sw/EATS! Orange Theory Fitness and Bklyn Crepe!

James and Theo continue their exploration of North Flatbush’s dining and fitness options! 

Orangetheory Fitness!

Looking for a one-of-a-kind full-body workout that’s scientifically proven to burn calories and increase muscle tone? Orangetheory Fitness has you covered!

Orangetheory just hit 1100 members here in Park Slope! Want to know what all the buzz is about? Here are the deets:

The Class:

Orangetheory Fitness offers a 60 minute workout that rotates between 2 or 3 stations: rowing, running, and lifting. The HIIT (high intensity interval training) style class is designed to work all parts of your body.

The Science:

Every Orangetheory participant is given a heart rate monitor, which tracks your heart rate as you work out. Throughout the workout, you will enter different zones, based on your heart rate.

The zones are as follows:

Zone 1: very light activity, 50-60% of max heart rate

Zone 2: warm up, 61-70% of max heart rate

Zone 3: challenging but doable, 71-83% of max heart rate

Zone 4: orange effect, uncomfortable, 84-91% of max heart rate

Zone 5: all out effort! 92-100% of max heart rate

The “orange zone” is considered to be the ideal zone for increasing stamina and burning fat. This is where you achieve “EPOC” (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) — what Orangetheory calls the “Orange Effect / Afterburn.” The term “splat” was conceptualized as the “sound of a fat cell exploding.” In the world of Orangetheory, splat points indicate minutes spent in the orange and red zones. The goal is to accumulate at least 12 splat points in this zone within a 60-minute period to achieve the maximum caloric burn up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is completed.

NFBID’s Theo Boguszewski took Orangetheory for a test run. Here’s her evaluation:

In an Orangetheory Fitness class, the group gets split into either 2 or 3 smaller groups depending on how many stations there are, and participants rotate through the different stations with their group. The fast pace of the class takes a little getting used to as it requires thinking on your feet and responding quickly to instructions, but in general the class isn’t too complicated for a beginner.

Orangetheory’s state of the art facilities are absolutely gorgeous — they offer free locks and storage for your stuff, showers, and even a designated cool-down area for members to stretch after class. Everything is orange-tinted, a color intended to exude energy and vibrancy.

The great thing about an Orangetheory workout is that it is tailored to the individual — you go at your own pace, and work within the confines of your own body. While you’re working out with a group of people, there’s not a focus on competition. You can be inspired by the people around you while still giving your body a workout that’s unique and tailored to your fitness ability. When I’m done I feel energized, inspired, and fully worked out.

Membership Deets:

Orangetheory claims that “In 5 sessions, you will be feeling the difference. In 10 sessions, you will be seeing the difference. And in 20 sessions, you will be living in a completely different body!”

You can purchase a drop-in session at any studio for a one-off session. This, however, is the most expensive way to attend. Orangetheory memberships are priced based on the number of classes you intend to take per month. OTF Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Heights are all Premium locations, which means they offer extra amenities like showers, locker rooms, a towel service, salon quality hair products, hair dryers, lockers with locks on them, etc.

How does Orangetheory Fitness work with the local community?

Each month Orangetheory runs a “Refer & Receive” program that gives members incentives to bring in their friends. For example, the month I took class they were raffling off a $50 gift card to a local restaurant each week. Orangetheory tries to work with local businesses as much as possible for these types of promotions.

Orangetheory Park Slope hosts member mixers throughout the year and always include one to celebrate the end of a long challenge like the Transformation Challenge that runs every January – March. In the past, they have teamed up with local spots to host parties and love checking out new and fun things to do in the area!

What other fitness options would be a good complement to Orangetheory Fitness?

The Orangetheory workout is designed for a member to take 3-4x per week for optimal results. Orangetheory recommends getting all of your cardio and strength training with them and pairing it with at least one rest day a week and/or yoga or some type of recovery class.

Brooklyn Crepe and Juice!

It’s no secret to us that North Flatbush is full of amazing little gems, some more obvious than others. Brooklyn Crepe and Juice, established in 2008, “was founded with the idea that you should be able to get quick, healthy, affordable and high quality food and drinks served by friendly people.” This particular little gem of a space may be small, but they compensate with great staff, and their specialties of crepes, salads, fruit smoothies, and fresh juices all made from scratch and to order. Owner and frequent traveler, Evan Franca, was inspired to bring crepes to the neighborhood after a visit to Paris, but with a Brooklyn twist. The crepes are named after Brooklyn neighborhoods like the Bensonhurst with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato, grilled pepper, the Red Hook with dark chocolate, strawberry and whipped cream, and the Prospect Heights with marinated chicken, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and kale–all savory crepes come with a small house salad with an herb vinaigrette. Their menu also offers a nice selection of salads like the Greenpoint with smoked salmon, avocado, spinach, chickpeas and dill cucumber–named after the neighborhood where they source the local smoked salmon from ACME Fish, or the Bushwick with house-made marinated chicken, mushrooms, peppers and garlic basil dressing. As the temperatures drop, they offer limited soups—recently vegan 3-lentil chili and creamy chicken “pot-pie” options. 

Evan started his hospitality journey as a local Brooklyn high-schooler working at Michael’s Restaurant in Marine Park where he enjoyed the camaraderie and social dynamics of the industry. After enrolling in college at Binghamton upstate, Evan continued the journey opening up a food cart–“Franca’s Franks” where he was slinging sausages as he set up outside local college night spots. Eventually, he opened Cafe Oasis, a hookah lounge. But Evan was looking for more than what Binghamton’s slow-town vibe offered and longed to return to Brooklyn. Evan’s path to entrepreneurship was a typical one he says– he bought an existing business, sank life savings into the investment, moved home to save money, …and rallied!

Food and beverage businesses are challenging–being a sole-proprietor, turning minimal profits, managing his family and health, and hoping to afford hiring support staff and create more jobs for the neighborhood. One of the largest obstacles in running a small business Evan says, “Is hiring, training…maintaining staff is a feat of its own”. But keeping up with consumer needs and shifting eating habits has become the latest challenge: “behaviors have shifted…more business is coming from delivery…cooking at home is declining, eating out is flat, ordering in is major,” Evan states. He imagines, “the future concept may include incorporating technology with the consumer experience focusing on mobile ordering at a ‘virtual restaurant’ and expanding visibility in on-line platforms.” In 2015 they added vegan & gluten free crepes to the menu in addition to their signature whole wheat crepes (both sweet and savory). The smoothies are made with real fruit and their fresh juices are 100% natural and contain no added sugar, “So you don’t need to feel guilty about indulging in that nutella crepe.” 

Evan’s interest in food systems and waste management has him looking at some new sources coming from breweries’ spent grains. Owning restaurants has heightened his awareness around food access and acquisition–systems, climate impacts, and managing the industrial and local footprint this creates. “It became obvious that so many of these systems are intertwined, but we strive to minimize our business waste and maintain high-quality products while managing prices to allow easy access to healthy options.”

Brooklyn Crepe and Juice greets throngs of customers daily and efficiently cycles through the demand which is astounding in this postage sized outlet. With five stools at a window counter and al-fresco bench seating when the weather cooperates, it is definitely small but understandable in the retail market as Franca mentions, “I saw this opportunity on North Flatbush Avenue where visibility was high, traffic good, rents reasonable, and the neighborhood had a diverse vibrancy. Plus if felt like a crossroads physically, with Prospect Park and [at the time, an imminent] Barclays Center”. So Evan pursued acquiring the long running juicery “Juices on the Slope” that had a good run on Flatbush Avenue since mid/late nineties and adding crepes and salads to the menu, as well as upgrading to more high-quality ingredients. Evan saw this vibrant stretch of Brooklyn where “everyone passes” and eventually moved to a Prospect Heights apartment. 

In a recent store visit, one enthusiastic customer continued to bestow the accolades of the place and eventually bought an extra shot of wheatgrass for another customer to try, “I do one daily. It helps with all the little aches” was overheard. The North Flatbush staff loves this place too. The team even has one of the Brooklyn Crepe and Juice reusable bottles where we receive 10% off our juices and smoothies when we bring the bottle in. But, we can continue gushing about so many things at Brooklyn Crepe and Juice, but check out some reviews found on-line:

“Been going to Brooklyn Crepe and Juice for about 7 years now, their juices are great and the crepes and salads are always fresh! This establishment is the reason why I eat clean and take better care of myself. Love this place.” –T.C.

“[Brooklyn Crepe] Supports the Bears Community Garden folk/bluegrass jam with fine carrot/ginger juices. Way to be a great neighbor!”–B.K.

Evan shared that he loves the customers that come in– “our regulars are great. They are daily acquaintances that you see often and form a type of friendship. One guy met his wife in our store, coming in after an exercise class and they started chatting” adding, “…I am so pleased to see so many fitness studios open in the district as their customers become mine.” Evan also enjoys North Flatbush’s Taro Sushi as a classic in the neighborhood and claims the new Persian restaurant, Sofreh, is a “Wow” with great service, food and a beautiful space.

As Brooklyn Crepe and Juice enters it’s tween years, it has grown more stable and Evan is proud of his ability to form a team of fantastic staff members that allow him to travel and explore more of his passions, feeling comfortable and trusting while he is away. “I treat [the staff] fairly, install strong systems, and I’m secure in my ability to hire a strong team–one that cares about the products we sell, their co-workers, and most notably, the customers.” Evan adds that “traveling birthed this idea, visiting Paris, there are crepes everywhere, and they are affordable. I consistently try to explore food culture and farming when I can. People who make food always interest me.”