Ever heard any one talk about orange and working out in the same sentence? Yeah I thought it was strange too. It’s great marketing because who would have thought colors could make working out so much fun.
Any who, I had the chance to check out an Orangetheory Fitness class a couple of weeks ago and since I shared my BUTI Yoga experience with you all, I was inspired to share my OTF experience as well. As you can tell, I love health and fitness. I also love deals and free classes, so I always take the opportunity when free and workout are in the same sentence.
I first became aware of OTF when I saw an Instagram post by Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones. She was in a hurdle pose in a darkened room with a bright orange backdrop. It seemed super intense. Then, it just started popping up in other places and I definitely kept it on my back burner of things to try when it happened to be available to me. Finally, a couple years after hearing about it and befriending this awesome girl Marlys, I got to check it out. If I’m invited to a class and it’s free, I will never say no. I am allllllll about finding new ways to workout. It keeps fitness interesting and your body constantly guessing. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to sweat a little bit on a Friday?
Marlys invited me to the Orangetheory Fitness center in Encinitas. We met there a little bit before 12 pm, so I could fill out some paperwork. The building inside is bright orange so it’s super energetic. I think all gyms should start incorporating brights colors. I mean how excited would you be if you felt like you were running on a rainbow. Seriously don’t lie, you’d be stoked. That’s the closest scenario of basically being a unicorn, which I am all for.
Inside it looks like a basic gym. There are treadmills, rowers, free weights, TRX straps, mirrors, and a couple of TVs. The TVs didn’t keep you distracted with reality TV, comedy sitcoms or the political debates. One was to show you visually the strength training exercises you’d be completely after the cardio. It was the perfect reference guide to see how to do the exercises properly and the other TV was to show you where you were with your heart rate.
The theory behind Orangetheory Fitness is that your heart rate should be at a certain level, so you know that you are getting the most out of your workout and your body is burning calories for hours after your workout. The scientific term for this is “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. Non-stop calorie burner? Too good to be true? Well, it was a tough workout, so no doubt it probably works. Just don’t go hit up In n’ Out afterward, and you’ll be Jillian Michaels in no time.
Alright back to the point, there are 5 levels or zones of heart rate starting from not sweating enough to kicking straight ass: Gray, Blue, Green, Orange and Red. The idea is to keep yourself in the Orange zone for at least 12 minutes of your workout, if not more. The higher and longer your heart rate is in the Orange or 4th zone, the harder your metabolism is working during and long after your workout. The theory is to increase your metabolism and energy levels. You can see all of this on the TV right above the treadmills. It has your name, heart rate percentage and the color zone you’re currently in. Anything above 84% of your normal heart rate is the Orange zone.
First and foremost, upon arrival and sign-in, the person in the lobby gives you a heart monitor that you wear under your shirt or tank top. You can then go inside to the work out area and choose your station. The lobby and the workout area are separated by a floor-to-ceiling glass window and door. This is too keep the lobby relatively quiet when the class is going. The music is so loud, yet very motivating. The workout constantly switches up depending on who is leading the class and what the focus is. The three core workouts may include Endurance, Strength and Power. During the 60-minute workout, you perform multiple intervals with any combination of the above.
My Workout Experience
The workout I participated in focused on Endurance and Strength. The workout was printed on a piece of paper and taped to the treadmills. It included the distance and set number. We started with a 10-minute warm up to get the muscles nice and warm. Then we went right into the workout. Taylor was our leader and he definitely helped everyone when they weren’t sure what they were doing. Me, for example, I didn’t realize we were doing a warm up and went straight into the workout. Silly me. I was trying to get a head start ;).
After the warm up we alternated between treadmills and rowers. You ran the distance given, which I think was about 1/4 mile and then jumped off and hopped on the rower for a certain distance. We went back and forth 3 times and then did another set 3 times with longer distances and then another set 3 times with longer distances and then a Bonus round, if you made it that far in the allotted time. I like this workout because you could really personalize it. I do really well with Endurance so I had to run much faster paces to get my heart rate up, which made me complete the distances quicker. The entire thing is timed, so not every one gets to the Bonus round.
Also, because I am so used to cardio, my heart rate didn’t stay up. I could recover in no time, so during the few seconds that I got off the treadmill and onto the rower, I was already out of the Orange and into the Green zone. I had to work harder to stay in the Orange zone, so it was hard to keep my minutes up. I barely made the minimum 12 minutes in the Orange zone. After that part concluded, we were guided to the free weights section.
Here, we did three rounds of weights. Each round had three sets of three exercises. No stopping. We rested slightly in between each round when he would explain the next three exercises via the TV. Here we did dead lifts, squats, lunges, TRX strap squats and finished strong with a set of abs. Apparently the abs weren’t included. Taylor just thought we’d enjoy a nice surprise at the end. I can say I like surprises and I’ll do abs if someone is telling me what to do. On my own…..
All in all, I was sweating. I got my muscles burning and my endorphin’s up. I would totally recommend giving OTF a shot. It’s pretty expensive for a monthly membership because it’s not unlimited. I’m all about saving and learning new techniques. Eventually I’ll have a home gym where I can just do this stuff on my own. But, on the other hand it does make it much better when your friend is sweating right next to you. They also email you your results, so you can always see how your improving.
Have you tried Orangetheory Fitness?
Do you like switching up your workouts and what are your favorite?