If you’re seeing a lot of orange this summer, it’s not only because of East Valley residents sporting a summer tan, but also because residents may be getting the self-proclaimed “best one-hour workout in the country” at Orangetheory Fitness.
With nine locations in Arizona – including East Valley sites in Mesa/Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee and another on the way in Tempe – Orangetheory representatives say the lineup of 144 nationwide fitness centers has gained a following from individuals looking for a more motivating and group-centered workout experience.
“At ‘big-box gyms’, people aren’t held accountable and will be walking on a treadmill at 4 miles an hour and texting,” said Coral Lowe, studio manager for the Dana Park shopping center Orangetheory Fitness “With no education (on how to properly workout), people get lost.”
Lowe’s said her studio, located at 3426 E. Baseline Road, Suite 118, in Mesa, right on the Gilbert border, has gained about 460 members since opening in February. She added that the studio is already purchasing more equipment to facilitate more members and workout sessions.
An hour-long session at Orangetheory Fitness consists of three core workouts – indoor rowing, treadmill intervals, and resistance training with either free-weights or suspension bands – all at multiple intervals to maximize what Orangetheory Fitness calls an “after-burn”, or Orange, effect based on the theory of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
According to the Orangetheory Fitness website, the 60 minute workout is designed by trainers to help members exercise at 84 percent or higher of their maximum heart rate for 12-20 minutes to produce a kick start in metabolism so the member burns an extra 200-400 calories 24-36 hours post-workout. Maximum heart rates are determined by age, gender, height, and weight according to Lowe.
A heart rate monitor belt is strapped around a members chest and linked to a display that measures the members activity in real-time, motivating them to maintain or reach the desired Orange or Red Zone, which are the top two zones out of five total.
There is debate as to whether the EPOC effect is too exaggerated, and Lowe said it all depends on what doctor you ask. But she added that it is scientifically based and she is a 100 percent believer.
“It’s effective and essential for 99 percent of people trying to lose weight,” she said.
Orangetheory fitness was created by founder and owner Ellen Latham. Arizona currently has the second most studio locations, behind Florida, and the franchise has developed its reach into Canada as well.
Becky Renner is the area developer for Orangetheory Fitness in Arizona and also owner of the Dana Park location as well as a studio in Chandler at Pecos Ranch on 1900 W Germann Rd., Suite 6.
Renner, who grew up in Ahwatukee and graduated from ASU with a degree in Business Marketing, said that she plans to eventually have 30 studios in Arizona with 6 to 12 more opening in the next six months.
“Arizona is a space that really works on health and fitness, that’s what attractive for us,” she said.
Orangetheory Fitness was voted as the 2013 “Best Place to Workout” in the Tribune’s annual “Best of East Valley” reader balloting earlier this year. Renner said she is happy East Valley residents recognize that the program is designed to get results. The color orange was chosen in the company’s branding to invoke energy, youthfulness, vitality, and health according to Orangetheory Fitness’ website and the sessions are open to anyone ages 16 and older, of any fitness level, whether it’s an off the couch, couch-potato or an elite triathlete.
Lowe said that she has seen great results for members in the first couple of weeks and she contributes the success of the Dana park location to its family culture
Lowe contends Orangetheory is one of the first fitness centers of its kind in the marketplace, but adds that members say that the workouts are similar to CrossFit and P90X.
Lowe graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in sports science and came to Orangetheory Fitness after she did personal training and boot camp classes at her local gym.
Even though it is a group workout with up to 20 members in a class at Dana Park, members can talk with trainers about their fitness goals. Lowe said they don’t encourage dieting unless the trainer and member talk about it individually and no matter what the fitness goals are for a member, they will always receive a full body workout.
According to the Orangetheory website, each session is completely different – even if it is with the same trainer – to combat boredom with workouts and members can burn up to 900 calories per session, the equivalent of about four regular hamburgers at McDonald’s.
Guest passes are available online at orangetheoryfitness.com, and sessions vary in price based on whether members sign up session-by-session, month-to-month, or for an annual membership.
Aaron, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, interned with the East Valley Tribune earlier this summer.