#RBKFITBLOG Event Recap
On Thursday evening, Cait drove down to my neck of the woods. She slept over, and the two of us got up nice and early for our trip to Reebok headquarters for #RBKFITBLOG! Luckily, we didn’t have to wake up too early because Reebok headquarters is just 25 minutes from my doorstep. I still can’t get over how the campus is just a stone’s throw away!
Cait and I changed into the gear that Reebok graciously sent to us. We donned our Reebok essential track jackets and tees, CrossFit capris, and RealFlex Transition sneakers. We felt so confident and strong in the apparel, and were so ready for an amazing day.
The second we stepped foot on the Reebok headquarters, I felt a simultaneous rush of excitement and content. The sun was shining and people were bustling around the headquarters with enthusiasm and passion. I felt like I was with “my people.” I know it sounds kind of silly but I really felt at home.
I made sure to “karaoke and weave” my way to the entrance to the tune of “I Will Survive.” Yup, it happened.
After warming up our pipes, we were led upstairs to the brand room, our “home base” for the day, and met up with Kelly Olexa and our fellow FitFluential ambassadors. Each of us were given our own padded Reebok seat and provided with a notebook and pen to jot down notes during the day’s presentations. The journalist in me really appreciated that.
Johnice Graham, Reebok marketing manager, took us through a presentation on how Reebok wants to portray their brand to customers. Through their recent partnership with CrossFit, Johnnice told us that Reebok wants their customer base to equate Reebok with being the brand for fitness. According to Johnice, Reebok aims to be the “face of fitness” by inspiring others to be stronger. Amen to that!
Next up was a CrossFit class, led by top coaches Austin Malleolo and Caleb Diebolt. The class was held in Reebok’s on-campus CrossFit box gym. It was pretty epic. I was little intimidated to try CrossFit but so excited to learn and partake in the intense workout! For those of you that are not familiar with CrossFit, it is a scalable strength and conditioning program using “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.” Workoust are typically 20 minutes or less and demand all-out physical exertion.
Austin gave us ladies a pep talk about CrossFit and the workout of the day (WOD). Side note: Austin is competing in the actual CrossFit games this summer, so we were in very
attractive good hands. He can also, apparently, dead lift 555 pounds? Yeah, no joke.
Austin and Caleb showed us how to do a proper kettlebell swing and pull up before we dove into the workout. Both trainers were really focused on us having proper form and took extra time with those of us (cough, me, cough) that needed a helping hand with perfecting their kettle bell swing. We then split up into teams and completed the WOD: a 200 meter run, 45 kettlebell swings, and 24 pull-ups.
Now that I think about it, I really appreciated the RealFlex Transition shoes throughout the CrossFit workout. They held my feet in place so well, and I didn’t have to worry about them wiggling around in my shoes during the kettlebell swings. We might have finished last, but team Cait Plus Kale felt like total winners. Congrats to Julie and Courtney for earning first place! It was their first times trying CrossFit too – amazing job, ladies!
After the killer workout, we headed back to the brand room for a presentation led by Kate Young, US women’s merchandising manager, on how to choose the right training and running shoes. As someone who is not an avid runner, I really enjoyed learning about the motivation behind designing a proper running shoe from Reebok’s prespective. I was equally impressed by Kate’s vast knowledge – she fielded our FitFluential questions like a true professional!
Kate showed us all of the Reebok sneakers on display in the brand room and went through a detailed description of the design and purpose for all of the shoes. I asked Kate which shoes she would recommend for someone like me (and many of you!) who run once in a blue moon and do lots of plyometric and HIIT-style workouts. She said the RealFlex Transition shoes would be our best bet. These sneakers are seriously amazing. They hug your feet and feel like you’re working out in a pillow.
Next, we transitioned (no pun intended!) into a focus group on color and key products. Kate and the rest of the Reebok team really valued our inputs on what we look for in running and other workout shoes. We got a sneak peak into future collections too. You guys are going to love what’s in store!
During our chat, I munched on a delicious lunch from the beautiful lunch spread that was laid out for us. I chose a salad with a paleo-style raspberry vinaigrette dressing and half a whole wheat wrap stuffed with spinach, roasted yellow squash, and roasted red peppers. Everything was so fresh and satisfying.
After the focus group, we mosied on downstairs to the Reebok tech lab for a presentation led by Bill McInnis, head of advanced innovation, on the RealFlex and ZigTech sneakers. Bill, who used to work for NASA, told us that Reebok shoes are tested on real runners for 200 – 300 miles of use before being released. Pretty cool, huh?
The ZigTech shoes (see above) are made out of a soft, mechanical spring that gives consumers the best of both worlds: a cushioned foot and a comfy run! After the short information session with Bill, we headed downstairs to observe first-hand how Reebok shoes are molded from scratch. Paul Bates, head of the CAD department showed us a 3D model of the shoe before it goes to “print.” We also saw an exclusive machine depicting the unique shoe design for Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in America, who comes in at 7 feet 8 inches tall!3d Shoe Model
Next, we put on some sexy safety goggles, which took me back to the (read: dreadful) Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry lab days. Luckily, this lab session was much more exciting and interesting.
We were brought to the shoe design machine, which spits out various kinds of curable plastic to form a shoe mold. The actual shoe molds are made up of many different layers of 100% recyclable plastic. It’s pretty incredible!
Our final activity of the day was a cardio dance class taught by Ilyse Baker, expert dance instructor and Reebok Global Ambassador. Ilyse has been dancing for her entire life, choreographed dances for Rihanna and LeAnn Rimes, and was featured on EXTRA so I knew we were in good hands! I must admit that hip-hop style dancing is totally not my thing. On a scale of one to 10, I have about negative 10 in the groove department. Give me a ballet barre and I’m a happy girl. Give me a booty pop and I’m…a fool. That being said, the dance class was really fun, and I just let loose and rolled with it!
I’d like to give a friendly shout out to Kathryn, Reebok’s superstar intern! She made our swag backpacks and was running around like a mad woman to make sure us FitFluentials were comfortable and happy at all times. Kathryn, you’re amazing!
We were all so sad to leave! It was honestly such an amazing day. Everyone at Reebok was so accommodating and genuine, and their passion for the Reebok brand really shined throughout the entire day. Thank you so much for making us feel at home and thank you, FitFluential, for inviting me to come along for the ride. It has been one of the most memorable and unforgettable weeks of my life!