Before we moved to Tampa, I went to an amazing gym. I took boot camp classes four days a week, and a HEAT class, which is very very similar to Orangetheory. Soon our town opened an Orangetheory studio, but because of my love for my current gym, I never tried it out.
Fast forward to the end of 2016, and a move to Tampa. After doing some online research and not really finding anything nearby that was similar to my gym “back home”, I decided to give Orangetheory a shot with Megan. You get to attend your first class for free, so why not? They asked me to show up thirty minutes before class was to begin in order to get me set up and explain the class flow with me.
First a little background. Orangetheory is an interval based, sixty minute workout led by a “coach” who trains you and gives you tips throughout the class. On average people burn over 500 calories per class/hour.
“The physiology behind the Orangetheory Fitness workout involves heart-rate-monitored training 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 postworkout. “ –(source)
Upon arrival, they had me fill out some paperwork, and gave me a heart rate wrist band to borrow for the free class. I was shown around the studio, and as soon as the class before ours let out, I was brought into the fitness room and shown exactly how the treadmills and rowers worked. Then we went over to the weight area and he explained to me how they would put exercises up on the TV as well as have the instructors show us how to do each one to make sure we kept proper form.
I was told you either start in the weight room or on the treadmill (“treads” as they call them there). In most classes you stay on the treadmill for 25 or so minutes then switch to rowing and weights, but some days we switch back and forth doing ten minutes on each to mix it up. He asked if I had any questions, and told me since it was my first time I could choose if I wanted to start on a treadmill or in the weight room and they would reserve a spot for me. Everything was very low pressure and laid back which I appreciated because I was already nervous!
Everyone stays out in the hallway/waiting area until time for class. At that time, the instructor comes out and explains what we are going to be doing that day. Then they go over any promotions or orders of business that need to be addressed, and then they head back into the studio room, get their headset on, and high five everyone into the room.
I like to start on the treadmill first, so I hopped over there and started warming up. Orangetheory has big TV’s up on the wall with everyone’s heart rate, calories burned, and splat points. Splat points are what you earn when you stay in the orange and red (two highest zones). You get one point for every minute. that you stay in said zones. The zone below orange is green, which is a fat burning zone. They encourage you to stay in orange and green the most, with just a few minutes in red.
(photo credit: Orangetheory fitness, used with permission)
I also learned that on the treadmill they would use three terms I needed to learn: base pace, push pace, and all out. The instructor calls out intervals such as “push pace for 90 seconds” and then “drop to base pace for 30 seconds” so it’s important to know what these mean for you.
Base pace is your steady pace whether it be power walking or jogging that you could just keep going at for a long time. I think of it as a warm up and recovery pace. Push pace would be closer to a race pace for a longer distance race in my mind. Something difficult but not absolutely killing you. All out is well….all out. Hard as you can sprint or power walk (power walkers typically use a high incline here.) The changing up of the speeds and inclines keeps me from getting bored, as does knowing I will only be there for 25-28 minutes each class.
(photo credit: Orangetheory, used with permission)
In the weight room, everyone got a station that has a bench, bosu ball, ab roller device, TRX straps, and free weights. The instructor showed us each exercise we would be doing (they were also on the TV), as well as how many reps we would be doing them for, or how many rounds. A lot of times in between rounds we would row 300 meters, etc. to change things up. I also like that they tells us how heavy or light we should go on weights depending on what we are doing that day. Everyone goes at their own pace with their own weights, so people of all fitness levels can be doing the same workout which is awesome. My instructors have always been good to correct my form or tell me I should be using a heavier weight. They truly seem to care about us working out properly and not just saying cues they are told to say.
At the end of the class, our trainer led us through a quick stretching session, and then the TV’s showed us our calorie burn, splat points, and how many minutes we were in each zone. We were also immediately emailed a copy of that information which I love having!
After my first class was over, the guy that showed me around beforehand came in and asked me how I did, and if I had any questions. He then went on to explain the pricing structure to me, packages, and purchasing a heart rate monitor. There were three levels of class packages at my studio:
-4 classes for month
-8 classes per month
-unlimited classes per month
You can also purchase a “pack” of classes to use within a certain amount of time, and there were drop in rates as well. Another cost that you need to factor in is the heart rate monitor. I bought the wrist strap kind and it was $99. A lot of times they run specials, and I was able to take advantage of a mid month special where I purchased my package of classes and heart rate monitor in a bundle with a free hoodie as well as some extra classes to use that first month.
A couple of things to note:
-There is no childcare at OTF, which would be an awesome addition!
-I would not recommend doing OTF 5 days a week, but that is solely my opinion. I go twice a week, and push myself REALLY hard. There is no way I could go for that many days without completely tearing my body down. I would say 2-3 days max if you are giving it your all out effort. (also going on consecutive days is super hard!)
-Be sure to bring a water bottle and towel. You will sweat a ton! My studio had a place to refill your water bottle which was helpful as well.
-My studio had lockers where you could put your keys, jacket, phone, etc. while you workout. There also was a shower and bathrooms.
-If you want to start on the treadmill, get there early. At my studio everyone crowded around the door to get to the treadmills first (very annoying, I wish they would just hand out numbers as you walk in)
-Classes can fill up fast depending on location. There is an app you can download to sign up for classes, and if one is full you will be put on a waitlist. At my studio, if you don’t cancel at least 8 hours before your class time, you will lose the use of one of your sessions that month, unless it’s an emergency. Good motivation if you ask me!
-You can go to an OTF anywhere in the country once you sign up! This is great for those that travel a lot, or if you have a studio near your office and also one by your house. I love this idea!
I also love that there is no time commitment when you sign up, it just goes month to month. If you ever want to quit for awhile then pick it back up later, you can. I have been going to OTF for a month now and I am really enjoying it! I still miss my boot camp class like crazy, but this has been a pretty good substitute for me. I still feel like I need to do one heavy lifting strength training session a week and one run, but this class is great for intervals, endurance, and to work up a great sweat!
QOTD: Have you ever tried Orangetheory? What are your thoughts?