Product Review: Orange Theory Fitness

I knew I had to make a change.

My weight has been increasing again, and no amount of eating healthy nor triathlon training was stopping it. I would go to 251 then shoot right back to 260 in a matter of days without changing any habits. Something was wrong. I had to throw a curve at my body and fitness plan to see if I could rekindle the loss.

But what to do??

I was already running 3 times a week. I was biking at least twice a week. I was also swimming 1-2 times each week. A normal training week was 5 days, and sometimes 6, so I wasn’t sure where or how to fit in ANOTHER workout. My running group changed the times of their twice a week run to 6:30, so that afforded me the time to get a quick 45-minute weight training session in before the run.

This was a change, a return to weight training, but I did not feel like it was enough. There needed to be something more … intense … something that would challenge me and make me work to that line where you cannot do anything further.

We have all seen the ads on TV. “Orange Theory Fitness … the BEST hour workout in the COUNTRY”. I usually don’t fall into these type of ads easily. I can look at commercials for the “ultimate gym” and Chuck Norris doesn’t sway me one inch. P90X? Nope. Not for me. I know I wouldn’t push myself without someone pushing me. Just how I am. Something about this Orange Theory thing intrigued me though, but I didn’t jump right in. I asked around.

And as is normal, someone in my tight little group was interested in trying this as well … Kate Thompson. As is normal with Kate, she doesn’t make a decision and then sits on it. No, by the next week I found myself signed up for an introductory class.

This was last night.

As I write this I cannot feel my legs 🙂

Let me start by saying this. Vinnie Tortorich is in my head now when it comes to gyms and the sales tactics they use, and Orange Theory was no different. I don’t fault them for this, I know they have to sell memberships and I know they have to earn a living. I am a bit more tolerant of these things than some, but the staff that greeted us were very nice, very informative, and very welcoming. I had a good first impression. They showed us a video which outlined the basic type of workouts there were, and the “theory” behind “Orange Theory”, which in a nutshell is getting your heart rate into the Orange or red zone for 21-27 minutes of an hour workout session.

The trainer, Matt, brought us in before the class to go over the treadmill settings, the rowers, how the class is run, the terminology, etc. He was a big marine looking guy, talked very fast, and very enthusiastic. I liked him immediately. He was also quick to point out that we should go at our own pace, that if it ever got to be too much to slow down. The nice thing about this is they give you a heart rate monitor (actually you buy the strap and they assign you the transmitter) which then projects your numbers onto a large screen with everyone else. It’s great because you can see if your rate is getting too high for the work you are currently doing and can back off, but it’s also great in another way because it creates a bit of competition within the group. Always a good motivation.

We were “lucky” enough to be in a special class this night, one that was a bit more intense than the normal workouts, and Matt cautioned us about this. I’ll lay it out here:

Treadmill:   Warm up 2:00
Treadmill:   Run 1 mile (if under 10:00 pace) or 1/2 mile
Rower:        400m
Treadmill:   Run 1/2 mile (if under 10:00 pace) or 1/4 mile
Rower:        800m
Treadmill:   Run 1/4 mile (if under 10:00 pace) or 1/8 mile
Block 1:      100 pushups, 100 Calf Raises, 100 Squats
Block 2:      100 TRX Pull-ups, 100 Bicycles, 100 DB Swings
Block 3:      100 Alternating DB Curls, 100 Tricep Press, 100 Toe Taps
Block 4:      50 Bench Jumps, 50 Double Crunches

Block 2 was about the time I was done. I have not felt like I had to puke during a workout since basketball practice in high school when the coach was making us do wind sprints UNTIL someone puked. I can honestly say this was the hardest thing I had done in awhile, and I will be honest in saying I did not complete 100 of most anything after Block 2, and I cannot do the Bench Jumps. I was soaked in sweat, my legs were sore, my quads and inner thighs are SCREAMING this morning. My whole body aches.

But I joined.

And I did not join because of the sales tactics. I decided I was joining by Block 3. They gave us the normal sales pitches, offering the free strap if WE JOIN TODAY AND TODAY ONLY, plus an additional few sessions per month, but my mind was made up before they even started.

So I have 8 sessions per month, which I have already scheduled 4 of for August. You have to actually schedule yourself in advance because they cap each class at 24. I like this. Keeps you accountable and if you don’t show without calling in advance they charge you. Money always has a way of keeping you on track, doesn’t it?

Bottom Line

It may not be an environment everyone would like, but I would recommend giving it a tryout. The class size is manageable (mine was 16 last night) with a good mix of ages (I would guess the youngest there was early 20’s and up to my age of 50). It was predominantly women, which is normal for classes in general. Only three men last night, so it should be OK for the females that have an issue with working out with men.

Not sure why.

We rock.

4 thoughts on “Product Review: Orange Theory Fitness

  • August 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks! I made an appointment for the Clearwater location tomorrow morning. I need to stick close to home to make sure I have enough time to get home before Chad needs to leave for work.

    • August 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Totally understandable. Just offering in case you wanted company the first time.

  • August 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

    i’ve been wanting to try OTF . . . thanks for your take ont he classes. i think i’ll give it a go soon.

    • August 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      You’re more than welcome to join Kate and I one Thursday in Tyrone. As long as you’re good to go.

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