Mr. and Mrs. Smith: CrossFit’s Perfect Match, Chandler & Jessi

Some couples are widely known for being a perfect pair, and in the world of CrossFit, you’d be hard pressed to find a couple more perfectly paired than Jessi and Chandler Smith. From dealing with long distance to becoming everyday training partners, the Smith’s know a thing or two about supporting one another, and their bond is made stronger by their shared love of the sport.

Like any good romance, Jessi & Chandler had their fair share of challenges to start. “We met through a mutual friend through CrossFit,” Jessi recalls. “We knew of each other from a few competitions and then started chatting a little bit through Instagram. We were doing the long distance thing for a little while when Chandler was finishing up with the Army and I was still working in Pittsburgh.”

Eventually, though, they landed in the same place and were able to spend some time together. “Training was truly all we did for the first few times we hung out, since COVID was happening and really all we could do was train or hike. We’re both very competitive so it worked really well for us. We could spend all day together training and chatting.”

And as any pro athlete will tell you, surrounding yourself with people who understand the mental and physical demands of training is as integral to success as the training itself. Thankfully for Chandler, Jessi was on the same page from the start. “For Chandler, the importance of having someone who understood his goals and his lifestyle was really important. He has been a high level athlete since he was young, so being with someone who also has the same mindset and focus was really necessary.”

But it wasn’t just all about Chandler. “We both agreed early on that training was non-negotiable. I wasn’t as highly competitive in CrossFit when I met Chandler,” Jessi says, “but he has pushed me to be not only the best version of myself mentally, but physically as well.” This year, Jessi and Chandler will both be appearing at the CrossFit Games, Chandler for his fourth time as an individual athlete, and Jessi for her first as a member of team CrossFit Invictus Unconquerable.

“Our relationship has affected our fitness in a very positive way,” Jessi says confidently. “It’s really easy to lack motivation some days, but when your partner is going, it really motivates you and makes it hard to stay at home. The FOMO is real!”

“It’s also wonderful to have someone in the gym who you can talk to about everything. They know your body language and when you may need a little more help or even a little space. Having someone who can be fully yourself around in those situations is very calming and reassuring, especially during competition.”

But for the Smith’s, it’s not just about competing. “Being in the gym has also positively affected our relationship by giving us so much time together. Most couples don’t get to go to work and come home together. We’re super grateful for the amount our relationship has grown from being together so much.”

There’s also intimacy in training. “Being in the gym together is also a great way to continue to learn about one another. You get to see how the other person handles adversity and you also get to learn how to problem solve together.” And for Jessi and Chandler, saying “I love you” can often be in the form of an extra workout. “Sometimes, one of us needs a training partner for some heinous workout and we’ve learned how to say yes in those situations because we know that the other person really needs someone to go through it with.”

And even after the workout is done, the support Jessi and Chandler have for one another continues outside of the gym. “With my physical therapy background, I try to do my best to help Chandler with exercises and rehab as much as he needs, as well as doing that for myself. We always do our best to do mobility in the evenings and take turns stretching while someone does laundry or the dishes. Chandler is also a great programmer and is able to assist me when I need more help in certain areas.”

But beyond the walls of the gym, Jessi and Chandler Smith have a fulfilling relationship that forms from their deep-seated connection. “It is really important to us to get out of the gym and have time that is just our own. We have been very blessed this last year with lots of travel so we are making memories that we’ll be able to tell our kids about.”

“CrossFit has been amazing in the way that it brought us together and also in the way that it has helped us to grow and flourish in our relationship.”

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