OrangeTheory Fitness: One Year Later

Official Logo

Last summer, I was a little less than a year away from getting married. I had recently bought a house, I was in a new job, and I was struggling to find a routine. My fitness had suffered over the past several years, and although I had a gym membership, my attendance was spotty at best. My day-to-day diet didn’t help, and I just couldn’t seem to find a way to get or keep myself motivated.

There was a new gym that had recently opened several miles from my house, and I drove by it almost daily. It had a pleasant storefront, and an interesting and inviting logo (see above.) I decided to stop in to see what it wa all about. I really had no idea what to expect.

Within seconds of walking through the door, I already felt welcomed and comfortable. The space was well lit, clean, simple and organized. The staff were all friendly and inviting, and they showed me around and welcomed me back later that day to take a free class to see if it was for me. There was no pressure, and I felt at ease.

After taking my first class, I was instantly sold! I loved the combination of endurance, power, and strength the class incorporated, and a 60-minute session pushed me to burn over 800 calories. I felt better than I had in a year!

For those unfamiliar, Orangetheory Fitness is a class based workout. The classes typically start at 0500 and go until 1900 or so every night. A typical class is 60 minutes, although there are some classes which are 45 minutes or 90 minutes. You know what you’re getting into when you sign up. It even tells you who the trainer will be for that class.

Screenshot of the class signup app

At the start of each class, you put on your arm or chest sensor, which is one of the foundations of Orangetheory. The sensor collects data from your workout, most importantly of which is your heart rate. Everything you do at Orangetheory is based on your heart rate. Even the name of the company is a reference to the “orange zone”, which is ultimately the target to aim for in your 60 minute workout. Your goal is to keep your heart rate at or above 84% of your max heart rate for at least 12 minutes out of the 60 minute class. If you can achieve this, you will get the afterburn affect, which will keep you burning calories for up to 48 hours.

The good news is that if you push yourself, the workouts that are created for you (they change daily) will allow you to hit that mark a good majority of the time. The following is an example of one of my workouts:

As you can see, all of my data is tracked, stored, and I receive a copy via email and app directly after the workout. This allows you to keep track of your progress, and push harder if possible. Even during the class, your info is shown on a large screen at the front of class to keep you aware of where you are. Each minute in the orange or red zone is referred to as “splatpoints.” The idea is to keep yourself in the “orange zone” as much as possible.

Display of each person’s individual fitness information

Now getting back to my journey: I have tried many different fitness methods over the years, all meeting with various levels of success. I have had an amazing personal trainer, and every moment spent with him was well worth the time and money. It laid the foundation for what I try to accomplish and imitate even to this day. I have also belonged to a “big box” gym, which allows you the flexibility to work out in the way you see fit. The challenge there is that you still need the expertise, drive and motivation to make it all happen on your own.

The beauty of OrangeTheory is that it combines these two different approaches. You get the best of both worlds, and it’s almost like a combination of having a personal trainer and belonging to a gym wrapped up in one. They create a workout for you, allow you to monitor all your important fitness data, and teach the class with a trainer trained in each facet of the 60 minute workout. They encourage and motivate you through your journey, and the 10-20 other people in your class help motivate and drive you, as they push themselves in the same workout you’re undergoing.

One year later, and I’m still motivated and excited to go to the gym 4 or 5 times a week. It keeps it fresh and new, and results I see in myself give me the motivation to keep pushing harder. For me, this system works well. I would encourage anyone curious to give it a chance.

You just may find a home as I did.

-Z

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