Gym Review: Orange Theory

Last weekend, my family and I went to Texas to stay with some good friends.  I always like to try new workouts/gyms when I’m traveling – mostly to see how other gyms are run.  I was especially interested in going to Orange Theory because (1) I’ve heard a lot about it and the people I know that do it, love it and (2) It’s a franchise, so it was sure to have solid systems.  So, here’s the review…

Orange Theory has 4 different workout types/days: endurance (E), strength (S), power (P), and combo (ESP).  Sunday was a power day.  I started on the treadmill and did about 30 minutes of internal training, going between 3 different paces (base pace, push pace and all-out).  I really haven’t been running much lately so this part was tough!  After the treadmill intervals, I moved to the weight area where we did about 30 minutes of dumbbell and bodyweight training.  It was broken down into 3 circuits involving 3 different movements in each circuit and we finished off with a 3 minute core circuit.

All in all, I got a great workout.  The treadmill intervals were tougher than the circuits but the circuits were still tough.

Some questions that I have about the program itself are:

  • Is it always so dependent on treadmill intervals? They also had rowers that we used for about 1 minute total.  I understand that a lot of the program is based on interval training but I would get tired of running treadmill sprints every day.  Use those rowers for some variety.
  • It is not very skill-based…which is good in a way – anybody can do it. But, will it keep members engaged long-term?  From a business perspective, I’m curious what the average membership duration is.
  • How much variety is there between workouts? I obviously only made it to one class so there may be some decent variety but I’m guessing that there’s a lot of repetition week to week.  If there is not much variety, how long are clients sticking around.  I’m sure results happen quickly but will members be able to sustain results for the long-term?


There were two aspects of the session that I was a little disappointed in.  They were:

  • Warm-ups – First off, I’m big on warm-ups – and there really wasn’t a warm-up. Since I didn’t know what I was getting into, I didn’t do anything before coming in and my calves were super tight for the first half of the running intervals.  My friend said that here Heart Rate always spikes the first 5 minutes and I’m pretty sure it’s because she comes in cold and jumps right into running.  I would personally warm-up before I got there, if I was a member.  But, as a gym owner, I know most people will not warm-up unless we make them.
  • Lack of Community – I see the messages on Facebook and I’ve heard it in person, so I know that people love Orange Theory – I liked the workout. But there wasn’t a lot of human interaction outside of that with the trainer.  I like the structure of the class, there’s zero wasted time, but my friend has been there for almost 6 months and she’s just now getting to know some of the other members (and she’s much more extroverted than me).  I think a little recovery area w/ foam rollers, yoga mats and maybe even a TV with a recovery routine.  I think this would create an environment for members to get to know each other and chat independent of the coach…the extra stretching would be a bonus!

To wrap it up, Orange Theory-Keller was a good gym & I got a great workout.  The facility was clean & organized.  The staff was helpful and the sign-up process was smooth and easy.  Carrie (the coach) was great as well.  She introduced me to the members at the beginning of class, was enthusiastic and had great command of the class.  She also did a good job making contact with the individual members several times throughout the class.

I’m not typically a fan of corporate/chain businesses but I do appreciate the systems that are found in these businesses.  Orange Theory had this down as I expected.  Everything from the gym colors, gym layout, equipment, flow of the class, technology, music, staff, etc. worked together and clearly brought in their ideal client.

From some back of the napkin calculations, I can see why the franchise has been growing so quickly across the country.  It’s an attractive gym, with high-intensity training scalable to all levels, great systems, and seemingly good profits.  I look forward to trying another one soon.

Have you ever tried Orange Theory?  What did you think?