I Tested Orangetheory Fitness To See If It Really Works

I Tested Orangetheory Fitness To See If It Really Works

Does the scientifically based workout that’s sweeping the nation work?
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Can we just take a minute and talk about how immensely painful and irritating finding a good workout program is? As someone who has been navigating the fitness world for more than three years, I constantly experiment with new routines and workout classes. I’ve done everything from CrossFit to spin classes, but besides strength training, I couldn’t find anything that aligned with my fitness goals.

As time went on, I began traveling down the devastating path of plateauing. So what is a girl to do? After hours of copious research, I found Orangetheory Fitness online and immediately signed up for my free first class, and now I’ve been a dedicated member for more than six months.

Orangetheory Fitness, founded by Ellen Lathem in 2009, is a one-hour, high intensity interval training (HIIT) group fitness class based on five training zones with the main focus being zones three (green zone), four (orange zone) and five (red zone).

Orangetheory’s appeal is the science behind the workout. They use an advanced heart rate monitoring system that displays the names of each member on television screens placed in the studio so clients can monitor stats such as calorie burn and heart rate throughout the workout. Orangetheory says if you spend 12-20 minutes in your orange and red zones (84 percent of your max heart rate) during the hour-long class you will experience the “after-burn effect.”

The scientific name for this is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your body needs more oxygen at a higher rate than it did before exercise. According to the Orangetheory Fitness website, the after-burn effect results in a 200-400 calorie burn increase for the next 24-36 hours.

Basically, 12 minutes in the orange zone equals after-burn, which equals more energy and more calories burned post-workout.

So here I am. Testing the theory behind Orangetheory Fitness.

I generally go to Orangetheory three to four times a week in conjunction with isolated muscle group training twice a week, and now that I'm six months into the program I can say that I'm really impressed.

Yes, I feel more energized.

Yes, I have toned up.

Yes, my performance has improved. I went from not being able to run a mile without walking, to running 1.44 miles in 12 minutes. I didn’t even think it was possible.

But there’s so much more to it. Beyond the positive results I’ve experienced in the gym and in my body, Orangetheory continues to keep me engaged and constantly improving. And here’s why:

Anti-plateau zone. Orangetheory’s class templates are broken down into endurance, strength, power and ESP (a combination of the three) days. The workouts change every single day to prevent plateauing and to avoid overworking specific muscles. Plus, I never get bored!

I enjoy a challenge. Orangetheory promotes their healthy lifestyle and client improvement through fun challenges throughout the year. Some are weeklong, month-long and sometimes, just a single day, but always have incentives.

  • Dri Tri – Members compete as a team to complete a 5K, a 2,000-meter row and 300 reps of bodyweight exercises in the weight room.
  • Marathon Challenge – over the month of April, members track their distance from each class to ultimately run 26.2 miles.
  • Hell Week – the last weekend of October, Orangetheory Fitness designs horror-themed workouts. If members complete five out of the eight themed classes they get a t-shirt.

I get to play dress up. Wait, I get to wear neon sweatbands, scrunchies and leotards to the gym and workout only to ‘80s music? Sign me up.

Accountability is key. Partner workouts are tough. But nothing holds me more accountable then when my partner has to row until I’m done with my part of the workout. Sorry.

The coaches are motivational. They are quick to correct form and always make safety a priority in the studio. From my very first class when they showed me proper form for the rower, to pushing me to increase my speed on the treadmill, I swear they know my limits better than I do.

Group personal training. I love that it doesn’t matter if I’m the last one on the rower because I decided to use heavier weights on the strength exercises. Orangetheory is designed so I constantly compete with myself and my past performance. On the other hand, I thrive off competition; it is a big motivator for me to perform at my highest level. Whether person next to me on the treadmill knows I’m actually trying to keep up with them, I don’t know, but I certainly know that I’m going to do my best to beat their speeds and distance.

Traveling doesn’t slow me down. With more than 350 studios in 11 countries, I can find an Orangetheory everywhere. As a member of the Orangetheory family, I have access to every single studio worldwide. Everywhere I’ve traveled since becoming a member had a studio less than fifteen minutes away.

The best one-hour workout. I love the combination of cardiovascular and strength training into one class. I have always struggled with finding a structured regime that pushes me to improve my cardio performance, but Orangetheory makes it fast and fun.

There’s no half-assing this workout. Due to the heart rate monitoring technology, coaches (among the rest of the class) can see exactly how hard I’m working, and they’re certainly not afraid to call me out. And it is super embarrassing when everyone’s working in the orange zone and I’m not.

Show me the numbers. Orangetheory emails me after every workout with stats from the class. My total calorie burn, the total time I spent in the five zones and my average heart rate. It also keeps me updated with weekly, monthly and yearly totals. Nothing shows progress like a bunch of visually appealing numbers.

I always joke that I’m “working in my orange zone” no matter what I’m doing. I believe Orangetheory has taught me a lot more than just how to row, but constantly reminds me that my ability to do anything is totally mental.

Can I run at 12 miles per hour for 30 seconds? Yes. Is it because I mentally told myself I could do it, or is it because my coach bribed me with a tequila shot? Your guess is as good as mine. Either way, Orangetheory, the supportive members and inspirational coaches helped me reach a personal record I never thought possible. I will forever #KeepBurning.

Cover Image Credit: SALT Our Kakaako

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Stress Call

It's the most stressful time of the year!

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It's the season of stress

When people seem the busiest

Final exams, presents and time

Students grades are on the line


Is it really the season of love and giving

Or are people too worried about money and winning

People stress about everything, big or small

It is not healthy all in all


Stress plagues peoples lives

People are too focused on "mine, mine mine"

In the world we live in, what can we do

About not having people or outlets to turn to


In a world with such confusion

And problems knocking at the door

Is anyone paying attention

To the call of the people anymore


Stress may seem overbearing

Or impossible to defeat

Keep your eyes on the dreams

You've always wanted to complete


Stress is just a roadblock

On the road called life

Continue to press on

It will be alright

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