Reebok CrossFit Hub Hits the Big Apple
On August 18th, Reebok celebrated the grand opening of their flagship Fit Hub—a combination CrossFit store and gym—on 37th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City and invited myself and my colleague Jennifer Perry to the big event. Neither one of us had done a CrossFit workout before so we were excited to see what all the fuss was about.
Reebok President Uli Becker kicked off the event by delving into his company's partnership with CrossFit, which started in 2010. In September of that year, Reebok opened the first Reebok CrossFit “box”, or training center, at their global headquarters in Canton Massachusetts, becoming one of many CrossFit-affiliated gyms worldwide. Then, in the fall of 2011, they debuted their first co-branded footwear and apparel collection (which, if you haven’t checked it out, is a giant step up from recent Reebok offerings in terms of quality and aesthetics). In 2012, Reebok launched “The Sport of Fitness Has Arrived”, a fully-integrated marketing campaign designed to changed the way people think about exercise. Naturally CrossFit was its center. As part of the promotion, they sponsored the CrossFit Games for the second time and opened up the Fit Hub—the first space to combine CrossFit products and workouts.
“There is a shift happening today in the fitness world that is born from the idea that fitness can be a sport – with all the elements that we love about traditional sports. CrossFit is leading this shift,” Becker said in a press release announcing the campaign. “At Reebok, we believe that fitness can be as exciting and engaging as any sport. In 2012, we are helping deliver this message to the world in a compelling, powerful way.”
(L to R): CrossFit legend Chris Spealler, Rich Froning and Annie Thorsdottir—winners of the 2012 CrossFit Games—and Reebok President Uli Becker
After hearing from a few more notable CrossFitters, including Rich Froning and Annie Thorsdottir, the 2012 CrossFit Games champs, Jen and I headed into the underbelly of the Hub with a gaggle of other media folks to put the box to the test.
I’ve never been in a CrossFit Gym before, but I’m guessing this box blows them all out of the water. It’s big and dark and bright all at the same time. There are no ellipticals or strength machines—just mats and medicine balls, plylometric boxes and free weights, rings and ropes. If you’re looking for a frou-frou space, this is not your gym. The box is simple. It’s a place to sweat and grunt and embrace pain. For better or worse.
CrossFit classes revolve around the Workout of the Day, a vigorous, fat-blasting circuit. We split into teams and then competed against each other to see who could do the most total reps within this circuit:
1 min rowing
1 min air squats (past parallel)
1 min kettlebell swings
1 min rest
I’m an avid cyclist but only hit the gym in the off season, so I was expecting this workout to hurt. I was right. The first rotation went great. I racked up reps as fast as I could. But the intensity caught up with me. By the last round my arms and legs were begging for mercy, and by the look on Jen's face, she felt the same way. After just 12 minutes I had completely lost count of my reps, was soaked in sweat, nauseated, and a bit dizzy. It felt great—in that masochistic, I-just-turned-my-body-inside-out-and-survived kind of way—until the next day. After an easy afternoon bike ride, I was so sore, I could barely walk. Jen fared worse and much more quickly. Immediately after the workout, she hobbled out of the box worried she’d hurt her back.
Overall, the store and space are impressive (and that’s not even counting the ice-bath and active-release-therapy-equipped recovery room—which hadn't opened yet—or the secret entrance for celebrities). I’m not as sold on the workout, however. Spealler and company stressed that CrossFit exercises can be adapted to exercisers of any fitness level, but when you throw in the aspect of competition, I think it makes people more likely to put themselves in situations their bodies aren't ready for. Even the fit may be at risk. When trying to complete as many repetitions as possible, it becomes harder to maintain proper form—especially as your body fatigues—which is an easy way to get injured.
Bottom line: If you want to try CrossFit, be honest with your instructors about your experience and ask them to keep an eye on your form. Err on the side of caution. Yes, you want to push yourself, but in the beginning it's better go slow, master the proper techniques, and ease into the workouts. Otherwise you could end up like Jen and I, unable to walk.
To find out more about Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue, visit their website!
Up Next: Does CrossFit Live Up to the Hype?
—Danielle Kosecki, Associate Editor
||Log In With Facebook to post a comment|