UPDATED 09:00 EDT / JULY 10 2020


How Orangetheory Fitness pivoted to a digital business with AWS cloud

With the unexpected closure of its business premises because of lockdown measures imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19, health and fitness company Orangetheory Fitness was facing a nightmare scenario.

The company, which offers specialized interval training programs and uses “internet of things” heart rate devices to monitor the fitness of its customers at its 1,200 studios across the U.S., suddenly saw its entire business model swept from under its feet. And it was faced with a stark choice: Either become one of the millions of businesses in the U.S. that have already closed down temporarily and risk never reopening, or quickly adapt its model to keep its business up and running.

Orangetheory quickly set about formulating a strategy for the latter option. In a blog post today, cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services Inc. revealed how it worked closely with the company, using AWS Amplify and Amplify Video services to create a series of full video workouts that would enable its customers to continue with their fitness programs from their own homes.

Delivering an “at home” experience over the web from scratch isn’t easy. Tasks such as building video processing pipelines are an extremely complicated challenge, even for a dedicated software company, never mind one that’s focused on fitness. Besides requiring expertise, internet video consumers a lot of code development.

Orangetheory, already an AWS customer, quickly realized that its only feasible option was to turn to its cloud computing partner for help. What it needed was to create a production-ready, highly scalable video solution in the fastest time possible.

AWS recommended that Orangetheory use its AWS Amplify and Amplify Video services as the solution. AWS Amplify is a set of tools that developers can use to build secure and scalable web-based applications in double-quick time. Amplify Video is an open source plugin for AWS Amplify that makes it easier to build serverless, video-enabled,web and mobile applications. Developers can create both video-on-demand and livestreaming applications.

Using AWS Amplify and Amplify Video, Orangetheory’s development team, led by its Enterprise Solutions Architect Pedro González, created an entirely new, video-based product called OrangetheoryAtHome that can scale up to more than 1 million users. Most crucially, González’s team were able to get the new product up and running, and make it available to the company’s users through its mobile and web applications, in under an hour.


“From the time AWS pointed me to the Video plugin code repository and the Amplify CLI, the initial setup was under an hour,” González recounted. “We didn’t require any changes to our native iOS/Android code, we simply replaced the backend and the Amplify video plugin did the work.”

Had Orangetheory attempted to build and troubleshoot the information technology architecture for OrangetheoryAtHome by itself, González estimates it would have taken at the very least, a full week of dedicated engineering and developer time.

“We were able to hand off to the frontend development team so they could embed into the app and build our proprietary workout telemetry around it,” González said. “We had an incredibly fast turnaround cycle with development and QA to build an integrated app experience with the AtHome video content. Our studios closed on March 13th and we launched AtHome in our application on March 21st.”

And Orangetheory’s new video-based workouts have proven to be so popular that the company has actually generated more business and opportunities as a result of the pandemic.

“One unexpected result has been an increase in heart rate monitor sales as customers want to continue to reach their fitness goals while using the OrangetheoryAtHome video content,” González said. “Additionally, using Amplify has allowed us to expand our offering to include running programs through our app.”

Photos: Orangetheory

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