Kristen Chandler’s CrossFit journey has been such an epic worldwide adventure, it sounds a bit like a game of “Two Truths and a Lie.”
After finding CrossFit in 2012 when she was pregnant with her second child, she followed CrossFit’s main site programming for three years while living first in Monterey, CA and then in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Life soon took her to New Jersey, where she joined her first CrossFit gym, CrossFit Nassau, and got her Level 1 certification and began coaching a CrossFit Kids program for a short time.
In 2015, life took her to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she opened a garage CrossFit gym that served both the expat and local community. And in 2019, she moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and became acquainted with Wesley Gold, the head of an anti-poaching unit bordering the Serengeti. She and Gold soon opened a non-profit affiliate, CrossFit Faru. Today, Chandler is a member of CrossFit Identity in Atlanta, GA and works as the Director of Communications with Loud and Live Sports.
That being said, her career in CrossFit has humble beginnings: She started out as a volunteer with the media team at the Meridian Regional competition in 2016. Slowly but surely, she worked her way into bigger roles, including taking on a role at the 2018 Dubai CrossFit Championships, and the media director and broadcast coordinator for five CrossFit Sanctionals events.
Q&A with Chandler:
How do you take your coffee:
Chandler: “Black! Pour over is my favorite.”
Tell us a bit about your role with Loud and Live:
Chandler: “I oversee all the communications and media for all Loud and Live events, including Wodapalooza, West Coast Classic, Granite Games, as well as some other projects through the year. I manage a team responsible for content creation, project management, media and publishing. Beyond events, Loud and Live Sports manages several top elite CrossFit athletes and marketing campaigns for companies that operate in the CrossFit space. A bulk of my responsibilities are dedicated to orchestrating the entire media campaign for Wodapalooza. That includes the Online Challenge & Qualifier, and the actual WZA event in Miami.”
What does a day in your life look like?
Chandler: “Since I have the benefit of working from home, my day starts with a 6:15 am class at CrossFit Identity. On my way home I call the children—I’m a single mom with three kids at home—and make sure they are awake. The next hour is normal mom-stuff of making breakfast and lunch and shuffling the kids out the door to school.
My Loud and Live work begins by reviewing all of our social channels…The rest of my day is spent checking in with the Loud and Live team, Social Media Producer, our content creators, and then coordinating calls with partners and other Loud and Live Sports staff. As the Communications Director, I’m always juggling all our projects…I am also regularly overseeing content for our Loud and Live athletes at shoots, on social media, and behind the scenes at our events.
My work day usually doesn’t end till late at night, because as you know, social media never sleeps, and creators keep wild hours. The good news is that I can work a lot from my phone, and my supervisor places a lot of trust in me to work autonomously. If I have to take a break to pick up kids or make dinner, or spend time helping with homework, or go to a kid’s cross-country meet, I have a lot of freedom to organize my time….I’m often working through the night. The balance comes at odd hours, but somehow it shakes out. My kids see me working a lot, but they know I love my job and I try to show them my work as much as possible.”
What’s your advice for up-and-coming women looking to pursue a career in the fitness space?
Chandler: “My advice for women, or anyone wanting to get involved in the CrossFit space is to put in the reps. Be willing to work and volunteer and get to know the community. Make as many contacts as you can, and then help those people however you can. Whatever skill set you have, find a way to put it to use and then offer to help those who need it. CrossFit is growing, the industry is growing, and there will be more opportunities for experienced women in very prominent roles. The last piece of advice I would give, is to find another woman who knows you and believes in you. One woman that taught me more than I could have anticipated was Georgia Bayliss-Brown. She was there when I volunteered for my first Regionals. When she joined the CrossFit scene, she quickly became indispensable to the CrossFit Games social media staff. She served as a friend and a backstop to my lamentations and efforts when having to work long hours or figure out puzzles working with disparate teams internationally. Georgia gave me the confidence I lacked, and encouraged me to continue when I had little support elsewhere.”