I’m not often prophetic, but must pat myself on the back for calling this one.
A year later, and we are roughly one week away from the 2011Reebok CrossFit Games.
Call me Nostradamus.
And call this sport one of the fastest growing sports in America which only looks to build upon the financial and popular successes it has achieved in just one short year.
Reebok Joins the Fray and Raises the Stakes
The financial prosperity and enhanced visibility that CrossFit has enjoyed in the last 12 months have been tremendous, thanks in large part to their relatively new partnership with sports giant Reebok who has signed a 10-year deal with CrossFit.
“We have seen large gains in commercial success with bringing on Reebok as a partner to the CrossFit Games“, according to Dave Castro, Director of the CrossFit Games as well as Director of Training. ”Reebok is helping us take the event to the next level in terms of exposure and what they can do for the athletes.”
One major difference and motivator for this year’s competitors is the Herculean jump in prize money. Said Mr. Castro, “Our cash prize for the Games has jumped from $25,000 in 2010 to a total purse of $1 million for 2011, with $250,000 going to the top male and female athlete. All thanks to Reebok.”
And Reebok has gone so far as to embrace and incorporate the CrossFit training regime into their corporate philosophy as well as their day-to-day operations. ”Reebok is really going full-bore, having opened up a CrossFit gym at Reebok HQ and hiring two elite CrossFit athletes as coaches for their staff”, according to Kareem Mayan. Mr. Mayan is the co-founder of SocialWOD.com, a “WOD” tracking site for CrossFit affiliates. WOD stands for ‘Workout of the Day’, and it’s these daily workouts that craft and sculpt some of the fittest athletes in the world.
Reebok has obviously bought in without muscling in. The feedback I’ve received from several CrossFit athletes is that Reebok has embraced their feedback on product design, which strategically will only build a stronger brand with the CrossFit demographic going forward and ultimately help the company produce the best-quality possible in both footwear and athletic wear for the elite athlete.
Financial Transformation Consistent with Personal Transformations
What continues to amaze me beyond the short-term financial transformation of CrossFit is how the sport/activity encourages and promotes personal transformation.
“Aside from putting me in the best shape of my life, it’s the first fitness program I’ve been able to stick to over the long term without burning out”, said Leah Polaski. Ms. Polaski, Vice President with Renaissance Property Group, recently took 1st place in the Southeast Regionals and will be representing her CrossFit Atlanta affiliate in the women’s individual competition during the 2011 Games.
“CrossFit is also the only program that has and continues to provide tangible results for me. Whether in my body composition, my work capacity, or my strength. They’ve all continued to improve over my first 2 years using CrossFit”, said Ms. Polaski.
A former Division I soccer player at the University of Cincinnati, she certainly was no stranger to athleticism. But in her post-college athletic training, she found traditional training methods both boring and uninspiring. The same could be said for one of her training partner at CrossFit Atlanta, Dr. Ken Gall, a professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. Ms. Polaski and Dr. Gall comprised half of a foursome from CrossFit Atlanta that placed 8th in the team competition at the 2010 Games.
“I was a college athlete, and after about 15 years off I am finally back to a competitive environment which is keeping me is good shape. It feels like being an athlete again”, said Dr. Gall.
Understanding the Diet of CrossFit
Dining out with a group of CrossFit athletes, you will most definitely hear the word ‘Paleo’ at least multiple times. Reach for a piece of bread and they’ll look at you like you have 3 eyes.
So what is the Paleo diet? Ms. Polaski summed it up. ”You eat lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Nothing processed. The focus is on fresh high quality foods, and preferably seasonal foods. If you could hunt or gather it, you can eat it.”
And the reasoning behind the diet according to Dr. Gall, “The basic idea is that processed food is great for storage, transportation, and shelf life…but not so good for your body. By avoiding processed foods like pasta, bread, and cereal, you can remain leaner and lighter…faster and stronger. Oh, and you look better too.”
Discipline and Intensity are Staples of the CrossFit Athlete and Attractive Brand Characteristics for Reebok