Group fitness franchise Orangetheory Fitness has become a favorite among workout junkies across the country. If you're unfamiliar with OTF, the one-hour interval-training class combines cardio and strength training and is designed to boost your metabolism and energy. It's especially loved by those with a competitive streak because every person's stats are displayed for the duration of the class straight from the provided heart monitor.
POPSUGAR had the chance to talk to OTF coach Tim Brown, who's been at the St. Louis, MO, location for three years now, and he says, "It's been by far the best job I could have asked for in the fitness industry." Tim answered all of our questions about the job and the studio, including the strangest things that have ever happened in his classes. And let me tell you, he did not disappoint. See seven employee secrets below and prepare to love Orangetheory even more.
1. The hiring process isn't easy.
"My hiring process, like many, started with the specific location reaching out to me and gauging my interest in working for Orangetheory. Except back when I was asked, there was no Orangetheory in St. Louis. I had no idea what the hell Orangetheory was, but I was unhappy at my current gym and took the gamble. I was asked to try out in front of the staff and owner on mic during a week-long process that culminated in teaching a class to them. I was one of six asked to try out and told that we would only get paid if we were chosen, so my bet paid off. Just like most big-box gyms, Orangetheory mandates that its trainers be certified through a major fitness institution and they must also take a week-long Orangetheory certification, so the guy/girl on mic for you isn't just someone they picked off the sidewalk. They've put time and effort into making them a good Orangetheory coach."
2. Some really weird stuff has gone down.
"I don't really care what people wear; everybody has their own style. I mean, hell, I wear pink shorts and had a man bun at one time. But wow, I've had some pretty strange class experiences. There was one class where a member showed up with her pet bird on her shoulder and asked if it was OK to take the class with her bird or if we would watch it in the lobby for her. There was also a class where someone walked into the studio with flip-flops on and tried to start exercising. When she was asked why she was wearing flip-flops, she said that she didn't want to get her nails messed up; she had just got them done. But unfortunately, she was asked to leave or find another pair of shoes. I have also had to stop people from doing yoga in the middle of a class, just right in the middle of class with a handstand. Like what the hell are you doing, people?"
3. The job is incredibly rewarding.
"The best part of my job is the people, from the members to the amazing people I get to work with! I truly love making a difference in people's lives — that's why I went into the fitness industry. Orangetheory is unlike any other gym you will find; I went from canvassing and grinding my tail off for one or two clients to fit in my appointment book to Orangetheory where I show up and have 42 people signed up and ready to go for my class, my energy, my attention. I have the opportunity every day to change hundreds of lives with my classes and it's something I cherish. Orangetheory is a family, it really is; I've heard people laugh and say it's like a cult because our members are always talking about Orangetheory, but at Orangetheory, they have found a home in a gym where no one judges them, staff and members cheer them on in their success, and friends are made beyond social status or where you went to school."
4. And it pays well.
"The pay is amazing! I like to tell anyone who will listen it's the best pay you will get in the fitness industry, unless you own the gym. I usually do 30 or more classes a week, so the pay more than pays the bills. It also helps fuel my massive shoe collection."
5. Memberships give the most bang for your buck.
"Our staff does a great job of making sure all of our members get to take advantage of anything that's rightfully theirs; there are no smoke and mirrors. Many potential members come in and think that buying packages is the safest way to go, but it's actually the most expensive, and we save them hundreds of dollars yearly by giving them the options of a membership."
6. People accidentally steal the OTbeat heart monitor.
"Our staff does a great job of reminding members that they still have the Beat on, so they usually don't walk out with it. But of course, it has happened. Most of the time, the person finds out later in the day and brings it back and sometimes, we've had to call the person and ask them to bring it back, which they do."
7. Being an OTF coach comes with amazing perks.
"Aside from that fact that I have an amazing owner and manager who keep me decked out in everything Orangetheory (I don't have to buy clothes), I have made amazing contacts in the real world. I have gotten sporting event and concert tickets, I have been given birthday and holiday gifts by the truckload, and I've found doctors and other contacts that help with everyday life that I wouldn't have been able to find if I wasn't at OTF. I've been invited to fancy dinners and events, and even weddings. Oh, and I can't forget about the Orangetheory conventions — OTF knows how to party."