Last week I saw an ad for Orangetheory Fitness, promoting a free trial class, and in the spirit of the #5SecondRule I submitted my request for more info right then and there. The local franchise contacted me and we set a date. That date was today. Orangetheory had me feeling a rainbow of emotions throughout my 30 minute orientation and 60 minute class. I made it, though!(blue ribbon, y’all) I completed the class and I burned over 500 calories.
My first emotion was uncertainty. I didn’t know anyone and didn’t even really know what to expect. I knew there were rowers and treadmills involved, but that was about it. (I did not read the website beforehand.)
Then the heart rate monitor appeared and had me a little embarrassed because I have an unusually high resting heart rate for someone who runs like I do. I could see the heart rate data of every participant in the class before mine up on screens around the studio. Oh shoot…I’m gonna look like a newbie 100%. I know I’m not a new exerciser but I’m one of those folks who has a hard time walking into an unfamiliar environment (especially one involving TRX).
So, heart rate. Turns out that’s what Orangetheory is pretty much all about. It’s heart rate based interval training. Orangetheory Fitness FAQ When I saw the breakdown on the screens, the whole idea made more sense. Every participant’s data shows up on screen so you, and the trainer, can keep an eye on where your heart rate is, what zone you’re in (the orange zone is what you want to focus on, hence the name) and it displays how many minutes you’ve spent in that zone. They email you all of this data at the end of your workout, which is kinda nice.
Next up is envy! I’m the only one who was “mom-shaped” there and a goal of mine is to not compare myself to others. Today’s workout was a partner workout and the class has a goal to burns as many calories as possible during the workout (calories burned show up on that board too! So cue the feeling that I’d disappoint my partner in blue as in feeling down.) Lucky me ended up partners with the teacher so I was only workout out with myself (THANK GEEZ! The last thing I wanted on my first session was to be paired with a die-hard.) I experienced a few bouts of envy: someone rowed 400m faster and my bridge rows weren’t pretty, but I just kept reminding myself that this was a new experience and just to do my best.
I experienced some time in the red zone, both on the board and on my face! Going all-out at a 5% incline had me feeling like my aerobic endurance needs some work and hoping nobody saw me disappear to the bathroom before I barfed on the treadmill. I finished strong, and I didn’t get sick after all. I was sweaty and tired and my body knows it worked hard. It was a little lonely, as the other participants knew each other and were partnered up, but I was so focused I probably wouldn’t have chatted much anyway.
My final thoughts on Orangetheory Fitness
It was a great workout! Everyday it’s a new routine with a different focus (strength, power, cardio) so it wouldn’t be boring.
If you’re a competitive person, this is fabulous! I’m working on minimizing the competition in my pursuit of fitness, so that aspect would deter me from becoming a member. The orange tribe didn’t match the vibe I’m seeking, and that’s ok. ( My west coast tribe seems to hang out at Amethyst Dance and Fitness)
I’m not sure this is the best fit for a new exerciser. With the atmosphere of competition and the data on display for all to see, that might make some folks feel uncomfortable with taking a class. Also, being required to use a water rower, treadmill, dumbbells and TRX would overwhelm most people new to fitness.
Classes are capped at 24 participants, so the studio could be really packed or empty (they will run a class for just 1 participant, the orientation trainer told me.)
Classes are expensive. The best option for me would be 2 classes a week, so the $99/8 class package per month was recommended. Plus the cost of an Orangetheory Fitness heart rate monitor ($49). I could purchase additional classes at a cheaper than drop-in rate (which is $26.something) Unfortunately, my fitness budget is less than that, so I’m going to pass on becoming a member for now.
It was a good experience to get out of my comfort zone and try something new and it was a great workout which provided me with some insight into what I should be focusing on in my current routine. If there is a franchise in your area, I suggest taking advantage of the free trial class, but bring a friend and be prepared to work hard.