What Inclusion Looks Like.

If you haven’t heard, Orangetheory Fitness is the newest chic fitness boutique to top the popularity charts. So what makes them different? Orangetheory is a full body one hour workout that uses heart rate-based interval training to burn calories more effectively. Members’ heart rates are monitored and displayed on large screens throughout the studio; making it easier to work out within individual heart rate zones.

Orangetheory Fitness Cambridge opened their doors last July. Manager, Alisha Bard, used the business model of their Guelph location as a guide, where being a part of the community is important to franchise owners. Orangetheory Fitness Guelph worked with Community Living Guelph Wellington to hire a woman with a developmental disability; a partnership that has been a huge success. The Guelph staff highly recommended hiring through Community Living so they contacted the Community Living Cambridge Supported Employment team, and Rachel Bast was asked to come in for an interview.

Rachel had a good feeling about working for Orangetheory Fitness from the first time she walked through the door.  She was thrilled when she heard she got the job and has been happily working here since September. The staff have creatively given Rachel the title, ‘maintenance engineer.’ She cleans the studio, equipment, and bathrooms. Rachel says, “It’s a positive atmosphere and everyone treats me well.” She admits she prefers a quieter atmosphere and she feels she works better that way. They have modified her work hours so she comes in between classes when the place is quiet, which is where Rachel feels she works best.

When Ally Steeves, Sales Associate at Orangetheory, learned that Rachel’s dream was to ride in a limo for her 50th birthday, but it had never happened; she wanted to make it a reality for Rachel. Even though her birthday had already passed, Ally mentioned her idea to her coworkers and they were all hands on deck to help make this a dream come true for Rachel. To Rachel’s surprise, for their staff Christmas dinner, she was picked up by a limousine, and driven with her coworkers to Waterloo for a fancy dinner. The staff were then taken bowling for more laughter and a night many will never forget.

Ally describes this as her favourite day at Orangetheory, and admitted there were a few tears in the house that night. As Amanda, another coworker describes the evening as being, “the best moment here ever, it was fantastic to experience.”

This is as beautiful picture of what true inclusion looks like. Rachel has a job, where she earns a fair wage in a competitive market for the work she was hired to do.  With a few minor modifications to suit when Rachel can perform her best, Rachel has become a successful employee in an inclusive workplace.

Not only does Orangetheory promote diversity in employment but they also believe and practise local philanthropy. For Race to Erase last September, (where teams compete in challenges throughout the community to support local charities) Orangetheory entered a team to participate with CLC as their designated charity to receive the funds. Thank you Orangetheory Fitness Cambridge for your commitment to the needs in our community!