EAST COUNTY — The neighbors know its name and, by now, many know its not-so-well-kept secret.
Continuing a marketing ploy that extends throughout its company, all the way to St. Petersburg, OrangeTheory Fitness, a group-interval fitness franchise set to open July 25 in a new location in the Market at University Town Center, is responsible for the spray-painted orange bikes locked outside East County businesses and along University Parkway.
Every day since April 10, a rotating cast of employees from OrangeTheory sits under a tent outside the studio.
Without prompt, playing detective, passersby quickly ask about the orange bikes.
Sheri Carr, the studio manager from Apollo Beach who has spent 11 years in the wellness industry, is the OrangeTheory constant: Wearing orange shoelaces and matching orange beads that jangle from her neck, she approaches ambling shoppers.
A man wearing an orange full-body, skin-tight suit and a top hat sometimes trails her.
The orange crew doesn’t exactly blend in; nearby business can’t miss them.
When the workweek ends, the orange crew pops into nearby businesses, such as Fresh Market and Tijuana Flats, and yells, “It’s Friday!”
In total, there are 13 bicycles borrowed from Goodwill and spray-painted neon orange. They are locked up at various locations around University Parkway, including outside World of Beer on Tourist Center Drive, and Fresh Market, in the University Town Center shopping plaza.
OrangeTheory eventually will return the bikes to Goodwill, minus their bright coat of paint.
“The bikes are meant to attract attention to fitness and health,” Carr said. “It’s a reminder to get up and moving. Fitness is already a lifestyle in this area. We’re just out here selling a dream.”
Carr said OrangeTheory didn’t need to ask permission from businesses to place bikes outside their property, although the studio has abided by the wishes of a few businesses that have requested they be removed.
Most join in the fun, though.
“Benderson Development (who manages the University Town Center plazas) has been supportive of the bikes,” Carr said. “If the community likes them, Benderson likes them.”
OrangeTheory, a national franchise with 33 individually-owned studios, has a unique fitness concept that matches its marketing.
An hour-long session of OrangeTheory features treadmill speed work, indoor rowing, weights and core-strengthening suspension straps.
A roaming coach shouts motivation and direction into a microphone and gives each customer a heart-rate monitor, which he must wear during the entire workout.
A colored screen on the wall contains a box with each gym-goer’s name, calories burned and heart rate, which changes as the workout progresses. Themed music paces the workout.
Staying in your “orange zone,” a heart rate 84% to 90% of your max, helps individuals burn between 500 to 1,000 calories per workout, Carr said.
In the 36 hours after the workout, they say you will burn up to another 600 calories; it’s what they call the “orange effect,” during which a person’s metabolism is boosted and the body tries to replenish the oxygen it used.
Pricing varies, because customers can pay by the session or pay a monthly rate to receive unlimited sessions.
“I’m happy people haven’t stolen any of the bikes we put out,” Carr said. “If someone were to take one, at least they’re seeking exercise.”
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.