By Mario Toneguzzi
The unique Orangetheory Fitness concept has an ambitious expansion plan for Canada, forecasting the brand will have more than 100 studios in the country by the end of the year.
Hifa Maleki, Vice President, Franchise Development & Operations OTF Canada Inc., said the first location for the brand opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2010.
The first Canadian location was in St. Albert, Alberta about four years ago. Recently, it opened its 67th location in Canada and about 120 licences have been sold in the country.
“The growth has just been amazing,” she said.
“Our development schedule is pretty aggressive for the next 18 months.”
Maleki said the goal is to open more than 200 locations in Canada eventually. The brand will have a minimum of 170 locations opened before 2021.
Orangetheory Fitness is a 60-minute HIIT-style (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout that uses innovative heart-rate based interval training, broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Led by a personal trainer – called a coach – participants use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training and free weights.
What differentiates Orangetheory Fitness from other fitness models is the technology behind the brand; class participants are encouraged to wear heart-rate monitors during each workout. Tracking their heart rates and ensuring that participants are pushing themselves is what enables them to reach their fitness goals faster, says the company.
Maleki said the average location is about 3,000 square feet and the minimum requirement in Canada is 2,800 square feet.
“It’s a total body workout. Everyone comes in with a heart-rate monitor. We are as much a technology brand as we are fitness which is part of the reason we’ve grown so much,” said Maleki.
“We say that our workout is actually science backed but it teaches you a lot about the science. You can actually be more connected to your workout through that heart-rate technology and actually see your heart rate on the screen too.”
By 2014, the number of Orangetheory studios in Canada increased to 12 and to 18 in 2015.
"Canadians are busier than ever before and need a fitness routine that easily fits with their lifestyle; Orangetheory packs 60 minutes chock-full of the most optimal exercises, and then has you on your way, and burning calories long after your workout,” said Maleki.
“The templates are designed to actually get your heart rate within a certain zone for a certain amount of time so when you reach your max heart rate for 12 to 20 minutes you’ll actually burn a substantial amount of more calories in the class . . . You’ll actually burn additional calories for the next 36 hours after the workout.”
The average class size is 20 to 24 people.
By the end of 2018, Orangetheory Fitness is slated to have 1,000 studios, in 18 countries worldwide.
In the summer of this year, Orangetheory will be launching several apps that focus on fitness outside-of-the-studio. New state-of-the-art equipment will also roll out to all studios this spring.
“The world is evolving. Fitness back in the day was just you show up and you work out. Now I think people are very data driven. They want to know more and we have access to that data,” said Maleki.
“People just want that data. It’s really important to them now. We call it connected fitness. People want that connection. It’s not a matter of just showing up and working out anymore. People are more competitive and they’re competing against themselves and they want to know how they’re performing. The thinking around fitness is evolving and for us we found that being a fitness concept isn’t enough. Having that technology element, we know that’s where the world’s going now. Being able to cater to that is really important to us.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.