For Scott Marcus, a family vacation in Florida led to a passion for a new high-intensity exercise program and then a business that he brought to Michigan.
Now the owner of four Orangetheory Fitness studios in Metro Detroit — Birmingham, Northville, Troy and the latest one, which opened in Farmington Hills in March — Marcus and his wife, Dana, stumbled on the increasingly popular group interval fitness training when vacationing in Davie, near Fort Lauderdale.
The couple, who live in Birmingham with their two sons aged 13 and 10, were looking for an exercise class to try and discovered Ellen’s Ultimate Fitness Workout. The studio offered high-intensity workouts that combined intervals of conditioning and strength training. This is believed to lead to EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) meaning that after workouts, calories continue to burn for up to 36 hours, and many enthusiasts feel more energized and toned.
“During our trip, Dana and I enjoyed the classes so much that we went back twice more and then, on a trip to Phoenix, again looking for an exercise class, I found one of the first Orangetheory Fitness studios, which was created by the founder of Ellen’s Ultimate Fitness Workout, Ellen Latham,” explains Marcus, a member of Temple Israel.
Marcus’ professional journey started as a lawyer, before moving into real estate development where he co-founded RSM Development and Management, a company with a portfolio of more than 1 million square feet. In addition, Marcus and his partners, Howard and David Jacobson, own more than 2,500 apartments across Michigan.
Given the demands of his current business ventures, he wasn’t looking for an exercise business. “I started following the Orangtheory Fitness brand from its earliest days, kept pondering about the concept and saw how fast the franchise was growing. Every time I had the opportunity to take a class in other parts of the country, I did,” Marcus said.
“I was really impressed with the program; people who had never been able to reach their fitness goals before were now able to do so.”
One notable feature of Orangetheory classes is the heart rate monitors, so participants work at a pace based upon their own maximum heart rate (target zone) to boost metabolism and increase energy.
Four years ago, Marcus decided to bring Orangetheory Fitness to Michigan. He opened his first studio in Canton, a location that was ultimately sold, followed by the four others he now owns. In addition, Marcus is also the area developer, selling the franchise to others in Michigan. Currently, there are 11 Orangetheory Fitness studios in the state, with an additional seven planned to open by next year.
Beyond expanding Orangtheory Fitness and his real estate development business, Marcus is a passionate believer in supporting the Jewish and wider community. He was co-chair of ORT’s Rub-A-Dub event held in August, co-sponsor of the Becker-Marcus All-Star Mission, which took 12 NEXTGen adults to Israel, and he is on the board of both Hebrew Free Loan and Jewish Senior Life.
“There is a history of local businesses and entrepreneurs giving back to the Jewish community,” Marcus said. “It’s all been done before; I’m not doing anything different, but I feel like I owe it to continue this tradition.”
Earlier this month, his Birmingham studio donated 13 treadmills and 13 rowers to three local nonprofit organizations: Ground Up Training System (a special needs gym in Ferndale), the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program and STEP Central (Services to Enhance Potential, which helps people with disabilities obtain employment).
On Saturday, Oct. 7, Orangetheory Fitness is organizing and sponsoring “Run the Raceway,” which includes three races — a 1-mile, 5K and 10K — on the M1 Concourse racetrack in Pontiac to benefit GenYOUth.
“I never left Michigan. I grew up here and graduated from the University of Michigan and Wayne State Law School and obviously have such a strong affinity for our state,” he said. “Bringing Orangetheory here feels so much more than a business to me; it’s a way of changing lives for the better.”
Alison Schwartz Special to the Jewish News
Alison Schwartz is vice president of public relations for CKC Agency.