Orangetheory Challenges Members with High-intensity Workouts in a Community-focused Setting

At Orangetheory Fitness, you won’t see members waiting for equipment, wandering around the floor or texting on their phones in between sets. Instead, members work toward heart rate percentages and Splat Points—obtained from burning major calories through high-intensity  interval training. It’s a no-nonsense, endorphin-boosting workout with 25 or so members sweating alongside one another. And most importantly, it’s fun.

Founded in 2010 by Ellen Latham, who runs Ellen’s Ultimate Workout gym in Florida, the Orangetheory workout is based on a five-zone heart rate training that is designed to burn 500-1,000 calories per session. Members wear monitors that track their heart rates and can see their results on a screen displayed throughout the 3,000-5,000-square-foot room. Spending 12-20 minutes in zones four or five—the orange and red zones—will create the desired after-burn effect.

Each session in the vibrant, orange-lit studio lasts 60 minutes, with members taking to treadmills, rowers or strength training stations to get their heart rates going. An Orangetheory trainer facilitates the entire hour over a headset, so clients know exactly what to do next. Trainers also demonstrate each of the movements and move fluidly around the room to ensure proper technique.  

Orangetheory has made efforts to spread the brand nationwide and, in November, it opened a location in Chanhassen, ready to give residents results based on their personal fitness goals. An initial contract is six months, followed by a month-to-month commitment. Members can attend a session at any Orangetheory location.

Patrick Wold manages the Chanhassen, Eden Prairie and Apple Valley locations. He sees people attending Orangetheory because of its one-of-a-kind approach to fitness. “We don’t necessarily see ourselves competing with some of these other big fitness brands,” Wold says. “We offer a product in the same field, but ours is definitely unique.”

“I like the fact that they push you. If you go to a different fitness center, you have to push yourself,” says Orangetheory member Lorrie Miller. “I enjoy the variety. You get to do some treadmill, you get to do some weights. It’s a nice workout, and one instructor leads us through it. I don’t have to think for an hour. Someone just tells me what to do.”

Another draw to Orangetheory is the spirit of community. Members work out as a group and go through the session together from beginning to end. “I met some other friends that were working out [there], and so I decided to join them. After I tried it, I really liked it,” says participant Trevor Sannes, who has been attending Orangetheory for about three years.
“I like that the class is thought out for you. I can just come and get the work out in and just follow their instruction. Where if it’s just left up to me, I go the easy route,” Sannes says.

Wold also notices confidence levels increase in members after their first initial weeks. “Seeing people that hate exercise come in and absolutely love working out with us three to four times a week, it’s awesome,” Wold says, “Because it’s completely changed their lifestyle.”

And Wold points out that the Orangetheory workout can cater to any individual’s goals. “We do get people results as far as for weight loss or improving their 5K time on their run, just trying to push them that extra mile—it’s seeing how Orangetheory Fitness has changed people’s lives and changed them for the better.”

Orangetheory Fitness has 11 locations in the Twin Cities metro area, including Apple Valley, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Plymouth and Chanhassen.