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Orangetheory CEO Says At-Home Workouts Will Stay Popular Even as Gyms Reopen

With a new round of gym re-openings going into effect this week, Orangetheory Fitness is ready to welcome back clients eager to restart their workout routines.
The chain expects to have 1,000 studios open by the end of this week and is hoping to get all 1,400 global locations back to business in the next few months, said Dave Long, the brand's CEO and co-founder. 
While the boutique fitness brand has offered free at-home workouts to help members exercise throughout the pandemic, the company is now making a number of changes to promote a safe return to the class-based studio. "Everyone is pre-booking a set schedule. We know who's coming in and we've reduced the capacity by at least 50 percent," said Long. "Between each class we're doing a very deep clean in the studios."
Besides cleaning, the CEO said the fitness studio is also promoting mask-wearing. "We encourage masks wherever the local regulations require it -- we do have all the members wearing masks in those spots. And then globally our staff is always wearing a mask from top to bottom." 
Even with the safety restrictions, the CEO says clients are eager to get back to working out and have not resisted these policy changes.
Despite the new safety restrictions, Long said his team is finding pent up demand from clients who want to be part of a community like Orangetheory. "This ha[d] become the new happy hour in a lot of areas pre-COVID... and we believe that will come back even stronger."
So far, the studios that have opened are doing well, said Long, but the pandemic has clearly thrown a wrench in the company's normal schedule.
"We're certainly not set up as a business to be running at half capacity for months or years, but our franchisees and our members have really flexed to figure out how to make this work in the short-term. We've also stood up classes outside of the studio, Orangetheory Outdoors," said Long, noting those classes are held by almost 300 studios globally. 
The brand has also found success with its at-home offerings. "We didn't realize how much that would take off so we've done over 16 million workouts with that product."
The at-home option rounded out the company's fitness offerings so members can go to a studio, workout online, or even head outdoors. While the company has always wanted to promote online workouts, the pandemic has helped to speed up this process and Long believes the new digital offerings will stay popular post-pandemic. 
Long emphasized the importance of keeping up with fitness regimens even when people are stuck at home. "We stood up Orangetheory At Home so that we could keep members in a routine," he said. "We know that with wellness and with mindset the routine is maybe one of the most important things."
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