Shoppers Monday and Tuesday walked out of Macy's on the first floor of Mall of America and stepped into the NFL combine.
Well, not quite. But it was a workout pretty close to it, at least.
Under Armour put on free combine training sessions to help participants deliver their "best combine performance and to stay in peak physical condition," as the mall website put it. However, it's unlikely the partakers in Tuesday's hourlong noon session will be running any drills alongside Saquon Barkley, a top running back prospect, a month from now in Indianapolis.
That's because while the target audience for this kind of training is usually young, elite athletes, this crowd ranged from toddler to grandparent.
"Back at our gym in Orlando, we pride ourselves on being able to put the highest level of athlete and the first beginning athlete, put them all in the same class, find them where they are, and allow them all to get better," said Trevor Anderson, the trainer who led the session. "So that's not too dissimilar from what we experience here. … Everybody got something good out of it."
Anderson, of Better Every Day Performance Institute, has worked with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. And while the six classes at the mall were meant as Super Bowl attractions, they weren't too watered down. Pretty much all of the about 20 participants at the session I observed worked up a sweat.
Radio personality Falen Bonsett Lambert, from KDWB's "Dave Ryan In The Morning Show," can attest to that. She decided to try out a session while working with the mall to promote some of its events.
"I was very nervous that it was going to be crazy intense," she said. "… It was a lot of stuff you would do if you do weight training, I feel like, minus weights. So a lot of body work and balance. And it was good, got the heart rate going, got the legs feeling it."
Under Armour also gave out towels, water bottles, T-shirts, coupons and tickets to the NFL Super Bowl Experience. There was even a leaderboard of the top vertical jump heights on display. Bragging rights.
"Because the Super Bowl comes to town all week," said Leon Duncan, a senior director with Under Armour, "there's all these big parties and events and things that are going on for sponsors of the NFL, but unless you're in that club, that elite club, then you're probably not going to get a chance to do that. So it's nice to be able to offer an experience to the locals that makes them part of the week."