Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and this is The BusinessMakers Show. My guest today is Ellen Latham, the founder of Orangetheory Fitness. Welcome to The BusinessMakers.
Ellen: Thank you so much.
Leisa: Tell us about Orangetheory.
Ellen: Orangetheory Fitness is a five-zone heart rate training workout. It’s led by a group personal trainer. The whole concept is to monitor your heart rate during the workout and you’re trying to get your heart rate over 84% for 12 to 20 minutes by the end of the workout. When that happens, you’re going to burn fat, burn calories at the highest level that a body can. So, in one hour, you have a very efficient workout.
Leisa: So, some of the time you’re not burning at 84%?
Ellen: You’re typically never in what we call a push. A push is when the heart rate is over 84%, and you’re a little uncomfortable there, for more than 3 minutes (Leisa: Ok.). So, we never do more than 3 minutes, and then we back you out of it. That’s called an active recovery where you kind of come back, get your wits about you, keep going, and this is what gets you through the whole workout with these massive amount of results.
Leisa: How old is Orangetheory?
Ellen: I created the workout about 8 years ago, and then in 2010, it was rebranded, and we decided to franchise this concept as Orangetheory Fitness. We have 400 studios open, we are literally opening up one studio a day in 2016. By the year 2017, we will have 1000 studios open and be in 12 countries. We’re going to be in Japan, Tokyo, Dubai; so, it’s a crazy ride.
Leisa: Are you still managing it out of the same Pilates studio?
Ellen: I still have the original workout, but we have the corporate office in Ft. Lauderdale, downtown Ft. Lauderdale, and we have that pilot studio originally built in Ft. Lauderdale. So, we’re, you know, still there, still creating, still pushing. What I get real excited about is the thought that this workout is actually performed over a million times every month.
Leisa: So, is it the same workout every time, or do you vary the workouts?
Ellen: It changes every day.
Ellen: So, we actually have a fitness department at the corporate office. They design the routines, they test for heart rate response, and they send those routines to the studios. So, we don’t leave it up to someone you just, running people around a room randomly, but they’re really set, formatted workouts to produce massive results.
Leisa: Wow. What made you think this up? Why did you start Orangetheory?
Ellen: Well, I had a Pilates studio, and there was no fat burning workout with Pilates. So, when I went to look at different workouts that existed out there; I taught spinning, I taught boot camps, all of these things, there wasn’t one that had all the elements that I would put in an hour workout if I needed to, to make it so that everyone would exit the front door leaving successful. So, we have categories: walkers, joggers, runners. There’s different options for people on the floor, there’s challenges for those who want to kick it up a little bit more. So, we have what we call our orange language. Our trainers are the best of the best. They have what I call the orange eye. They’re able to look across the room and tell if someone’s back is relaxed when it should be tense. They give them proper queuing and instruction, and that’s why we’re getting the kind of results that we’re getting.
Leisa: I’m so impressed. I’m ready to go do the workout right now.
Ellen: Let’s go, come on.
Leisa: I want to hear all about the beginning, like how you started, who approached who? I mean, how did you find your partners?
Ellen: I had opened up this studio with this new workout in it just shy of a year. The wife of one of my partners today came into my studio and she was like, this is insane. It’s like grand central station in your front hall, people are throwing money across the counter to try to get a spot in a class because they can’t get in class. You’ve got to talk to my husband, he does franchising, and I think that this would be a great franchise. One of these has to be on every corner through the United States. So, you know, we ended up meeting and deciding to open up a pilot studio, never really believing that it would take off like it took off. But, you know, the bottom line is, it’s about results. People exercise because they get results.
They may want more energy, they may want to age more gracefully, they might want to look better day to day, whatever those things are, what’s important to them as far as results in their life with their physical body. And what’s happening is in one-hour time, doing this two to three times a week, you’re seeing that more dramatically than any other workout.
Leisa: So, what was the biggest challenge that you faced ramping it up to almost…
Ellen: Wow, the biggest challenge was the fact of I was not going to be in every studio teaching the class, so how would we teach the fitness professionals of the right language, how to really make people successful, really understanding the science of the workout. So, we had to really develop strong systems. You know, I believe real successful businesses come from having the right people and the right systems. And if you have that, then you’re going to have a pretty good chance at being quite successful.
Leisa: Well, I’m excited to share with our viewers this incredible book you just put out. Which it sounds like pushing is something you do, it’s not hard for you to do, but tell us a little bit about the book.
Ellen: Yeah. Push was created, it’s on Amazon, and basically, I start with chapter 1 talking about what is not working for people in the way of their fitness workouts. They’re going to gyms, they belong to different programs, and they’re not seeing the results. So, chapter 1 talks about why that’s happening. Chapter 2 is, I knew that was happening so what do I do in this workout to make it so people would have massive results. Chapter 3 is all the science that backs my theory. So, I didn’t just make something up; this isn’t the next weighted hula-hoop workout. This is all based on science of the human body, so chapter 3 supports that. And then, we get into chapter, the later chapters talk about the life lessons that I’ve gone through over the last 40 years that hopefully will help someone else to take a look at that and go, wow, some of these things maybe I can use to help push me through my next level in life.
Leisa: So, in closing, why don’t you share a few of your favorite life lessons with us.
Ellen: First one came from my father, it’s called momentum shifting. You could momentum shift up in your life or you could momentum shift down. It’s a way you think. It’s kind of like the glass is half full or the glass is half empty. So, if you’re someone who tends to live your life in a momentum shift up, you tend to wake up, and during that day you focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. And that’s how you live your day, and your life, and you approach things much more differently, much more successfully. The other thing that’s real important, I think, is when you want to accomplish something, you have to have relentless focus. You have to eliminate distractions in your life, you have to clear your mind, and you have to create a timeline. So, if I want to create something, I say, for example: this studio was going to open on April 1, so I had 6 months to create this workout.
So, I knew, by April 1 I had one shot, and when I open those doors, if this wasn’t a grand slam, I was going to be in trouble, because I just signed a lease for a much larger space. So, I created a timeline that by that date, I would eliminate distractions and I would focus on all the elements that would make a human body unbelievably successful in this workout. So, momentum shift up, focus on what you have, not what you don’t have, and relentlessly focus. Eliminate distractions and create a timeline.
Leisa: Thank you, Ellen, for being here today. That concludes my interview with Ellen Latham. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, and this is The BusinessMakers Show.
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