BOISE, Idaho — High-Intensity Interval Training has grown in popularity, and one fitness franchise is using the workout to bring "more life" to the Treasure Valley community.
Orangetheory Fitness was founded in 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida and has since spread to 48 states and 21 countries. The franchise features more than 700 locations in the United States and 1,000 worldwide. Idaho currently has three locations with a fourth on the way.
Orangetheory's Meridian location opened nearly four years ago. It's where current Orangetheory Parkcenter Head Coach Karen Waite got her start. Waite says she fell in love with the concept of the workout right when she started training.
Orangetheory's commitment to being an active member of the community is one of the company's pillars Waite says keeps her motivated. She believes it's also one of the reasons Orangetheory members keep coming back to the studio.
"We're a firm believer that community is a big piece of what we have to offer. Wellness and community go hand-in-hand so a lot of our members talk about the benefits of not only being inspired and led by coaches that keep them moving, keep them motivated, but also finding the accountability in the community that we can feel here as well," Waite explains. "No matter the age or the fitness level, we're much more likely to stick with something if we are part of a community. If we're able to be part of something bigger than just ourselves."
One member tells us the community-centered culture is evident every time he walks into the studio.
"I think a strong part of the community is the staff. They have highly energetic and very personable staff. What amazes me each time I come in they may have somebody new, but they know my name. It's like the old 'Cheers' song where everybody knows your name, and it's really that way here, too. The other part is the friends that I meet here. We keep each other encouraged," said Steve Carlson, a two-year Orangetheory Parkcenter member.
"More life" is one of Orangetheory's signature mottos. Waite says members manifest that motto in different ways, from a longer life to more quality of life or a more vibrant life. They can gain more or better stamina for their hobbies outside of the studio, as well as measurable health improvements during a check-up, like the ability to stop taking blood pressure medication.
"It really is amazing to see. That's something I probably love the most about my job. We get to see people push past mental and physical barriers that they've had in the past and maybe for all of their lives."
Workouts are split into three different types: endurance, strength, and power. While most classes are focused on one of the types, they can also be a combination of two types or even all three. Endurance workouts are focused on longer treadmill and rowing efforts or base pace aerobic efforts, and higher repetitions on the weight floor. Strength workouts will have a lower repetition count, heavier weight selections, and emphasize inclines for joggers and runners on the treadmill portion. Power workouts feature short burst intervals, with power-based movements on the weight floor, and shorter, more explosive rowing. All movements come with options for all fitness levels and impact types that coaches will instruct members on.
"I think a lot of our members really love, not only the convenient class times, but also knowing that there's a different workout every day, knowing that they have a coach there to watch them move and make sure that they're moving correctly and not over training or under training." Waite says.
That sentiment is something Carlson agrees with.
"I get a good satisfaction after I leave. Before I come here, I'm like, 'I don't want to come today,' but after I leave I'm so glad I came. I did something outside of the box from what I normally do."
Carlson joined looking for a way to get a full body workout while training for another event. He says he and his wife are both addicted to the OTF routine.
"I think we push each other and keep each other accountable so we're going all the time. This is a constant, frequent evening conversation--how'd you do in OT? How'd you do in OT? Was it a good class? Did you like it? So it keeps us going together."
Orangetheory workouts are measured in splat points. Splat points are a minute spent in the anaerobic heart rate zone. Members are fitted with a heart rate monitor that can calculate a maximum heart rate. Splat points represent time spent at 84% of the calculated max heart rate or above.
Each class is designed to help members achieve 12 splat points or more. Orangetheory research shows that number helps prompt your body to maintain a heightened metabolism for 24 to 36 hours following a class, allowing you to burn calories during your workout and afterwards.
Orangetheory offers signature workouts, benchmark days, 90-minute classes, and specialty weeks, like the upcoming Hell Week and All-Out Mayhem each spring. Hell Week and Mayhem feature eight days of workouts that push members a little more than normal classes to help them stay motivated ahead of the holidays or summer. Tornado days are also offered, featuring quick, rapid fire workouts where members switch between rowing, weight training, and treadmills every one to four minutes, during a 55-minute class.
Waite says if you're thinking of trying it out, take everything in stride during your first class and get a hang of what's going on around the room.
"It is a class effort, however, all of the efforts are individually based so you're in charge of the intensity that you bring at any given moment. Just know you're in the driver's seat when you come in this room, the coach is here to help provide options and motivation, anything that you might need during your workout, but for a first timer, just get the hang of what's going on. Feel the energy, have a good time, and make that your main focus during the first workout."
Orangetheory currently has Idaho locations in Idaho Falls, Meridian and Boise. A fourth studio is currently under construction and is accepting members now. For more information, check out Orangetheory's website or social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.