Orangetheory Fitness owners Paul and Sondra Marcus. Photo by Westside People
By David Rosenfeld
The future of exercise has arrived and it’s the color orange. Everything about Orangetheory Fitness in Brentwood is cutting edge from the sleek equipment and heart rate monitoring to the advanced training methods.
Orangetheory offers high-intensity interval training in a way not found anyplace else. By monitoring the heart rate during group-led exercises, individuals can track their progress on screens and see how they compare to their colleagues. In this way it’s possible for a middle-aged mother to compete with a professional athlete and actually show that she’s working harder.
Paul Marcus, a former investment banker, and Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former NFL football player, were so taken by the workout method they partnered up and bought the franchise rights to Los Angeles County. The Brentwood location on San Vicente is the first of what will be up to 10 locations by year-end. Westlake Village opened in December and Downtown Santa Monica is scheduled to open in March.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a first timer or if you’re the best athlete in the world,” Ayanbadejo said. “You can see if an average person can outperform an athlete. Hard work is going to beat talent every time if talent doesn’t work hard. That is why I fell in love with this workout.”
At Orangetheory each class is a full-body workout for power, endurance or strength training, but designed to elevate the heart rate to zone 4, or the Orange Zone in this case, for 12 to 20 minutes per hour. That means you are maximizing your “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC. At Orangetheory they track your progress towards EPOC in real time in the form of “splat points” (each point equals one minute in your EPOC zones).
“The science says it’s not that you necessarily have to be pushed to your extreme and held there for a long time,” Marcus said. “You reap the most benefit from going up and down in your heart rate.”
Marcus was an investment banker specializing in health and wellness businesses as well as franchise businesses when he was introduced to Orangetheory Fitness by a past client. He had always been passionate about fitness, having been a Division 1 college tennis player, and after trying the Orangetheory workout Marcus believed in the concept enough to make a career move.
The team at Orangetheory in Brentwood. Photo by Westside People
After a few months, he enlisted the help of his wife, Sondra Marcus, who had extensive management experience in the areas of marketing, design and operations through her past careers with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Mattel. They both truly believe in the method and clearly have a lot of fun.
“When you start training using the heart rate monitors and have someone coach you based on real time feedback the way we do it, it becomes so efficient that the results are unparalleled,” he said. “It is unbelievable.”
At a recent weight loss challenge, one of their clients lost 60 pounds. Another client, 61-year-old Liz Goldman, lost almost 20 pounds in three months. She said it was like having a personal trainer but with quicker results.
“I came in with these young kids but quickly it got to the point where I was loving the workout and loving the music,” she said. “I started feeling younger as I kept coming. Now it’s transformed into all ages. This organization really fosters a feeling of support and caring about people.”
In many respects, Orangetheory is the anti-gym. There are no contracts, no initiation or cancellation fees, and they even offer free 90-minute valet parking. And that’s just the way they like it.
“From an altruistic perspective, this is the best business you can possibly be in because we see how much we are helping people every day,” Marcus said.