Michele Nesbitt, Orangetheory Fitness Franchisee
“I love knowing that I have a brand that is recognizable and growing worldwide. I feel lucky and proud to have this studio.”
After over 30 years as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Michele Nesbitt has seen many fitness trends come and go. So, when she first experienced the one-hour workout offered at Orangetheory Fitness, she was impressed.
“I loved that it was results-driven and catered to every age and fitness level,” Nesbitt says of the workout, which combines intense cardio intervals with blocks of strength training to provide maximum caloric burn. “It’s not just a gimmick or the latest trend; it’s based in science. That’s how I’ve always trained my clients so it was a pretty easy sell.”
Nesbitt, therefore, jumped at the chance to open Canada’s first Orangetheory Fitness studio in St. Albert, Alberta, along with partners Dave Hardy and Blake MacDonald. Their studio opened in October 2012 and has been building a steady client-base ever since.
As Canadian National Trainer, Studio Head Trainer and co-owner, Nesbitt’s responsibilities include everything from leading classes and training other instructors to overseeing front desk staff.
Nesbitt says the highlight of her day is working with clients, especially when they share personal success stories. “I get teary-eyed because you can see the difference in how they act and how they talk. They come out of their shells,” she says.
Head office has been there right from the beginning, says Nesbitt, from site selection to construction to grand opening promotion. In addition to support from the franchisor, Nesbitt says she can also turn to fellow Orangetheory Fitness franchisees for guidance and advice.
For those looking to invest in an Orangetheory Fitness franchise, Nesbitt says previous experience as a fitness instructor or trainer is not necessary, as long as franchisees bring in someone with a background in fitness.
“You must have a desire to want to help people reach their goals,” Nesbitt says, adding that Orangetheory Fitness franchisees should also be personable, approachable and compassionate.
Before investing, Nesbitt recommends getting to know the Orangetheory Fitness concept. “Really make sure you understand what the product is before you dive in. You have to love it and see the big picture and the vision,” she advises. That also means experiencing the Orangetheory workout first hand. “In my opinion, that’s what truly sells the franchise.”
Finally, Nesbitt advises new franchisees to build a great team. “Look for the characteristics that will make a difference in the experience your clients will have,” she says. “You can teach people to be fitness trainers or sales staff but you can’t train their personalities. I always go for personality first.”
With passionate franchisees like Nesbitt leading the way, Orangetheory Fitness is poised for rapid expansion across Canada. Nesbitt is glad to be along for the ride. “I love knowing that I have a brand that is recognizable and growing worldwide,” she says. “I feel lucky and proud to have this studio.”
Originally published in FranchiseCanada Magazine, March/April 2014