I am convinced that Orangetheory is becoming the Starbucks of fitness. You can find multiple locations in pretty much every major city in America, they have the same workout for every Orangetheory location across the country and they have a loyal following.
I live close enough to the Wedgwood location that it would be wrong not to pop in and try a class. As someone who dreads ‘the Mill’ (as I like to call treadmills), I can’t say I was excited to try the workout but I was curious given all the hype.
When you walk in, the lounge/front desk area is welcoming. It’s bright, open and they had two smiling faces waiting to greet me. Ironically enough, I ran into a friend who was also trying OT for the first time. The women at the front desk helped us get signed up and hooked up to a heart monitor. From there, the instructor spent some time walking us through the workout and asking about any injuries (always a good sign when an instructor asks this and can help you make any necessary adjustments). As the previous class cleared out, the instructor had us go into the studio with her and gave us a quick tour of the stations. There are different workouts that range from Strength, Endurance and Power throughout the week. Because they are very prescriptive about their workouts, you will be doing the same workout as every other person attending an Orangetheory class at that time so it’s a great way to stay connected with friends and family across the country and virtually motivate each other!
The class was organized into two stations – Strength and Cardio. Strength alternated between the rowing machine and the weights/open floor area. Cardio would be all on the Mill (or Treads as OT calls them). Part of the check in process is to grab a card with a number that either indicates Strength or Cardio. This allows you to choose which station you want to start at and which rowing machine or treadmill you will use.
My friend and I started on the rowers and it was no joke. Each strength interval combines some distance on the rowers + a set of strength exercises. To start we had to row 500 yards and then move to the floor for a set of burpees and jump squats. You alternate back and forth until time is up. Often they add sometime additional each round (for example the next round we had to row 1000 yards before we moved on to our burpees). Once the Strength series was done, we moved to the Treads for a combination of jog/run and sprints for one minute intervals. For someone who does not like the Mill, this part was exceptionally hard for me. I had to feed off the energy of my friend and the instructor to stay focused and not get bored. The good news is the program is designed for you to move through various degrees of inclines and speed. Ultimately you can go as hard as you are willing and the goal is to never let your heart rate drop out of the orange zone.
There are TV monitors set up in the studio to track your heart rate throughout the entire workout. So for the data lovers, you can monitor your heart rate and caloric expenditure throughout your entire workout. (Don’t pull a rookie move like I did and place the heart monitor above your sports bar strap. Shockingly, it won’t register your heart rate and stay at 0 the entire time. Fortunately the front desk staff quickly identified what was going on and helped me adjust.)
We rotated through the strength and cardio stations once more to complete the workout. All in all, it was a good workout. I would recommend that if you are going for the first time, try and get there early, introduce yourself to the instructor and ask for some tips on form when using the rower (assuming you are not familiar with the machine). I had never used one and the instructor gave me some tips towards the end of the workout that completely changed the feel of the movement. I wish I had thought to ask her the proper form before I started my workout.
I may go back, but more for the social aspect (a lot of the Moms from the kids’ school go to this OT location). I don’t plan to incorporate this into my current workout routine, only because I feel as though I get a better full body workout from my Tabata classes at my own gym.
But then again, you're also talking to someone doesn't drink Starbucks and prefers her own home brew.