Chandler Smith made it to the Reebok 2019 CrossFit® Games as a rookie and became the 15th fittest in the world™. Now he has his sight set on CrossFit® Games 2020 – his mindset and will-power will definitely help him reach future goals and trophies. Get to know Chandler Smith better in this Q&A!
Hi Chandler Smith, you´re an amazing athlete! What is your sports background? When did you start with functional fitness and why?
Hey, well thanks! I don’t know if I believe that just yet, but I’m working on it! Growing up I played football and ran track. I started wrestling in high school and began training functional fitness to help with that. I wrestled for all four years at the United States Military Academy and was a team Captain my senior year before I transitioned to becoming a full-time fitness athlete.
How do you balance fitness with work?
I’m super lucky that my current job allows for a great degree of training during work hours, but I’ve always balanced the two by not leaving room for much (anything) else. Being single minded in my pursuit of fitness as my only hobby has helped me consistently improve across some difficult situations.
What does a normal training schedule look like for you?
I am a huge believer in treating functional fitness as an endurance sport, so nearly every day I begin my training with monostructural work of some kind. I’ll sometimes incorporate accessory movements as part of my cool down in this session as well. Depending on the time of the season, my second session begins with a gymnastically focused warm up, moves into an olympic or compound lifting session. After the weights have been lifted, I’ll hit one or two metcons and then potentially move into more accessory work. The common denominator across my training is to train like subject matter experts. I run like a runner, lift like a weightlifter, and so on, only bringing it together in serious amounts as competition approaches.
You’ve said that your goal was to make it to the CrossFit® Games by 2022. How did you feel when you achieved your goal in 2019, three years earlier than expected?
It felt like a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders, but I work best under pressure, so the expectations for 2022 have only grown in scale now.
You didn’t just make it to the games, you also finished 15th fittest in the world™, what was that like?
Finishing 15th was a huge boost to my confidence, but I try to solely view it as confirmation that I can hang with the best. Knowing that means that if I trust my work, I should be able to continue to improve relative to the competition going forward.
NOCCO ambassador Chandler Smith
What is the proudest moment of your career?
Qualifying for the Reebok 2020 CrossFit® Games through the CrossFit® Open was huge for me. I have never considered myself a good qualifier athlete, so when I set the goal of qualifying early, I knew that it would be difficult. I stayed resilient through the ups and downs of the CrossFit® Open enough to make it happen, and I’ve never been as satisfied with a performance of mine as I was in the wake of meeting that goal
You injured your finger a while ago, what happened and how did the injury affect your fitness?
In February 2017 I ummm, tried to PR my deadlift with a 1000 pound piece of tank armor. Shockingly, I failed, and losing my finger was the punishment. The injury ended up being a blessing in disguise as it forced me to reevaluate my training and establish a large strength and conditioning base ahead of my return to competitive individual CrossFit® in 2019.
This season has been a little bit different because of the circumstances around the world, how have you kept yourself motivated during quarantine?
My goals are always long term in regard to this sport, so not much has changed. My ultimate goal is to feel that I maximized my potential in the sport and that has continued to be my focus even as the competition season evaporated. Having a great home set up, and awesome friends to train with has also helped a great deal!
How is the body and soul feeling this season? Have you been focusing or investing training in something extra?
For the longest time I neglected seeing recovery as something I could afford to do when considering the amount of training distractions, I incurred from my job. Having the ability to train more consistently has allowed me to take breaks when needed and that has done wonders for my recovery. Even amidst not being able to train in a perfect environment, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.
Do you have any motivational tips for those who can´t go to the gym these days?
Being in a situation where you can’t train like you would prefer to is miserable, and one that my job has made me face on numerous occasions. However, there is always something to be done. Focus intensely on that something and enjoy the process of being forced to develop a high level of proficiency in the area you have to work on. There’s always a silver lining.
Build your ultimate functional fitness athlete – so choose one athlete to match the attribute: Speed, Strength, Power, Endurance.
If I could make a functional fitness Captain Planet, they would possess the speed of Noah Ohlsen, the strength of Pat Vellner, the power of Mat Fraser and the endurance of Jacob Heppner – then they would win the CrossFit® Games forever and ever.
You´re definitely NOCCO enough! How does it feel to be a part of the NOCCO family? When do you drink your NOCCO and which flavor is your go-to?
I’m super happy to be working with a company whose products I genuinely enjoy. That’s always been my one rule in regards to working with folks and so this is a dream come true. Since I first got to try them last summer, I’ve been a consistent customer and it’s an awesome stroke of luck that a company I believe in has chosen to believe in me as well. I am partial to the non-caffeinated Green Apple since that’s what the Haynes bros first introduced me to, but if I need a pick me up then I always prefer the caffeinated Caribbean flavor! Happy to be NOCCO Enough and grateful y’all gave me a chance to ramble here.
Check Chandler Smith out on his Instagram @blacksmifff