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interview KEY EQUIPMENT


 Polar Cardio GX heart rate monitoring system  Custom Orange WaterRower rowing machines  FreeMotion® Refl ex treadmills  SBT™ suspension training straps


and we have a whole sequence of tests to fi nd the right individuals.” All Orangetheory trainers are


employed on contract to teach up to 12–15 sessions a week, and with head trainer and regional trainer positions also available within the group there are good opportunities for progression, says Long.


Women can lose up to 5lbs a week, and men up to 10lbs


can lose up to 10lbs a week and women up to 5lbs a week on the workout. Building on this, Orangetheory is now trialling food coaching concepts at three of its sites, with a view to rolling out a full weight-loss programme in 2013. At the same time, the company is


careful not to neglect its fi tter clients – nor to lose sight of the fact that even those who start out focused on weight loss need new incentives once they meet their goals. To this end, every site also offers a wide variety of fi tness- and performance-related challenges to keep people interested.


PERSONAL SERVICE While getting clients through the door is one thing, persuading them to come back is quite another. Given the company’s no- contract policy, Long acknowledges that, when it comes to turning prospects into regulars, the fi rst few weeks are crucial. “A lot of it’s about trying to get clients


started on the right foot,” he says. “What we know is that they need to get into a routine, so we work on putting their schedule together and getting their sessions booked up for the fi rst month, and after that we follow up with emails and phone calls to keep them booking and attending on a regular basis.”


If a client stops coming for a while,


or shows any signs of having problems with the workout, the head trainer will make a point of setting up a meeting with that person either before or after class to discuss their concerns. “What we don’t want is to have people feeling lost and falling through the cracks,” says Long. “We put a lot of effort into making sure people feel comfortable with the workout before they end up cancelling.” According to Long, this level of interest in individual clients is made possible by the small studio model. “Because our trainers are not dealing with thousands of clients, there’s a much a stronger sense of community and a much stronger bond between the trainer and the client than in a big health club, where no-one really knows anyone,” he says. Orangetheory’s emphasis on


delivering both tangible results and personal attention inevitably means recruitment standards are high. “We’re looking for trainers with an in-depth understanding of physiology and proper exercise form,” says Long. “We can provide detailed training on our exact product, but they need to come in with that knowledge and experience. They also have to be comfortable both leading a group and giving one-on-one attention,


34 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


AGGRESSIVE EXPANSION Since the fi rst Orangetheory Fitness opened in Ft. Lauderdale in 2010, Long and his partners have grown the brand slowly and steadily across fi ve US states – Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and New York. Looking ahead, the company’s rollout plans are about to get much more ambitious. “The fi rst two years have really been focused on getting the model right,” says Long. “Going into 2013, we’re going to get a lot more aggressive with expansion.” Over the next fi ve years, Long hopes to see 500 locations across the US, and a recently announced partnership with Canadian private investment fi rm Franvest Capital Partners means a similar rollout north of the border may also be on the cards. Under the agreement, David Hardy, president of Franvest, has become a fourth partner in the Ultimate Fitness Group and the fi rst three Canadian sites are set to open this year. What’s more, Canada is only the tip of Orangetheory’s global expansion potential. “We actually have more interest internationally than we do in the US. We’re currently looking at opportunities in South America, Australia and the UK,” says Long. Even with the dark clouds of another


US recession looming, Long believes the demand for specialised, boutique fi tness services such as those offered by Orangetheory Fitness is only going to increase. “People are looking for more service and more value, and for the majority of people who aren’t self- suffi cient in fi tness, small group training studios can deliver the information and motivation they need,” he says. “I think that’s going to be a very strong movement for the next fi ve to 10 years.”


rhianon howells july 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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