Orangetheory Fitness: the latest and greatest of the ever-growing studio fitness class phenomenon. Orangetheory is based on the premise of providing a coach led, hour-long workout that involves the perfect amount of cardio and strength training.
The "orange theory" comes from Heart Rate Based Interval Training that is used in each workout. Members wear heart rate monitors and can watch their heart rate transition between the grey, blue, green, orange, and red zones throughout the class. Your goal is to remain between the green, orange, and red zones for the majority of the workout as it indicates that your heart is working at a level that will produce an "afterburn," which means your body will continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after the workout ends.
I have been a member of Orangetheory for about two months now, and have been taking classes regularly since I joined in January. I love everything about it, especially the membership options, variety of workouts, and the employees.
Many studio style fitness classes (like SoulCycle) do not offer memberships which makes it difficult to afford to take classes you like regularly, which is unfortunate for a college student like me who easily gets bored of the campus gym. The three membership levels let you come either four, eight, or unlimited times a month, and the location I attend even has a great student discount.
Each day the workout is completely different so it is always exciting to be surprised when you arrive and it is really nice knowing that you are truly getting a full body workout.
Equally as important but often the most underrated, Orangetheory hires phenomenal employees. From the managers at the front desk to the coaches, everyone is incredibly friendly and takes the time to get to know you, which is extra motivation to get into classes every week.
Here are some do's and don'ts that will be helpful if you are considering finding out what all the hype is about, which I strongly suggest:
Do: Come early
For your first class, you will be asked to arrive a half hour early so you can fill out a little paperwork and most importantly, meet your coach for the day. The coaches are super friendly and well-trained, and will take you through each section of the workout of the day and carefully demonstrate how all of the machines are used and how the exercises will be performed. Taking the time to make sure you arrive early will make your class go much more smoothly than it will if you rush in late.
Don't: Expect to be perfect
No one is perfect at anything their first try, so you cannot expect to perform flawlessly during your first class, or any after that. Especially on the floor weight training, the coaches are great about teaching proper form and will help you correct yours in order to prevent injuries.
Do: Watch your heart rate
One of the coolest things about Orangetheory is the integration of heart rate monitors into each workout. Everyone who is wearing a heart rate monitor will see their username with their current heart rate on big screens mounted to the walls.
This allows you to compete with yourself each class to see if you can gain "splat" points, which indicates the minutes your heart rate remained within the orange and red zones. Achieving at least 12 splat points means that you will experience the afterburn I mentioned earlier, and allows you to get the most out of each class.
Don't: Be afraid to push yourself
Orangetheory is great because it can accommodate people of any fitness level. In order to get the full benefit of each class, you can't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone! Especially on the treadmill, the workout is designed to make you uncomfortable because through this discomfort you are improving your strength and endurance. Don't be afraid to put in as much effort as you can, because as with anything, you will only get out what you choose to put in.
Do: Listen to the coach
From listening to your coach switching between directing the treadmill and floor sections at the same time to making sure you're running at the proper speed for the directed interval, your first class or two can definitely be a bit of a whirlwind. However, if you remain calm and listen carefully to the instructions, you will find that they are actually very easy to follow. If you ever feel overwhelmed or have questions, the coaches are always there for extra help.
Don't: Compare yourself to your neighbor
You should come to class each day with the intent to improve yourself, which cannot be done to the fullest extent if you are spending most of your time comparing yourself to everyone else in the room around you. Nothing is worse than being in the zone and noticing that the person next to you is eyeballing you and trying to keep pace with you rather than going at a speed or using a weight that will work best for them. Focus on yourself and do the best you can, for your own benefit.
Do: Come often
Take advantage of the Orangetheory Membership options (and student discounts)!! The more regularly that you attend classes, the more your body and mind will adapt to the workouts. You will notice that over time your cardiovascular endurance will noticeably improve and that along with mindful eating you will overall be in better shape than when you started. Each day the workout is different so you never have to worry about classes getting boring or redundant.
Don't: Expect to see results overnight
While you should take classes regularly in order to get the most out of the program, no matter how often you attend classes you cannot expect to see immediate results. As with any workout program, results take time and depend just as much on healthy eating as they do on the workouts themselves.
Do: Make friends, and enjoy yourself!
As I already mentioned, everyone I have met at Orangetheory is great. The people at the front desk are super friendly and make a point of learning your name, which is just really nice and fosters a sense of community. They and the coaches talk to you like you are their friends, which allows real friendships to grow. If you approach each class with a positive attitude I can guarantee it will be reciprocated and that you will have a great time!