Health and Fitness Column

Orangetheory fitness centers opening in NC

By John Taylor | Jan 30, 2014
Photo by: File John Taylor

In the 1980s and 90s, at-home workout videos with Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda were popular with people looking for a way to get into shape. In the early 2000s, Curves fitness centers started becoming more common in the fitness market place for women.
Later in the decade, CrossFit establishments became the rage among exercise enthusiasts. Now, Orangetheory is hoping to become the next “must-have” fitness regimen.
Orangetheory is a fitness center franchiser based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but unlike other fitness center chains, their workout program utilizes heart rate monitoring along with non-stop movements to improve fitness and conditioning levels.
Their workout lasts for one hour, and consists of running 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the rowing machine, and 20 minutes of non-stop resistance training. The speed and resistance levels are based on achieving an optimal heart rate conducive to weight loss and fitness gains rather than a tangible number. In essence, if a person can get into their fat-burning or target heart rate zones from running 2.5 miles per hour on the treadmill, that is acceptable. However, it may take a person in better shape to run at 10.5 miles per hour to achieve the same results.
The program was created by Ellen Latham, designer of the popular “The Ultimate Workout” regimen. Latham previously ran the Bonaventure Spa, an exclusive resort that many professional athletes and celebrities have vacationed at, and is the fitness columnist for The Miami Herald.
Though the workout is nothing new amongst fitness professionals, the concept of “Orangetheory” using this type of regimen for all of its members is intriguing. There is an abundance of scientific research that states maintaining an adequate heart rate while exercising will lead to fitness improvements, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a corporate gym implement this workout for all of its members.
With franchising opportunities available, Kristie Shifflette of Moorseville opened the first Orangetheory fitness center in the state on Jan. 30. If successful, this may lead to more franchises to be opened in other areas of the Carolinas.
In a way, I love the idea of Orangetheory. It takes the guesswork away from a member unknowledgeable about creating a quality fitness routine, and challenges even the most fit of exercise goers. The workout simply asks for members to monitor their heart rate, keep it above a certain level, increase the intensity if it begins to drop, and don’t stop moving for one hour.
Though this will be difficult for those that aren’t used to pushing themselves, working past the discomfort can only help a person improve their health and overall wellness.
Of course, that is similar to what I was told during hazing week when I was pledging my fraternity. Let’s just say I’m glad most schools have banned such practices. Man, I still feel the sting of the paddle.