Never Out of the Fight: Chriss Smith / Trident Athletics

As a member of Seal Team 5 and other Special Mission units for 12 years, Chriss Smith had to be in top shape at all times. Even after separating from the Navy, the mindset that he had developed remained a driving force and Smith used that drive to start his own CrossFit gym, co-founded with his wife.

“The military showed me that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard for what you want. But first, you have to know what you want,” says Smith. “Otherwise, you're just spitting in the wind. It provided structure, discipline and intentionality to move toward your goals, connect with people and build strong teams and teammates. It offered a culture that I needed at the time to grow. It taught me how to lead and how to follow and provided me with opportunities to fail, fall down and get back up and try again—a couple of valuable lessons that directly correlate in the business world.”

Since opening in 2010, Trident Athletics has been a place for athletes of all levels to come and work out, push their limits and reach new goals. It’s also been a place for community. “We have a unique ability to connect with all types of athletes, meet them where they are in their fitness journey and provide support and guidance through their journey,” Smith says. “Sprinkle a few challenging but doable workouts in there and you have the magic sauce to change people's lives, both inside the gym and out.”

Boasting a training cadre of 30 trainers ranging from 11 years’ experience to three months, Trident is not only an athlete training gym, but also a coach’s training gym. “Most of our trainers are homebred, meaning that they were first members who loved what they experienced within the gym and now want to pass those experiences on to other members,” Smith explains.

As a business owner, Smith finds fulfillment in ways that, while less adrenaline-inducing than Special Missions, are still intensely satisfying. “I absolutely love creating meaningful relationships,” he says. “Athletics is just one avenue I use to make an impact with others. I love the smiles when people do something they thought they could never accomplish. I love the energy that we create, a ripple of positivity and accomplishment in our community. But most of all, I love giving high fives.”

Trident Athletics

410 Calvert Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301