While I was in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit Orangetheory Fitness. One of their locations is within walking distance of my brother-in-law’s place and it caught my interest as we drove by. After I looked it up online, I knew I had to try it. Luckily, the first class is always free, so if you live near an OTF or are traveling to a location where there’s an OTF, I recommend scheduling a class for a kick butt workout.
What is Orangetheory Fitness? Itz a group interval fitness class that is an hour long and broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training™ and free weights.
As stated on their website: Orangetheory Fitness has been featured in The New York Times as an effective new plateau-busting workout in which participants can burn up to 900 calories in a 60-minute session. Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!
What is really cool about this workout is that each person wears a heart rate monitor (provided by OTF) to track their heart rate and calorie burn. There are 5-zones where your heart rate can fall and the instructor tells you where your goal is. They make it super easy and display your name and percentage on a screen; the zone where your individual heart rate is corresponds with a color, so if you’re supposed to be giving it all you’ve got, your name and number will be red, recovery will be green, and in between will be orange. (Blue and white are for warm up when your heart rate is much lower.)
I’ve never done any type of heart rate training before, but I really liked it. It was most interesting to see how quickly my heart rate could recover after a period of intense exercise when my heart rate was elevated. Itz also neat that everyone gets their own workout. Since everyone’s fitness level is different, so are our heart rates. My orange zone is different than your orange zone, so this type of workout allows us all to get a killer workout at our own pace.
Here’s how the workout went down: There were about 20 people in the class (20 is the max) and half of us started with the weight training portion and the other on the treadmills.
I started with the weight training. There were three “blocks” with four exercises in each that would be completed and our coach, Dan, explained each exercise before the specific block. Then, we would compete the block as many times as possible in the allotted time. There was a board with the workout written down, so we could reference it as needed. I snapped a picture at the end of class, but failed to notice the board had already been changed. The picture I’ll show you is not the workout that I did, but probably the one that was for the next class.
There were suggested weights for women and men, but of course it was up to us to select the weight that was challenging. Many women grabbed the 7.5 dumbbells, and truthfully I thought that sounded light. However, being a newbie I didn’t want to look ridiculous if I couldn’t do a higher weight, so I, too, grabbed 7.5’s. I’m glad I did! We did 12 reps of each exercise and had time for about three sets. There were exercises with dumbbells, TRX, rowing machines, and medicine balls. I love how varied the workout was; there’s no chance anyone could get bored in a class like this!
After about 25 minutes for the three blocks, the two groups switched places. Now it was my turn to hop on a treadmill. There was a sign that had suggested speeds for what type of athlete you were: power walker, jogger, or runner.
Itz been way too long since I’ve run, but I knew I could handle the speed on the treadmill since we were doing intervals. I was right. I really pushed myself and enjoyed seeing my name turn red on the screen when my heart was pumping! And I’m not going to lie: I was definitely driven by the competition factor of those around me. You better believe I glanced at the treadmill next to me and made sure my speed and incline was higher. Sorry I’m not sorry. The most intense interval I did was speed 9.0 and incline 6.0. Baby, it was tough!
Do you see what type of treadmills Orangetheory has?
FreeMotion! (I first learned all about FreeMotion during the Runner’s World Half.) This is the first time I ran on a FreeMotion treadmill, and I could not believe how cushy they were! Seriously, it felt so soft underneath my feet; it wasn’t like any other treadmill I’d ever been on.
Something else impressive about Orangetheory is the trainers or coaches. Dan was our lead coach showing us what to do and calling out times, but there were two other trainers who worked with us, as well. I think this is really important to ensure safety for all members; there were a couple times where my form got corrected and I love when that happens. You could tell safety was a priority in this gym and they truly care about their clients.
I didn’t get a picture with our coach Dan, but I did get one with another trainer, Daren, who held us along the way.
I loved it! Now if only St. Louis could get an Orangetheory Fitness…
Have you ever been to an Orangetheory Fitness studio? Have you ever trained with a heart rate monitor?