Feel the Burn

Feel the Burn

Story and photos by Eric Newman

Orangetheory Fitness gets hearts racing in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale residents looking to get in shape – or those who are just tired of a repetitive workout routine – have a new, innovative option for exercise classes at Orangetheory Fitness.

There are five Orangetheory Fitness locations in the Scottsdale area, part of a national chain that boasts over 1,000 studios nationwide. Workouts are an hour long and consist of heart-rate-based interval training exercises. Classes focus on endurance, strength, power or a mixture of all three, and are targeted to get heart rates up to a point that participants continue to burn calories even hours after they finish a class.

“It revs up that metabolism, so the more you come, you’ll see a total body change,” says Jordan Lindholm, an Orangetheory trainer in Scottsdale.

With a trainer in every session, and equipment designed to monitor the heart rates of everyone in each class, the facility makes sure nobody is going to leave without making physical gains.

“In our workout area, we’re always going to have two TV displays that show the heart rates of everyone in class, so that way our trainers can know if anybody is over- or under-training when you’re in there,” Orangetheory studio manager Katie Riggle says.

Though the workouts are notably intense, the trainers and those at the Orangetheory corporate office have designed alternate workouts to allow those with different issues to still succeed in class.

Most of the cardio exercises are done on treadmills, which might normally cause problems for those who have certain ailments, such as arthritis or other joint pain. However, members can power-walk on an incline, which trainers say can burn just as many calories and increase heart rate just as much as running. The same applies to weight and strength training.

“If they can’t do any part of the workout, we’ll give them something completely different and more safe to do that will hit the same muscle groups but will not put as much force on whatever joint is the issue,” Riggle says.

The inclusivity, both in the exercises and in the community at each class, draws a wide variety of people to Orangetheory studios, many of whom begin and stick with effective health routines.

“We have some teenagers who come in with their parents to get better at sports and school, and we also have people who are 60, 70 or older that come in and do really well on a regular basis,” Riggle says.

Lindholm describes multiple people who have made drastic changes in their bodies, and even admits to shedding a few tears of joy when a long-time member was able to move from power-walking to jogging after months of training — but the goal is not just physical improvement.

Those at Orangetheory make an active effort to not just cater to regulars, but new students as well. The company is attempting to build a national community, encouraging people to go at their own pace and feel welcome immediately.

“We like to pair new people with veterans, or we have partner workouts sometimes, and you build friendships or connections that can go further than just the studio,” Lindholm says.

A membership to Orangetheory grants access to studios around the United States, which means “snowbirds,” or those visiting for a limited time, are able to drop into a session when they are in town, and can also attend classes back home.

And as a bonus for Arizona residents, Lindholm says the first class is free.

“There’s no obligation coming in and trying out the class for free to see if you like it, so there’s no reason not to give it a try,” she says. 

Orangetheory Fitness

Multiple Scottsdale locations

Orangtheoryfitness.com