I joined Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) at the end of February, and my friends always ask me a lot of questions/my experience with it. So I figured after a few months, changing my membership to be unlimited, then taking some time off and now getting back into it would make for a good tell all!
** Not sponsored – But I’m 100% available OTF**
What is Orangetheory?
You’ve probably seen it everywhere, but how is it different than any other workout class or CrossFit class?
Orangetheory is different because it’s a short 1 hour, full-body workout. Each day is a new workout, you’ll never have the same workout twice, and each day will vary focusing on either endurance, strength, power, or a combination of the three. You’ll never know what kind of day it is until you show up (or if you go to the night classes, you can check Reddit)! Every class integrates running, rowing and floor/weights, but how long you are on each and the order differs from class to class.
The class is set-up with zones: The treads (treadmills), rowers (water rowers) and the floor (weights). Your time spent in each zone differs from class to class, but a typical class is 20-30 min on the treads and 20-30 min working between the floor and rowers.
Orangetheory’s workouts are based on the science of “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” or EPOC. The goal is to maintain a target heart rate that stimulates metabolism and increases energy, referred to as the afterburn. It essentially means that you continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours post workout.
All Orangetheory classes are based on your personal heart rate zones. The goal of the class is to earn at least 12 “splat points” – which means spending 12-20 minutes in your orange and red zones. This time spent in the orange and red zone produces the EPOC effect. According to Tim, an OTF Trainer, “EPOC occurs when our bodies require excess oxygen after a workout in order to return ourselves to our normal physiologic steady state or where you were before you stepped in the studio.”
The thing that I love about OTF is that your workout is as hard as you want it to be. You can power walk, jog or run on the treadmill portion, and there are three different levels of intensity:
This is an active recovery or warmup pace – you can maintain it for a long time and if a friend was jogging next to you, you’d be able to hold a conversation. Base pace always has at least an incline of 1%.
This is pushing to yourself to the point that you are uncomfortable, you are too out of breath to carry on a conversation at length with the person next to you. Push pace is usually 1-2 mph faster than your base.
This is emptying all the gas in your tank – the hardest you’ll work all class. These usually last 1-2 minutes and are quite possibly the best and worst part of the class. All out pace is typically ~2mph faster than base.
Your trainer will guide you through these paces, and you always get breaks of walking every few minutes. Sometimes you’ll be running longer distances at push pace and base pace (on endurance days) and other times it will be focused more on power and pushing yourself through short bursts of sprints or inclines (on strength and/or power days).
If you’ve ever had a personal training session, it’s honestly very similar, but with more people in the class. Plus your heart rates on the board, which brings out your competitive side and makes it more fun. Nobody is competing with one another – it’s just a competition with yourself. Also, the classes aren’t so big that you can’t flag down your trainer for help or questions on your form. The trainers also do a great job at motivating you individually while talking to a large group.
There are men and women of all ages and all fitness levels. Just a bunch of regular people, working out in the same room. There are no state of the art locker rooms or ridiculous french products at every sink that makes you question the membership price. There are no frills at OTF but in the best way possible.