How OrangeTheory Fitness Has Created a COVID-Safe Gym Environment

Photo posted by @orangetheorystatecollege on Instagram

While Zoom workouts and outdoor runs got many of us through the first couple of months of quarantine, for many now, it’s time to head back to the gym, and back to our fitness goals. With OrangeTheory State College; however, you’ll never have to choose between a challenging workout and your own safety.

Many Penn State students are finding that their usual on campus gym option is closed or they are unable to fit their workout into a schedule due to the new booking system. Luckily, places like OrangeTheory Fitness have prevailed in providing their signature and challenging workouts, while still prioritizing health guidelines.

Photo posted by @orangetheorystatecollege on Instagram

So how’d they do it? VALLEY sat down with OrangeTheory State College coach Quinn Shiffler, to learn more about the workout, and the safety precautions being taken during these unprecedented times.

“There will always be at least six feet of space between you and the person next to you,” Shiffler says. “All staff members wear masks at all times, and members must wear them while transitioning in-between stations. I hand out wipes at least three times during class, so members can wipe down everything they touch. After class, the coaches and staff clean every station properly, and we have a cleaning crew that comes in late at night.”

OrangeTheory Fitness, both now and prior to the coronavirus pandemic, has always used a pre-booking system for classes. This is the only way to sign up, and has helped the studio maintain the 50% capacity requirement for Centre County gyms.

“We have classes all day from 5 a.m to 9 p.m, and instead of 36 people, we have 18. Usually, we have 12 people at each of our three stations: the strength floor, rowers and treadmills, but right now, that’s cut in half to maintain social distancing,” Shiffler told VALLEY.

While a lot has changed at OrangeTheory since the pandemic began, the one thing that hasn’t is the intense workouts, that are possible for anyone from a beginner to a fitness pro.

OrangeTheory is a high-intensity interval training (better known as HIIT) class, and most classes at OTF State College are the “3G” format, meaning you rotate between all three stations in the room. Even though the workout is designed to be challenging, there are modifications for each and every movement made, from choosing to power walk instead of run on the treadmill, to simply grabbing a lighter weight on the strength floor.

“Orange Theory is a great workout because it’s designed to push you to limits you don’t even know you have. With the heart rate monitors and our five heart rate zones, the workout is backed by science,” says Shiffler. “You might think you’re pushing yourself to your limit, but then you look up on the OT Beat Screen, and see you could go harder. You’re seeing results in live time, and from head to toe, it’s an amazing workout.”

For many students, and really the world as a whole, there is a huge lack of socialization due to the pandemic; however, OrangeTheory has maintained a strong community of fitness lovers.

“Everybody that belonged to a gym definitely lost that social support system over quarantine. When we reopened, people were just so thankful,” says Shiffler. “For anyone who may not be ready to come in yet, we’ve left their memberships on a free freeze, in order to accommodate everyone.”

As a coach, Quinn Shiffler has also gained a lot of appreciation for OTF’s members and how hard they work.

Posted by @orangetheorystatecollege on Instagram

“Members inspire me the most as a coach. I coach later in the evening after people have had a long day of work or classes. Them stepping into the room to get a workout in inspires me. It’s their sacred space, and ultimately, they really push themselves the most,” she says.

While OrangeTheory gives an incredible physical workout, and metabolically, members will see results, fitness is also incredibly good for the mind and helping to alleviate stress.

“Exercise is one of the most important medicines. Every time you step into the room, it’s a decision you make to better your mind and body. Exercise can really improve your mental health, especially right now when so many people are suffering,” Shiffler says.

OrangeTheory Fitness prides itself on killer workouts, splat points and personal growth, but you’ll never be there alone. There’s a whole community of coaches, staff and members who want to see you at your best.

“Orange Theory has members of all fitness levels,” says Shiffler. “There are always alternatives in class, and it’s going to take time, but we are all here to help you get there.”

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