After months of nagging my friends, husband, neighbors, and co-workers, I was finally able to convince someone to try a free class at Orange Theory with me (social anxiety doesn’t allow me to try new things alone). I had done so much reading and research on Orange Theory that I had a good idea of what to expect. Before I go any further, let me clear the air about my level of athleticism…. I am by no means an athlete and I am hardly in shape. I’ve cried on 3 out of the 5 most recent hikes I’ve done. My husband calls me a NARP, which for those who are unfamiliar means a non-athletic regular person. I’ve tried many supplements, gyms, teas- anything to help me magically be healthy and fit and I have always struggled to be just that. Orange Theory intimidated me, as do most “class” type workouts (the only other class I’ve ever taken was hot yoga). My brain was constantly telling me that I had to be in shape to survive an Orange Theory workout. I was also afraid I wouldn’t know any of the moves or terminology and would look lost the entire class. Let me just tell you, there is nothing further from the truth.
When we arrived that first day there was a sign at the front desk welcoming my friend and I to our first class. So far so good, I finally made it through the door of Orange Theory. From there, the coach greeted us and talked us through what to expect. We put on heart rate monitors provided by Orange Theory (chest straps) and the coach got us situated on a couple of rowers. She provided instructions throughout the class so you never feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Each class has a focus: endurance, strength, power, or ESP (all three). That day happened to be endurance.
Each day has a focus: endurance, strength, power, or ESP (all 3). The goal is to spend 12-20 minutes in the orange zone. For each minute you spend in the orange zone, you get a splat point and there are monitors around the facility so you can constantly check your progress. The first class we spent close to 15 minutes on the rower following various instructions (row 1000m, 25 squats, then 750m, etc). After 15 minutes of rowing, we were guided to the floor where we performed some free weight exercises for another 15 minutes. All the exercises were first demoed by the coach, who would walk around and ensure proper form. I love that the orange lighting in the studio prevents others from seeing how unpleasant some of my workout faces are. There was also no pressure to perform- so when I saw my heart rate was getting high, I could relax and catch my breath without feeling like I had to keep up with anyone. Half way through the class, one of the employees walked around and got water refills for everyone. We finished the day on the treadmills doing various intervals. I was nervous about this part because I am not at all a runner. The coach offered instructions for what we were doing on the treadmills, and there were also printed instructions on each treadmill in case you need a refresher.
Throughout the class the coach will ask for base pace, push pace and all out. These are all entirely up to you. Now again since I’m lacking in the “athletic” department, my base pace is usually 3.5 mph on the treadmill with a 1% incline. My push and all out pace vary mostly on how recently I ate and if I feel up to running. Sometimes it will also vary on the day, for example- you will probably run for longer increments of time on endurance days than you would on strength days (usually 3 minutes at most from what I’ve noticed). Sometimes my push and all out are 5-6 mph and sometimes it’s still 3.5 mph with a heavy incline. I’ve noticed strength days typically utilize inclines more than speed on the treadmills.
For the first time in my life, my workout FLEW by. I was so focused on the numbers and what I exercise I was doing that I completely lost track of time. My 56-minute workout ended up burning 651 calories and landing me 25 splat points. After class, the coach reviewed our performance with us on the monitors. Landing 12 or more splat points will engage what’s called the afterburn or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC in the most basic terms means that your body continues to burn calories following your workout and up to 36 hours afterwards. I also received a performance summary via e-mail that highlighted my calories, splat points, average heart rate and % heart rate.
I decided to sign up for a package after that first class and my friend later joined me. I found the prices to be comparable to the cost of personal training. I have always struggled with consistency so signing up for classes in advance is a great benefit. Another benefit is that if you don’t cancel within a certain period of time, Orange Theory will charge you for missing class. Not all would agree that these are benefits, but I’m inherently lazy so these are things that I NEED to be successful. I’m also very numbers motivated and use my performance summaries to create all sorts of nerdy reports.
My goal in joining Orange Theory was to lose weight and get in shape for my wedding. Since starting on 11/29/2017 I’ve lost 10 pounds and have noticed muscle definition in my arms, increased endurance, and the ability to do an ACTUAL push-up. I cannot believe how afraid I was to try a class here for absolutely no reason at all. I have finally found something that works for me and that I enjoy.
If you have any questions about Orange Theory or would like to use my OTF tracking spreadsheet you can feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.