A Day at Reebok World HQ!
Oh my goodness. WHERE HAVE I BEEN?! I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging…work has been crazy this week and in my down time I have been spending time with friends (old and new) and family, wine tasting, restaurant-ing, and working out. I’ve been doing the things I love when I’m not at work! Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging, but I get LOTS of computer time at my desk job. Being PC free is the way-to-be (ha) sometimes.
But now I’m here and finally ready to tell you about the #RBKFITBLOG event I attended at the Reebok World Headquarters! The brand invited FitFluential Ambassadors to come learn about how current products are made, what new products are coming out, and even how the shoes hold up in a workout (yup, we got shoes, and yup, we got to workout with Reebok trainers!)
I headed to Heather’s house in MA the night before the event so that the next morning we could wake up and drive there together. It was so convenient and I loved being able to visit her house for the first time! She and I arrived (albeit a bit late…oops!) at Reebok World HQ in Canton, MA and were greeted by the fantastic intern we spent the day with, Kathryn Lewis, a Crossfit junkie and an extremely hard worker. We were led upstairs to a VERY impressive meeting room that we came back to throughout the day. I was aching for some caffeine and I got it…the coffee was amazing and the breakfast spread looked great!
Our meeting room was set up with Crossfit boxes for chairs – so cool! Each seat also came ready with a notebook and pen to write down all we’d be learning throughout the day, and a Reebok Crossfit headband (I plan to do an entirely separate post on all the Reebok fashion related parts of the day so stay tuned for my thoughts on this and more!)
Can you spy any of your favorite bloggers in my photos? Just like at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet, I was given the chance to hang out with some of the women who inspire me and have been doing so for years! I saw Julie, Courtney, Tina, Anne, Maria, Bex, Nicole, Cat, and Sarah again.
But I also got to meet some lovely ladies that hadn’t been in NYC the previous Wednesday – Sarah of Skinny Runner and Ashley of Healthy Ashley! I was a bit of a nerd when introducing myself to Ashley, gotta admit it. She is just so strong and has overcome so much…and I’m a big sap (thanks, Heather ;-)) and adore her love story. Sarah is just as funny in real life as she is on her blog and was really cool! She has the same laptop as me and, like me, hers often can be found to have a ton of food in the keyboard. Sorry, technology.
Johnice Graham, Reebok marketing manager (I mentioned her in my Fitness Mag recap because she was at that event too), kicked things off welcoming us, thanking us for coming, and giving a great overview of the brand’s history and how it came to be where it is today. Reebok started out being VERY big with Step aerobics, which is currently my favorite form of exercise! My mom used to teach Step and she still remembers loving all the Reebok clothes and wearing their trademark white sneakers while she taught. Now, Reebok is focused on a broader category – FITNESS. I love that idea! It’s smart of them to keep it broad because really, anything can be fitness. Different activities are fitness to different kinds of people. Everyone has a form of fitness they enjoy or can find and enjoy.
Then we got to watch some videos that got us REALLY pumped up and ready to go try Crossfit. We learned about Reebok’s involvement with Crossfit specifically, and saw several montages and commercials that communicated a clear brand image. I felt so truly inspired! From a marketing POV, I really respect the creative minds behind those pieces that we viewed.
Next, off to Reebok’s Crossfit box. Yes, they have one on campus! I am actually completely envious of all the fitness options the HQ has for its employees. Classes are going on ALL the time. Heaven for a group fitness junkie like myself! The gym is also gorgeous.
You may be wondering where we all got the fabulous workout gear we’re wearing in our pictures! And how we all got the same clothes! Well as I mentioned before, I’ll be going more into the fashion-aspect of this in my next post. After all, I love fashion, and thought that everything I wore before, during, and after this event DEFINITELY deserved its own post.
I was nervous to try Crossfit at first, but the Reebok top Crossfit coaches Austin Malleolo and Caleb Diebolt did an excellent job easing us into the WOD (Workout of the Day) with demos and chances to practice two of the workout’s three portions – kettlebell swings and pull-ups with bands.
It quickly became apparent to me that anyone can do Crossfit because there many modifications available to make each WOD accessible to anyone. For example, bands of varying thickness could be looped around the pull-up bar and then around our feet to assist us. Check out this video from Kelly Olexa to see what I mean – Heather and I are in there doing our pull-ups!
The kettlebell swings were also easy to modify because of the different weight levels available to use. Caleb demonstrated the proper form to us, but only after we had all practiced some squats first. Owww.
Aside from the swings and pull-ups, our WOD (a partner work-out) started with a 200 meter sprint. Heather and I became partners and formed our team Cait Plus Kale – what do you think?! 😀
We did three rounds of sprinting, swinging, and pull-up-ing.
I liked the cardio and strength interval aspect of Crossfit, as well as the varying kinds of moves. I like a workout that switches it up and gets a lot done in a short period of time!
I was pretty satisfied with Cait Plus Kale’s performance, especially for first-time Crossfitters!
Reebok did a great job making sure we were well-trained and well-versed in the Crossfit ways. I learned a lot and would totally do it again!
Wait…can we just look at this close-up?
And this photo (and video) are obviously my favorites of the day:
We walked back to our central meeting place, where snacks awaited us so we could re-fuel.
I had a banana, and felt another caffeine craving. Kathryn kindly offered to grab me some coffee, but I had no idea she’d have to go down to the basement, where Reebok’s Starbucks is located, to get it for me. I was blown away! Reebok seriously treated us like queens the entire day and I am so thankful. I was certainly not expecting that!
And things only got better – on each of our seats was a bag of more Reebok goodies! I couldn’t believe it – I’ll go more into detail about what I received when I do my fashion-related post, but here’s a sneak peek!
If you were watching my Twitter during this next part, you may have seen my live-tweeting everything we were learning from Kate Young, the US Women’s Merchandising Manager, about Reebok sneakers.
- Reebok’s Crossfit shoes were the first built purely for function – the colors and styling came later.
- U-Form technology is pretty amazing – any shoe possessing these capabilities has a U-Form logo. Just hold a hair dryer to it for 20 minutes (you can prop up the hair dryer and let it run), and when the logo shows up on the tongue, that means the shoe is ready for molding. Just put it on and it will mold to your foot for fit-perfection!
- The last of a shoe is its mold, and every shoe has one. This includes characteristics like width and toe spring.
- The Oly is Reebok’s Olympic lifting shoe. Just holding one of these was an experience – the heaviest sneaker I’ve ever held! Certainly not meant for running. It’s designed to encourage keeping weight in the heels.
- Sneaker liners can be molded or di-cut (flat).
- The drop of a sneaker is very important. It’s the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. A zero drop would be a barefoot shoe. A flatter drop is the best for strength training, because a lifter wants his or her feet planted firmly on the ground. That’s why you may often see people lifting weights in barefoot shoes!
- Overlay is anything stitched on top of the mesh of a sneaker.
- For any race you train for, even a 5K, you should go for a running shoe. That’s because since you’ll be doing training runs, you’re more likely to be running more often, even if for shorter distances.
- To determine your foot type, try either looking at your sneakers to see where the most wear is, or try getting your feet wet and walking on some newspapers or a brown paper bag. The majority of folks are in the “normal” space.
For more about the sneakers I received, stay-tuned for that fashion post!
Then it was lunch time, and the lunch was seriously amazing. While we ate, we participated in a focus group, which had me totally nerding out. To be the subject of interest for a company like Reebok was, and still is, surreal! This was the point when we got to see stuff that isn’t even out yet – even up to a year out in terms of launch timing! All I can say is, keep your eyes peeled, because starting in July you’re gonna be seeing some great things from Reebok.
I made myself a spinach salad beast with steak and chicken, accompanied by a veggie wrap, whose innards were promptly emptied on top of my salad.
After lunch and the focus group we went downstairs to Reebok’s labs to learn about the path of the sneaker from idea to shoe. Bill McInnis, head of innovation, used to work for NASA! I was amazed by the room we were in when we listened to his presentation. The shelves were full of medical textbooks and models of the foot, ankle, etc. Whenever I look at shoes I see fashion and function, but it never truly hit me until that moment how much science goes into the functional portion of a sneaker.
Reebok’s sneakers are tested for 200 to 300 miles before they are released. Gotta know how they’ll hold up in the long term! Bill passed around a model of a human foot to show us how complex it really is – the foot has just as many bones as the hand, about 26, yet most people probably think of the hands as being more complicated because they do so many nimble things like play the piano, type, etc.
Then we headed to check out the CAD technology behind designing each shoe. We use CAD where I work, so it was cool to see it applied to sneakers!
Next we donned safety goggles and headed to the lab where the design on the screen you see above becomes reality – or at least some form of it!
Many a geeky goggle photo was taken.
Reebok actually took on the challenge of creating a sneaker for Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in America – he’s 7 feet, 8 inches!
The computer we saw previously sends a design to the above machine, which then gets to work actually making it, using 100% recyclable plastic. It used to be a highly inefficient process – before the “digital age”, a design would be faxed overseas, where it would be interpreted visually by a human and made into a mold. That would be sent back and, usually, several rounds of back-and-forth corrections would have to be made due to misinterpretations. Now we have computers that know exactly what to send and machines that know exactly how to read it!
The Reebok employee below works with this technology on a daily basis and even used it to make a scary-accurate rendition of…himself!
He also made us some cool little gadgets to take home – reminded me of a Rubix cube, only nothing to solve, just plenty to play with!
Last but not least, it was time for my most anticipated part of the day…a cardio dance workout with the creator of Dancinerate and Reebok Global Ambassador, Ilyse Baker!
Ilyse was gorgeous, so skilled, and a fantastic teacher. Plus, she’s from California. I see so much of what I would like to be in her! She views fitness as a community and loves how social media plays so well into that. Sounds just like what Reebok thinks of fitness as – and me too!
Each combo was broken down for us and easy to catch on to. I was VERY into this class. I think I was a little too into it – people seemed a bit shocked! I just tend to get lost in anything dance-related 🙂
To viewt a lot more of our dancing, check out Sarah’s video recap of our day. It’ll make you feel like you were there and give you a better idea of the kind of dance we did!
Thanks to Ilyse for coming all the way from LA to teach us bloggers how to break it down!
Sadly, our day at Reebok was coming to a close. It ended with some special Paleo cookies though, which is always good. They were so hearty and full of nutrients!
Johnice gave some closing remarks, thanked us for coming (um…thank YOU!!!) and drew two names out of a shoe (how appropriate!) to win a $100 Reebok gift card to the HQ’s store, which was already 50% off for us that day.
And guess who won the second gift card??
YAY!! What a perfect ending to a perfect day. I used the card to get myself a couple of tanks (will review in my Reebok fashion round-up), and I purchased presents for my family and Heather as well. I got my sister the top Ilyse was wearing during our dance class!
Oh my gosh. What a day. Was that recap long enough for you? It would have been longer if I had started babbling about the clothes and shoes! Don’t worry…that’s coming next!
Thank you Reebok for hosting this #RBKFITBLOG blogger event, treating us so well, and showing us such a fun time. I am so grateful to have been included with all the amazing women who were also invited!
Would you have wanted to try Crossfit or a cardio dance workout? Do you already do either or both?
Which of the facts about Reebok that I shared here do you find most intriguing? What did you learn?
Did you spot any of your favorite bloggers in my photos?