It’s been almost a year since the announcement of Reebok becoming the title sponsor of the CrossFit Games. I think for many, the knee-jerk reaction to the news was negative. Corporate Reebok conjured images of those terrible “Easytone” shoes that promised you could lose your fat-mom ass without doing anything but standing around. Despite our hesitations, the past year has seen some noticeable growth in CrossFit, and that aint bad.
I thought we were off to a rough start with the RealFlex commercial which featured 2010 champ Graham Holmberg and NOT 2010 champ Becca Voigt. Strategic? Youbetcha. Reebok couldn’t put Kristan Clever in that commercial because she looks like a man. I think that’s as wrong as dudes wearing skinny jeans, but I understand basic marketing.
Then the Games came and went. Softballs were thrown, spin bikes were spun and Froning climbed a rope with no consequence. A new (more marketable) female champ was crowned. Many of us tried to watch people exercise on the internet, but the feed was fucked up (not Reebok’s fault). Recompense came months later as we watched the World Series of Exercise replace the World Series of Poker on ESPN2. The picture below suggests we saw this coming.
At the end of the day, Reebok is nothing more than a shoe company and their efforts to create a shoe for CrossFitters is actually going well. If you’ve seen any of the prototypes you know they’re ugly as fuck but they get the job done. That’s what I’m into: function. A standard WOD shoe and a hybird Oly/WOD shoe. I’ve only heard good things about them from folks who aren’t getting paid to say so.
I’ll join all the pre-Reebok era CrossFitters in complaining about the new “HQ store”. Yeah, CrossFit is full of the upper-middle class with disposable income but we’re not idiots. I’d just as soon wipe my ass with their Reebok CrossFit T-shirts than pay 55 American dollars for them. It’s not the first time I’ve bitched about this. The old HQ store put out some lame shit from time to time, but at least we had the “INFIDEL” shirts. Do you miss those? I do. Problem solved: I’ll sell the fuckers. Urrybody’s cashing in these days.
Speaking of cashing in, what’s the biggest problem with CrossFit’s new partnership? The very exposure we’ve recently obtained may cause some problems. Let me look into my crystal ball (a.k.a. the hype cycle). Hype Cycles are used to represent new trends transitioning from the hype phase (when shit is new and everyone wants a piece) to the subsequent let-down when the honeymoon is over and so on.
There is a surge of new affiliates opening, a byproduct the mass exposure CrossFit has recently experienced. Ultimately, it’s a good thing. But expanding a product has the potential to bring some consequences. Minimally-qualified trainers coaching clients ineffectively and potentially getting them injured is probably going to become a bigger issue. The certification standards need to be addressed. That’s always been the case and it’s always been HQ’s fault.
Let’s not kid ourselves: you can not create a trainer in one fucking weekend. No fucking way. A story was relayed to me recently where a newly Level 1 certified trainer (who is in the process of opening an affiliate) did not know how to do a proper sumo deadlift highpull. Her attempts at mastering the movement were much like an abortion of awkwardness. This person will be training clients soon. Oy vey. In the end, good affiliates and coaches will survive and the hacks will eventually wash out.
Until we reach the “plateau of productivity” let’s ride out the “trough of disillusionment” while the true athletes and trainers do what they do best: flipping the switch and going beastmode to get strong and fit as fuck. Beyond all of our bitching and complaining, the experience we get when we’re destrominating a WOD is all that really matters. Enjoy the Reebok era, it’s not so bad. It can’t be worse than the other time Reebok sponsored an exercise competition: