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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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things. If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity towards this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you, if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Unless You Want Your Immune System To Be A Total Brat, You Should Probably Get Vaccinated

When it comes to vaccinating children, I support vaccines.

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When it comes to vaccines, there is a broad range of opinions. Some people believe vaccines are bad and chose not to vaccinate their children. Then there are the people like me who believe vaccines are good. By all means, you are entitled to your own opinion and I'm sure my views won't persuade you, but there's so much more to think about when it comes to vaccines.

Majority of the vaccines we have received have the live virus in them. I'm almost positive you don't know why. Once the live virus enters the body, it teaches the immune system how to detect it and develop an immunity. For example, the chickenpox vaccine has a live virus. I received that vaccine when I was a baby and received a booster in the years after. Guess what I NEVER got? Chickenpox. Same goes for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)

When it comes to vaccinating children, I support vaccines. A baby's immune system is not as strong as an adult. They are much more susceptible to different pathogens. Especially while in a public place. Children tend to put things in their mouths that could be covered in germs.

Did you know that vaccines are the reason why smallpox is not around anymore? Because of the vaccine, the United States has been free of polio since the 1970s. Before vaccines, smallpox was responsible for the deaths of 300 million people worldwide. Now, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide.

Polio caused severe paralysis to many people in the years of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Polio was so contagious that public places were shutting down. Then, Jonas Salk made the polio vaccine. Polio is now on the path to eradication... thanks to the vaccine.

Polio and smallpox vaccines are examples of inactive vaccines. This means there's no live virus in them.

By not vaccinating, you are putting yourself and others around you at risk.

I understand you have your reasons on why you choose not to vaccinate. I have my reasons why I do. If you still choose not to, I'm not going to judge you. That's your choice.

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