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Before You Go to Your First Orangetheory Fitness Class, Here’s What You Need to Know

I’ve been going to Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) for a few months now, and I am proud to say that  I fall even more in love with it every time I go. It may be because of the high intensity interval training (HIIT) that reminds me of pre-professional dance or the fact that I get the same feeling while running as I did in rehearsals. I may have a bit of an obsession with OTF, hence why I bought some of the OTFxLululemon clothing items (spoiler alert: they are the cutest and look great on!!!) and the most fashionable OTF gold and silver confetti tumbler. I am not here to talk about my obsession, but instead, I want to prepare you for what to expect at your first OTF class. 


One of the amazing benefits of OTF is that the first class is free. It gives you a chance to try the workout to see if it is something you would like to continue to do, or never step foot in an OTF ever again. I wouldn’t jump the gun though, you would be surprised to see how much you accomplish in your first class, which will make you want to come back again and again. Without further ado, here is what you need to know about your first OTF class. 

Before you even step foot inside the studio, there is a chance you need to watch an introduction video that explains all of the equipment you will be using as well as the studio set up. This varies depending on what studio you choose, but I had to watch a video. You must arrive 30 minutes early prior to your first class. One of the sales associates will go over what the video talked about briefly and see if you have any questions. They will have you fill out paperwork to get to know you better, as well as to tailor the workouts to your goals. You will also meet the coach for your class. 

One thing that makes OTF special is the heart rate monitor that you wear during class. For your first class, the studio will let you borrow one, but then you typically have to purchase one. There are a few different types of heart rate monitors, such as one that straps around your waist, another that goes around your forearm, a third that you can wear on your upper arm.  The newest type is a link that is attached to your Apple Watch. 

The moment is finally here, you get to step foot into the actual workout room. No matter how many times you watch the introduction video, your eyes are going to be bouncing all around the room taking everything in. There is a giant monitor that will display your heart rate, calories burned, how many Splat Points you have earned, as well as the percentage you are working of your maximum heart rate.

You might be confused as to what a Splat Point is. There are five different zones that OTF uses: gray, blue, green, orange, and red. Gray is the most comfortable zone, and you work all the way up to the red zone, where from time to time you feel like you may pass out. Don’t worry though, even though I end up in the red zone a lot, I have always felt in control of my body. The goal of OTF is to spend at least 12 minutes in the orange or red zone in order to achieve the afterburn. The afterburn is where you burn more calories than you normally would over the next 36 hours. 

During each class, you will have three different rotations, including the rower, treadmill and weight floor. There are also options to do the bicycle or strider instead of the treadmill or rower if you have injuries. Starting on the floor is a great way to build muscle whereas the rower or treadmill provides the cardio. Even though you do the same three rotations each class, no day is the same. There are four types of ‘days’ that OTF rotates through. Those are endurance, strength, power and ESP, which is all three combined. Endurance is normally longer pushes on the treads, farther distances on the rowers, and higher reps on the floor. Strength is inclines on the treads and heavier weights on the floor. Power days are known for the many all-outs on the treadmills.

In the last point I talked about all outs and pushes, which are different levels on the treadmills. You start at a base pace which is something you could hold for about 20-30 minutes. A push is a higher speed or incline than the previous and is a little bit uncomfortable. An all-out is exactly what it sounds like- you push yourself as hard as you can. I should also mention that on the treadmill you can either be a power walker (slower speed but changing incline), jogger (bit of a higher speed) or a runner. 

My favorite part of OTF is the coaches. You may have the same few coaches in your rotation, or you may have a different coach every day of the week. The coaches are there to motivate you, make sure you don’t hurt yourself, be your friend, have amazing playlists to workout to, and more. 


OTF is truly an experience like no other. There will be challenges along the way, but you push through them and come out stronger. Nothing feels better than sweating buckets during a workout and burning hundreds of calories. OTF is known for ‘more life,’ and who wouldn’t want more of this amazing thing called life? If you would like to try out a free OTF class, click HERE on the following link to find a studio near you! 

Amanda Zimmerman is a senior studying Accounting at The University of Alabama. A few things she enjoys immensely are Disney, dance, traveling, Dancing With the Stars and Orangetheory Fitness!
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