February 23, 2013
Three-Year Team Competitor Goes it Alone in 2013
By Josh Bunch

“The team is so much fun and full of awesome people, but I have always wondered if I could have done it alone."

After helping the team from CrossFit Maximus place 19th at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, Jennifer Smith decided to take a break from team competition.

For the last three years, Smith has turned down her invitation to the individual competition at Regionals. In 2011, she took 11th in Central East in the Open. In 2012, she took fifth in the Open and went on to help CrossFit Maximus reach second at the Central East Regional.

“The team is so much fun and full of awesome people, but I have always wondered if I could have done it alone,” Smith says.

With a one-rep-max clean of 205 lb., a 350-lb. deadlift and a 145-lb. snatch, Smith is confident she has the strength and skill to compete with the best.

Finding New Programming

Since last year, Smith has been training for the 2013 season.

“I’m really excited and curious,” she says. “It's crazy to see how far I've come over the past six months.”

This year, she’s separated herself from the. While the team follows CrossFit Football for the majority of their programming, Smith follows the direction of CrossFit Ann Arbor owner and Level 1 Seminar Staff member, Doug Chapman.

“I never thought (CrossFit Football programming) was enough,” Smith explains. “I always wanted more volume.”

After watching Julie Foucher set records at the Regional, Smith asked Chapman to program for her. If his programming could develop an athlete like Foucher, she figured it could help her, too.

Chapman’s programming has demanded a rigorous focus on the fundamentals. He asks for more than competency in the basic movements — he asks for virtuosity.

“(My) programming is constructed to develop capacities and skills,” Chapman explains.

Chapman asks his athletes to train five days per week, and sometimes take on multiple workouts per day. Each training day, athletes have auxiliary skill work programmed, such as Olympic lifting complexes or gymnastics drills.

For instance, Smith may begin with a 1,000-meter row, followed by 10 minutes of a 65-lb. barbell complex. The day also includes met-cons, incorporating various skill work like handstand walks, strict pull-ups, toes-to-bars and muscle-up practice.

To get coaching and cues, Smith films her lifts and other movements and sends them in for review.

The new programming has demanded a level of commitment that far exceeds her commitment in past years.

“I definitely wasn't as serious about training as I am now,” she says. “Mentally, I used to be such a whiner. (Chapman) has gotten me used to forging through the longer, heavier WODs, which has translated to me becoming more mentally strong."

Chapman describes this as, “training your mind to live in the dark space.”


Smith falls into the Neal Maddox theory of nutrition.

After several workouts, she loses all fear of sugar.

“If I want cookies, chocolate, ice cream — whatever it may be — I don't even think twice,” she says. “It's completely necessary for my sanity, especially while I'm training so hard.”

In fact, her pre-workout Open tradition is a giant apple crisp from Ted’s Montana Grill, CrossFit Maximus’ members favorite restaurant.

“The (2012 Open) workout I did the absolute worst on was the only time I didn't have the apple crisp,” she says with a laugh. “It was clearly the only reason I couldn't do toes-to-bar.”