I’ve spent a lot of time researching the Smith family for this blog. There are endless interviews on the internet with Ben over the years discussing his rise to the podium. What his motivators are and tips for success. I could have regurgitated it all here, but I wanted to focus on one thing that has struck me from the very start of our friendship. The sense of family. Not just a blood related family, but the legacy the Smiths have created with CrossFit Krypton. A strongly bonded, all inclusive, community family in the deepest sense of the word.
Those of us who have siblings will understand what it is like to grow up with a little competition. But can you imagine what it is like growing up in a house of equally talented and successful brothers (not to mention good looking too). Kim and Chuck Smith have successfully brought up three wonderful boys, who all embody the values of hard work, tenacity and honesty. They are each others biggest fans and support each other with love and admiration.
CrossFit Krypton, Virginia USA
Crossfit Krypton is situated in a beautiful part of the world. Chesapeake, Virginia is on the east coast of America, surrounded by vast areas of national wildlife to the west and east. The beautiful beach coastline is less than 40 minutes away.
Its runaway success has meant that CrossFit Krypton is now residing in its second, larger home. In the early days Ben taught all the classes alongside his own training schedule. His Dad, Chuck helped with the business side of things too. Successfully incorporating the spirit of CrossFit into the box, community is everything to the Smith family.
“Community is everything,” he says. “That gym has given me a support system through all of this. Every athlete here should be saying that. No one does it by themselves.” Ben’s training partner and CrossFit Kryton coach Adam Klink has been there by his side since 2013
"I couldn’t have done any of it without him,” says Smith of his friend.
Of course, included in the Krypton community are Ben’s younger brothers Alec and Dane. Not daunted by their elder brother’s incredible success, they are fantastic athletes in their own rights.
The Smith Legacy
The face of CrossFit has changed over the last 10 years. From where a determined and driven Greg Glassman started from, posting WODs on a website and early adopters working out in their garages or martial art dojo’s. To now, a huge billion dollar phenomenon with sponsored athletes and purpose built, shiny well equipped boxes. You would have to look hard to find someone who has been there from the start and is still operating at the top.
Step forward Ben Smith (28)
“I started doing it by myself on CrossFit.com. I was 16,” says Smith. “They didn’t have affiliates when I started. There were maybe two in California. Back then, CrossFit was something that nobody else was doing. It made me very uncomfortable and that’s what I liked about it. I was taught at a young age that if you want something, be disciplined and work hard. Work harder than everyone else. So that’s what I did with everything in my life. I wanted to be a great baseball player and I thought CrossFit could be the differentiator that got me there.”
“If you want to be the best at something, you have to do something a little different. CrossFit was definitely different.”
Like most people trying out CrossFit back in 2008, Ben was working out in the garage at his family home. As parents to three boys, I’m sure Chuck and Kim were relieved that he was spending his time being productive and healthy in their garage, despite the relentless dropping of heavy weights smashing into the concrete floor.
Soon Ben was getting pretty good at CrossFit and started to train other people in his home gym. In 2012, after spending four years getting a mechanical engineering degree, the family decided to open a CrossFit gym close to home, CrossFit Krypton.
“I have directly seen the incredibly positive impact CrossFit as a health and fitness methodology has made on my friends and family and I wanted to share that with my local community and as many people that were willing to listen and give it a shot. Despite the career twist, this was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It combines what I love to do with the love of helping others become better versions of themselves, and at the same time providing support for my family and close friends. You never know what you will end up doing, but I believe if you listen well enough, and go into whatever "it" is with the right heart and attitude and purpose you will always find the right path for you and those around you”
Two years later, in 2015, Ben Smith won the CrossFit Games.
Ben Smith has an impressive Games track record. he has competed in every CrossFit Games since 2009 (a record in itself). He has stood on the podium a total of four times
Alec Smith (26)
Two years younger than Ben, Alec has had his own unique journey to CrossFit.
“My whole CrossFit career I have struggled deciding whether or not the sport is something that I would physically be able to do. When I was a kid, I had a pretty bad accident that left me with two herniated discs in my back (L4-L5 and L5-S1) and required reconstructive surgery on my shoulder. I was told I could never do gymnastics again (which was pretty much all I did) and spent the next year recovering and figuring out what I wanted to do with my time.”
“In 2015 and 2016 I saw 10-12 different doctors and chiropractors and learned SO much about proper movement mechanics and how to perform without aggravating my back. This meant not training certain movements together that involved a combination of flexion and extension, and doing accessory work every day to strengthen my back and glutes. It’s still a learning process and there will always be movements and workouts that I won’t be able to do without issues, but the reward and my love for the sport is too much to give up.”
Alec is often given the title of “Gymnastics Expert” and it’s easy to see why. He competed in gymnastic from the age of 3 and was one of the best middle school gymnasts in America. Despite the injury set backs he is still one of the best gymnasts on the CrossFit floor. Take a look at this video: Olynastics: A Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics hybrid.
2018 was a brilliant CrossFit year for Alec, finishing in 25th place. A significant improvement on his 2017 position of 36th. 2019 has kicked off with a victory at Wodapalooza too. He is the first Smith brother to qualify for the 2019 CrossFit Games as part of Team Romwod/ WIT alongside Jamie Green, Jessica Griffith and Cody Mooney. We can’t wait to see them smash things up in Madison.
Dane Smith (22)
You would think that being the youngest brother would put some pressure on Dane to live up to his brother’s successes. But Dane comes across as the most laid back, friendly guy. In fact, on every photo I see of him on social media, he has a beaming smile. A massively successful CrossFit athlete in his own right, he has been to 3 regional’s. His best performance in 2018, being positioned 293rd worldwide. I think that Dane’s career is only just getting started.
The Ben Smith Blueprint
Ben is Head of Programming at CrossFit Krypton and all the athletes, whatever their level of ability, follow his schedule. With such impressive successes coming out of the Krypton stable, it’s clear that Ben has developed a winning formula.
“The Blueprint is Ben Smith’s personal daily programming. Whether you are an aspiring CrossFit athlete, an everyday CrossFit athlete, workout from home, or an Affiliate looking to follow a proven programming structure designed to improve overall fitness (a balance between strength, gymnastics skills, olympic lifting, running, rowing, and other endurance work), we have the programming for you!”
So whats’s next for the Krypton Family?
With so many milestones already achieved for the Krypton athletes, what are they focused on now? I’m sure they have a challenging year planned. Ben is recovering from the knee surgery he had in January. Although looking at his 19.0 Open WODs, you’d never know he was rehab’ing. Alec has a spot at the Games already in the bag, so I’m sure he will be focused on training for that. And I wonder if Chuck Smith is working on his deadlifts? He’s already holding the Master’s record of a 600 pound deadlift!! (That’s 272 KG for the Europeans).
What’s for sure is that they will set about their goals with grace, humility and humour. It will be great to watch them and I will be cheering them on loudly.