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they were looking for in a small, family- run health and beauty concept called the European Wax Center. Together, they grew the enterprise from fi ve to 200 locations, and sold out the entire US for area development. It was in the wake of this success, in

2009, that Long and Kern were looking for a fi tness concept on which to work their franchising magic. And in Ellen Latham’s Ultimate Workout – a high- intensity interval training class combining cardiovascular and strength training – they were convinced they’d found it. “We wanted something that was based on people actually getting results, and this workout was very results- driven, more akin to personal training,” explains Long. “We saw that, while personal training was very popular in the US, it was also very expensive – whereas with this product, people could get still professional assistance from a skilled trainer, but at a much lower cost. “Another factor was that the group setting provided a lot of energy – unlike one-on-one training, which is more low- key – and a lot of people thrive on that. So they were paying less than personal training to get the same results, but actually enjoying it more.”

THE PERFECT WORKOUT Together with Latham, Long and Kern founded the Ultimate Fitness Group to manage what would become the Orangetheory Fitness brand. At a pilot site in Ft. Lauderdale, opened in 2010, they created a small studio space with 12 treadmills, 12 rowing machines, 12 suspension units and free weights and benches for up to 24 people, plus a reception, showers and locker rooms. Taking Latham’s Ultimate Workout as their starting point, they then developed

Latham (right) oversees the heart rate of members during a workout


and refi ned the concept in preparation for a national rollout. The hour-long workout is rooted in tried-and-tested principles of high- intensity interval training (see also p40) – in particular, the theory of excess post- exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This says that, if you can achieve at least 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate for 12–20 minutes, you will not only burn a higher number of calories during your workout, but your body will automatically kick in to a higher metabolic rate, meaning it will consume more oxygen, and therefore burn more calories, for 24–36 hours afterwards. To this, the partners have added both systems and science. “We put in a lot more detailed training systems, so we could make sure incoming trainers were delivering the product in exactly the right way,” says Long. “We also added a heart rate monitoring system, Cardio GX by Polar, which allows us to monitor our clients’ heart rates and make sure they’re getting into the proper zone. This is good for safety, as it makes sure people aren’t over-exerting themselves, and at the same time it enables them to be very effi cient, helping them get the best possible results from the time they spend working out.” Although other clubs may offer high- intensity interval training, argues Long, it is this very tailored, science-based approach that makes Orangetheory’s

july 2012 © cybertrek 2012

Orangetheory Fitness is a branded franchise model owned by the Ultimate Fitness Group, a company set up in 2009 by David Long (CEO), Jerome Kern (president) and Ellen Latham (chief fi tness offi cer). The company has recently taken

on a fourth partner, David Hardy – president of private investment fi rm Franvest Capital Partners – to roll out the concept in Canada. Long and Kern are also managing partners of the Ascente Group, a franchise consulting and development company they set up in 2007. The Ascente Group’s clients include Massage Envy, the European Wax Center and the Ultimate Fitness Group.

offering unique. “We’ve gone into a lot of depth to put together a perfect workout,” he says. Orangetheory Fitness studios typically

offer between eight and 10 group sessions a day, with most members signing up for between two and four slots a week. Membership options range from monthly plans to pre-paid packages of 10, 20 or 30 sessions, all of which are offered on a no-contract basis. “We don’t want to use a contract to make the client feel like they have to stay,” says Long. “We want

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