Tri-Cities’ first Orangetheory Fitness studio to open this summer

By Robin Wojtanik

Excitement is building for a unique, new fitness studio preparing to launch later this summer in Richland.

The first Orangetheory Fitness for the Tri-Cities is expected to open in August on Queensgate Drive.

Recruitment of new members began in May inside a construction trailer near the construction zone.

Orangetheory promotes itself as scientifically-designed group training focused on results for its members. The name comes from what it calls the “orange effect,” when participants find calorie-burning benefits for up to 36 hours after a workout finishes. Orangetheory claims it accomplishes this by raising a member’s heart rate to the desired target, known as the “orange zone,” for 12 to 20 minutes during a one-hour workout.

The company uses the term “taking a workout” to describe the 60-minute experience, broken into intervals of cardiovascular training with strength training.

Richland Orangetheory owner Richard Cote promises every workout is different. A workout may include use of a rowing machine, treadmill and free weights. Participants buy and wear an orange heart rate monitor on their wrist or chest. Data from each person’s monitor is displayed during the class on a large monitor mounted on the studio wall. This allows the instructor and participants to quickly reference data throughout the workout.

Cote said unlike a typical gym membership that sells access to its facility, Orangetheory is selling results. He doesn’t consider himself in competition with current gyms and studios located in the Tri-Cities.

“I would have opened in the Gold’s Gym parking lot if there was room,” he said.

He explained that other facilities allow members to use their machines and weights, while it’s up to the user to achieve the desired results on their own. “We’re results-focused. The way we do it is secondary,” Cote said.

The Richland fitness studio will be the second Orangetheory location for Cote and his wife, Melissa. Their first franchised studio opened on Spokane’s South Hill on Jan. 1, just in time to take advantage of those making New Year’s resolutions. The couple are currently working on a second location in Spokane as well.

The Cotes are dividing their time between Spokane and the Tri-Cities while the Richland building is under construction. Richard Cote says he never set out to own a franchise of any kind,

“It gave me the creeps to have someone else with control over the business,” he said. His opinion changed when a colleague referred  to Orangetheory Fitness as a model for a franchised business. The Cotes had never heard of the brand and began to research it. They got in touch with a developer in Seattle and “took their first workout” there. Richard Cote said the experience “sealed the deal,” and “passed the smell test in terms of criteria we were looking for in a business.”

The couple increased efforts to become owners of their own studio.

Following membership presales and other marketing, Richard Cote said the business was profitable the day it opened in Spokane.

He’s expecting the same success in Richland, comparing it to the release of a new Apple iPhone.

“There is just so much anticipation for the product,” he said.

Richard Cote is bolstered by energy and optimism as he and two employees meet daily with potential members interested in taking advantage of pre-opening rates.

Compared to the opening in Spokane last year, Richard Cote said far more people recognize the brand and are aware of it.

Mindy Poland, 37, heard about the opening when she took part in the Tri-Cities Ultimate Wine Run in late May. She signed up for a premier membership, giving her unlimited access to classes each month. Poland said she is, “looking for a good workout, hoping to lose some weight and get in better shape.”

As a former member of the gym Physzique, Poland says she learned her capacity to “push myself is higher than I thought it was.” She’s up for the challenge offered by a workout that promises to help participants push past plateaus and achieve their goals.

Orangetheory promotes itself as a “science-based workout,” targeted around post-exercise oxygen consumption, known as EPOC. On its website, the company reports clients burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories per workout.

If this sounds daunting, Richard Cote circles back to the motivation and support from working as a group. Using a color system ranging from green to red, with green being the least intense, he said most of the 60-minute workout is actually within the “green zone.”

He said the recovery points built into the workout are just as important as the time participants keep their heart rate in the desired “orange zone.”

Calling it the “after burn,” Richard Cote said the post-workout benefit will include increased energy and a stimulated metabolism.

Facebook users will likely know which of their friends have joined Orangetheory Fitness. The company is active on social media and encourages members to “check in” online when they visit.

Each check-in is quantified through a third-party system and results in a donation to a nonprofit. The chosen charity is determined by the local studio.

The corporate office recently spearheaded a national campaign to raise $1 million in two weeks to benefit Augie’s Quest, a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for ALS. After two weeks, Orangetheory members nationwide had instead raised more than double the original goal. Augie’s Quest is named for founder Augie Nieto, who helped found the exercise bike known as Lifecycle.

The Richland Orangetheory will share a building with Oasis Physical Therapy and a financial management office. The studio will be larger than the location on Spokane’s South Hill, and will employ about 10 people. Orangetheory already has three former professional athletes on its staff who are taking workouts weekly in Seattle to prepare and train for the opening in Richland, but it is still hiring.

Orangetheory Fitness doesn’t publish its rates or disclose them over the phone.

One free workout is always offered to those interested in becoming a member, and valued at a minimum of $28.

Monthly membership prices are expected to increase after the studio opens in late summer and pre-opening rates won’t be offered again. Interested members may schedule an appointment to learn about the sign-up options by visiting the construction trailer located on the property where the studio is being built.

There are no yearly contracts; Orangetheory operates only on a month-to-month basis. Those who commit to a monthly membership prior to the grand opening may take part in two weeks of VIP classes and giveaways expected in mid-August.

The studio will be open seven days a week, with operating hours likely to be from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Only one class is offered at a time, with every attendee completing the same workout simultaneously in a large room.

Due to the size constraints, the studio encourages members to reserve a workout spot, but it is not mandatory. The company’s app will display class bookings so an attendee can check ahead before attempting to drop in.

To schedule an appointment, call 509-492-5949 or visit the construction trailer just north of Keene Road at 1020 Queensgate Drive.

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