Local hurricane-battered fitness facility now back in the zone
Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Almost two years after the hurricanes, OrangeTheory is back in the zone and readying for a grand opening at its new location at 5685 Nelson Road near Rouses.
Unlike twenty-two percent of U.S. health clubs and studios that had to close their doors because of COVID, Orange Theory in Lake Charles stayed fiscally fit. The hurricanes were a different story.
“I remember the day we disconnected all the computers, covered all the machines with tarps and sandbagged the foundation. I thought, we’ve got this,” said OrangeTheory Owner Rachna Patel. “Little did we know.”
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Some of the first national news video footage of the destruction of Hurricane Laura showed OrangeTheory.
“It was heartbreaking,” said Rachna. “We evacuated to Baton Rouge, and when I received the phone call that I knew was the call about my business, I didn’t answer.”
Her husband, Rahul came in the room and told her, “You have to come to terms with this.”
A protracted insurance battle threw up another hurdle.
From a family of business owners, she had never owned her own until she opened OrangeTheory in 2018.
“My sister-in-law lives in Houston and works at MD Anderson,” Rachna said. “She told me about Orange Theory and how much she loved the workout. She thought it would be a fit here.”
Rachna was healthy, active. She’s run half-marathons. She’s been a GiGi’s member, a Christus Louisiana Athletic Club Fitness Center member. The family belongs to the Racquet Club.
“Fitness has always been a big part of my life,” she said.
The first OrangeTheory class she took she was hooked. But she was hesitant, not about being a business owner – being an entrepreneur was in her blood she said – but about the OrangeTheory Concept. Boutique fitness was just trending. Was the timing right for Lake Charles?
“OrangeTheory is different,” explained Vanessa Letson, the OrangeTheory nationally certified Academy of Medicine head trainer. “It combines science, coaching and technology. I’ve taught a variety of fitness formats for years, zoomba, mixed fit, body pump. But when I took an OrangeTheory class, I knew that’s where I wanted to work. It’s a one-hour multi-vitamin that helps you get more out of life.”
It is a full-body workout. What makes it different is the equipment, the super-individualized workout that works for the healthiest teen to the senior who needs to start at his or her own pace and the personalized attention.
“It’s a workout that burns more calories post workout than traditional exercise,” Vanessa said.
Everyone wears a heart rate monitor. Real time results are displayed. Intensity is based on individual heart rate zones.
“That’s what makes this exercise safe for all levels,” Vanessa said.
“Everything is science-based,” Rachna added. “Orange is used in the environment because it’s psychologically the most motivating, energizing color.”
“Cardiovascular heart rate zones are color coded and the sweet spot is orange,” Rachna said. “The goal is to stay in the orange zone for 12 minutes or more. That’s 84 to 91 percent of your heart rate. A device measures it in real time.”
“Coaches are onhand to make sure participants are not overtraining or undertraining,” Vanessa said. “If you shoot up into that red zone, you’ll need to take it down just a tiny bit to stay in that safe and effective zone.”
The heart monitor has proved beneficial not only to maximize workout results, but alerted would-be exercisers to get a thorough exam.
“One of our clients came in, in tears of thanks,” Rachna said.
When a heart monitor showed an irregular heart rate before he started his workout, the OrangeTheory team thought it was the equipment. When that wasn’t the case, they suggested he get a check up. He did and the timing couldn’t have been better, he told them.
“In addition to the heart monitoring equipment, we have a fancy scale that takes a clear picture of muscle mass versus fat and water weight,” Vanessa said. “It also shows muscle imbalance, when someone is stronger on the left side than on the right. We reassess the body after 12 weeks to track results and health improvements. It really is a workout for all. Three generations of one family come and work out together.”
“The work you do here in our studio will make all the difference out there in your world,” said Rachna, “not just weight loss or strength, but you can be a more energetic grandmother, feel more equipped to cope with stress, become that person who sleeps soundly at night, gain the confidence to make a needed life change.”
The grand opening is Friday, May 13, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 5685 Nelson Road, Ste. H.