Return to Reebok

This weekend was an absolute whirlwind in the best kind of way. It was jam packed with fitness, food, wine and quality time with some wonderful women that I’ve connected with through blogging.

Arrival in Boston

I arrived in Boston on Thursday night and had quite the adventure checking into my hotel room. After getting my room key from the front desk, I headed up to my room and unlocked the door only to find a strange man in the room! Thankfully he was just hanging out talking on his cell phone, so our awkward encounter wasn’t as horrifically awkward as it could have been, but it was awfully amusing.

We got everything worked out and I was assigned a different room without too much trouble.

I quickly unpacked in my man-free room before joining a group of FitFluential ambassadors who were also in town for Friday’s event at the Reebok headquarters for dinner at The Stadium.

FitFluential ambassadors

(Clockwise from left to right: Heather, Jess, Ericka, me, Anne, Tina and Courtney. Big thanks to Kelly for the pics!)

It was so, so great to reconnect with some of my favorite bloggers and meet a bunch of new blogging friends, too!

Reebok Event

Things got started nice and early on Friday when our group of bloggers met at the Reebok headquarters at around 8:30 a.m. in our Reebok gear.

reebok event 005

(Outfit: Reebok Skinny Capri, Reebok RealFlex Fusion shoes from the FitBloggin’ swag bag, Reebok Pink Ribbon 1/4 zip top,  off white Reebok tank that I bought from RueLaLa a few months ago)

I felt very lucky to be invited back to Reebok after such a memorable visit back in May. (While I was not paid to come on this trip, my travel was covered.) This time around, the workouts were more intense, conversations were more intimate and forthcoming and employees were just as enthusiastic. It was awesome!

When we arrived, we were greeted with a light breakfast before we settled into our seats and learned more about Reebok, new products and the company’s overall brand strategy.

reebok event 012

Reebok wants to be viewed as the leading fitness brand, offering apparel and shoes for athletic activities ranging from dance and Zumba to yoga, CrossFit and running. We got a sneak peek at the company’s product line for next year and I think that those of you who love Zumba, bright prints and comfy yoga apparel will be pleased with the company’s direction.

The culture at Reebok absolutely exudes fitness. Employees have access to a gym on site and of the approximately 1,000 employees who work at the headquarters,  600 are members of Reebok CrossFit ONE, the CrossFit gym (or “box” in CrossFit lingo) located on Reebok’s property.

To say the company is enthusiastic about their relationship with CrossFit would be an understatement. They’ve worked closely with CrossFit athletes to design a CrossFit line of Reebok gear that is both functional and fun. (Anne and I are sporting the CrossFit jackets below.) They also had a huge presence at the CrossFit Games as the leading sponsor.

Julie and Anne

Since I had such a blast completing the CrossFit workout the last time I visited, I was really looking forward to completing another WOD (workout of the day) at CrossFit ONE with my fellow blogger buddies.

CrossFit ONE

Reebok CrossFit One

reebok event 019

Hi Heather, Ericka and Jess!

Workout at Reebok CrossFit ONE

When we arrived for our workout, we were greeted by some of the top CrossFit athletes in the world.

CrossFit athletes

These men and women are athletic, strong and inspiring! Ryan does a lot of CrossFit workouts at our gym that he gets from the CrossFit website and was really into the CrossFit Games, so the two of us watched these athletes compete on television a few months ago.

It was pretty crazy to see them in person… and work out with them. When I found out that each CrossFit athlete was going to be paired with two bloggers to complete a team workout, butterflies started building in my stomach.

Talk about intimidating!

I am not a competitive person by nature but know that to be an elite CrossFit athlete you likely have to have a serious competitive edge, so I immediately started worrying about letting my team down.

Well, I survived the workout, had a blast and absolutely loved my team. We were all a sweaty mess by the end of the workout!

reebok event 051

My CrossFit friends out there might recognize Austin Malleolo, pictured in the middle above. He finished in eighth place at the 2012 CrossFit Games and is the head coach at Reebok CrossFit ONE. He’s a fabulous athlete and one heck of an encouraging teammate. He and my fellow blogger teammate Alfonso made the workout so much fun, even though it kicked my butt!

Reebok CrossFit ONE WOD

In teams of three, we were told to complete the following workout:

  • 200 meter run
  • 150 dumbbell thrusters
  • 100 chest-to-bar pull ups or ring rows
  • 50 box jumps
  • 200 meter run

Each member of our team began the workout by running 200 meters.

Then, as a team we had to complete 150 dumbbell thrusters, only while one person completed the thrusters, another teammate had to hold a heavy bar in a static position (overhead or in front of the body) while the third teammate rested.

reebok event 027

While I did thrusters, Austin held the bar over his head as Alfonso rested. We switched off whenever one of us hit our limit and after completing 150 thrusters between the three of us, we moved onto pull ups (for the guys) and ring rows (for me).

reebok event 032

It was the same deal for the pull ups/ring rows and the box jumps that followed. While one person completed the exercise at hand, another held the heavy bar in a static position while the final teammate rested. It was TOUGH!

reebok event 036

The biggest challenge for me was holding the 115-pound bar in a static position, as seen below.

reebok event 033

Before starting the workout, I practiced a few 115-pound deadlifts and holds and knew holding the heavy bar was going to be the biggest obstacle for me in the workout. l didn’t want to scale the workout back and felt like I could do it, so I breathed my way through and held on. It was intense but I loved it!

Guess who else completed the workout? Annemarie McKay, a 74-year-old Reebok employee who regularly does CrossFit at CrossFit ONE. She does the WODs at her own level and is incredible!

reebok event 050

I want to be like her one day! (And yes, those are some ridiculous abs.)

Lunch and a Reebok Run

After our workout, we headed upstairs to learn more about Reebok products, give feedback to the employees and preview apparel and shoes that will be hitting the market next year.

Of the Reebok shoes I’ve had the opportunity to try, my favorites are the RealFlex transitions. (I’m wearing them in all of the above photos.) Apparently they are great for hybrid workouts, including circuit training. They’re also Reebok’s most popular shoe for women. The carbon rubber on the soles of the sneakers is great for traction and durability and I really appreciate this feature when I’m doing mountain climbers and burpees. No slipping!

By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready for food!

Our group filled our plated with greens, veggies and protein from a salad bar that was set up outside one of the meeting rooms.

Plate number one: reebok event 057

Plate number two:

reebok event 058

Yum!

While we ate lunch, we provided feedback to Reebok employees and brainstormed ideas future products or improvements to current products. During my last trip to Reebok, I felt like everyone was a little shy about providing honest feedback to the Reebok employees and as a result the feedback we gave to them was almost all positive.

I felt awkward giving my opinion about features I didn’t like in the open forum last time and ended up going back into one of the meeting rooms when everyone left to privately share some of my less-than-glowing reviews with them about the appearance of certain shoes and the fit of some of their apparel. The two women I talked to seemed to really want to hear my thoughts (and agreed with many!), so this time I shared my feelings much more openly and everyone else seemed to do the same. It seemed much more productive and beneficial.

For example, some of my fellow smaller-chested friends and I said we hate it when the light padding cups that line certain sports bras are removable. The pads always fall out in the washing machine. All too often they become creased and are simply a pain in the butt to stick back into the bra after they’re washed. We suggested making the cups permanent in some bras to avoid this annoyance. I also said I would love to see more capris and spandex pants with a thicker material that is more figure-flattering. The Reebok employees seemed incredibly receptive to these suggestions and said a lot of the gear on their CrossFit line is already implementing some of these ideas.

A few hours after lunch, it was time to shake out our legs outside on a run around the Reebok campus.

reebok event 060

(Top row: Ericka, Patrick Joyce, me, Jeremy; Bottom row: Heather, Anne, Jess, Tina, Bonnie, Lala)

Our run was led by Patrick Joyce, the senior manager of Reebok running sports marketing who is also one heck of a talented runner. He heads up Reebok’s running club and ran professionally for many years. The first thing I noticed about Patrick? He looks like Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser. He’s just as positive and encouraging as Bob is, too! (How random is it that I’ve met two men who resemble Bob in less than a month!?)

Our run wasn’t a long one, but it felt good to get out and sweat a bit. Exercise is energizing and it was a great way to conclude the day!

I cannot say thank you enough to Reebok for such an awesome day. From the behind-the-scenes look at upcoming merchandise to working out with CrossFit athletes and engaging with Reebok employees, the experience at Reebok headquarters was  something I felt honored to be a part of from start to finish.

Question of the Evening

  • What do you wish fitness companies would change about their apparel or shoes? Is there anything you wish fitness companies offered that they currently don’t have on the market?

For the longest time, I wondered why no one made lined sports bras that gave smaller-chested women more shape while also providing support. Thank goodness many brands have hopped on that train!

Comments

  1. says

    This looks AWESOME. I love reading about your experiences with these awesome opportunities that you have. I’m curious though, do you have any tips on how to get active in local blogging communities? I’ve found it hard to find people blogging in my area! What’s the best way to go about it?

      (Quote)

  2. says

    Wow! This all looks and sounds so fun! (And hard!).
    I love that the crossfit pro’s look so intimidatingly huge but sound like they were ultra supportive. That’s really great to hear!
    I would love to visit the Reebok HQ one day.

      (Quote)

  3. says

    Like you, I’m always on the hunt for spandex capris made of a thicker material that aren’t super expensive.

    My taste in exercise apparel has changed over the past year. I used to like workout clothes with a right fit, but now I’m all about lose and comfy vs. form-fitting!

    Oh, and anything neon colored? Come to mamma!

      (Quote)

  4. says

    Oh my gosh…I had a similar experience at a hotel in Atlantic City! I was sooo horrified when I walked into the room and a family was clearly staying there–crib and all. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had the person been in the room!!

      (Quote)

  5. says

    So happy that some companies have provided more structure in their sports bar – I need all the help I can get! Back in the day, all the sports bras I had would just completely flatten me out – not exactly flattering.

    That hotel room issue is so funny! Glad it ended ok, because that could have made for an awkward situation.

      (Quote)

  6. says

    I literally just finished some laundry and was thinking how annoying it is bc my sports bra liners always fall out and when I put them back in, they are always a little wrinkled looking. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Btw, that crosscut workout sounds pretty hardcore. Nice work!

      (Quote)

  7. Brandi says

    I was nodding vigorously when you started talking about those annoying pads that slip out of the bras during the wash. It drives me CRAZY and I can never seem to get them back in properly. I have actually had to toss a couple tops due to this because I refuse to have headlights!!! If Reebok does the permanent ones you suggested (so simple and brilliant), I would buy multiple :)

      (Quote)

  8. says

    I have the opposite problem. I can’t buy a bra top unless I can remove that padding. I also wish I could find sports bras with underwire. I know marketing wise it makes more sense to have more options for those who are already super fit, but it would make my journey to get there a lot more pleasant if I could find a sports bra that was comfy and supportive enough for a 38H.

      (Quote)

  9. Erin C says

    My thoughts exactly on the removable cups, they are such a pain in the wash and the creases drive me nuts! I also am so glad some sports bras come with the non removable cups and would love to see some workout tanks done the same way. I also like the looser fit or bubble hem type of shirts for the days when I don’t want something so clingy, would love to see more brands offer those type of tops! One last thing, I do like all the bright colors but as an instructor (Group Power) I have wear certain colors (none of which are neon) and never pass up a great black top so I like when basic black is an option! Love you blog!

      (Quote)

  10. Anne says

    I am a fuller busted woman and have never found something comfortable. Also for pants-hate the middle seam pant. Need the slit seaam pant. No gauche when working out.

      (Quote)

  11. Sarah says

    Oh, I’ve got one! I like tanks for working out, but most have the bra built in – but those bras are NOT built for people with larger busts. They also look RIDICULOUS when pared with an actual sports bra. I’d like to see the more form fitting racerback tanks without the bra built in.

      (Quote)

    • says

      I’d agree with you Sarah. For the bigger busts, it’s hard to find cute tops that will support my hardcore sports bras. Thus, I resort to tee shirts. I’d love to find a tank like that!!

        (Quote)

    • says

      I am in complete agreement! I get so sad every time I find a cute workout tank but cannot buy it because of the darn built-in sports bra! I did find some nice ones at Target though if you are still on the lookout! They are just solid colors but they are comfortable and pretty good quality without being super expensive!

        (Quote)

  12. Jennie says

    I like longer tops that aren’t clingy and a bit on the looser side so that I can move easily without feeling like my top is riding up or restricting me…any suggestions are welcome! Oh and I’m a fan of reasonable priced workout gear :)

      (Quote)

  13. Rochelle says

    I would love some pants that when you bent over didn’t become see through! Thicker material like Under Amour has would be really great! I do a lot of CrossFit and my legs just aren’t tiny so pants are the bane of my existence. They’re either too tight-ie see through- or falling down…it’s fun. Thicker material means I can squat clean something with no worries! And not having to spend $90 would be fab

      (Quote)

  14. Zoe says

    Thank you for providing such an honest experience about your time at Reebock! It is simply awesome to know that you gave the Reebok people honest feedback. Sounds like a great time!

      (Quote)

  15. Erin kl says

    I travel a lot for work and I always fear I’ll walk in to someone in “my” room or someone else will walk in on me! At least it wasn’t overly awkward.

    The trip looks awesome. It must be great to be around some many people that interested in fitness and wellness.

      (Quote)

  16. Erin kl says

    Also, I’m average to large (haha) chested and hate sports bras with removable pads too. I like having a little padding for umm coverage and extra support. The worst part is I usually don’t realize they are removable until after I have used the bra.

      (Quote)

  17. says

    This trip looks like it was such an amazing time!! I’m so glad you got to meet such awesome athletes and give feedback to Reebok. As a smaller chested woman I completely echo your feedback. I hate hate hate when the cups are removable in sports bras (and bikini tops!). One wash and I lose all the extra shape.

      (Quote)

  18. says

    I wish there were more petite cropped pants and yoga pants! I know Lululemon does alterations, which is great, but I’d love to be able to spend a bit less (okay, A LOT less) and be able to wear something off the rack. I find myself shopping in the little girl section, which doesn’t always work. Also agree with some sort of light padding in sports bras for when the gym is super chilly if you catch my drift 😉

      (Quote)

  19. says

    I love how innovative companies are becoming with requesting feedback and incorporating blogger considerations into their marketing and product plans! So great. PS love Annemarie, that’s awesome!! I hope to still be as fitness-centered as she is when I’m older!!

      (Quote)

  20. Alex A says

    Love the purple shoes!!! So cute. I’m happy to hear that reebok is getting some Zumba inspired stuff!! I love Zumba. I wish more companies had Zumba shoes. You really can’t get them anywhere except Zumba.com right now. I also wish that fitness companies would have apparel that is more flattering on larger people. I’m working out and working on getting healthy but right now I mainly wear unflattering boxy tshirts because the fitness apparel is to tight. But hopefully with exercise and eating healthy I won’t have to worry about that.

      (Quote)

  21. says

    I LOVE those grey pullovers you all got! I love tops that have the thumb holes, and I wish I could find more of those that are affordable and in a comfortable material. And I know we’re opposites on this one, but I think a lot of workout tanks are too long! I have a shorter torso and it looks awkward when the top goes down past my butt… haha

      (Quote)

  22. says

    I think they need to have more options for plus-sized women. For whatever reason, I have the hardest time finding moisture-wicking clothes for my workouts (I like to workout HARD when I do find time to work out). If anyone has any recommendations, I am listening! :)

      (Quote)

  23. says

    Wow, looks like you had such a great time!! Congrats on challenging yourself & sticking w/the Crossfit WO & that heavy bar! That had to be tough!!

    I wish fitness companies would design a few more flattering pants in pretty colors that are stretchy & easy to move in, but also a material that won’t reveal sweat. I sweat like a beast & have trouble finding cute & comfy pants other than plain black ones that don’t make me look like I peed myself. 😉

      (Quote)

  24. Will says

    If your flight/hotel/food is getting paid then yes you are getting paid to go on the trip. not trying to call you out but you seem like you were trying to hide it somehow.

      (Quote)

    • says

      i was actually trying to be very transparent and apologize if you thought i was trying to hide anything. to me “getting paid” means receiving money or a check. i didn’t get any money, but my travel and meals at reebok were covered.

        (Quote)

  25. says

    Looks like a very fun weekend! I’m glad that you gave honest feedback about the apparel. I’ve always liked Reebok shoes, but I can never seem to find clothing from their line that fits me in a flattering way. I’m glad that they’re working on it!

      (Quote)

  26. says

    I want to be Annemarie McKay someday!

    I’m 28 weeks in to an Achilles injury in both legs. Ugh. Released from PT and running again but still tentative. Makes me think I’ll be looking at exercise in my rear view mirror forever. Some days are hopeful and some are not.

      (Quote)

  27. Shay M. says

    That sounds like a fun trip! I’m glad you had a good time. I’m curious, how does Reebok decide which bloggers to invite to something like that?

      (Quote)

  28. says

    I wish more fitness gear companies catered to tall women. I know it took a long time for “regular” clothes to come in Long sizes, but would it ever be nice to be able to buy athletic clothes with a long length!

      (Quote)

  29. says

    I am in such awe of Annemarie McKay! Good for her!! She reminds me a lot of my 85-year-old grandmother. I swear, she’s in better shape than me. She still gets to the Y at least three times a week, swimming laps and doing yoga. So proud of women like them continuing to make health a priority in their lives :)

      (Quote)

  30. says

    sounds like a great time! Besides the mini crossfit workout at HLS I have yet to really try crossfit and I really want to. I hate when workout tops don’t have built in bra’s, it just makes things easier for tiny totted folks!

      (Quote)

  31. says

    I completely agree with thicker spandex. I don’t care how thin or how incredibly jacked you are, some woman naturally have cellulite. The really thin material is so unflattering. Seeing some thicker versions of their pants / capris would be awesome.

      (Quote)

  32. Sarah P. says

    My boyfriend’s mom coaches crossfit in my home town. I absolutely love it. When it comes to changing workout gear my most common problem is avoiding holes in the mesh of my favorite running shoes. I love the shape of the shoe so I continue to buy it, but I hate that my shoes have holes in the toe after less than a month. In this forum I found that I’m not the only one with this problem: http://forums.runnersworld.com/forums/runner-communities/beginners/holes-mesh-of-toe-area-of-running-shoes

      (Quote)

  33. says

    What an honor you have to work with Reebok and provide honest feedback!
    It sounds like your ideas were taken to heart and they were looking for a little constructive criticism.
    I’m a huge fan of Nike, but now I’m curious about Reebok.

      (Quote)

  34. says

    “The pads always fall out in the washing machine. All too often they become creased and are simply a pain in the butt to stick back into the bra after they’re washed.” yes!
    My friend and I were at a hotel gym earlier in the year and the guy was trying to kick us out because he didn’t think we were over 18. I’m 27. Anything that helps me not look like a 12 yr old = good!

      (Quote)

  35. says

    What a funny way to kick off what looked like an amazing weekend! It looks like Reebok went the extra mile to share their brand with you guys and show what they’ve been working on. It’s awesome that you were able to participate in the workouts and share feedback with their staff- it looks like Reebok is stepping up their game!

      (Quote)

  36. says

    Wow, what an incredible experience!!! I absolutely agree on the non-removable padding cups in sports bras. Also – you know the tanks that are also sports bras? I don’t know what their official name is. I wish they had zippers or snaps in the back. I hate it when I get my tank sweat soaked from aworkout and it’s stuck to me and then I have to rolls it up and maneuver it weird and gets all awkward around the boobs when I have to take it off. It would be a lot nicer if I could just unzip it!

      (Quote)

  37. says

    I totally agree with the pad in bras not being removable. I know some ladies appreciate being able to take them out, but it would be great to have both options. I have an Under Armour sports bra I love ‘cuz the pads stay in place. I also appreciate slightly longer capris. I don’t love it when they hit just below my knee. I feel like my calves are so big that makes them stand out even more… I want to cover them a bit

      (Quote)

  38. Veronika says

    THANK YOU for bringing up the removable padding in sports bras! It’s so annoying to have to “re-stuff” back in place only to find a funky crease running down the middle. Glad someone out there is looking out for us smaller chested ladies. (:
    Love your blog- I found it on Pintrest a few months ago, got hooked and shared the fun with a few ladies from my office.

      (Quote)

  39. says

    Julie, it was SO GOOD to FINALLY meet you! The WOD was legit, wasn’t it?! i absolutely LOVED the TEAM aspect of it and every CrossFit athlete was encouraging! I agree–that 115lbs bar got heavy!! My posture was horrible holding that thing!!

      (Quote)

  40. AJ says

    I LOVE this post and I’m so jealous of your life! How amazing is it that Rebook invited you to their headquarters to check out their new stuff and do workouts with them. I would love to have an experience like this.

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

      (Quote)

  41. says

    What a fantastic opportunity for you all! I love the blogging events that bring everyone together, and I love when companies want honest feedback and are receptive to it. I would have said the same thing about sticking those pads back in after every washing… it is driving me crazy lately! Glad to hear they’re working on that.

      (Quote)

  42. says

    I so adore the color of your shoes…and that jacket! I still covet it, eep! I have those Skinny Capris with the blue at the bottom, aren’t they awesome? I love how the waist goes up a little higher than most workout capris, it helps them stay in place sooo well. I’m glad you enjoyed the WOD!

      (Quote)

  43. says

    Looks like such a great time! What an amazing experience and what a great group of people you were able to share it with.

    I, like you, agree with offering the small(er) chested community with sport bras and apparel that FIT better :)

      (Quote)

  44. Katie says

    I completely agree about the pads coming out in the washer/dryer. It makes me nuts! I would love to see a top/sports bra where they’re sewn in.

      (Quote)

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *