Work it Out: Orangetheory Fitness

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Orangetheory Fitness! During the month of August they are doing a salute to the troops and giving new guests a free three-class package. I joined a friend who already is a member and a friend who was also doing the trial and finished the last of my classes last night and I loved it.

Orangetheory is an hour-long class that fits in cardio and strength training. Everyone wears a heart rate monitor and TV screens around the room show your heart rate and what zone you’re in, with the idea being to stay in orange or red (84% max heart rate and above) for a good portion of the class. Or if you’re me, like the whole class. I’ve never worked with a heart rate monitor before, but apparently my body likes to get to work.

No, everyone is not looking at your heart rate and judging you. Yes, I did look up and compare to see if others were in the same color zone I was in or if I was the only one totally overexerting myself, but in a group of strangers, I didn’t know which profile on the screen matched which sweaty class goer, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

The class of 24 (different sizes at different studios) is split into two groups. One group does cardio first – treadmill intervals – and the other does weights – three rounds of 3-4 exercises AMRAP style. They say you can burn 600-1000 calories during the class (my results told me I was burning about 500-600).

What I liked: Someone telling me what to do. All I had to do was show up and commit to working for an hour. It forced me back into running and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and I love it all over again. The music and the fast pace – the hour just flies by.

What I didn’t like: Personally, nothing. Well, okay, I guess the price of actually getting a membership because I’d love to join, but since I can’t quit my gym and it has all the equipment and more to do the same type of workout on my own (minus the motivation), I can’t justify spending even more monthly on a class-based studio.

The thing I didn’t like in general is that it’s a fast-paced class and you have one instructor working with a large group, split up doing different things, so the newbie in the corner doing either ineffective at best, unsafe at worst, strength training is not going to get the coaching he or she needs. I witnessed it last night when the older lady across from me was swinging her weights all over.  While they don’t necessarily emphasize speed over form, they also don’t promote form over speed.

As I said, though, I really liked it overall and I’ve already got my own OTF-style workouts in the works!

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