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(Photo: Orangetheory Fitness)


If you’ve never rowed, run, and lifted your way through an interval-training class at Orangetheory Fitness, that’s probably about to change.

The franchised fitness experience opened its first boutique studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in March of 2010, and four years later, it’s a mega fitness brand, with 86 locations across the country and counting. This April, it will reach a huge milestone of 100 studios, and it’s already awarded franchise contracts that will bring the total number of studios to 250 over the next few years.

And while Orangetheory has been partially a suburban phenomenon, catering to fitness-lovers who may or may not have an Equinox in a 50- or 100-mile radius, it’s now moving into the big fitness cities. Los Angeles,  New York, San Francisco, and Miami’s South Beach will all debut Orangetheory studios in 2014. “We’re going to be moving heavier into urban markets,” says co-founder David Long, who started the company with partners Ellen Latham and Jerome Kern. “The development takes longer, but there’s definitely another level of excitement.”

(Photo: Orangetheory Fitness)
(Photo: Orangetheory Fitness)


The inspiration

Long and Kern are business partners with a track record in the wellness and lifestyle space. They previously grew European Wax Center (no, not for your car) from five to 200 locations. “Jerome and I were looking for an effective fitness concept that could be good for franchising but provided real results,” Long says. “There are a lot of gimmicky things, but we were looking for something backed by science.”

They found it in Ellen Latham, a fitness expert with 35 years of experience and a Master’s degree in exercise physiology, who was known for her “Ultimate Workout” in Fort Lauderdale. “She was pioneering this kind of interval-training workout in her studio,” he says. “When we came across it, we felt really strongly that this was something the public would love.”

(Photo: Orangetheory Fitness)


The class concept

So Latham became the brand muse and its mastermind, creating the Orangetheory workout, a 60-minute interval-training class designed to maximize the effect known as afterburn, which keeps your body chipping away at calories at a higher rate even after you’ve stopped sweating. During a class, you complete intervals on low-impact treadmills and water rowers, and then move to the floor for strength and core training using weights, medicine balls, and TRX systems. “We’ve got a lot of functional equipment and the routines change daily. Every day is a full-body workout,” Long says.

You also wear heart rate monitors during class so that you can see your heart rate zones and track stats later.

If it sounds like Barry’s Bootcamp, but with more toys, they’ll certainly be competing against each other as each boutique brand continues to grow. Then again, it kind of feels like there’s more than enough sweat-demand to go around. —Lisa Elaine Held

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