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The Meaning of Living All Out

The benefits of exercise go far beyond weight loss, and our members prove it.

By Leslie Barker

Most people start an exercise program with similar goals: To lose weight. To get toned. To feel better.

Good reasons, all. But on that twisty, turvy, uphill, downhill, ongoing route to fitness, those goals turn out to be only starting blocks. They lead to even more results — some you can see, and many you can’t.

Tangibly, your clothes fit better. Muscles you didn’t know you had are now in plain, toned view. Your blood pressure drops; your endurance rises.

More often than not, there’s lots more. And it all begins, quite simply, with saying yes: 

  • Yes to picking up the pace.
  • Yes to ratcheting down your stress level.
  • Yes to starting a new job.
  • Yes to stopping (or at least cutting back on) negative self-talk.
  • Yes to being less grumpy and more patient; to feeling less defeated and more optimistic.
  • Yes to a deep sleep at night; to more energy during the day.

Above all, you start saying yes to yourself. No wonder exercise has been shown to make you “happier than money,” according to research by Yale and Oxford Universities.

At Orangetheory Fitness, we can cite the science behind this. But that is never as compelling as hearing about the results from our members, over and over again, about how the goodness of each hour-long session doesn’t stay in the studio. It follows like a supportive shadow; like a nudge and a nod.

 “This brought me back to who I am and who I can be,” says Chelsea Meyers. She’s 42 and attended her first Orangetheory class in January 2019. By mid-July, her accumulated attendance totaled triple digits.

“I didn’t realise until my mother passed away a year ago that I’d been taking care of her and wasn’t living my life for myself. I think my life has started for me now,” she says.

Often the benefits of her workouts come into focus when she expects it least. Earlier this summer her son Sam, 8, fell asleep downstairs. A year ago, she says, she would have asked her husband Gabe (also an Orangetheory devotee) to carry him to bed.

“I couldn’t physically have done it then,” she says. “But that night, I carried him upstairs, and we have a pretty significant rise in our stairs. I didn’t break a sweat. I felt, like, ‘Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve done this. I’m strong.’

“People say, ‘You just seem so happy.’ And I am. It feels so good to be strong. I feel mentally stronger, too.”

She realised just how much when she found the courage to quit one job and to start another.

“I was in a rut at work,” says Chelsea, who praises the support her Orangetheory community has given her. “Orangetheory got me out of that. It made me think, ‘You know what? I’m worth more than this. I’m investing in myself, in my body. I don’t need to put up with this anymore.’ It gave me the push.”

Felicia Knott, 28, has been an Orangetheory member since October 19, 2018. She had heart issues that ended her career in the military, and other workouts were too “in-your-face,” she says. She’d leave feeling worse than ever.

“I wasn’t in this for weight loss; I was in it for my heart,” says Felicia, whose cardiologist calls her progress “awesome.”

“Going there and working out helps your entire mindset, knowing you’re doing something good for yourself,” she says. “This is something I’ve noticed: I used to be way more stressed out about deadlines. Now it’s, ‘I’ve got this.’

“This is definitely something that has hit my life. I didn’t make that connection until now.”

Other members offered their own take on Live All Out online. Like @emilyoehler, whose Orangetheory workouts led to “making the Tarzan jump on the ropes course with my godson.

Perhaps one of the most compelling examples came from paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse Ashley F.:

“I am often tired, emotionally depleted and physically drained. Orangetheory has given me the opportunity to care for myself and offer the best me to my patients and their families.

“OTF gives me balance and mental clarity while challenging me to push my physical limitations to levels I never thought possible. OTF serves as a healthy coping mechanism for the death and emotional challenges I must tackle on behalf of my patients. It serves as both an escape and a welcoming and uplifting oasis where everyone supports and appreciates one another.”

And really, that’s what Orangetheory is all about, isn’t it? Because when we support and appreciate each other, we can tackle just about anything — during our time in the studio, and especially during the other 23 hours that await when we walk out the door, sharing our newfound spirit with the world.