Now Reebok Is Serving Up Sporty Kicks With a Slice of Bacon

The fitness-gear brand hopes to appeal to CrossFit exercisers who follow the Paleo diet.
Jul 31, 2014·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

From ice cream sundaes to doughnuts, America’s love affair with bacon is showing no signs of abating. Apparently, there’s nothing like chowing down on a few slices of fried pig after you’ve done 100 burpees and thrown a tire back and forth across a room. At least, that’s the idea behind Reebok Bacon, a meat product released by the sports shoe and apparel brand that’s geared to aficionados of quite possibly the most grueling workout on the planet: CrossFit.

The fitness-product brand debuted its bacon at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games, which were held in suburban Los Angeles last weekend. Reebok sent the competing athletes gift packages of the product. It even had a food truck on-site that passed out treats such as bacon-wrapped artichoke and bacon-wrapped seasoned pork belly to attendees.

“We love you bacon, in all your grease-glistening, protein-packed glory,” Reebok waxed poetically on its website. What might be more likely is that Reebok loves the cash that CrossFitters are likely to spend on the product. Devotees of the workout frequently follow the Paleo diet, which nixes carb-heavy grains in favor of meat, poultry, and seafood.

In the CrossFit community, however, debates about eating bacon have been rampant. A true follower of the Paleo diet is advised to adhere to healthy, clean-eating principles. That means not consuming the additives commonly found in the “other white meat.” There’s also the tiny problem that more than two-thirds of the calories in a slice of bacon come from fat, and half of that is saturated. A 2012 British study also found that eating just two slices a day of the sodium and fat-laden fried meat increases the chance of pancreatic cancer by 19 percent. That same year, in an effort to help students get healthy, Paul Quinn College in Texas banned its cafeterias from serving any pork or pork-related products on campus.

Here’s where Reebok’s move into the bacon scene is pretty genius. While it can’t do anything about the meat’s fat content, the company claims that unlike most mainstream bacons, its product is not cured and doesn’t contain nitrates, nitrites, sugar, food colorings, or monosodium glutamate. It’s just sliced pork and salt.

CrossFitters who may have been on the fence about consuming bacon are going to snap up this stuff. At least, they will if Reebok decides to make the product permanently available. In the meantime, the Reebok Bacon food truck is still rolling through Southern California. It’s visiting various CrossFit workout boxes, so at least some burpee-loving exercisers can taste a slice of fried pork heaven.