Tone Up T-Town: Orangetheory Fitness Gets You in the Zone

Sales associate Marisha Smith (left) and studio manager Samantha Shannon are all smiles, welcoming new clients to Orangetheory Fitness every day. Sales associate Marisha Smith (left) and studio manager Samantha Shannon are all smiles, welcoming new clients to Orangetheory Fitness every day. Sheena Gregg

It’s been called the “best one-hour workout in the country,” and now Orangetheory Fitness is making its mark in Tuscaloosa. Though Orangetheory Fitness has been in T-Town for less than a year, its popularity has spread like wildfire. According to studio coach Danielle Johnson, it’s all in the science of their workouts. 

“The ‘orange theory’ is to work for 1 hour and burn for 36. OTF is a results-driven workout backed by science,” she said. “We offer full-body workouts that focus on endurance, strength, and power. Members wear a heart rate monitor and can see their results in real-time on TVs throughout the studio.”  

Studio coaches use the heart rate information on the screen to motivate clients with high intensity group personal training sessions.  

“These result in more energy, visible toning, and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours. We do so by training in all five heart rate zones, specifically zones 3,4,5 which are above 72, 84, and 92 percent of max heart rate, respectively,” said Johnson. 

Aside from watching heart rate and calorie progress during workouts, Orangetheory Fitness believes members keep coming back due to the level of community that’s built within its gym.  

Posing for a quick photo with coach Katie Callahan after I survived burpees and the treadmill.


“At OTF, we are passionate about establishing nurturing relationships with our members, as well as our community. We actively engage with our members from the start of their fitness journey with us, in effort to build our community foundation and assist with meeting fitness goals and creating new ones,” said Studio Manager Samantha Shannon. “Our staff is motivated by our members’ success and encouraged to think of new ways to exceed expectations.” 

Shannon says Orangetheory is about more than just a regular exercise routine. 

“I like to use the term ‘Fit Family,’ because once you’re a member at our studio, we become more than just a place you go to work out … we become an addition to your life.” 

Giving OTF a whirl my first time, I hesitantly put on my best pair of running shoes and strapped on the studio’s heart rate monitor. I was relieved to see modifications on the treadmill for power walkers, joggers, and runners, also noticing the diversity in age and fitness levels in the room with me. The one-hour workout went by fast as we rotated between the treadmills, rowers, and weight room. As I finished out the workout with a stretching session led by my coach, Katie, I was blown away when I noticed I’d burned over 500 calories in my workout.  

With a free trial class for everyone, OTF is likely to become the most accomplished one-hour part of your day. With its unique daily workouts and awesome staff, it’s clear that OTF will have a home in Tuscaloosa for a very long time.  

Orangetheory Fitness is located within the Shoppes at Legacy Park, next to Cherry Blow Dry Bar. For more information, visit 

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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