CrossFit Krypton

CrossFit Krypton
Images courtesy of CrossFit Krypton

In September of 2012, CrossFit Krypton opened in Chesapeake, Virginia. Chuck Smith, one of the gym’s owners, shares below about the business and how it’s evolved over the years.

Business Breakdown

  • Opened September 2012
  • Approximately 250 to 300 members
  • 7,200 square-foot building, a 180-foot turf track and a 3,000 square-foot “Annex”
  • Most popular membership is the unlimited yearly CrossFit membership which is currently $130 per month.
  • Eight individuals that work part time managing the office and 12 Coaches that work various hours coaching classes.

Box Pro: Describe your business. What makes your Box unique/stand out from the rest? 

Chuck Smith: I like to say that CrossFit Boxes offer members four things:

  1. Programming: All our programming is done by Ben Smith. Ben has been a competitive CrossFitter since he was 18 years old and this will be his 12th consecutive appearance at the CrossFit Games as an individual competitor. There are few people in the business that understand CrossFit, workouts and the impact of various exercises on the body better than him. Ben’s gym programming and individual programming is available through The Ben Smith Blueprint on Beyond the Whiteboard. This is CrossFit Krypton’s programming.
  2. Coaching: Initially, Ben coached all our classes and we often reminisce about sessions where Ben was one-on-one with the only member that attended the scheduled class, but that didn’t last long. In 2014, our class sizes had grown substantially, and we were lucky to have Adam Klink join our Krypton family and become our Head Coach. Adam, who is now a multiple year Regional/Sanctional event competitor, was a recent Rutgers Graduate, varsity soccer goalie and northeast regional CrossFit competitor. Adam and Ben had graduated high school together and had very similar coaching techniques and philosophies. As Krypton continued to grow, Adam and Ben handpicked and hired each Coach very carefully to make sure they continued offering Krypton members with the best possible coaching. We have weekly Coach meetings where we discuss upcoming programming for the week, scaling options, coaching points and lessons learned.
  3. Facility: We built a new facility adjacent to our original gym and opened the doors in February 2018. We use all Rouge equipment, rigs and weights, and are fully equipped with Concept 2 products for rowers, ski ergs and bikes. Our facility was designed and built for CrossFit, and we maximized the space available for construction. We continue to utilize our original facility — which is immediately adjacent to our new building — for specialty classes such as CrossFit Kids, Strength class, Krypton Athletics, gymnastics, team training and speed class. The addition in 2019 of a 180-foot long all-weather track from Sporturf has been an incredible addition to our facility and has expanded our ability to program ad train athletes.
  4. Community: Lastly, and in our case the most impressive thing that a CrossFit gym offers its members, is community. As good as our programming, coaching and facilities are, they are humbled by the quality of our community. We say that regardless of a member’s age, ability or interests, there is a great role model for them at Krypton. From the 13-year-old aspiring high school student athletes to 76-year-old retired accountants, we are a perfect blend of society with the best of the best teachers, fire fighters, medical service providers, military members, etc. We are a home away from home and an oasis to escape the demands of the daily job/routine. If there is one thing that stands out about CrossFit Krypton, it is the welcoming environment that our members and staff present to all who enter the gym.

BP: How did you get involved in CrossFit? What were your greatest challenges in opening your Box? 

CS: Ben started CrossFitting late in 2007 while training for high school baseball. He lived on the crossfit.com website and spent hours analyzing his form and technique against that of various Olympic lifters. In the spring of 2009, he signed up for and competed in the first ever Midatlantic Regional competition in Virginia Beach with a chance — if he finished in the top five — to win an invitation to the 2009 CrossFit Games in Aromas, California. Not only did Ben qualify for the Games that year, he actually won the competition, beating 101 other men, including CrossFit legends like Pat Sherwood — yes, Pat used to compete — Blair Morrison, Josh Wagner and Jon Matzner.

After the 2009 trip to California, Ben was determined to one day win the Games. Ben continued to train and train others out of our home garage throughout his time in college, and after a heavy clean workout one afternoon that knocked several dishes off the wall in our kitchen, we all decided it was time to find a new training space for Ben to work out and train others. Ben had just finished college at Old Dominion University (ODU) when we started looking for a location. The effort of finding an adequate space/location for a gym was the biggest problem we had in opening. We wanted it close to home for easy access, but Chesapeake, Virginia, didn’t have a ton of old metal buildings for rent/lease. We wanted it nearby the schools and single-family homes for member convenience. We were extremely fortunate to find a small 3,000-square-foot space in an existing building that needed a tenant. Four weeks later with the help of Ben’s uncle, Rogue Fitness and lots of Ben’s friends, CrossFit Krypton opened for business.

BP: How would you describe yourself as an Affiliate? 

CS: We would like to be thought of as a family-run Affiliate that has something to offer to each and every member of our community.  We believe effort is more important than results, and that hard work always pays off and doesn’t need to be witnessed. We program for the most elite but scale to the needs of all. Again, it’s not the result we are after, rather the effort. On a daily basis at Krypton, you will find some of the best CrossFitters on the planet working next to beginner CrossFitters and everything in between. Our classes are comprised of individuals, couples, parents with kids, grandparents with grandkids, etc. We are an elite gym of athletes, not a gym of elite athletes. 

Fun fact about the gym: We manage attendance through our Zen Planner software and in 2019, we had eight members log more than 200 CrossFit classes. Our leader was Haley Harden who attended 264 CrossFit classes in 2019; second place was Haley’s mother, Megan, who attended 263. The rematch is on for 2020.

Box Pro: Who or what do you contribute your success to? 

CS: As I mentioned above, the community here at CrossFit Krypon is by far the one thing that stands above all else. We are honored to have many guests visit our facility, and it is most common to receive complements on our welcoming environment and friendly members. This is a heavily populated military area, and we have a high turnover of individuals and families as a result of PCS moves and deployments. Creating an environment at CrossFit Krypton where people of all walks of life feel welcome, safe and happy has been a huge factor in our success.   

BP: What is one lesson you have learned that other Affiliates would find beneficial?  

CS: Find a way to give back to the community. In 2014, we organized and coordinated a charity competition and directed all proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One of our members, Wei Chen, managed a local car dealership and emptied out a showroom and allowed us to use his space for the event. We raised almost $15,000 that day and had over 100 volunteers from our community involved in the event. This was a great way to unite people toward a common and worthy goal. 

We have continued the annual event and hosted the fourth annual CrossFit Krypton Compete for a Cure event on February 1, 2020. The event has grown to require the entire Chesapeake Conference Center and we sold out the 128 team vacancies in a little over a week. We raised over $100,000 this year and our list of volunteers, sponsors and partners has multiplied. We find this annual event to be a great way to stay engaged with CrossFit partners, vendors, local businesses and community members, and accomplish good deeds for a great cause.

BP: What is one program you do exceptionally well? Why?

CS: We work hard to offer specialty programs for individuals that need work in specific areas. Our programming is well-rounded and focused on general development of overall fitness. We offer a very structured, one-on-one introductory program, but focus mostly on movement recognition and basic safety/scaling/progressions. It is difficult to become a great Olympic lifter only doing CrossFit classes. Members will learn the basics and become marginally better lifters, but real proficiency requires hours of dedicated work and instruction. We offer programs that focus on specific skills that members — and non-members — can sign up for as necessary/desired. 

For example, Ben runs a six-week long “KRYPTON STRONG” program that meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. to focus on the Olympic lifts, and Adam runs a “Krypton Athletics” program that is geared toward high school/college athletes and their specific sports. Our goal is to offer supplemental skills training that will make people better CrossFitters and athletes. Individuals are often limited in a workout due to their mobility or lack of basic mechanics/poor form. Improving an individual’s ability to work harder and safer will lead to better overall results.

If able, please list the companies that you work closest with in the following areas:

  • Equipment: All our equipment comes from Rogue. Our rowers, bikes and ski ergs are all Concept 2.
  • Software: We have used Zen Planner since we opened in 2012 and wouldn’t consider anyone else. Also, Beyond the Whiteboard offers our members free access to their awesome workout tracking tools. We have also been with Affiliate Guard for insurance needs since opening in 2012.
  • Profit centers: We receive great event and product support from Reebok. We proudly carry Puori products, the cleanest protein/vitamins available; Alec Smith grips from RxSmart Gear; custom Goat Tape; and we create our own T-shirts. We also have many customized CrossFit Krypton items available through K&W and are excited to be starting a partnership with Chike as they launch their new Alec Smith flavor of coffee. Our members also drink a ton of FitAide.
  • Website resources: We are fortunate to have two gifted members to assist us with our website, Kurt Kemple and Andy Kraft.
  • Functional accessories: We have a 180-foot long track installed by Matt Riggs from Sporturf, an unbelievably nice product and addition to our facility.

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.