New Orangetheory Fitness gym of former Fever star Douglas has no basketball goals

Katie Douglas is all smiles as she goes through a workout with Rich Nye.
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GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) - Recently, I accepted an invitation to work out at Orangetheory Fitness in Greenwood with franchise owner Katie Douglas. The former star of Perry Meridian High School, Purdue, and the Indiana Fever opened her new gym, which has no basketball goals, April 28.

"This is home," said Douglas. "It feels so good. I wake up every morning super excited to go to work, kind of like when I was playing."

Douglas was introduced to Orangetheory Fitness in Florida while she was still playing professionally. There are over 700 locations nationally.

"I fell in love with it because it was for all fitness levels," said Douglas. "It's heart rate based. It challenges you. You can play games with yourself in here. You can challenge yourself. You can challenge another member. I love the music. I love the atmosphere."

The studio glows orange, a constant reminder of the theory behind this one hour, high-intensity, interval training.

"This helps me maintain," said the 38-year-old Douglas, who claims she can still play a mean game of H-O-R-S-E, but not competitive basketball. "You know I'm not Katie Douglas, the WNBA All-Star athlete anymore. It's so funny to work out with other members because they're like, 'You're a professional athlete.' I'm like, 'ex'."

Upbeat music plays over the speakers while class coach Kelly Hewitt shouts always-changing instructions and encouragement to almost 40 members at three rotating stations.

Douglas' gym is on the south side, but she has plans to open an Orangetheory downtown.
Douglas' gym is on the south side, but she has plans to open an Orangetheory downtown.

"I absolutely fell in love, first class," said 31-year-old Lacy Whitaker, a founding member at the Greenwood studio. "It's never the same workout. I'm always pushed. When I start to think I'm getting the hang of it, they switch it up and I'm challenged again. I like that challenge, pushing myself and getting stronger."

Everyone in class wears a heart rate monitor on their wrist. The video screens around the room constantly show each client how fast their heart is beating in five colored zones measured as a percentage of their maximum heart rate. The goal is to reach the orange zone of push exertion for 12-20 minutes combined during the hour. Fitness science says that should stimulate an afterburn of calories for up to 36 hours after the workout.

"One-hour workout is four percent of your day," said Douglas, "so we're not asking for a lot. Here at Orangetheory, we run classes on time. We respect that everybody's got such busy time, busy lives, busy schedules. We guarantee you will be in and out, have a fantastic, awesome workout in one hour."

I rotated from the rowing machine, to weights, to the treadmill. I worked hard and never stopped. I actually spent too much time in the orange and red zones (maximum effort), 32 minutes with an average heart rate of 148 beats per minute. I burned 907 calories. If I was in better shape, my heartbeat would recover more quickly to the green base zone throughout the workout.

"I'm not in the best of shape, so trying to get back down in that green is hard," said Orangetheory Fitness member Katie Nikou, a 31-year-old teacher. "But I've noticed a difference already just coming for a month, that my heart rate is coming down and recovering quicker. The board drives my class the entire time. When she says, 'Get to your push,' I watch it and make sure I am in that orange. When she says, 'all out' I'm in that red and I need to do that."

The Greenwood gym opens at 5:00 a.m. Monday-Friday and 6:45 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with multiple classes throughout the day. Memberships are sold month-to-month at various levels of workout sessions per month. Almost 700 people have joined since the gym opened in April.

"People are losing all kinds of weight," said Douglas, who is hands-on with daily operations. "I'm all about getting the south side more fit, healthier. It's all about coming in here, getting your burn on, those 12-20 minutes at Orangetheory. Orange was my way to kind of stay connected to my community. I come excited every day. I love being a business owner. The thing I do is I learn every single day."

Douglas plans to open a second Orangetheory Fitness location in downtown Indy, perhaps by the end of this year.