The Untold Truth Of Orangetheory Fitness

Group training has been popular for decades. We've passed the crazes of Jazzercise and Thai Bo, and we may still be enthralled by yoga and CrossFit sessions. Yet still, we're always ready to try the newest trend in group training. That is why we're extra intrigued by a boutique fitness studio that has showed its lasting power even through a pandemic: Orangetheory Fitness, a studio that has it's followers and business forecasters heavily intrigued.

Know Your Value details how this now-billion-dollar franchise started out as nothing more than a Pilates class in the spare room of the founder Ellen Latham's house in Florida back in 2010. Latham, who had over three decades of experience as a fitness instructor, had found herself jobless at 40 after being fired from what she thought was her "dream" job as an exercise physiologist at a high-end spa in Miami. "I was devastated," Latham told Know Your Value. "I really didn't know what I was going to do."

Latham's side job turned into a billion-dollar enterprise

Latham got her Pilates license on a whim, reports Know Your Value, and she started teaching in a spare room of her house. These classes became hugely successful. And after adding in her years of experience and a science-backed, intensity-based training program, Latham launched the Orangetheory brand.

"Women may be thinking 'but it's so hard out there!' And it is, but you've got to keep pushing," Latham told Know Your Value. She adds that, "As a female, you have to realize that you can do big things, and you have to believe you deserve it."

Latham's energy and heavy encouragement is the exact foundation that an Orangetheory workout class is built on. Every Orangetheory Fitness session focuses on hyper positivity and communal encouragement, states Men's Health. And unlike big box gyms that once dominated the major cities and towns in the U.S., Latham's success story focuses on group training that encourages a sense of community and involvement among participants.

Orangetheory is based on The Orange Theory

Yes, you may feel a sense of community if you join an Orangetheory class. But that is only if you're not too distracted by dumping buckets of sweat. The Orangetheory fitness craze is based on a concept in exercise psychology called — what else — The Orange Theory. Inverse explains that The Orange Theory is the science-backed belief that if a person maintains a maximum heart rate for a certain period of time, then they will continue to burn calories for long after the class is finished. This is called the "afterburn."

According to Men's Health, the main focus of every class is to get participants into the orange heart rate zone, or even the red, for a portion of the hour-long class. These are the two zones you reach when you are working out at an above-moderate and more intense level. Class members all have their own heart rate monitors wrapped around their chests, which helps them keep track of maintaining a high-intensity workout for a period of time.

It doesn't matter how fit you are

"During class, your data will be displayed on screens around the room, which will show you how many calories you've already burned, and which heart rate zone you're currently in," explains Erin Beck, certified trainer and head coach at Orangetheory, to Women's Health. She adds that, "This feedback will help you pace and track your workout, plus allow your coach to provide guidance."

All this talk of high-intensity and sweat may be making you wonder if these classes are made for the ultra fit. Fortunately, this is not the case. "The biggest misconception is that you need to be in good shape or 'fit' in order to do an Orangetheory workout," says Jamie Spadafora, certified personal trainer and head coach at Orangetheory Fitness Astor Place in New York City to PopSugar. But she says, "The truth is that our workout is geared for all levels of fitness, and everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace."

The price depends on how many classes you want to take

PBfingers reports that classes include a varied workout where participants are expected to lift weights, hop on the rowing machine, and hit the treadmill. You can expect to spend up to 25 minutes on the treadmill and the rest of the hour is split between the rower and the weights.

We've talked about orange. Now let's discuss the green. How much does a membership to an Orangetheory studio cost? Prices vary depending on which Orangetheory studio you visit, but Women's Health notes that you can expect to pay between $59 to $159 dollars per month depending on how many classes you decide to participate in.

Before you run, row, and lift your way into the closest Orangetheory studio near you, know that there are a few negatives of this boutique studio. One year-long Orangetheory member shares via The Chronicles of Home that these classes do not provide childcare, have an eight-hour cancellation policy, and are non-refundable if you sign up but don't make it to the class.

Orangetheory's founder has no plans to change the company's concept

Orangetheory may have its flaws, and it may not be the right type of group workout class for you. But it's clear by its growth there are many fans of this fitness craze. Pre-pandemic, Inverse reports that the Orangetheory company had more than 900 locations in 48 states and 17 countries. And despite temporary closures in 2020, Orangetheory does not appear to be slowing down on their rapid growth. Men's Health shares that the boutique workout studios have opened three dozen new outposts since August of 2020.

As rapid growth continues, don't expect any changes to an Orangetheory fitness class.  The founder herself is so sure it works, she's sticking to her original method. "People often ask me, 'Ellen are you going to get new equipment in there? Are you going to change the types of workouts?'" says Latham via YouTube. Her answer. "No." And why should she? The Orangetheory craze hasn't cooled off and appears to be heading into the red zone of success.