[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’ve been on a major shoe kick lately. I think I am one pair away from having a problem. Cross trainers, running shoes, and other gear always motivate me to get out there and get after it, though… so I suppose there are worse obsessions. Like Cheetos, for example (they’re not on the FODMAP diet). Or cats. Unless you like cats, obviously.
After touring Reebok Headquarters last month and learning about the design and production process, I couldn’t wait to create my own pair. I went online and played around a bit with customization options on the RealFlex Run, and a few weeks later…
Voila! My own custom RealFlex Runs in the punchiest of colors. I may be strictly black-on-black when it comes to work attire, but for workouts? All bets are off. The more color, the better.
The pricing was comparable to other running shoes, and the wait for production and shipping wasn’t nearly as long as I expected. My favorite part? The option to include text at the heel.
What could be better during a run or workout than a little motivation nipping at your heels?
We finished up at Reebok CrossFit One and headed back to the main building to find that the brand room had been converted for lunch and our afternoon conversation and focus group with some of the ladies from Reebok’s women’s division. No detail was overlooked during our visit, right down to the CrossFit notebooks and colorful Reebok centerpieces.
Each of us had a bag of goodies waiting on our chairs, filled with clothing and a fresh pair of ZigTechs in the perfect size.
Kate Young and her colleagues lead a great discussion about how fitness brands reach out to women, and the importance of using real women as ambassadors. We all giggled over this video, but it helped to drive the point home.
When brands are marketing product to women, whose voices are they using? What stereotypes or perceived weaknesses are they playing into? When it comes to fitness apparel and footwear, why wouldn’t we want to see and hear from real women?
We learned all about Reebok’s shoe lines (and got a sneak peak at some top secret projects due out this fall… very cool stuff), and I couldn’t help but think back to my mom’s Reebok Princesses. Remember those? Times, they are a changing, that’s for sure. From shoes designed for lifting (like the one above, Reebok’s CrossFit Oly Lifter), to those designed for high mileage running, we got to experience them all.
After a delicious paleo-friendly lunch, we headed down to Reebok’s Human Performance Engineering Lab to meet with Bill McInnis and get a behind the scenes look at what goes into designing and producing each pair of Reebok shoes.
Bill showed us all kinds of prototypes, allowing us to see how our RealFlex and ZigTech shoes came to be. There’s so much more to the process that I could have imagined. As someone with a strong mistrust of fax machines, I shuddered to learn that shoe models used to be made by fax, as a shoe designer would fax a rendering to someone who would then carve their interpretation of the shoe from a block of wood. Inevitably, it was a long and involved process.
At our next two stops, we got to see the shoe magic happen. From CAD to 3-D printers, we got quite the tour.
I could have stayed down in the labs all afternoon, watching models being made. It was really fascinating. Soon, though, it was time for us to trade our safety goggles for dancing shoes. Ilyse Baker, an accomplished dancer, choreographer and Reebok Ambassador was flown in from California to lead a cardio dance class in one of Reebok’s studios. We were truly spoiled over the course of the day, and this was no exception.
Even before the music started, I could feel the smile on my face growing. I was reminded of something Johnice said to us earlier in the day: fitness is supposed to be fun.
And man, was this class fun. Ilyse‘s energy is infectious. She took us through a fluid warm-up before teaching us some really fun choreography. Every time I looked up at the mirrors, my goofy grin grew bigger and bigger. It was a fantastic workout.
What a way to end an exceptional day! I am so thankful to be included in the event, and am especially grateful to everyone at FitFluential and Reebok for the opportunity.
Also On Tap for Today:
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! And Happy You’re Almost a Mother’s Day to my sister-in-law, Colleen! 🙂
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I can think of no better way to end a wild week than a day of fitness with a lovely group of ladies.
Reebok generously welcomed a group of FitFluential Ambassadors to their headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts (just a short trip down the Expressway) for what proved to be an incredible experience.
Despite logging a pathetic ten hours of sleep between Wednesday and Thursday nights, I couldn’t help but feel energized crossing Reebok’s campus. From the minute I reached the reception desk, I felt warmly welcomed. I met two ladies who also live in Southie, so you know they’re good people. Their team is friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and above all, they clearly love what they do.
The day started with Johnice Graham giving us an introduction to the brand and their current campaign, The sport of fitness has arrived, as well as their partnership with CrossFit.
For the record: I still get chills every time I see that ad. I also kind of love the Chad Johnson and Annie Thorisdottir one. Mostly because I kind of love Chad. Probably as much as Tina loves Annie. The workplace culture was remarkable, there is no mistaking that Reebok employees practice what they preach. As Johnice shared with us, in the last year alone, Reebok employees have lost over 4,000 lbs. by engaging with fitness in the workplace. From an on-site CrossFit box to walking paths, fitness classes, sports fields, and a track that wraps around the headquarter’s main building, it seems there are limitless options for getting and staying fit.
I especially liked the “express WODS” posted throughout the building.
Austin Malleolo, head coach at CrossFit One and one of the best CrossFit athletes in the world, gave us an introduction to the CrossFit philosophy and took us through a quick warm-up with Caleb Diebolt before we paired up for a partnered WOD. The advantage to being engaged to a CrossFit addict is that I’ve unknowingly absorbed all the lingo. I was excited to see kettle bell swings and running on the workout, but pull-ups? Not so much.
Sarah asked me to be her partner, and I eagerly agreed… until I remembered that she had her videographer with her. I’d like to apologize to all of her viewers for any and all of my on camera time. Fortunately, Sarah saved me when it came to pull-ups and jumped in whenever I was close to giving up. That’s the beauty of a partner workout. Want to see us in action? Kelly Olexa posted this great video of the two of us.
The kettlebell swings were definitely my favorite, and Austin, Caleb and the other coaches were great about helping us with form, and motivating us all to crank out a few more reps. We finished three rounds in 15:03. A quick and sweaty workout, to be sure. And yes, I can see what all the hype is about.
I’m looking forward to hitting up an intro session at our neighborhood’s box soon. I think I’m ready to sip the Kool-Aid, especially after talking a bit more about it with Bridget during this morning’s run. I’ve been promising Nick that I’d join him at CrossFit Southie one of these days, and with work craziness starting to wind down for the new few months, I am running out of excuses. 😉
Highlights from the afternoon included a focus group and discussion on women’s footwear and apparel, a visit to Reebok’s Human Performance Engineering Lab (safety goggles!), and a cardio dance class with Ilyse Baker that had us stomping, shaking our hips, and channeling our inner Beyonce. More on all of this to come.