In Season?
No secrets here, just putting in the work, building a proper foundation. We want to build overall strength each year, but the biggest error I’ve seen in most athletes is the lack of base and foundation. Understanding proper movements and the benefits of recovery, nutrition, as well as all the science behind building the different engines within our bodies is crucial to the athlete in terms of understanding what works for them.
After that’s in place we start to sharpen the knife and focus more on specific energy systems we want to stress to tap into race fitness. Anyone can bust their ass and train hard, that doesn’t mean it’s sustainable or that they will improve over time. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Consistency and dedication is the only real way to achieve long term success.
Tell us something unique about your roster of athletes, one thing that each of them truly excel at off the bike.
I love how unique and diverse our list of athletes is and I’m proud to call them all friends. I likely learn more from them, honestly. With our young talent it’s always just fun seeing them learn and begin to understand the work that’s involved. You see a lot of yourself in these athletes and it’s so awesome to see when their hard work pays off.
Many of them have full-time jobs and juggle family life as well as a crazy amount of time and effort to their sport, so it’s just humbling to be surrounding yourself with these type of people.
Working with Tyler Medaglia has given me a really good perspective on this career choice. It’s been great having him involved and I can’t say enough about his family for how they go about life. Maybe we have similar personalities and approach but things began to click that I was on the right path when I began working with that dude. So, thanks again, brother!
Any last remarks? How can someone get a hold of you to up their fitness game for 2021?