Today marks 1 year since we first tried Orangetheory Fitness. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve problem seen me share my workout summary in my Story from time-to-time. I’ve gotten a lot of messages asking “What’s this app?” “What’s this workout?” as well as general inquiries about my fitness routine. Well, I’m no physical specimen, but I am excited to tell you more about Orangetheory Fitness and why we love it!
Josh and I are both pretty active, but most of our favorite activities come to a halt in the wintertime. Josh routinely participates in two weekly basketball leagues, so last winter I decided to start going to Hot Yoga classes on the nights he was at basketball. I did it for a few months and loved it, but come February I felt like I was ready for something that was more challenging and would result in a higher calorie burn and was really interested in finding something we could do together. I had found Orangetheory Fitness through Instagram, so I asked Josh to attend a free class with me (your first one is free).
Well we went, and never really looked back! We’ve been doing their unlimited plan for a year, which gives us access to as many classes per month as we can fit into our schedule. We try to go a minimum of 2-3 times per week, but have gone through spurts where we’ve gone 4+ times each week. We tend to go less during the months when we are biking and Josh is biking to/from work. We honestly just love it, and the classes are so fun and enjoyable.
So, what is OTF? Here’s how I’d explain it: it’s a 60 minute group workout. The room is split into 3 areas—treadmills, water rowers, and a floor area with an assortment of equipment (free weights, ab rollers, plyo boxes. etc). The class is typically split into 2 or 3 groups, and you usually spend between 15-30 minutes in each area of the room, depending on the style of the workout. The room is low-lit with orange lighting—which is kind of nice if you roll out of bed and head to a 6AM class (I’m so vain, but seriously, everyone looks so tan and toned in orange light). All classes are “the same” and there aren’t particular types of classes you sign up for, but no session is ever the same—you’ll always be doing a different workout whenever you step into the room! There’ll be variations in the order, the focus (speed, endurance, strength etc), the types of exercises you are doing in the floor routine or the amount of time you spend at each station. The best part is that you never know what the workout is going to be—so you never have the time to dread going. You just show up and 60 minutes later you’ve gotten in a great workout.
Our favorite thing about Orangetheory Fitness (and probably the thing that hooked us initially) is the technology involved. Everyone wears a heart rate monitor (either around your chest or on your wrist) and it is connected wirelessly to their system, which then displays everyone’s heart rate on flat-screen TVs in various parts of the room. You can always glance up and see your heart-rate, which is color-coded into 1 of 5 zones. The zones, lowest to highest, are gray / blue / green / orange / red —- the goal during class is to stay in the top 3 zones, getting at least 12 minutes in the “orange” zone, which is 84% of your max heart rate. Each minute spent in the orange zone equates to one “splat point” and your goal is to get at least 13 splat points in every class. Spending 13 minutes in this high heart rate zone helps create EPOC (excess postexercise oxygen consumption), or an “afterburn” which allows you to continue burning calories in the 24-36 hours after class. I regularly burn 500-600 calories during class, and Josh is usually near 1000, but it’s likely that we each burn an additional 200-300 following the class. Your heart rate on the screen is just accompanied by your first name, so for the most part it is anonymous, but it can create a healthy amount of competitiveness! I’m totally guilty of trying to get more splat points than Josh whenever possible—and that means I get a way better workout!
Along with the real-time technology motivating you during class, you also get a performance summary emailed to you immediately after class, and can log into their app to view your performance reports or history any time. I also love that their app allows you to book/cancel classes directly from your phone, it’s all so easy! You know we’re pretty big suckers for nerdiness, technology, data and organization (along with both of us being ruthlessly competitive), so it’s probably not a surprise that we fell in love with this workout!
Which brings me to one of the best things about OTF: the fact that it is a great workout for couples, especially if you tend to be at different levels of physical fitness or enjoy different types of exercise. Although there are a lot of recreational activities that Josh and I enjoy together, there’s never really been a workout routine that we both enjoyed. Even jogging together was hard because I was so much slower! With Orangetheory we can both go at our own pace and get the workout we need, but can still be right next to each other! But, it’s also a great workout for individuals who would feel more motivated by a workout buddy: at Orangtheory you get 23!
Perfect segue into another thing I want to say: this environment is so perfect for you, no matter where you are at in your fitness journey. Every time I go to class I am motivated by the people around me and the fact that each class has an assortment of people at different stages of their journey. There will be people who are absolute athletes and belong on the cover of a fitness magazine. But there will also be 65 year old women who are just trying to maintain their muscle tone. People who are trying to lose weight and can only manage to walk on the treadmill and can’t yet do a push-up. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, you’ll feel welcome and challenged by this workout, the coaches will always offer variations for different skill-levels and you can do it at your own pace. When we first started going I would regularly just walk at an incline on the treadmill. And you know what? I frickin’ hate running so on days I don’t feel like running I still do intervals of walking and running. You can always get the workout you want and need from Orangetheory.
The past year has been a fabulous experience. We’re both in the best shape of our lives. Josh has lost like 15 pounds and built a lot of muscle. I’ve been able to maintain my previous weight loss but have seen a lot of improvement in tone, especially in my legs and back. Plus, we love working out together and it feels like quality time that we make for each other.
Just to be fair I’ll also mention a couple things I’m not crazy about: I wish our location had actual locker rooms and a bit more space. Our location has two shower stalls and restrooms but doesn’t make it super convenient for people who want to attend a morning class and then go straight to work. Not a big deal for us, since we usually work out in the evening, but I’m sure it could deter other people from working out regularly. Since our location is on the smaller side the hallway with coats and shoes can get a little congested as classes transition in and out. Another minor complaint: I’d love more variation in the music—I think they do a great job, but feel like sometimes we hear the same song over and over (holy god when “Hello” by Adele was hot I swear we heard the remix during each class). Personally I love when they mix it up with occasional oldies or even some country. The music is so motivating and essential to the class experience, more variation would be amazing!
If you have an Orangetheory Fitness near you (check here) I highly recommend going for a free class! However, I think it takes at least a week or two to get really attached to it—so if you can try committing to a month or two of classes before you make a decision (there’s no contracts and you can definitely go month-to-month). Got questions? Hit me up on Twitter or drop me an email: dani@Thyme-is-Honey.com