We've walked by a number of Orangetheory Fitness studios here in NYC, as well as other locations across the country. Known for their interval training and having the data accessible for accountability as well as to create positive competition, we were thrilled to have an opportunity to talk to its founder Ellen Latham. We wanted to find out more about her motivation behind the creation of the studio, empowering others and how she gives back.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your background and were you always interested in being an entrepreneur?
ELLEN LATHAM: Before Orangetheory, I owned a pilates studio and my members were very frustrated. Pilates was giving them some fantastic core strength, but was not hitting their metabolism, so I opened a studio with a solution I called ‘Ellen’s Ultimate Workout’ that included cardio and strength training. A year later I was approached to franchise it and that’s how Orangetheory developed.
AM: What was the aha moment that made you realize that Orangetheory Fitness was something you wanted to create and what was the process like in realizing that this was something that should become a national chain?
EL: The members at my pilates studio were complaining it wasn’t affecting their metabolism. They were taking cycling classes, boot camps and working out at the gym and nothing was working. I wanted to find the best way to coach people in fitness. That’s why I committed to growing Orangetheory into something everyone can experience and enjoy.
AM: Tell us about HIIT and why you feel it is beneficial for everyone?
EL: Interval training is the most efficient way to increase calorie burn. At Orangetheory, we’ve made it very simple with our endurance, strength and power routines that push members to work harder in bite-size intervals to produce afterburn. Our members burn up to 20 percent more calories the first 24 hours after a workout.
AM: How important is it to motivate whether you're in the gym or outside of it?
EL: The coaches at Orangetheory focus on being inspiring and coaching with language that encourages people and makes them successful. This positive reinforcement, inside and outside
the gym, is the key to success at Orangetheory.
AM: What recent successes have taken place at Orangetheory and what should we keep our eye out for?
EL: 2017 was amazing for Orangetheory Fitness. We opened our first studio in Tokyo, Japan, which was a tremendous success for our international endeavors. We’ve also taken our technology to the next level and passed the 800-mark for the number of open studios.
Our primary goals for 2018 are to continue to open 5 to 6 studios a week and to continue bringing our fitness professionals to the next level. We’ve hired a clinical exercise physiologist
and have plans to build a lab at the corporate office to prove Orangetheory not only gives you more daily energy, but can extend your life. As always, I plan to continue to be an intentional
learner and work on being a better version of myself.
AM: When did you realize that in addition to giving people the keys to a great body, that you also wanted to empower others through motivational speaking and what do you enjoy about this portion of your work?
EL: I’ve always tried to connect with members beyond the physical benefits of a workout by speaking to the mind and spirit. I enjoy the motivational opportunities that public speaking provides.
AM: Are there charities/philanthropies that you give your time to?
EL: Orangetheory has raised more than $2 million dollars for Augie's Quest (ALS). We hope to raise this amount to $3 million dollars in 2018. Personally, I’ve been involved with Women in Distress and children's hospital fundraisers.