#ITriedIt: Orangetheory Fitness

Let’s get one thing straight- I have never been the type of person who enjoys working out in a gym… or working out in general, really. When it comes to fitness, my life has consisted of 10+ years of dance, 6 years of competitive figure skating, mandatory school P.E. classes and an occasional jog. The whole aspect of working out in a gym has never really appealed to me.

At-home workouts have never worked for me either- the lack of motivation is TOO real. I’ve tried BBG with Kayla Itsines, the Sweat App, Zumba DVDs, Insanity and pretty much every iPhone fitness app on the App Store.

But these past several months, I kept seeing various people on Instagram talking about Orangetheory Fitness (OTF). I did a little more digging into what makes Orangetheory so popular, and the results were ~shocking~.

The OTF website says, “Orangetheory is a science-backed, technology-tracked, coach-inspired group workout designed to produce results from the inside out”. So what does that mean, exactly?

Via Orangetheory Fairfax City Facebook Page

Orangetheory uses your individual heart rate to keep track of your 5 heart rate zones.

Each workout at OTF is designed to keep you in your “Orange Zone” (the second highest) for at least 12 minutes or more.

Essentially, OTF uses its own form of technology (including wearable heart rate monitors) to maximize your 60-minute workout. Orangetheory uses the science of EPOC, aka excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, to raise your metabolic rate and burn calories even AFTER your workout has ended (aka the “Afterburn” effect).

Orangetheory offer three membership plans:

  • Basic (4 classes per month)

  • Elite (8 classes per month)

  • Premier (Unlimited classes per month)

Prices for each membership vary based on your location, but with the premier membership, you essentially save more money than you would have with the two lower membership tiers. And as a George Mason student, you actually get a slight discount, which I didn’t know about beforehand!

I decided to try out a class, just to see what it was like, thinking I would likely check off yet another box of “Work-Outs That Don’t Work For Me Because I Am Constantly Unmotivated”. Luckily, Orangetheory enforces a strict, and I mean STRICT cancellation policy once you’ve signed up for a class. If you cancel your class within the 8 hours before your class begins, you either have to pay $12 (for the unlimited Premier membership) or forfeit a class (for the lower tiered memberships). Talk about motivation!!

Because of how busy my schedule was that week, I had to sign up for a 6 AM workout- which was insane considering I am the total OPPOSITE of a morning person.

At 4:45 AM, I somehow rolled out of bed giddy with a blend of excitement and nerves reminiscent of the first day of school. After stalking the OTF Reddit for information on what to do/eat/expect/etc., I learned that 1 banana is the best pre-workout snack.

With my banana in one hand and Kate Spade gym bag in the other, I began my ~fitness guru~ journey.

Luckily, there are THREE OTF locations in Fairfax alone. I chose to go to a class at the studio in University Mall, right in front of campus.

The moment I walked in, I was immediately greeted by name. One employee sat down with me and talked me through my fitness goals, past fitness history and what I should expect in the class. She explained that every single workout at Orangetheory is specifically designed and no two workouts are EVER the same. I’m the kind of person that gets sick of routines, so this was an added plus!!

Then, one of the OTF coaches walked me through the equipment in the studio, taught me proper form for the rowers (yeah… ROWERS) and showed me how to understand my real-time metrics on the screen.

Not gonna lie, the first few minutes were rough. I accidentally rowed 6 times the amount we were SUPPOSED to row, but I blame it on the mere fact that I am NOT a morning person. After 10 minutes, I felt like I was probably going to die before the class was over.

Yet somehow, the 60 minutes flew by, with a portion of the class dedicated to rowing, another focusing on weights/strength and the final 20 or so minutes running on the treadmill. It was extremely intense since I had never taken a HIIT-style class before, but once it was over, I felt incredible. The class ended with a nice stretching and cool-down session, which was much needed.

Afterward, the coach walked me through my class performance. We both looked at the giant screen which displayed everyone’s maximum heart rate, calories burned, and their total number of “Splat Points”, which are the total number of minutes you spent exercising in your Orange and Red zones.

I burned more calories than I could have ever imagined and earned a whopping 34 Splat Points (OTF recommend you earn at least 12 per workout for the best Afterburn effects).

Photo Courtesy of Author

I think what made the workout so effective for me was the fact that you could earn metaphorical points. I have an extremely competitive nature, so I loved being able to see my progress in real-time.

I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Knowing I had pushed myself to become stronger, all before 7 in the morning was HUGE for me.

I pretty much immediately signed up for a Premier membership. I truly have never felt as energized as I do when I leave a workout.

Since I signed up a week and a half ago, I have gone to 6 classes, burned 3,630 calories and earned 181 Splat Points. Who would have thought I would be excited about working out in a gym setting? I certainly didn’t.  

And now, the motivation to NOT spend $12 on last minute cancellations is real. $12 is one meal from CAVA that I could be buying or two iced lattes from Starbucks. Either way, I’ve finally found a way to workout, stay motivated, and feel good doing it.