Welcome to Orangetheory Fitness, a boutique, franchise fitness studio exploding on a national and international scale. Open to every fitness level over 16 years of age, this interval-based, small-group training class synergizes endurance, strength and power.
Coaches guide students through cardiovascular and strength training segments utilizing treadmills, rowing machines, striders, bikes, TRX suspension training, free-weights, as well as Bosu and medicine balls. Heart-rate monitors – specific to Orangetheory Fitness and donned across one’s torso or wrist – display color-coded progress in real time on flat screen TVs lining the studio walls. Clients purchase their own monitors or rent one for the day. Pulsating music works in tandem with coaching demos, corrections, modifications and kudos.
The brainchild of exercise physiologist, Ellen Latham, the fitness center touts its ability to generate the body’s “metabolic” effect. Noted as the “Orange Effect,” this after-burn, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), burns calories for 24 to 36 hours post workout.
Participants work within three phases: Base, Push and All Out Effort! Each phase builds upon output and active recovery. The green, Base Phase progresses from a warm-up to using 71 to 83 percent of one’s maximum heart rate for 25 to 35 minutes. The orange Push phase, described as the most important and uncomfortable segment, follows suit. This “Orange Effect” uses 84 to 91 percent of one’s maximum heart rate for a minimum of 12 minutes and a maximum of 20 to achieve EPOC and optimize caloric burn. The red, All Out Effort! Requires 92 to 100 percent of one’s maximum heart rate. Slated to “empty the tank,” this phase should not be held longer than 30 seconds, one minute at a time.
Sporting a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in exercise science from University at Buffalo, Latham, a veteran group exercise and Pilates instructor, designed Orangetheory Fitness as a metabolic training template to transform the deconditioned while challenging the elite athlete.
“People flood into OT studios because the class achieves results while keeping people engaged,” she says. “Metabolic training workouts – designed by a fitness lab – change daily. OT’s interval blocks keep the body in a constant state of confusion and change while our secret formula emphasizes endurance, strength and power. Clients walk into Orangetheory Fitness and say, ‘Here’s my body, just tell me what to do with it.’”
Latham described Orangetheory Fitness as the multi-vitamin workout. “Spinning is vitamin A, Pilates vitamin C and crossfit vitamin D,” she says. “They’re great specific workouts but they don’t keep your body in constant metabolic change like OT. We advise members to attend other classes as long as they get their OT multi-vitamin at least twice a week.”
Latham stressed the importance of OT’s scientific backing. “Nothing is left to a trainer holding a weekend certification now dubbed fitness professional,” she continued. “OT clients receive a master’s of science educational level workout.”
Orangetheory Fitness instructor training is without question, comprehensive. As dubbed, “coaches,” maintain current CPR and a nationally recognized personal training certifications. Coaches learn the specifics of heart-rate monitors and heart-rate zones; OT’s unique cueing vernacular; how to coordinate groups working together yet separately – side-by-side; and the nuances of correcting form and posture. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., corporate runs quarterly, CEC-accredited “360 Degree” workshops that review scientific elements and the art of presentation and empowerment. Corporate delivers workouts to each studio two weeks prior to scheduled classes. Workouts are reviewed by franchise trainers and coaches and edited according to regional demographics.
“Coaches are encouraged to find better versions of themselves,” says San Diego’s regional coach Allen Blunt, a popular coaching instructor at Orangetheory Fitness at the Point Loma location. “Beyond the resumes, OT coaches are approachable, likable and real. The success of OT isn’t measured by the blood, sweat and tears of crawling out of a grueling workout. OT coaches deliver a fun, motivating platform for clients to experience success little-by-little every day.
“Coaches create an environment where everyone helps each other,” continues Blunt. “Patterns occur in blocks of time. Members use each other as reference while coaches leverage the flow. Accomplishments are tracked. Coaches connect with students. Success is celebrated and students are encouraged to have a good time. Everyone leaves understanding their achievements along with a blueprint for future success. OT is a great workout modeled successfully by corporate that’s here to stay.”
Blunt stressed the importance of the OT’s “lobby” culture. “The OT community begins in the lobby,” he explains. “Relationships are built around people who share a common interest in the pursuit of health, fitness and life. Orangetheory Fitness hosts social gatherings and encourages member participation in community events.
“We celebrate fitness, we celebrate life and we do so successfully. OT isn’t just a workout, it’s a community that impacts people’s lives. No one packages or delivers a workout as professionally or successfully on a massive scale as OT.”
“We’re like a family,” says Stephanie Leblanc, studio manager of Orangetheory Fitness in Point Loma. “January marks our three-year anniversary at this Point Loma location. Community is important. Clients aren’t coming to any gym, they’re coming to their gym.”
Orangetheory Fitness recently launched an App and wearable fitness tracker – OTBeat Link – that tracks movement in and out of the studio. Clients can library their history and progress. Students also receive emails showcasing class results. “People audit their results to measure their progress and goals,” Latham concludes. “We’re spearheading OT as leaders in fitness and technology.”
According to Latham, as of 2016, OT averages two million workouts a month through 100,000 classes in 420 studios with 500 plus yet to open. More than 1,000 studios will open by the end of 2018 in more than 20 countries including Tokyo with plans to expand to 70 studios in Japan over the next 10 years.
Where: 3980 W. Point Loma Blvd.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.