Catherine Henze is a firecracker, both literally and figuratively. Aside from striving to put more life in her life on a day to day basis, the 61-year-old is a retired firefighter (and the first female hired for the city, at that) in Boulder, Colorado.

But despite the quiet routine retired life brought to her after 30 years in the field, Cathy needed more. “I needed an intense workout to keep me in shape,” she explained. “Orangetheory did just that. Since then, it has kept me ready for anything my growing grandsons can throw at me. From bike riding to hiking, camping and swimming, Grandma can keep up.”

Cathy first heard of Orangetheory from her best friend and workout partner, Sarah. Bored of their exercise routine, they figured they had nothing to lose by taking a free Orangetheory class. “After that first session, we were both signed up within the hour,” she explained. “We were hooked!” Since then, Cathy and Sarah have been avid members and have noticed positive change. For Cathy, she has felt physically stronger and toned throughout her body, especially with her arms, aka no “bingo-wings.”

Cathy hasn’t just become physically stronger, but mentally as well. In 2016, she fell and broke her neck playing with her grandkids. Instead of remaining stagnant and giving up exercise, she decided to continue working out at Orangetheory. “The coaches and workout has provided me a sense of self-accomplishment and pride,” she said. “Knowing I’m physically and mentally stronger and seeing the toned results gives me confidence to keep at it.”


Cathy (right) with her workout bud, Sarah.


But that’s not all – Cathy even managed to improve not just her physical and mental well-being, but the bond among her family as well. Her daughter, grandson, nieces and son in law are all members, and even work out together at times. “My daughter and grandson join me at Orangetheory as often as they can. We love to challenge each other during our workouts,” she said. “It gives us family time doing the workout together, plus the travel time before and after the workout. Not only that, but it gets us ready for physical summertime activities when there might be snow on the ground.”


Her daughter Charity in particular is reaping the most benefits. Not only does she feel great, but she is running races and winning in her age divisions for the first time ever. “Orangetheory has made me a better mother and grandmother because I encourage my family to challenge themselves both physically and mentally, and that fitness can be fun,” added Cathy.

Orangetheory strives to bring more life to our mothers, their family and the rest of our members. Click here to try your first class and see how Orangetheory can bring more life to you.

 The truth is that we’re not all destined in the womb to become triathletes, weight lifting champions, or genetic miracles. Oftentimes the pressures of work, school, or life in general lead us in the path of complacency. Sedentary lifestyles become reality and being any sort of “athletic” seems a goal too lofty to strive for. Take the story of Michael Piermarini, for instance.

Someone may glance at the former triathlete and runner and be envious of his athletic ability. But what they don’t know is that he was not born with this ability or his physique: he earned it.

You see, Piermarini was not always in the best of shape. Five years prior to competing on Team USA in the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships, he was more than 100 pounds heavier.  “Honestly, I was always kind of a ‘big kid’ growing up,” he confessed. “I was working out completely differently – powerlifting, long weight lifting sessions, etc. – but not really ‘skinny’ or ‘lean.’”

The turning point came in the shape of a friendly competition with a friend. Piermarini was challenged to participate in a half marathon while he was still attending St. Edward's University in Austin, TX (prior, he completed a 5k and a 10k). Said Piermarini, “When a best friend tells you that you won’t do something, what do you do? You absolutely do it.”

From there, it was all uphill. Since his first race, the former triathlete put numerous challenges, including half-marathons, marathons, and numerous, various distance duathlon and triathlon events, under his [race] belt. Yet, his favorite flavor was the duathlon – a mentally challenging, physically confusing, run-bike-run event.

9 months after a duathlon and multiple triathlon events, including national championships in Dallas, Piermarini found himself receiving a call and email inviting him to a world championship event.  No, not as a spectator, but as a participant. And of Team USA, nonetheless.

Often referred to as the most famous and toughest duathlon in the world, the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Switzerland consisted of a 10-kilometer run, 150-kilometer bike, and a 30-kilometer run with hills that have you begging for decline. Despite him never biking or running that far of a race distance, Piermarini accepted the challenge. Working with coaches, physicians, dieticians, and recovery experts, he trained day-in and day-out to mentally and physically prepare. The key to preparation was the incorporation of Orangetheory Fitness classes into his 6 day a week workout routine. With grueling training paired with a hectic schedule behind him, Piermarini successfully completed the race as a member of Team USA/USA Triathlon on September 6, 2015.

Fast forward to present time. Piermarini is now Director of Fitness at Orangetheory Fitness headquarters and is featured as a subject matter expert in articles published in Fast Company, Men’s Journal, Shape, Today and Triathlete Magazine. To say his story is merely a success is an understatement: it is proof. Hard, solid proof that weight loss can be achieved mainly by one of the most important muscles of your body. Which muscle, you ask? The brain. When asked how  his weight loss journey led him to being a director of Orangetheory Fitness, Piermarini replied, “It added a sense of empathy and relatability. Being able to share the story with a member who is struggling with a plateau or sense of failure, goes a long way. A lot of times, we, as people, want to feel accepted and heard. When you can hear someone out and relate to them, it builds credibility and lights a fire for improvement.”

[Some] just think I’ve always been skinny and that working out is ‘easy.’ When I show them photos, they have trouble believing it,” said Piermarini. “It’s inspired children to aim for Team USA and [has] motivated others to lose weight and achieve their personal health and fitness goals. Honestly, if it inspires or motivates one person to aim for something they didn’t know they could do, that would make the blood, sweat, and tears worth it.”

And much like those out there struggling with weight loss, they too can earn it. One must overcome mental blocks in order to succeed. “Have faith in yourself. Not every conversation or day will be your best,” advised Piermarini. “Not every person you meet will like you. Not every deal or idea will be accepted and come to fruition. Don’t let these create a mindset of personal faults. Embrace dejection, stay resilient and view every interaction as an opportunity to learn. Listen more than you talk and watch what happens."

He added, “The mind quits before the body does.” Start your journey here.

Encouragement. Excitement. Empowerment. The three Es of group fitness, and the three Es that transformed the life of one of our dedicated, loyal members of Orangetheory Fitness. And we want to share his story. 


Riddled with health issues that the doctor advised would be mitigated with a healthy weight loss program, John C.’s dad decided to bring 29-year-old son to Orangetheory Fitness Charleston for his first free class. He communicated to the staff at the location that his son would need a lot of help, and the staff was more than willing to accommodate his needs.

John could barely walk on the treadmill and had major difficulty getting on and off the rower. For this reason, one of the trainers opted to take class right next to him, to assist him with the movements during the busy class setting.

Upon completion of John’s first class, his dad paid for the first two- months in cash – credit cards weren’t really their thing. John doesn’t own a smart phone or a computer, either, so booking every class was done through the front desk personnel. In today’s technology-driven society, it’s a breath of fresh air when we get to see human interactions take the place of virtual communications, and we allow the near extinct idea of “customer service” that we at Orangetheory pride ourselves on, to have meaning.


John’s journey went from barely walking, to walking without holding onto the rails, to jogging every now and then. And this was just the beginning.


Jessica P., the regional manager at the Charleston location, recaps an eye-opening experience featuring this humble being during one of Orangetheory’s annual fitness benchmark challenges, Peak Performance Week.


“The last day of the week was the one-mile challenge, and the goal is to see how fast you can run one mile. John took his normal 6:15am class and people were finishing their miles in 5, 6, 7 minutes. He was the last person on the treadmill and the block was 15 minutes long. I happened to be taking class that day and the trainer, Keith, came up to me and said, "I am going to get John to finish this mile no matter how long it takes." Well, he did just that. 


Class was about over and members could see that John still needed some distance to finish. Instead of continuing their reps or cleaning their station and heading to their car- they rallied behind him and started to cheer. Keith encouraged the class to cheer him on and every tenth of a mile the cheers got louder. I think I can speak for everyone in that room that we all had chills or tears in our eyes when John crossed the finish line and let out the biggest fist pump in history! 


We had members finish their mile in 5 minutes that day (running 12 mph the whole time), but the biggest inspiration to us was watching John finish his mile. His story is one that should be shared to ANYONE who is starting their fitness journey. This is why Orangetheory Fitness (especially our Charleston location) is so special. This is not normal. Not only has John's life been changed, but he has 100% changed the lives of our staff.” 

Watch the video below to see for yourself!



So, what’s the takeaway? We can share thousands of stories from members across the world in all walks of life, whose lives have been transformed by Orangetheory.


These stories, like John’s, may move you to tears.


But what truly makes the Orangetheory experience remarkable? That is, something that is worth making a remark about?


Orangetheory embodies each of these 3 aspects of group fitness, and takes them to an entirely different level.


Encouragement: At-home fitness apps may be a way of the future, but do they come with a built-in cheering system? Can they read your body cues, and tune into your emotional state during your ‘All Out’ moments? Not only do you receive encouragement from your fellow Orangetheory family members, but you get the opportunity of being the source of encouragement for every other Tom, Dick, and Harry out there making strides in their fitness journey because of you.

Excitement: There’s no other workout that combines a personalized workout experience with a group dynamic. No longer will your eyes be glued to the treadmill, each second seemingly lasting for eternity. For once, a 60-minute high-intensity interval training workout will go by in the blink of an eye, because you’ve got a support team rallying behind you, every step of the way. You get the chance to ignite your new love affair, with Orangetheory fitness, that is.

Empowerment: This is the essence of what the video captured, and words cannot fully express. It’s the power of a team coming together for a common goal, and laying the groundwork for inspiration, motivation, and progress in each other’s fitness journeys. The energy in the room becomes dynamic, with no shortage of inspiration that only escalates with each class.


There you have it. The three Es of group fitness in full effect.


Joining Orangetheory Fitness is so much more than adopting a fitness program to help you lose weight, get fit, or achieve whatever other personal fitness goal you had in mind. You get the opportunity to be inspired, and to inspire others with your success.

Go on and book your next class; be a part of something greater than yourself. You deserve it.