Worth the Drive

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To get the results that you want in fitness, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and commit to the process. For Eryn, all it took for her was to walk through the studio doors of Orangetheory (OT).

Like so many others before, Eryn worked out by herself at a gym. Her normal routine consisted of 50 minutes of cardio and 10 minutes of weights on the machines. She felt lost with no direction and never knew what to do. Not seeing the results she wanted, she took a new approach.

I felt empowered and so excited to come back.”

Eryn heard about OT and couldn’t wait to try it. In the fall of 2017, she took a tour at the OT studio in West Linn. The coaches and front counter staff made her feel welcomed. She then joined the Orangetheory nation.

However, her time there didn’t last long. She cancelled her membership and moved to Vernonia in February. The closest studio she could go to was Orenco Station. Her hiatus from OT was short lived.

A few months later, she rejoined at Orenco Station. She knew the value of it and how Orangetheory gave her the results she wanted. She said, “I was nervous to join a new studio but after one class I knew that the hour drive was worth it no matter how crazy my family thought I was for driving so far. I have taken classes at a number of studios but the environment at Orenco Station is something special. The staff is one of a kind…they truly care about all members and are there for you no matter what.”

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She recalls taking her first class during Hell Week, which is not for the faint of heart. Although she felt terrified at first, the fear eventually went away and after class she never felt better. “I felt empowered and so excited to come back,” she said.

Two and a half years later, Orangetheory has not only helped her lose fat and gain muscle, but also accomplish things she never thought possible. Eryn said, “In 2019 I was able to run eight half marathons and finished my very first full marathon. OTF is like no other. I always feel supported and motivated by my peers.”

The things, which motivate her and keep her coming back are the constant results. Her body continues to evolve and transform. She recently gained a new personal record (PR) on the weight room floor. She lifted weights that she never thought she could lift and last month she ran her fastest mile ever.

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Photo courtesy of Eryn Palo.

“OTF has not only transformed my body, but also has helped transform my mind. I have never been more confident in my abilities in the gym, but also in my personal life I have the strength to make positive changes. I know that with some hard work and consistency I can do anything. I mean, I ran 26.2 miles last year – there is nothing that I can’t do.”

She enjoys turning on the treadmill and pushing herself on endurance days. Strength days prove difficult for her, but she never misses a strength day because she knows she needs to work on this the most. “I have goals to gain more muscle and the amazing coaches have helped me get closer to this goal each week. Another benefit of OTF is the workouts, which are never the same; so even after so many classes, I never get bored. They always keep us on our toes,” said Eryn.

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Her friends and family ask what it is about Orangetheory that keeps her coming back? One word– community. Last year was hard for her. She struggled with mental health issues causing a brief disappearance, but she never felt alone. Her OT family reached out to her to make sure she was okay.

This past Thanksgiving, her crazy Orangtheory Run Squad talked her into doing a 90-minute class and following it up by crushing a 5K race together. Eryn said, “Holidays are meant to be spent with family and I am so grateful I was surrounded by my OTF family this Thanksgiving. That has to be the thing that I love most – the family that I have gained.”

They supported her every step of the way. When she felt ready to come back, she felt as if she didn’t miss a day. She has created lifelong friends at Orenco Station and feels grateful. During the Dri-Tri last year, Persia asked her, “Remember where you were five years ago? Look at where you are now!” This brought her to tears when she came so close to slowing down during the workout. Persia gave her the motivation she needed to keep going.

OT has helped her stay accountable and has given her the strength to improve many things in her life. Eryn feels much stronger mentally and physically.

Keep Burning Eryn!

A Fresh Approach to Training

Nicole Jones

If you’ve ever met Nicole, you’ll know that she has an outgoing and friendly personality. She always walks in with a smile on her face ready to conquer her workout at the studio. Orangetheory (OT) breaks up her busy day as a physical therapist or tending to her chickens at home. Nicole arrives ready for class whether it’s a themed day or signature workout dominating all the classes she takes.

“I needed something that would push me more than I would push myself at a regular gym.”

Nicole came to Orangetheory Orenco Station as a well-seasoned endurance athlete. She had a busy running season in 2018 running the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in January, Boston Marathon in April and Berlin Marathon in September. Thinking of these marathons would make anyone tired…phew.

Granted she accomplished these major feats, her mind and body were exhausted from the thought of going out for another long run for training. She wanted to do something fresh and different and that’s when she signed up for her first class at Orenco Station.

Nicole has a great familiarity with how to work out as a physical therapist. “I needed something that would push me more than I would push myself at a regular gym,” said Nicole. She remembers taking her first “power” day class – a hard one at that. When she worked out on her own, her idea of a “power” day was running sprints or doing fartleks.

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“I’m so stoked to have hit 7:16:00 on the 2,000m (row) DRITRI and not feel like I was toast and ended up finishing first for the women at Orenco. My overall efficiency has greatly improved and the rower is now one of my favorite parts of the OTF workouts.”

She had never worked so hard on the water rower and loved how exhausted she felt – she was immediately hooked on OT! Knowing the variety of new workouts and knowing that she’ll improve each month keeps her coming back for more. Nicole said, “I ran one of my fastest 5ks during my first DRITRI last month and was so happy that all the hard work and encouragement I get each day from the coaches really pay off.”

Prior to starting her fitness routine at OT, she set a long-term goal of completing all of the six major marathons. She’s completed Maui, Boston and Berlin, and is ready to take on London, New York and Tokyo. “Some races are based on time qualifications, charity or lottery. I knew I needed to change my workout regimen and challenge myself more if I were going to get another time qualifier. It’s going to be a long road but I’m excited to get there,” said Nicole.  

She continues to improve her marathon time and makes smaller goals periodically of running at a faster base pace or rowing a distance under a particular time. Nicole’s biggest improvement at the studio is on the rower. Her form has vastly improved translating into better times.

She said, “I’m so stoked to have hit 7:16:00 on the 2,000m (row) DRITRI and not feel like I was toast and ended up finishing first for the women at Orenco. My overall efficiency has greatly improved and the rower is now one of my favorite parts of the OTF workouts.”

Not surprising at all, Nicole likes “endurance” days at the studio as a marathon runner. Although her body may want to stop, she tells herself to keep going and her body will follow. “Endurance challenges are all about mind power and having a mantra that will carry you through has always helped me,” said Nicole.

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She loves that everyone pushes themselves to be a happier and healthier human in class. When she sees the person next to her grab a heavier weight or increase the speed by 0.1, she does the same. Nicole knows that Orangetheory has an amazing atmosphere, which welcomes and challenges anyone at any fitness level.

Last month, Nicole visited an OT studio in Nashville, Tennessee and it made her realize how special Orenco Station is. She loves walking into a place where she is welcomed with a smile and encouraging coaches. Everyone interacts with each other and she’s happy to have gained so many new friends at OT Orenco Station.

Nicole said, “This may be cheesy; however, with being in my profession, I am always aspiring people to get healthier and stronger and OTF does just this.”

 Keep Burning Nicole!

 

A Healing Community

Jozie

Not too many members take two classes in a day or back-to-back classes, but if you’ve ever met Jozie, he does. He would take three classes per day if he had the opportunity to do so. He is made of sure will and determination.

Jozie is an endurance athlete who always “chomps at the bit” for his next race he can run. He’s the type to run a 5K race and take an Orangetheory (OT) class without the slightest hesitation. Jozie has the endurance to run an ultra marathon if he wanted to.

His co-workers convinced him to try his first class at Orenco Station explaining that it would help him with his running and soccer. He replied with, “Sure, why not. It’s a free class.” Jozie recalls his first class as fun and felt that it was a great workout.

“I feel we should all do at least one thing every day that makes us happy, makes us enjoy life or makes us a better person. I try to do as many as I can and exercise is one of them. Who doesn’t feel better after a workout?”

Jozie played soccer and ran a few times a week with no specific fitness goals in mind prior to joining OT. Sadly, a string of unfortunate events happened after he joined. Jozie lost five family members in a span of five months including his brother whom he was close with.

He gradually slipped into a downward spiral becoming emotionally and physically unhealthy. Jozie quit exercising completely and began gaining weight. He realized one day that he needed to fix this problem – he didn’t know exactly how, but had to try.

Jozie before OTF

A few months after he took his last class, Jozie appeared at the studio upgrading his membership from an Elite to a Premier membership. Since then, Jozie has attended almost every day and hasn’t stopped. He had no idea how much this impacted him and how it helped him cope with his loss.

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“I’ve met some great people and made new friends.”

The combination of staff, coaches, exercising, having fun, and making new friends helped refresh Jozie emotionally and physically. Health, fitness and community bring him in daily. “I feel we should all do at least one thing every day that makes us happy, makes us enjoy life or makes us a better person. I try to do as many as I can and exercise is one of them. Who doesn’t feel better after a workout?” said Jozie.

Many who come to OT have specific fitness goals they want to achieve, but this really wasn’t the case for Jozie. He said, “I have a couple of goals in mind. But mainly, I will keep working out for my health and for fun! Without health, I won’t be able to do any of the other things I want. The PRs (personal records) and weight loss will eventually follow.”

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Jozie enjoys endurance classes and partner workouts because of the friendly competitiveness, which comes with it. He loves how classes are never boring and how each coach has a distinct style of coaching playing a variety of music avoiding monotony. The most important thing to him, though, is the community.

He has visited other OT studios, but hasn’t found the same ambiance quite like the one at Orenco Station. The members, coaches and staff make the difference. Jozie said, “I’ve met some great people and made new friends.” Jozie’s enthusiasm and passion for OT has earned him a position as an ambassador and voted prom king voted by the staff at Orenco Station. Thank you for support and passion for Orangetheory!

Keep Burning Jozie.

Leading by Example

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If you’ve ever taken a class with Kirsten, you’ll find yourself hearing from her, “Could you take me off the ‘black list’ please?” What does that mean? In Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) terms, it means to remove a person’s name from the previous class. Kirsten takes a back-to-back class every week and she’s one of only a handful of members who do it.

A small business owner, Kirsten bought the Gym-Nest (a gymnastics studio) more than 11 years ago. She considered herself at the time as “pretty chunky.” She didn’t put forth the effort in working out for a few years. A year into her business, she realized that she needed to set a good example for her athletes. She had to get back to the level of an athlete herself.

“I can definitely say the change in me has helped me to be a better coach to my gymnasts.”

Kirsten decided that she needed to shed some weight and transform herself into a stronger person. She wanted to lead her gymnastic students by example and not telling them to only work hard and be healthy. She needed change – a new challenge. She needed a community to push her further. OTF came along at the right time for Kirsten, which fulfilled her needs.

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Like many others, Kirsten recalls how nervous she felt in her first class. She stated, “My first class was nerve wracking! I was worried I wouldn’t make it through the class because it would be too hard and everyone looked fit and ready to go!”

She started OTF when it first opened its doors in December 2016. The new studio helped her feel comfortable quickly with the fact that everyone else was new too. Kirsten’s first class left her exhausted but in the best way possible. She felt excited to go back because she knew she had much more to accomplish. “I can definitely say the change in me has helped me to be a better coach to my gymnasts,” Kirsten stated.

“I’d like people to look at me and see a fit person – not a ‘doughy’ person. I’d like to look like an athlete again and feel confident in my ability to do pretty much everything.”

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In addition to helping achieving her goal with leading by example for her gymnasts, Kirsten loves OTF the most because of how every day is completely different. She said, “I hate running on a treadmill, but somehow I’m willing to do it here because it’s different almost every day. I love the variation and never knowing what’s coming.” She not only burns for her student, but she also burns for herself living as full of a life as she can.

When Kirsten started working out at OTF she had the goals of being and looking strong. Her goals haven’t changed much since she started. “I’d like people to look at me and see a fit person – not a ‘doughy’ person. I’d like to look like an athlete again and feel confident in my ability to do pretty much everything,” said Kirsten.

“OTF is an amazing group of people! The staff, coaches and members are all so friendly and welcoming. I feel supported and challenged every day and have made some fabulous friends!”

Since she began taking classes here, Kirsten has reached a milestone of increasing her base pace from 5 to 6 miles per hour. She has also increased the weights when she’s doing the floor workouts. Her favorite types of classes are strength classes (although she despises inclines) with endurance classes as the easiest for her. Power classes are the lowest on her totem pole, but they have grown on her.

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Kirsten’s favorite things about classes are the coaches because she appreciates their encouragement and feedback. The smaller classes she attends have her feeling like the coaches know her by investing in her growth with personal attention. She loves to have her form corrected and suggestions to make things more challenging while in class.

When asked what she loves about the community at OTF Orenco Station Kirsten replied, “OTF is an amazing group of people! The staff, coaches and members are all so friendly and welcoming. I feel supported and challenged every day and have made some fabulous friends! We think you’re great too!

Keep Burning Kirsten.

Being The Best Version Of Herself

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Most people can’t fathom waking up at 4:30 a.m. in general – especially for a workout. Although, there are some who will drag themselves out of bed no matter how warm and snuggly it is. Leslie is that type of person. She makes the effort to attend the 5 a.m. class at Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) knowing that she’ll feel better once she sees her morning squad.

Like many who join OTF, Leslie wanted to improve her health and she wanted to shed those last 30 pounds of “baby weight” after the birth of her second child. Her journey to OTF started with some frustrating news at her annual physical in late 2015. When her doctor said her weight and body mass index (BMI) classified her as obese, Leslie decided it was time to make a change.

“I think it was particularly great being part of the “founding” class of members at Orenco OTF because we all started together. We were all newbies together.”

She started with her nutrition, successfully losing 30 pounds in the first half of 2016. “I was feeling and looking better than I had in a very long time, but I knew that in order to maintain my health long term, I needed to also add more physical activity,” said Leslie. Towards the end of the year, Leslie started seeing OTF “coming soon” signs popping up in her Orenco Station neighborhood and heard the OTF “buzz” from friends at work. She decided to make the leap and sign up.

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Anyone’s initial class can be daunting and unnerving as you learn the flow of the class. While challenging, Leslie was hooked from the start and credits the variety of people in her class – men and women, young and old, fit and those looking to shed a few extra pounds. It was clear to her that OTF provided a place where all types of people can come together for an hour each day to work hard and achieve their goals. “I think it was particularly great being part of the “founding” class of members at Orenco OTF because we all started together. We were all newbies together,” she said.

Hooked from the first class, Leslie knew she was headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, a major family crisis propelled her to affirm her commitment to OTF. On December 23, 2016, Leslie’s mom suffered a massive stroke. One moment her, vivacious, 64-year-old mother was living a normal, healthy and active life. The next moment she was fighting for her life.

Leslie says she will never forget the call from her sister that came while she was wrapping presents and getting ready for their annual Christmas Eve party. Next came a frantic drive to the Salem Hospital, a quick decision by doctors to transfer her mom by Life Flight to Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), a rush consultation with the surgeon, and the three terrifying days with mom in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

She’ll also never forget the call she made to OTF Orenco Station on Christmas Eve morning to cancel her class. Leslie said, “Rachel answered the phone and she was just so incredibly kind and that when I started to tell her I was missing the class, that my mom had a stroke, I lost it and just started to sob.” Rachel was empathetic in the moment, and supportive when Leslie returned for her first OTF class a few weeks later. Her mom had been released from the hospital and she was thankful for her road to a full recovery.

Not surprisingly, the experience left an indelible mark on Leslie. She knew that she had to do everything possible to take control of her health and live her best life possible. And thanks to Rachel’s kindness, she had found her place at OTF Orenco Station. This wasn’t just a gym or just a workout – but a place that feels like family, a place that lifts her up. A place where she can push herself to be stronger and achieve more than she ever thought possible.

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Leslie says she burns first and foremost burns for herself. While it may sound selfish to some, Leslie thinks of it as being self-full. She says OTF empowers her to be her best, strongest, fittest self – so she can be the best wife, mom, daughter, and friend for others. She burns so she can carry her, 55-pound 6-year old, daughter up the stairs – and maybe still carry her when she’s 65 pounds and 7 years old! And, Leslie burns because of her mom. She knows that while she can’t control the genetic factors that might contribute to a stroke, she can control how she takes care of her body, her diet, and her physical activity.

At the start of her OTF fitness journey, Leslie’s goals were to maintain her fitness and gradually progress in her weight loss while leading a fun life and enjoying great food. Working out was not a consistent part of her lifestyle prior to OTF, so she set a goal of   attending classes at least three times a week as part of her fitness maintenance.

Although she had modest goals in the beginning, she soon realized that she could do more. Leslie started as a power-walker and she began to entertain the idea of jogging, despite having some reservations about it. Her inspiration? Coach Shay! One day in class he said to Leslie, “If you can powerwalk that fast, you might as well run.”

The first thought she had in her head was “Shut up! I hate running, there’s no way I’m going to run…” and her second thought was “Well, I’ll take that challenge!” The next day, she started to jog – baby steps – with her speed and strength increasing a little each day.

When a few of the OTF squad, Christina, Katie and Megan, in her class approached her in early 2017 about joining their team for the 2018 Shamrock Run, Leslie started to seriously consider it. While a tiny bit scared, she dug deep, signed up with the team, and set a goal to run the 8K.

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Then she started running more. She ran at OTF and outside in her neighborhood. She became faster and stronger and in March 2018 – she ran her first race and her first 8K ever! She ran the whole thing – a major milestone in itself – never walked and has OTF to thank for helping her accomplish that goal. She now looks forward to her next race and achieving her next goal!

In addition, inspired by the OTF Transformation Challenge, Leslie has increased her lean muscle mass by 2.4 pounds, increased her basal metabolic rate by 24 kcal, reduced her body fat by 4 percent, and has lost 6 pounds since January 2018. She also set the goal of completing last September’s Dri-Tri in less than an hour, which she did in 59 minutes and 22 seconds. She then, on her 46thbirthday, smashed her previous Dri-Tri time by five minutes accomplishing her goal! She’s now working to increase her speed on the treads, increase her weights on the floor and come to class five days a week.

“The Halloween party was a blast – and I was so sorry to miss the 1-year anniversary party but I love that Orenco OTF takes the time to create these moments of connections with its members.”

According to Leslie, it’s the fun and friendly coaches, staff, and incredible member community that make OTF Orenco Station a great environment to take classes at and keep her coming back for more. She’s also forged new friendships with folks like Monica, Sarah, and the Shamrock Run squad (Katie, Christina and Megan).

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“Orenco OTF has a special chemistry and magic that I’ve not found at any other OTF studio. AJ, Shay, Persia are my absolute ‘fave’ coaches. I still miss Chris and Chloe, but it’s so great when them come back to visit! And new additions like Jess, Taylor and Conner have brought new energy, which I love. AmyJae keeps the energy high and makes the whole place hum. And it’s always nice to see Jojoe’s friendly face when I come in the front door.” 

Finally, it’s the activity and accountability. She loves that there’s always a new competition, class or activity. From Hell Week to the Dri-Tri, Transformation Challenge to the Marathon Challenge, to Spirit Week, and to the guest DJ – there’s always something fun to look forward to and keep her motivated.

She also loves how OTF Orenco Station comes together to celebrate at after-hours social events. “The Halloween party was a blast – and I was so sorry to miss the 1-year anniversary party but I love that Orenco OTF takes the time to create these moments of connections with its members,” said Leslie.

Keep Burning Leslie!

Seeking Constant Improvement

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Running like there’s no tomorrow is what you’ll see if you’ve ever taken a class with Christine. Anytime there’s an “all-out,” she runs as if her life depended on it and to the point of exhaustion.

Christine learned about Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) from her friend in Michigan who attends OTF frequently. Her friend was fit from attending classes and Christine thought it would be something worth trying.

“I’m going to compete in my first long course triathlon in June, and I’m excited to see what I can do in that race now that I’m starting training in great shape.”

She ran with teams and worked with a personal trainer in the past and always enjoyed the social aspect of it. Christine said, “Working out by myself just doesn’t seem to happen. So, I wanted to find something that combined a good workout with the accountability that comes with a group class.” When she saw that an OTF had a location opening near her, she signed up as a founding member.

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Christine didn’t recall much about her first class at the studio other than feeling unsure about the water rower and being exhausted afterwards. In addition to the physical benefits, she burns for a balanced life and the consistency with classes helps her remain emotionally and mentally focused. The intensity of classes at the studio pushes her through the “rough” days preventing her from getting down.

Many who start their fitness journey at OTF have goals of losing weight, toning and shedding body fat. As an endurance athlete, Christine’s goals consisted of improving athletic performance to assist her with long distance running and competing in a triathlon. She also wanted a fitness regiment, which she could do consistently whether she specifically trained for something or not.

A year has passed since the studio opened in December of 2017 and her goals remain similar; however, she has added specific OTF goals. She wants to run a 1 minute “all out” at a 4 percent incline, which she admits for the first time. “I’m going to compete in my first long course triathlon in June, and I’m excited to see what I can do in that race now that I’m starting training in great shape,” said Christine.

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Her diligent training has dramatically improved her running during classes. Christine’s base pace has increased by 2 mph this year and she ran her fastest mile of her life in the most recent Peak Week. She said, “Having coaches behind me believing in what I can do and pushing me to go faster has made a huge difference in that. Hearing ‘halfway done, add 0.1 to your pace or grab a heavier weight than you usually do,’ was scary at first and I was nervous to try, but I listened and gave it a shot.” Most of the time she can do it and if she fails, she shrugs it off.

“I love the positive feel I get every time I come in. The coaches and staff are always welcoming and encouraging to everyone and encourage members to do the same.”

Christine loves the many aspects of OTF. She enjoys the banter with friends she has met through OTF before, during and after class. Christine likes experiencing all the different coaching styles and personal flare that each coach shows during the class and through their personalized playlists.

Christine enjoys endurance and strength workouts since she trains for endurance events. She admits that power days can be difficult for her and she’s learning to enjoy the running portions on those days with the many “all-outs” that can occur. She also loves the variety of planned workouts and completing the class as a group.

Community and friends are a bi-product of having a membership at OTF. “I love the positive feel I get every time I come in. The coaches and staff are always welcoming and encouraging to everyone and encourage members to do the same,” said Christine. Seeing others in class acknowledging each other’s effort gives her an uplifting feeling. The encouragement during class often leads to chatting after class where she has met many amazing people.

She’s happy with her worthwhile decision joining OTF. The class has made a major impact on her life physically and she’s in the best shape of her life. It has also made a significant change for her socially as she has met coaches, staff and members that she connects with. Christine looks forward to many more years with OTF.

Keep Burning and crush your triathlon Christine!