📷 via The CrossFit Games
“Success is the peace of mind in knowing that you’ve given your all into achieving a goal”
– Jordan Burroughs, World and Olympic Champion in Freestyle Wrestling
This year’s Regionals were quite the show. Each weekend was packed with outstanding performances, leaderboard shake-ups, and devastating heart breaks. One athlete that stood out though the most amongst it all was a 22 year old Chandler Smith.
Smith made his debut in the Games competition this year where he competed in his first CrossFit Games Open. He took 7th overall in his Mid Atlantic region, earning him a well deserved qualifying spot at the Atlantic Regional alongside top dogs like Ben Smith, and Noah Ohlsen. From the start, Chandler became a fan favorite amongst the crowd. His personality, style, and raw talent completely shined and won fans over as he fought for a podium finish.
After the first two days of events he was in contention for a podium finish, but the 3rd day of competition seemed to shut that window. Finishing the weekend with a 17th and 18th place on the final events bumped him too far down the leaderboard. Chandler Smith ended up finishing in 9th place overall which is pretty awesome for his debut at the CrossFit Games Atlantic Regional. He wouldn’t be qualifying for the Games…for now.
Chandler’s been a dedicated BTWB user ever since he first joined in January 2015. He’s tracked every detail on his progress and hard work, and the guy just doesn’t stop. We got a chance to talk to him to see what it’s like to be in the life of Chandler Smith. He’s currently a 2nd Lieutenant of the U.S. Army’s Armor branch so his life of balancing work and training must be difficult.
How and when did you get into CrossFit?
“I got into CrossFit in the winter of 2010 when I stumbled across a video online of Spencer Hendel doing a WOD. After High School wrestling finished up in February 2011, I tried to do some CrossFit at a local globo gym until Ronnie Oswald saw me and told me that if I helped him build his new gym, I could go there for free. From there, I trained at Sky’s Limit CrossFit until I left for West Point that summer. While wrestling there, I did it [CrossFit] in my spare time in anticipation of switching focus to it after wrestling was done.”
Chandler’s ultimate goal was to qualify for the Games by 2022. But why 2022?
“2022 was decided upon when I was watching the stuff from the 2012 Games and I thought a decade of good work should be enough to get me there.”
Talk about mind-set right? He’s willing to put in a decade of non-stop hard work to reach his goals.
What was your favorite part about regionals? Your least favorite?
“My favorite part of regionals was making friends with a ton of the people there. I met fans that became friends from all over the U.S and got to become acquainted with the athletes I’d been looking up to for years. Both of these experiences will definitely benefit myself and others in the future so I couldn’t be happier to have had the chance to make all of the friends I did. My least favorite part of regionals was the feeling of failing those who believed in me. It takes faith and trust to invest yourself in someone else and I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain by not executing on Day 3 specifically. That has been my motivation for the training sessions I have been able to get in since then but it’s also the source of my biggest fear as I don’t know if I’ll have the time and resources to do what people believe I can, but I can promise I’ll do everything I can do to make it happen.”
“He’s not just getting a picture with Ben Smith, he’s getting some respect from the champ too.” – Brandon Domingue
Is there anything you wish you did more of during your training up until the 2016 Regionals?
“I wish I had done more CrossFit to lead up to the season but the reality of my job situation made that pretty difficult. Drinking water more consistently would have probably helped my recovery but overall I legitimately think I did everything I could with what I had. I have no regrets because every decision I made or make was and is done with the goal of making it to the Games in mind. I control all the variables I can to the best of my ability and so regardless of how things shake out, I can rest easy knowing I gave it my all.”
Are you going to train differently this year to prepare for the 2017 season?
“This year I am working on a few things. First, is mobility in the bottom of my squat position and front rack to improve my thrusters, wall balls and cleans. Second is my gymnastics technique and volume. Third is working more 2-6 minute MetCons in order to accumulate more practice of different movements and work a time domain that I dislike. Given the fact that I will move again to an uncertain training situation in Kansas and a busy job as a Platoon Leader, I am truthfully not overwhelmingly confident that I’ll be a significantly better athlete next year than I am right now. However, there is no doubt that I will do everything in my power to make sure I am continuing to get better and that all of my focus outside of work from now until next May will be on getting a spot on that Central Region podium.”
So you’re currently a Platoon Leader? What’s it like training with that kind of work schedule?
“I’m not a platoon leader yet, I’m currently in Georgia for the Army Reconnaissance Course but when I make it to Fort Riley in August I will be. I did Cadet Basic Training at West Point in June 2011 but didn’t get commissioned as a 2LT (Second Lieutenant) until last May. Balancing work is super tough especially on weeks like this past one. For ARC, we went about 25 miles in the woods over Thursday-Sunday and got only a few hours of sleep each night so you just have to kind of try and see the Army training as something that gives you an edge. It’s definitely easier said than done when I see my competition training all day every day but it’s the reality of my situation so I have to accept that and move on!”
What kind of workouts would you say are in your wheel-house?
“I love running and longer workouts. The nature of the Army’s physical training regimen has made me have to focus on these areas so I’ve just embraced it and try to see every instance of being made to work in these domains as net positive work. We do a lot of sit-ups and push-ups too so those are in there along with burpees! I’ve always liked burpees because they simulated a sprawl in wrestling and can give you cardio work that won’t leave you sore for the next day. Event 5 this year was tailor made for me and I didn’t even win so there might not be anything that’s really-really wheelhouse for me… Yet!”
Do you have any history in other Sports or areas of Fitness prior to CrossFit?
“Growing up I focused on playing football and running track until everyone else started growing and left me behind. From there, I (unwillingly) focused on wrestling and playing football (poorly). I was lucky enough to get to wrestle for Army West Point all four of my years at the Academy.”
What’s your go-to meal everyday?
“My go to meal has always been a Chicken Caesar Salad, but since I moved to Georgia for the summer a few weeks ago, I’ve yet to find a reliable Caesar salad plug haha. Because of that, the truthful answer for right now is unfortunately an MRE (Meal Ready-to-Eat) which is definitely NOT elite nutrition.”
Just from simply looking at Chandler’s workout log, you can see how hard and consistent he puts in work. This is an example of a usual training month for him. Chandler has logged over 1100 results since joining BTWB, so we took a look at his numbers. The guy is a machine.
Lifting, running, gymnastics, conditioning, you name it. But Chandler doesn’t have all the time in the world to just pack in as much as he wants. Some days he’s super strapped for time and needs to get the most of of his training sessions.
“I want to be able to get a days workouts done in one hour when I’m really pressed for time.
10-15 minutes for an Olympic lift (clean, snatch, jerk) or variation if I’m feeling CNS fatigue or pressed for time (power variation of a lift, snatch deadlifts, clean pulls)
10-15 minutes for a regular compound lift (strict press, front/back squat, deadlifts)
10-15 minutes for WOD 1, another 10-15 for WOD 2
Out of the 4-8 movements I want to at least hit a skill I need to maintain technique on (double unders, pistols, muscle ups) a weakness (HSPU, BMU, wall balls), some movement that’ll help me with Army stuff (push ups, sit ups, running) and something that I think I’ll be seeing soon (competition WODs, open prep)”
Despite these limitations at times, it doesn’t seem to hold Chandler back at all. He rarely takes complete full “rest days”. His longest stretch of consistent workout sessions logged is 45 days. Granted, some of these workout sessions might be easy days where he’s just working on active recovery or skill work, but still!
Since January, Chandler has hit over 50 PR’s on lifting sessions and workouts. He’s worked out on 119 days and only rested on 22 (a big chunk of them being in March). Across those 141 days, Chandler has performed 511 workout sessions. That’s an average of 3.6 sessions/day.
Let’s take a look at his most popular movements.
This page lists off the percent of each modality performed and how many sessions that a user has logged with each movement. Chandler’s top three of each are:
Gymnastics: Toes-to-bar (29 sessions), Burpee (23), Strict HSPU (23)
Monostructural: Run (56), Row Calories (26), Assault Bike Calories (25)
Weightlifting: Wall Ball (26), Deadlift (25), Back Squat (24)
Since January, Chandler has run over 161 km (not even including his Ruck Marches), done around 2000 Toes-to-bar and Wall Balls, 1800 Burpees, 1300 Deadlifts totalling 266,795 lbs, and 2500 Calories on the Assault Bike.
These next two charts show a heat-map of the different workout characteristics Chandler has logged. He pretty much hits it all.
|Clean & Jerk – 345 lbs||Fran – 2:26|
|Snatch – 282 lbs||Grace – 1:40|
|Deadlift – 605 lbs||Helen – 7:15|
|Back Squat – 475 lbs||Fight Gone Bad – 406|
|Front Squat – 405 lbs||Run 5 km – 19:00|
|Overhead Squat – 350 lbs||Diane – 2:32|
|Thruster – 255 lbs||Max Pull-ups – 62|
Chandler has the heart and determination like no other. With an attitude like his, we’re positive he’ll find a spot among the top. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for the CrossFit Games, and it’s going to be awesome to watch. Immediately following regionals he hopped back into the grind, not even taking 1 day off.