As a proud Orangetheory Fitness ambassador for nearly the last two years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting studios across Ontario, into Manitoba and even beyond our Canadian borders. So I’ve seen a lot of pretty cool things — plus a few things that make me want to shake my fist in the air like a 93-year-old Grandpa.
Every single franchise looks and runs differently, whether that’s from a social point of view (some are wild and crazy-awesome like Orangetheory Fitness Oshawa) or from an operational standpoint (in Winnipeg’s Taylor location, people can go into the first class of the day as soon as they arrive and start warming up however and wherever they wish).
But one thing that should remain the same from studio to studio is Orangetheory etiquette. This isn’t far off regular gym etiquette but these nuggets are really specific to the Orangetheory Fitness model, so if you’re reading this and trying to apply it to your own gym, just quit already and join your local OTF.
Here’s a list of 9 DOs and DON’Ts to help make everyone’s Orangtheory Fitness experience a fantastic one every time:
- For the love of Pete, please bring indoor running shoes. Year-round. Otherwise, you’re tracking dirt, debris, salt, slush, bug guts and all kinds of other nasty things into a room where we all have to put our hands down for those stupid Burpees. Having pressed my hand into a tiny piece of salt one winter day last year, I assure you it’s not a delight.
- Don’t hoard bookings. This makes it so hard for everyone to have a fair chance at getting into classes — especially during peak times.
- Pretty please, don’t take someone’s weights (or other equipment) without asking; you don’t know if they’ve already looked two exercises ahead and know they need them. Similarly, if you do ask and borrow someone’s stuff, when the block is over, be kind — clean and return them properly.
- Play fair. Don’t jump out in the middle of class to put your stuff in a shower to “save” it and then go finish the class. If you want to skip the cooldown (flexibility block) and go hit the showers, hey…go for it — but if I find your stuff in there WITHOUT YOU when I’ve ditched the cool-down to be first in line for a shower, trust me: I’ma move it all to the hallway. And anyone else encountering this should feel free to do the same. Not cool.
- Consider moving off the bench unless you’re in the middle of getting your indoor shoes on or off. Sitting there just browsing on your phone as classes are transitioning can make it tough — especially in the smaller studios — for others when there’s already limited bench space.
- This one is actually an official OTF rule and not just simple etiquette: PLEASE-OH-MOTHER-MARY-OF-JAYSUS-PLEASE do not take more than one treadmill or rower card when you arrive. “Saving” these for your gym buddies who didn’t hustle to arrive early enough to get their own means those of us who did get our fine hustle on that day may not get the card we want. For reals, this is not OK. Take one for yourself and kindly move along.
- Stick to your number at every station. For the whole class. This is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, because everything is clearly numbered.
- If you need to do exercises at the end of your rower, be considerate of your neighbour and go with the grain (same direction as your rower) — don’t do lunges across the top of three rowers and displace two other people.
- Be friendly but sensitive. High fives after a crazy all-out are awesome — especially the Top Gun-style ones a la Maverick and Goose — but trying to talk to others while the coach is giving instructions or as I’m sweating my nards off and attempting to breathe properly in the middle of a push is not.
You may think all of this is common sense, and I’m probably preaching to the choir for the most part, but I’ve seen it all.
Orangetheory Fitness is one of the best things that has ever happened to me; it’s my mental health break of the day; I know I’m not alone on this one! And maybe it’s my own neuroses talking, but if there’s a rule or a way to be fair to others, I like to play along. So, let’s be considerate — you might just help keep someone’s mental health in check.
DISCLAIMER: As an OTF ambassador, one of my perks is a membership to the Oshawa studio. All opinions, suggestions and potentially annoying thoughts on etiquette are solely my own.