Frustrated with old workouts, huge promises and little results? Orangetheory Fitness is ‘much different than you are used to’

Orangetheory Fitness St. George, Utah location, date unspecified | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — “Commit to be fit.” “No judgment.” “Celebrating health.” Are you getting frustrated with catchy gym slogans and stale workouts that make claims of guaranteed success but help you achieve little results?

Like many people seeking a healthier lifestyle, a few years ago Darren Neilson was having a hard time finding a gym in Salt Lake City where he could feel comfortable working out. Feeling frustrated and at a loss on his own, one day a friend called him and told him about a new gym with a fun way to exercise called Orangetheory Fitness.

Intrigued, Neilson said to himself, “I need to do something. I am just sitting here getting fat.” 

He called the gym the next day and booked his first free class. It was a move that changed the course of his life.

Flash forward to today, and Neilson isn’t just a loyal customer anymore. After working out at the northern Utah gym for two years and loving it, he believed in it so passionately that he quit his law practice, purchased a franchise and moved to St. George to open the company’s first location in the region.

Assorted free weights and equipment at Orangetheory Fitness St. George, Utah location, date unspecified | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Walking through the doors of Orangetheory, while the first thing to catch your eye will be the blazing motivational color on everything – from the lights to the walls to nearly every piece of equipment – the first thing to truly impress you will be the welcoming team of coaches ready to help you reach your fitness goals.

“We really pride ourselves on top-notch customer service,” said Neilson, adding that from the moment you arrive, the staff and coaches will make you feel comfortable and strive to develop a personal connection. They not only want to know about your ambitions, he said, they are eager to help you achieve them.

It’s a strategy that seems to be working. With 1,200 locations around the globe and over 1,000 in the U.S., Orangetheory has become the fastest growing gym in the country, and its unique, boutique-style experience is quickly building a community of friends dedicated to helping each other get fit. Not one location has closed its doors yet.

A community of fitness

The Orangetheory format is the creation of Ellen Latham, who co-founded the company in 2010 and designed it for people of every type and fitness level – something that sets her workout apart from others.

Neilson said one thing he loves about Orangetheory is that it is “100% scaleable.”

“We have 14-year-olds working out next to 80-year-olds,” he said, adding that the class can be challenging, but being in a group setting helps many people.

He said this diverse community is “always redirecting you as to why you’re working out. We’re working out to get healthier.”

And the worldwide success of Orangetheory is reflected in St. George. Since moving here with his wife in December 2017, Neilson said his location has been growing with new friends every month.

As with all things, when you endure something difficult with other people, you bond with them over that. We have a lot of people who have become real good friends just through knowing each other at Orangetheory fitness.

Hitting your ‘splat’

Neilson said workouts are never the same. Every month a team of certified trainers in Florida creates 90 new one-hour workout plans that are intense and consist of both strength training and aerobic exercise, such as treadmills and water rowing machines.

Clients use specifically designed heart rate monitors to capture their progress as they push their rates to reach certain color-coordinated “target zones.” Results can be seen in real-time on televisions throughout the gym, Neilson said.

“With your heart rate on the TV as you work out, you get to see ‘Oh yeah, this is why I’m doing it.’

Workouts are built around the fitness concept of “afterburn,” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), according to Neilson. During workouts, a person’s heart rate is compared to a range based on age to create Orangetheory’s “splat number.” If you can get your heart rate up to 84% or higher to the max heart rate in the “orange zone” for at least 12 minutes, or” splats,” then in theory, the body will burn additional calories for the next 36 hours – continuing the health benefits long after leaving the gym.

The different zones are identified as follows:

  • Grey Zone – Light activity, maximum heart rate of 50-60%.
  • Blue Zone – Warm up and cool down exercises in preparation for high intensity interval training, maximum heart rate 61-70%.
  • Green Zone – Orangetheory calls this the “base pace” that should be held for 20-30 minutes to reach a maximum heart rate of 71-83%, allowing the body to burn fat and carbohydrates evenly.
  • Orange Zone – The stage when EPOC is achieved at a maximum heart rate of 84-91% and stay in this zone for 12 minutes for maximum calorie burn.
  • Red Zone  A race to the finish using the last bit of energy to reach a maximum heart rate of 92-100%.

“They’re amazing workouts,” Neilson said. “They are different each day … similar enough that you can use what you did a month ago as a benchmark but different enough that you’re not going to get tired of it.”

Outside of Orangetheory Fitness located inside Dinosaur Crossing shopping center, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

He said their enthusiastic coaches are going to walk you through the workout every step of the way, leading to make sure you are comfortable and advising on what to do – and more importantly, what not to do – to prevent injury.

“You need to come take a workout. We’re so much different than what you’re used to,” Neilson said.

Orangetheory Fitness is located in Dinosaur Crossing shopping center at 599 S. Mall Drive, St. George, and offers multiple classes all day. Schedule yours now by calling 435-767-0543. For more information visit their website.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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