Right before Christmas a friend of mine finally convinced me to give Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) a whirl. I was super nervous because I’d never been to an actual class, at any gym. Plus I was still getting back into shape after having my second baby in June. Let me tell you though, I went and absolutely fell in love with it.
What is OTF? OTF is an interval training workout designed to blast calories and build muscles. OTF is a 1 hour scientific based, full-body workout. During the class you wear a heart monitor that is displayed on a screen, so you can keep track of your workout the entire time. The goal is to maximize your workout by getting into the orange zone to burn optimal calories during class and for up to 36 hours after class.
The gym is equipped with three stations: treadmills, rowing machines (that actually use water for resistance), and weight stations. All equipment is numbered so if you’re number 4 on the treadmill that will be your number on the rower and the weights. If you’re a germaphobe like me this is great news because you’re only sharing equipment with one other person and everyone is required to wipe equipment down after using it.
The Workout: There are three different stations that will be used during the interval training workout. However, it may look different each time depending on how the class is setup for the day. Upon entering the gym, everyone will start on either the rower or treadmill to get their heart pumping. At this time it is important to make sure your name is displayed on the workout screen. If not, let the trainer or front desk now because you have to be able to track what you’re doing.
Once everyone has warmed up the intervals begin. Those who chose the rowers will then go to the floor and begin the full body exercises on the floor. Depending on the day you may use weights, bands, a medicine ball, or other various equipment. The trainer will go over each exercise movement in the block. If you forget, it is displayed on a tv screen the entire block as well. Often times you’ll complete a round then head back to the rower to get the heart pumping again. You’ll spend about 20-25 minutes on the floor during each workout. Sometimes it’s all at once and other times you switch to the treadmills midway, then back to the floor.
Now, if you started on the treadmill and it’s a typical class you’ll likely be there for the next 20-25 minutes. However, the trainer is constantly telling you what to do. Depending on the workout (endurance, power, or strength) you will be guided to change your settings. On the treadmill you will have a base pace, push pace, all out pace and recovery walk. Located on the treadmill you will have a visual reminder to follow as well to help guide you on what speeds and incline you should be using. It is broken down by walker, jogger, and runner with recommended speeds for each level of the workout. Pay attention to what you choose and really try to push yourself to feel uncomfortable. Change itself is uncomfortable and to get the most out of this class, you will need to feel that. Each block is different on the treadmill so listen to the trainer. For example on Sunday I was in a four minute block on the treadmill: 1 minute base pace, 2 minute push pace, 1 minute all out. This was followed by a waking recovery with another four minute block that was different than the previous. While on the treadmill, time flies. You’re focused on your heart rate zones and listening to the trainer that it’s truly over before you know it. Then to the floor and rowers.
Every person in the class completes the same workout at their own pace. You will complete the floor moves and treadmills using the weights and speeds that you choose. The trainer is there to support and provide corrections, but you are in charge of you. No one notices what you’re doing or keeps track of you other than yourself. Don’t feel embarrassed or insecure, just push yourself while there.
Heart Monitor: This is mandatory when attending the class. You will have to purchase one of the OTF heart monitors. You can choose your preferred style (bracelet/chest monitor) but you can try them both before purchasing. The chest monitor is believed to be a little more accurate and I personally preferred this because I hate having things on my arms while working out. The coolest thing about the heart rate monitor is it connects to an app on your phone using Bluetooth. Therefore you can use this heart rate monitor at home as well to track your workouts.
Heart Rate Zone: While working out there are five different color zones. Each zone represents your heart rate during the workout. Gray represents your light heart rate, meaning you’re using 50-60% of your max heart rate. Blue is considered your warmup heart rate; using between 61-70% of your max heart rate. Green means you’re using 71-83% of your max heart rate and this is your base pace during the workout. Orange is the desired zone to achieve using 84-91% of your max heart rate. Finally red means you’re at your all-out pace and using 92-100% of your max heart rate.
Splat Points: Since your heart rate is being tracked, this is where the importance of the orange zone comes into play. At orange theory you are trying to achieve at least 12 splat points during each workout. This means you spent at least 12 minutes in the orange heart rate zone. It is believed that if you reach the 12 splat points you will be able to have an after workout burn for an additional 24 to 36 hours. During the workout your name changes colors to correspond with your max heart rate level, calories are displayed as well as splat points.
Free! If you’re interested in giving this interval training workout a whirl, the first class is actually free. Simply call and setup and appointment or schedule online. You will have to arrive to your first class 30 minutes. Once you’re there you sit and discuss your current fitness level with the receptionist. After a brief conversation with them, you will meet the instructor who will show you around the gym. I loved this because you had time to familiarize yourself with the equipment and ask questions about the class.
After Class: When class is finished you stretch and can ask questions. Your workout summary is displayed on the screen and it will be emailed to you. You can also signup for additional classes while there or just use the app.
Pricing: After your free class the pricing will be explained to you. Since you will fall in love with this class, your best bet is to signup for a membership because it’s more cost-effective than paying for each individual class. They have various packages available and can explain them to you. I chose the monthly package and can attend class once a week. However, I can purchase additional “add-on” classes at a cheaper rate since I’m a member.
Go! If you’re looking to give yourself that extra push while working out, give this gym a whirl. I only go once a week in addition to my at-home workouts. I’ve attended about 10 classes so far and I’ve seen a MAJOR change in my fitness level and body. This place is not messing around and helps you feel motivated and energized.
Let me know what you think after you check it out! Have you already been, what are your thoughts? Or if you have another workout favorite, drop a comment below because I am always looking for new workouts.