My Reebok Opportunity

By Josh Everett

In Athletes, CrossFit

June 13, 2011

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Old-school CrossFit star Josh Everett talks about why he believes the CrossFit-Reebok partnership is a great thing for both parties—and fitness.

Skeptical about the Reebok-CrossFit partnership? You’re not alone.

I travel the country working CrossFit’s Level 1 and Olympic-lifting courses, and I hear and feel the uneasiness about a big multinational company buying its way into the CrossFit community. I also hear the whispers of “sell-out” in regards to CrossFit’s role in the deal.

I answer questions and have conversations about this partnership weekly and thought the community might be interested in why I joined Reebok as an endorsed athlete—and why I’m thrilled with the partnership. To make a long story short, I was impressed with the company’s commitment and sincerity, and I signed a contract. In this article, I’m going to explain exactly why I signed that contract.

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29 Comments on “My Reebok Opportunity”

1

wrote …

Josh, as another "old school" Crossfitter, I am in line with your words. The "pay it forward" concept is exactly what I hold true to. I have been given an opportunity to keep the CrossFit mentality growing within Law Enforcement and Fire Service. I also have a unique opportunity to keep local affiliates thinking and feeling like a community that can pay itself while holding true to the "grassroots movement". If a committed group calls me to instill the model that I have grown over the past 10 years and offers to pay, I think it is not a sellout, provided they have convinced me they believe in the model, and I believe in them.
I have always been willing to give away as much as I can, but I still have a personal goal of being able to sustain myself and my loved ones. Reebok has allowed for a dream to be fulfilled and the Crossfit method to reach more people. I support that, CrossFit has allowed me to develop a training program that Law Enforcement has embraced. Currently, the purpose is enhanced survivability on the job, but the goal of course is to have administrators see the value and marketability in what my program presents as well. I have personally trained with Josh, his Coach Mike B, and the CEO of CrossFit, Coach Glassman, I do not think their personal accomplishments should be seen as "selling-out" because they have been offered money. I see this as an accomplishment of our efforts. What you do with the growth is what defines "selling out". Nice Job Josh. Congratulations
TJ Cooper - CrossFiteast.

2

wrote …

I find it odd that once someone gets 'paid,' they consider themselves professionals? Financial benefits do not necessarily mean 'professional' status IMO. But I digress. Money does seem to taint purity in most cases though. Maybe I'm a purist :)

3

wrote …

This is getting really boring now. Personally I try not to wear too much branded clothing as I resent paying to be a walking advert for a brand. Crossfit, stop trying to sell Reebok as a good thing to me. I get that it's good for you, but it makes no difference to me and I'm now resenting all this clogging up the journal. Can we move on please?

4

wrote …

Lee - I agree with you! This article just displaced another article that might have some information that is actually useful for technique, training, mobility, nutrition or some other topic for which I originally subscribed to the Journal a few years ago.

Note to editor/publisher - many of us really don't care about the "all hands man the Reebok PR battle stations" articles and videos.

On days where you plan to publish this type of PR advertorial, please also publish an alternate article that contains useful "Journal" information.

Thank you!

5

wrote …

When is the Reebok O-Lifting Shoe coming out???
I've gotta get some of that action

I do not think that because Crossfit teamed up with Reebok, that this means Crossfit is 'Selling-Out." This "sell-out" point-if-view seems very selfish to me for several reasons.

1) What right do we, as Crossfitters, have to say that the founders and people who work at HQ cannot make money on Crossfit? For some people to say this, who are receiving all of this FREE programming seems absurd to me.

Crossfit is about personal fitness, and getting as many people healthy as possible. For these people receiving free programming to say that they do not want Reebok to spread the word about Crossfit seems a little hypocritical to me.

2) Although I personally will not be buying any $40 t-shirts, I am sure that there are many people who will shell out that cash, which will mean that more people will be wearing Crossfit apparel, increasing the exposure of Crossfit in an everyday environment (if the clothes are worn outside of training).

When I wear Crossfit T's around (or in my college gym), I have get inquiries about Crossfit, and I love telling people about the program. This serves as yet another way to spread the word about Crossfit.

3) I understand that people posting in the CFJouranl hold Crossfit very near and dear to their hearts – I am the same way. I think the people who are newer to Crossfit feel this way more strongly, and want Crossfit to stay as it is and not change (for the better).

The best way to articulate this is parents and children: Parents with young children watch over them very closely, and resist change; whereas Parents with children in college and after college-age are ready to let their children go so they can enrich their lives. In this case, I would liken Josh Everett to the parent with the older child; and new Crossfitters would be those parents with the young children; the child being their experiences with Crossfit.

The average Crossfiter (myself included) does not know the inner-workings of HQ, and what goes on behind the scences. We must trust that Glassman and the rest of HQ are doing what is in the best interest of advancing Crossfit.

At the end of the day, why would Greg Glassman do something (e.g. partner with Reebok) that he thought was not in the best interest of his passion and own creation, Crossfit?

6

wrote …

Tyler, yeah Pro means you get paid for it. I appreciate that you are referring to integrity and a level of moral/ethical behavior but lots of professional athletes don't exhibit these qualities, regardless of how many zeros appear in their paycheck.

7

replied to comment from Lee Hill

+1

8

wrote …

Since Reebok put up $1 million in cold hard cash as prize money for this year's Games, I'm willing to at least hear them out and see what kind of products they come up with. And as far as I'm concerned, if Coach or someone like Josh E. (my Oly lifting role model) gets an opportunity to make some money and give their input into the products, that ultimately benefits us all. I'd certainly be interested in new lifting shoes designed with Josh's input, or something else designed in consultation with a top CF'er who was able to tell Reebok exactly what is needed and how products currently on the market can be improved upon.


Reebok seems to have an idea of the kind of community that surrounds CF, and they've got to know that if they come out with products that are too expensive or don't have the functionality CF'ers want, word will spread very quickly and people just won't buy them. So I'm kind of excited and hopeful for some good new gear, but of course it's gotta be done right.

9

wrote …

Haven't posted for a very long time, but recently this topic has created a lot of debate - which is healthy as long as we don't get into character assassination and start inventing motives which may or may not exist...

my $0.02:
Reebok will destroy Crossfit in the same way the Nike and others destroyed athletics (think Olympics), Adidas and Puma destroyed soccer (think World Cup), TapOut destroyed MMA, Ferrari destroyed Formula 1...(sarcasm for those who need clarification...) Will we have athletes that love the glitz and glam and will be idols to many- yes! will we have athletes that love the spartan blood and guts - yes, and they equally be idols to many. will we have those in between...yes. Will they all at the end of a WoD feel like dying, making sweat-angels lying on the floor? I for one am glad that athletes like Josh rather than sitting on the sidelines moaning, get involved and influence the journey.

10

wrote …

jOSH your the man. I know you will do CrossFit proud.
CrossFit 4 life!

11

wrote …

I think it's awesome! Sounds like Reebok is really embracing the style. I know they'll bring CF to more of the masses, which is where it belongs! I've been telling my family that CF will change the world, and I believe this is how it'll be done. The challenge will be to keep it pure with so much of the "other" type of working out around it.
But who in their right minds would go back to the Globo idea of 40 min cardio 30 min weights ever again once they've tasted the CF goods? I say the more exposure the better!
Also it's about time athletes of Josh's caliber got some recognition (and dough!!!)

12

replied to comment from Maciej Dunski

Well put Maciej. I literally didn't get it at first, that it was sarcastic. I think you're right that it COULD be destroyed but more people will meet Pukie this way, and that's a good thing!

13

wrote …

If it wasn't for a Wall Street Journal article advocating the newest evolutions in fitness, then I never would have found Crossfit three years ago and my fitness routine would still be the bullshit that it use to be.

This article may have never been written, if CF was still in a few boxes and many garage gyms. Evolution happens, good, bad or indifferent, however, we have an opportunity steer it's direction by voicing our opinions, just like Josh.

I speculate that these Journal articles, videos and "advertorials" are being placed primarily for our benefit and due to our scepticism, Reebok and HQ want to be certain that they are satisfying their loyal customer base.

14

wrote …

I might be late to this party with this point but here is my concern:

I am employed at a CF gym and have invested virtually everything in making this box work. Things have been great and businessnhas been steady. My dream is sustaining a living doing what I love... Like thousands upon thousands of other people worldwide. In order to make this dream possible, CFHQ asked us all to pay an affiliate fee (that has steadily increased) on top of the 1000$ for CF LEVEL 1 certification... I do not know the exact financial breakdown, but I would guess that Glassman and Co. Became quite wealthy from these payments. The hardwork, dedication and hard earned cash from so many people is what helped CrossFit become what it is today... NOT Reebok.

So my concern is this: if Reebok starts opening up CF boxes all over with their unlimited budget for equipment and staff and everything else, how the hell can I or any one of us smaller boxes - that paid in thousands of dollars to HQ to help create what CF is today - compete?? We will be shut down, run out and left to apply for part time gigs at the Globo CF Reebok facilities nearest you.

If I am misunderstanding this PLEASE let me know ... I'd hate for the 90% majority who helped build CF to go broke so the other 10% of professionals can make bank...

15

replied to comment from Ryan Grady

Ryan, there's just no guarantees, brother, and if the market is that open to a well financed group buying boxes and crowding out the mom and pops, it's just a matter of when not if. So the question will just come down to - are you better or is a giant corporate entity better at doing what you do? Got game? If so, the money they throw at it won't win the day - because it's not about having a giant box with a lot of expensive gear. If that's the risk, then don't blame it on Reebok, they may bring the bad news but again, if that's where the beast is going it's not if, but when.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned nor am I saying that if your fears are realized it won't suck. I'm saying - that's the biz you chose to enter. There's many a man/woman in your shoes. Deliver the goods, or start over. It's happening all over and in a lot of businesses other than CF.

Well written Josh, I'm very, very happy for your success and grateful for your CF passion and friendship over the years. I think you will definitely blaze a trail and many will follow in your footsteps as they find a way to help Reebok get their new venture 'done right.' Paul

16

wrote …

look, you can complain all you want, but regardless, like it or not, endorsements are going to happen. from a business standpoint, it is a smart move. if you don't like it, then simply do not buy any of the products. no one says you have to buy the reebok lifting shoes, just like you don't have to eat at mcdonalds if you watch the olympics(they are large supporters).

for all of you "purists", don't think your crossfit life will be tainted by reebok wanting to be apart of the crossfit community. they have no effect on your personal life. enjoy crossfit, train hard, and live life.

as for myself, im excited to see where this goes. maybe this will give us a whole new group of people to add to the community of fellow crossfitters.

17

Dane Thomas wrote …

I view the CrossFit/Reebok relations in much the same light as Pixar/Disney or NeXT/Apple. The bigger company, realizing the need for renewal and inspiration, buys into the smaller concern and patterns a substantial part of their operations around the new values and methods.

Reebok will certainly be much better for it, and CrossFit can get much bigger much faster as a result. Investors were banging down the door. CFHQ picked the one that allowed CF to maintain and exert maximal control rather than the ones that offered more money. It can end up to be really good, when it might very well have ended up to be really awful.

Help make it as good as it can be or get over it and move on.

18

wrote …

There is wayyyy too much Kool-Aid going around. I feel the branding machine trying to mess with my brain. Crossfit I love you but this is getting boring.

19

wrote …

Too many people are making judgements on the future and what has or hasn't even happened yet! I had my concerns and after a few chats with people who's opinion I valued I decided to drop the assumptions I was making on the relationship and decided to gove Reebok a chance. Honestly what have they done up to now that has been detrimental to CrossFit? I can't see there being a desire to open a Reebok box in every city..they make products not run gyms. Flagship boxes such as Reebok One seem to be marketing venues for events and showcases, certs etc.

Up to now I've had three free t-shirts out of Reebok via a guy I know heavily involved with them. I've seen the oly lifting shoes getting road tested by him and they ARE innovative! Who else is approaching CrossFit saying they want to make purpose made gear for our athletes...they're not knocking down the doors. Do I feel any brain washing happening..hell no!! I hate the look of the oly lifting shoe but that's my preference and Reebok need to up their style game haha. That's something that will never be swayed by exposure to Reebok! I hope everyone else can do the same!

20

wrote …

Personally I just can't wait for the day Crossfit and Reebok blow this thing up and the top tier of athletes become professional.

Can you imagine if guys and girls like Miko, Ben Smith, Annie T. and CLB were paid to do nothing but be awesome? We would see 4 minute miles and 600lb deadlifts! you'd probably need a sub 2 Fran just to make it to Sunday at the CF Games!

If i have to buy a T-shirt with their faces on it to see this happen I'm all for it. Rogue already hooked it up and I hope they are raking in the dough. Reebok's international influence can only speed this up.

21

wrote …

Selling out means you change what you are about for money, as long as Crossfit keeps its core values and methodologies intact they can make as much money as they want and not be sell outs

22

wrote …

Reebok does not care about crossfit. Reebok cares about selling apparel. Of course there are people at Reebok that are pumped about Crossfit, aren't you? What's weird is that we are commenting on whether we are for or against reebok marketing to US. We are the Crossfit consumer right? We are the "marketability". I personally would rather they didn't try to sell me their shoes or clothes cause I don't want or need them. Bare feet suite me just fine. Crossfit is an awesome idea that will grow organically regardless of big buisness or big budgets. It's too bad we constantly feel the need to push the issue. As far as I'm concerned a sponsorship by a huge corporation can only be a bad thing for crossfit.

23

wrote …

The complaining sounds like people from the skater and punk rock community that are always worried about big business and selling out. I don't think it will change things a whole lot. This sounds an awful lot like what people said when Progenex got on board. Personally I cant wait for it to get bigger eventually getting the gear that is required for crossfit will be cheaper then I can continue to outfit my garage.

24

wrote …

I was more than willing to wait and see how this whole CrossFit/Reebok thing turned out and I guess I, kind of, still am. But the nauseating infomercials, long, lingering shots of reebok shoes in WOD demo' videos and now this, have me worried. I think the punk rock example should serve as a very clear indicator of exactly what could easily happen here. Anytime something that was once about passion and expression becomes about money the end result sucks. Sure, way more people know about it, talk the lingo, wear the T shirt. Sure there's way more money to be made, but something is ALWAYS lost and it NEVER is what it once was.

25

wrote …

Crossfit has grown through blood and sweat by people who care about Crossfit and what they believe in, that will never change, but this same passion is what projected Crossfit to a bigger audience. For Reebok it’s a business venture, for CFHQ it’s a chance to really push crossfit farther.

The ideology of the fittest man doesn’t belong to a single sport athlete, it belongs to a crossfitter, and to get that recognition Crossfit needs to grow bigger and gain more respect in the world of Athleticism. Crossfit is growing just like every other sport, it will continue to because of what it stands for, and as long as those core values are kept within each crossfitter, it will not change.

For the minimalist, this won’t change how you approach crossfit, for the proud to be, it gives them a chance to wear what they represent, for the gear heads, well dig in. Whatever the case may be, Crossfit will always have the ability to be what you need it to be because you believe in its purpose.

26

wrote …

I don't care about any of the Reebok/crossfit stuff. Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Crossfit has become a market just like anything else that people like. I guess it's up to us Crossfiters to make sure the core nature stays true because we all know corporate america has one job and that's to make money. At the end of the day I'm still gonna eat clean, hydrate well, sleep and work my ass off. I guess if I can do all that and look cool in reebok gear I might buy in...

27

replied to comment from Ryan Grady

Exactly what I was thinking Ryan. This is for sure my main concern when I think of CFHQ's partnership with Reebok. Honestly, I couldn't care less about how Reebok has taken over the games. What I worry about are how the local CF community as a whole might change. Will our mom and pop affiliates/garage gyms be replaced by something more like an LA Fitness or a Golds Gym? Scary thought.

28

wrote …

It's all very exciting when people take notice of something you do. Especially when the large majority of folks didn't believe in you when you began. Realize that this is a new sport and that Crossfit has always wanted recognition for there principals and methods of training. That being said, now the larger opinion makers come in to put some money behind the thing and everyone gets nervous. We can all see why. Corporate take over and "The Man" has kind of stuck it to the little guy, especially in the last few years. I always loved being into a band before anyone else ever heard of them, kind of gave me a special status of sorts, and I've felt the same way about Crossfit.
I guess my point is, ya! BIG BUSINESS is out to bottom line MAKE MONEY. But, when people find a good thing it's kind of hard not to tell everyone about it. As long as Reebok doesn't own Crossfit HQ and it does stay in the hands of the core leaders driven by the community, it will last. But if people sell out there core values then it will be fucked like eveything else. When The Crossfit Campaign contributions from a larger much bigger entity becomes the norm to "spread the benefits of Crossfit", and if the folks driving the honest content of the information we all hold as at least, close to the truth about "Fitness", then we'll be back in the sewer of fitness information. Wondering if our arms look big and if were doing crunches the right way again! Where this thing goes all depends on the shoulders of those decision makers at Crossfit HQ.
Does everyone sponsored by Reebok really measure up to the top level of athelete's in the Sport of Fitness? Maybe. Not for me to judge. Ambassador seems more fitting than professional athelete when it comes to people not in the top 10 - 50.
But what do I know, I'm just your average crossfitter trying to get a WOD in between shifts.
What is the ultimate goal of Crossfit? That question really needs to be thought of and considered. We should be very careful of how much we want the rest of the world to say "Ya, your champion is the fittest." I mean are we really doing this for the validation of others outside of the community? Isn't enough to know that you are the fittest or apart of the fittest community in the world?
At the end of the day some of us will sell out, others will maintain our integrity. Hell, we might even fuck up along the way.

29

wrote …

As it concerns Josh and his accomplishments, let me add, that I am impressed and inspired by anyone who sticks to his standard of above board competition and his dedication to fitness/ coaching. I also congratulate him on his accomplishments and hope that his sponsorship is a step in the right direction.
I guess that I too envisioned myself making the pilgrimage to that "Pole-Barn-In-The-Hills" one day, but as huge as this is becoming, I guess I'll just have to settle for The Home Depot Center, either as a spectator or competitor. But something about those first years looked so genuine that I wish I had found this sport earlier and that I would have had the ability and desire to compete when it began.
Thanks to all the ground breakers out there who's video's and articles have inspired us all. Cheers to you Glassman!
~Dan Anderson

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