Pictured: Dane Haye, founder-operator Orangetheory Fitness. Photo submitted. 

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Orangetheory Fitness
4360 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-507-8080
1656 Arneill Road, Camarillo, 805-764-1515

Are you from Ventura County originally?

I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest (Greater Seattle Area), then moved to Arizona to escape from the rain.  And that’s when it all began; my love for Orangetheory Fitness!  It was in Phoenix, Arizona that I was introduced to Orangetheory in its early stages.  After touring the second-ever location in Scottsdale and taking a class at the Paradise Valley studio, I knew this exciting new company had struck fitness gold with their concept — which gets their members great results and I wanted to be a part of it.  After working for the company for a couple of years, my family and I explored franchise opportunities with Orangetheory and learned that there were locations available to own and operate in Ventura County close to family.  Once we were able to secure franchise licenses, I packed up everything I owned to begin my exciting new life in California!  I currently reside in Camarillo.

When did you open your business?

I opened my first Orangetheory location in 2015.  I knew from the special connections with members (and even some life-long friendships) that I was doing what I was meant to be doing.  What is better than helping others become healthy and strong and getting to share in their journey?  

What inspired you to start this business?

Growing up, I wasn’t in the best shape and certainly was not the most athletic kid on the block.  Being from a family with a fitness background, this was especially uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing and even depressing.  As a child I always admired the rest of my family for how fit and active they were, even though it made me feel like somewhat of an outcast. In high school, I took a life-changing trip with my family to Europe. We walked all over the towns we visited, ate healthier than what I was used to and even ended most nights with family fitness challenges (mainly push up challenges). After the three-week trip, I and many others noticed the change in my physique and it really boosted my confidence and showed me how hard work and consistency can pay off in fitness. 

With Orangetheory Fitness we have changed many lives for the better. And in some cases, fitness and health have saved lives in addition to making people happier and more fulfilled. When could physical and mental fitness be more important than now during this pandemic crisis? Overall it has been an incredibly rewarding career.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I start my day by feeding and letting out my dog, Thor.  He’s a big baby and LOVES coming to Orangetheory to see the members.

After getting Thor taken care of, I spend a few minutes on prayer and reflection, focusing mainly on all I’m grateful for in my life. This sets the mindset table for the day and gets me centered.  

From here, I check emails and respond to miscellaneous work texts before hitting the gym.  Being in fitness every workday has its own agendas and items to attack. Hitting the gym earlier in the day works for me as it gets my blood pumping and my brain firing.

From there, it’s time to refuel with food and then get Thor his walk before coaching classes, then cleaning and closing the studio(s).  After work I enjoy cooking at the house with some music on and the occasional glass of wine. 

What do you find most challenging about your work? What’s most rewarding?

The most challenging part of business is finding and keeping good employees. The good ones are always worth keeping as they act as a bridge to help our members reach their goals.  I intentionally seek out people who don’t just come to work for a paycheck but share my passion for helping others improve their quality of life and create a true fitness community.  

The most rewarding part of this business is watching members over time and learning about their lives. Their kids’ and dogs’ names. Their work. And about what Orangetheory means and does for them and for their life.  Their “WHY.”   As a coach, it’s also incredibly rewarding to see members improve their treadmill speeds, rowing performance and strength training over time!  Best of all is seeing a member whose heart rate is recovering faster in class because their most important muscle — the heart — is getting STRONGER. This coincides with our company-wide mantra, which  is “More Life!”

Where do you see things going with your business in the near future? How about in the next 5-10 years?

With more fitness businesses focusing on the digital side of things, I think the industry will realize over time how important the person-to-person connections and relationships are when it comes to fitness and results. I look forward to keeping the in-person connections we’ve made over time and want to continue focusing on our members and their results over everything else. We pride ourselves on being the originators and leaders in heart rate-based training since 2010 and that’s what we will aim to continue doing.  

I think the public is realizing that facilities or equipment that they don’t use is a waste of money. We like to say “$10 is stupid expensive for a gym (or equipment) that doesn’t get you results and $100 is inexpensive for something that changes your life.” People will lose interest if they don’t get results, get injured, are allowed to plateau or don’t enjoy what they are doing. People leave facilities but they don’t leave friends or results.