Why Reebok Is the Right Brand to Ask the Academy Awards for a Best Fitness Trainer Category

Reebok president Matt O’Toole penned a letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey on Wednesday urging him to create the best fitness trainer award. And even though many brands cater to the workout-obsessed, Reebok is the ideal label to lead the charge for its establishment.

“There are hundreds of major motion picture actors and actresses that transform their bodies for roles each year. … While their performances are lauded, their practice is not,” O’Toole wrote. “The best scenes and storylines today often require amazing physical transformations, and actors and actresses rely heavily on a small field of expert trainers to get them in fighting, flying and filming shape. The academy should celebrate the craft of fitness.”

Reebok contends that it is ideal to push this agenda because while other brands dabble in fitness, the company’s identity is rooted in it.

“If we want to be the best fitness brand, we have to say, ‘If you want to get in shape, we know what the best and latest trends are,’” Chris Froio, GM of Reebok America, explained to Footwear News ahead of the 2017 CrossFit Games.

Ben Smith in the Reebok Nano 7 Weave at CrossFit Krypton in Chesapeake, Va.
CREDIT: Reebok

The cross-training community, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, comprised 12.9 million participants in 2016, up 10.3 percent from 11.7 million a year earlier. And those who frequent the gym brought in $1.02 billion in cross-training footwear sales in 2016, according to The NPD Group Inc./Retail Tracking Service.

Validating its authenticity in fitness is Reebok’s top 10 position in the cross-training footwear category. And according to Reebok, training sneakers account for 35 percent of its overall footwear business.

The brand’s push to cater to fitness lovers goes well beyond its CrossFit partnership, which began in 2011. Reebok is linked to group fitness programmer Les Mills, has renowned model Gigi Hadid powering its #PerfectNever self-betterment movement, sponsors the Spartan Race and boasts an ambassador team consisting of today’s most popular workout experts, including Emily Skye and Ashley Horner.

And aside from helping everyday people get in better shape, Reebok’s fitness expertise has assisted those starring in movies.

“I’ve noticed such a big change in myself. My confidence has gone up,” said actress Nina Dobrev, who also serves as an ambassador for the Reebok x Les Mills partnership. Dobrev also noted that her ambassador role has also influenced the way she dresses. “I lean toward or go for pieces in my wardrobe that I otherwise would’ve thought were too risky or I would’ve thought, oh, my stomach doesn’t look great in this one, or I have that little bit of arm fat that all of us girls don’t like. I take more risks [now]. I feel better.”

Nina Dobrev Reebok Les Mills
Nina Dobrev
CREDIT: Reebok

O’Toole also stated in his argument for the fitness-focused award that over time, other key players vital to making movies excellent have been recognized after years of going unnoticed by the Academy Awards.

“For the last 36 years the academy has awarded best makeup and hairstyling, which has defined the standards of beauty for generations. And the industry’s leading sound mixers have been recognized since 1930 for bringing emotion to even the quietest moments in cinema. For a time, all these artists were also unrecognized,” O’Toole wrote. “Why not also reward the people who keep our role models in peak condition?”

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