While the Rio Grande Valley has no shortage of traditional gyms for its residents to work out in, one particular fitness studio has set itself apart from the crowd.
Texas state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, along with his business partners, wife Jaime Lucio, and Michael Gutierrez, opened his first Orangetheory Fitness location in his hometown of Brownsville on Nov. 20, 2017. His second Orangetheory Fitness location in Harlingen opened Dec. 28, 2018.
Orangetheory Fitness studios offer members group personal training workouts based on high intensity interval training that blends cardiovascular and strength training. According to its website, orangetheoryfitness.com, Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored group interval fitness concept was formulated to stimulate metabolism and increase energy levels all while providing members with group support and coaches’ guidance.
Lucio said when he first started working at the Legislature as a young attorney in 2007, he noticed that he and his colleagues’ physical activity levels were declining, they were slowly gaining weight, and feeling unhealthy overall. He decided to make healthy changes for himself and encouraged his colleagues to do the same.
“I started inviting staff to work out together. We would host seminars at work where medical professionals would come and take our blood pressure and teach about making healthier choices, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator,” he said.
Within a few months’ time, he and his colleagues started to see not only physical changes, but positive mental changes as well, such as improved mood and mental clarity.
“At this point, I was already a promoter of fitness, but I never thought it would turn into a business,” Lucio said. Years later, “when we were looking at different industries to invest in, [Orangetheory] seemed like such a natural fit.”
He said that his business partners each bring a different vital component to the business that helps it to thrive. “I just spoke to high school students about entrepreneurs,” Lucio said. “One of their teachers actually joined our Orangetheory studio and wanted us to address them.”
One of the pieces of advice Lucio gave the students about starting a business was to surround themselves with people who have expertise that they do not.
Lucio said that he was fortunate to have his two business partners possess different areas of expertise than he did, which made for an ideal business team. Gutierrez had already been a successful personal trainer for over 16 years, which strengthened the fitness side of the business, while Lucio’s wife, Jaime, had a great understanding of finances, which brought the financial component. Lucio himself had spent most of his career in marketing and sales in addition to his legal background.
“It just made for such a cohesive team,” he said. “If you want to grow your business, you have to put the right people in place on your team to make that happen. If it wasn’t for putting together this great team, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
And in its first year of business, it has indeed grown.
Brownsville’s Orangetheory Fitness studio currently includes about 750 members. Class sizes normally range anywhere from 32 to 48 members per class. Classes are offered weekdays from 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., accommodating all types of schedules.
A typical Orangetheory Fitness workout is about an hour in length and includes both cardiovascular and strength-training intervals with periodic breaks. Workouts range within five different levels of monitored heart rate zones and are designed for members to spend 12 or more minutes in the Orange Zone to raise their heart rate between 84 to 91 percent of their heart rate maximum.
Members rotate between starting on treadmills, bikes, and striders. The second half of the class takes place on the weight-room floor, using a variety of equipment. Fitness coaches are available to help correct form, coach and work with every member individually.
Lucio said that the dedication of his staff is part of what keeps members coming back.
“We’ve created an inviting studio culture where our members look forward to coming in and being a part of our community,” he said. “There is so much satisfaction that comes from hearing members say that they are meeting their fitness goals and it’s changing their lives.”
Brownsville Orangetheory Fitness
3230 Pablo Kisel Blvd., Suite E-109 Brownsville, TX 78526
Facebook- Orangetheory Fitness Brownsville
Harlingen Orangetheory Fitness
6710 W. Expressway 83, Suite 104, Harlingen, TX 78552
Facebook- Orangetheory Fitness Harlingen