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Ellen Latham – Orange Theory Founder

Ellen is a highly trained physiologist with a lifelong passion for health and fitness. Her desire to be on the cutting edge of fitness inspired Ellen to design “The Ultimate Workout,” which became the foundation for Orangetheory Fitness – hailed by the New York Times as an effective new plateau-busting workout. Ellen is a Partner and Founder of Orangetheory Fitness, and Owner of Ellen’s Ultimate Workout gym in Florida.

Inspired by her father Arthur Calandrelli, a very popular Physical Education teacher and coach in Niagara Falls, NY, Ellen has been motivating and training clients for over 35 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Buffalo in New York.

Before perfecting her signature workout, Ellen worked at the prestigious Bonaventure Spa when it was the main fitness retreat for the stars, as well as managed Williams Island Spa and The Eden Roc Spa on South Beach. She served as a TV fitness expert for six years, authored fitness columns for The Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel and earned the title of Business Woman of the Year in South Florida. Through her position as fitness editor for Women’s Fitness magazine, Ellen began focusing on Pilates and opened the first group equipment-based Pilates studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

When did you know fitness was in your blood and “your calling”? My father was a Physical Education Teacher and football coach . I often say I was not parented I was coached. He was my mentor and idol and I went to college for Physical Education and continued with a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology. I was born WITH FITNESS in my blood!
What did you do before you founded Orange Theory? I managed everything from YMCA’S, ATHLETIC CLUBS and WORLD CLASS SPAS. 15 years ago I decided to hang my own shingle and opened the first large group equipment based pilates studio.
What was your first Aha moment that started to get you to visualize the start of Orange Theory? I was frustrated with there not being any group fitness classes that all levels could participate in and get the highest metabolic conditioning. So I decided to create one.
Did you have any business mentors along the way? My fitness mentor was my father and I learned business from some of the best Directors who I worked for In the Spa Business.
Did you have any challenges getting started or launching your company? if so, what were they and how did you get through. I have 3 amazing partners that in the four years we have been developing this product have assisted in finding everything from the perfect price point , marketing, client retention and programming. We have much of this perfected.
What advice would you give to women looking to expand their business into multiple markets? It is a tremendous amount of work, but what I have found is if you have a FANTASTIC product it will find its way.
Did you have anyone say “you are crazy to go on your own”? how did you handle it? You have to believe in yourself. People and things will try to take you down all the time. I have had to LEAN IN a many of times.
Orange Theory has had amazing growth and it seems to continue to expand. What are your future plans for your company? We have just sold our 400th studio. We plan to expand more internationally and create what we refer to as AN ORANGE MOVEMENT! We plan to change the health of the nation ONE HEARTBEAT AT A TIME.
Lastly, what do you do daily to relax, focus or regroup? RELAX??? I try to get a massage and facial regularly, that relaxes me. I enjoy reading and doing my solo workouts in my home gym
Top 3 advice tips to share with women in business? Push past your fears, network with other women for support and keep telling yourself WHY NOT YOU!
Ellen Latham Orange Theory
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