Photos: Orangetheory Fitness celebrates grand opening of Murfreesboro location

Photos by BingNan Li / MTSU Sidelines 

Story by Sergio Pacheco / Contributing Writer

Orangetheory Fitness kicked off the grand opening of its new location in Murfreesboro on Medical Center Parkway Thursday with a tour of the new studio and food for guests.

Meghan Claster Littlejohn, the owner of the Murfreesboro location, said that OTF offers one-hour full-body workout classes. These classes take place in a studio with personal training in a small group setting. The classes provide high-intensity interval training, which raises and lowers the heart rate.

The one-hour workout focuses on endurance, strength and power. People schedule and reserve a spot in class, show up for one hour and the next class comes in.

“What really makes each individual studio successful are the people that we hire, the coaches, people that work with members to help them get results,” Littlejohn said. “If you think about large gyms, you can have a membership for a long time and never really get results or show up. With OTF, we want you here because if you show up, you will get results, and that’s what it’s all about … People are crazy about OTF because they are proud of the work that they put in and the results of how they look after going to OTF.”

OTF’s goal is to have their members achieve a minimum of 12 minutes in the “orange zone.”

“When we’re training with heart rate zones, the fourth heart rate zone is orange, which creates an afterburn effect,” Littlejohn said. “This effect creates (an) epoch, which is excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. When your body is used to working out at (a) certain level, like 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, you plateau. However, when you take your heart to 84 percent of your maximum heart rate for short bursts, you start boosting your metabolism, burn more fat, increase lean muscle and can burn calories to up to 36 hours after your workout by just getting 12 minutes in that hour in the orange zone.”

Littlejohn looks for employees that have a certain passion, an interest in fitness, excellent customer service, a great work ethic and someone who’s always smiling and happy. She wants both her customers and employees to feel comfortable at OTF.

She said that she lays out her plans and invites feedback. She also stated that she tries to set OTF apart from other gyms by caring more about what her customers want and believes that there’s always room for improvement.

“People don’t always have a loving relationship with exercise,” Littlejohn said. “If we can make the experience a little bit easier for them and make them feel like this is a great place to be, then they’re going to want to continue to exercise.”

Littlejohn recognized that of all the states in the country, Tennessee isn’t known for being the healthiest. She said that she moved her family to Middle Tennessee because she wants to change lives.

“This market is particularly great because of the economic growth, businesses and the people that are moving here,” Littlejohn said.

Her responsibility is to make sure that OTF creates a safe and clean environment for employees and members.

“With that comes constant training, constant development and creating opportunities for people,” Littlejohn said. 

“Along all the boring business aspects of it, there is an obligation to people who chose OTF because there are a lot of choices out there for exercising,” Littlejohn said. “We have to deliver an exceptional product and exceptional team if we’re going to compete in that space.”

She is part of the learning and development committee for the franchise’s advisory board and represents OTF globally. She provides feedback to the franchise on how they can deliver better training and development to OTF all over the world.

Littlejohn has a bachelor’s degree in communications and was the vice president of a healthcare recruiting firm for 17 years. She later realized that she was running someone else’s business, and one of the things that she fell in love with was working out at an OTF as a member.

“My husband and I started as members because we hadn’t found anything quite like OTF, which we had great success with in fitness,” Littlejohn said. “We believed in it. Because of our background, his in science and in the medical field and mine in running a business and hiring, recruiting and training, we felt that it was a good fit … We decided to relocate our family from South Florida to Middle Tennessee, and it basically changed our lives. So, we wanted to change others.”

Regional OTF Trainer Bird Thompson’s goal in life is to impact people in a positive way.

“I love diversity and different types of people,” Thompson said. “Here at OTF, you get every level of fitness from pro-athletes to a couch potato, and they’re all set up for success. You also have senior citizens all the way down to teenagers, so it’s such a vast diversity and big group. The science behind OTF, to be able to see your real-time results immediately on the screen and to see results happen throughout not just one class, but over many classes is amazing. Results vary from your heart becoming more efficient or stronger to body coordination and stamina and strength and flexibility and attitude.”

Andrew Randle, a coach at OTF, said that not all OTF studios are the same. They all do the same workouts, but the coaches are different. The style, in some ways, is different. Randle likes working and traveling, and Orangetheory gives him the opportunity to do both.

“Having the environment around you, even if you don’t like working out around people, can help focus on yourself,” Randle said. “When we work out by ourselves sometimes, we don’t tend to motivate ourselves … This gives you that environment of a coach pushing you and your peers pushing you as well. It challenges you to not only set a goal but to destroy that goal and set something new.”

The new Orangetheory Fitness is located at 2615 Medical Center Parkway.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email

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