Switching It Up with Orange Theory

In an effort to get fit, I tried Orange Theory the other day. It is a 60-minute group fitness class with interval-style workouts on the treadmill, weight station, row simulator, and floor. It was reminiscent of Biggest Loser in a sense because there is a trainer pushing and motivating you the whole time, and there is a variety of quick workouts during the hour. Lots of pop & hip hop music playing, so you don’t have to bring your own. Actually, you probably couldn’t hear your own if you brought it!

There were two groups in the class.  As a newbie, I was in the group that started on the treadmill. The other group started on the weight station. After ten minutes or so, the groups switched places.  We then had three different simple weight-lifting routines, ten counts of each exercise. Next, we rowed for two minutes. After switching back and forth between the weights and the rower until time was called, we jumped back on the treadmill! I liked that each time we went back to the weights, we were given different exercises. Actually what we did on treadmill and row machine changed up a little, too.

What sets this group fitness place apart is the heart rate monitors, which each person is given, and a trainer keeping an eye on everyone the whole class. Very different gym experience! And I’m so not a gym person.  Everyone’s heart rates are actually displayed up on a big screen for all to see, which took a little getting used to. My heart rate monitor did not want to stay in place, even with tucking it in my sports bra as suggested. So during most of the class, I couldn’t tell if I was in the coveted orange zone, for which the place is named.

The first 45 minutes passed pretty quickly. I didn’t push myself the first half of the class, though I wish I would have! I thought I couldn’t do the treadmill incline percentages the trainer was asking. But during the last half, I gave it a shot and made it just fine. We started out with a base level of 1% incline, 3 to 4 mph…then pushed it up to 10 to 15% incline for power walkers. It’s so fast paced, I got lost a couple times, but the trainer is fairly conscious of everyone and quickly got me back on track. I liked the row thing a lot, but I had the worst time with its straps and my shoes! I actually got “trapped” a few different times. I had to pull my shoes off and pull the shoes out of the straps to get out. If there had been some type of fire or emergency while I was on that thing…

Lastly, the two groups came together at the end of class for cool down, which consists of core exercises —  planks, alternate-straight arm to plank, mountain climbing, lower ab & oblique sit-ups — and stretches.

The only thing I didn’t like is there aren’t any full-on locker rooms — there’s lockers and cubbies in the lobby and two restrooms in the back.  They expect people to come to class dressed and ready to go.

What I loved is that I felt very clear minded after class, as if I’d just come from yoga, and stronger the next day, without a whole lot of soreness. I’d go back. I wouldn’t think I’d be interested in group fitness.  I tend to gravitate toward yoga and other quiet, solo or one-on-one type exercise sessions, but I tend to lose motivation after while, partly because I don’t find them super exciting or fun, and it gets to be too dry. Orange Theory gives newbies two chances to try them out for free. One session down, one to go!

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