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Orangetheory's New Workouts Look to the Future

By Leslie Barker

The pandemic turned the world upside down. It wrenched lives and livelihoods, and threw off-kilter all we had come to count on.

Yet, through everything hurled at all of us, Orangetheory has stood stalwart. Science-backed, technology-tracked, coach-led workouts — for anyone, for any fitness level — have turned lives around physically, emotionally and mentally for 11 years.

That’s not about to change. So, as we look ahead to the future of fitness, we’re incorporating those time-proven standards into three distinct and exciting new offerings:

Orangetheory Live, a virtual real-time class.

Lift 45, three-quarters of an hour dedicated solely to resistance training.

Orangetheory Outdoors, a workout in the fresh air.

“We continue to believe the in-studio experience is the primary thing; it’s the hero,” says Scott Brown, Orangetheory’s director of digital fitness. “But we know the world has changed, and people are looking for convenience and options. The future is finding a mix of options and helping members utilize and diversify as easily as possible.”

The new offerings are included in membership, thus making sense financially as well as physiologically.

“If a person is looking at the reality of a schedule, logistics, family and work, a lot of times spending money on fitness is a cost-and-return conversation,” Scott says. “If they think they won’t go to the studio as often as they’d like, this is a way to spend their money to maximize their membership.”

Brick-and-mortar studios in the Orangetheory network as well as capabilities to connect online create what Scott calls “an ecosystem” to serve members wherever they are and whenever they’re ready to work out.

The shared thread? “Being backed by science,” he says.

In Orangetheory Live, members who wear heart rate monitors can check their data in a corner of the screen. Afterward, their Splat Points, heart rates, calories burned and other workout results are made available to them through their Orangetheory Fitness app — just as they would be in class.

“Because we’re without treadmills in Orangetheory Live,” Scott says, “we’ll jog in place, run in place. We do agility drills like a soccer team might do. We’ll jump rope without a rope, do jumping jacks, do squats, pushups and lunges, which raise the heart rate because you’re doing work. It’s fun and engaging, and at the same time you’re getting your heart rate up, sweating and getting your fun on.”

If you don’t want to jump or can’t jump, no worries. Coaches offer options, just like they do in an in-person class.

For Orangetheory member Kathryn Howell, the camaraderie and connection of in-studio workouts have been a huge draw ever since she became hooked on the workouts six years ago. Then studios closed in Canada, where she lives just north of Toronto. So she began going online and accessing Orangetheory’s At Home™ workout videos on YouTube. The workouts were both tough and satisfying; Facetiming with a friend made them even more fun

Then Kathryn discovered Orangetheory Live. She loves signing up for each class and taking it in real time, as well as seeing fellow members she’d been missing and having her coach right there for affirmation or assistance.

“It’s as close to being in a class as you can get,” she says. “It’s been a game changer. I’ve seen lots of training sessions on Instagram, but it’s not a two-way thing. With this, it is. You have that accountability, that ability to give each other high-fives visually. Plus, you can see the coach demonstrating the moves and making sure your form is correct.”

Adds Scott: “We’ve had countless stories from members who say having a coach or even their friends in class watching pushes them harder than they’d do on their own. Plus, in workouts that don’t have a treadmill or rower like they do in the studio, you have to stress the movement. Coaches in the studio help you keep the best form possible, so you’re less likely to experience injury.”

Shaina Lore, an Orangetheory member in Cherry Hill, N.J., found her new in Lift 45. The class, as its name implies, is 45 minutes of functional strength training, featuring dumbbells, medicine balls, BOSU balls, TRX straps, workout benches and more.

“I had always thought in the back of my mind then that it would be really cool if we had a class that just focused on strength training,” says Shaina, who has gotten stronger, lost 80 pounds, become a yoga instructor and gained confidence since joining Orangetheory two years ago.

“I had hit a bit of a plateau, and my OTF head coach told me to start mixing up my fitness routine. It was great to just focus on one area, be it upper, lower or full body; to have the time to go over correct form; and to ask questions. My head coach told me if I was not struggling to get the weights up in the final two reps, then I needed to lift heavier.”

The results? She made huge strides in the DriTri, especially during the floor portion. Throughout the Transformation Challenge, she gained a pound of muscle mass while losing body fat.

Adding extra strength training has been instrumental in helping her achieve her fitness goals, Shaina says. “It’s given me more confidence to lift heavier and take my workout to the next level.”

Orangetheory Outdoors takes the studio experience outside to parks and lawns and, in Mexico City and other places, on rooftops. The same technology members find in-studio they can find in nature, allowing them to keep track of their workouts via the Orangetheory app and to utilize OTConnect.

For Scott, this is just the beginning.

“I think about this all day, every day,” he says. “Ultimately, I think the future will be expanding the ecosystem, exactly what you’re seeing now, in the studio and outdoors.”

And, of course, that future — whether through technology, science or everything else that makes Orangetheory, well, Orangetheory — mirrors the past.

“I’ll never let go of the fun and experience and enjoyment,” Scott says. “That comes from what you like: community, enjoyment, the workout, the coach.”