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Going out or working out?: A Review of Orangetheory Fitness

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

The moment you step into a class at Orangetheory you can tell that it will be an experience unlike any other workout class you have ever taken. I took between three and five classes every week this past summer, so I feel that I am fully qualified to give a full review of this studio and determine if they are worth joining. 

I took my first Orangetheory class last fall with a club here at UMass called CHAARG, which is a health and fitness organization that partners with different studios to allow members to try different kinds of workouts. When I went to my first class, I was nervous but excited to try what I heard was a really challenging workout. I went with my best friend and we were able to get machines next to each other, which definitely helped ease the nerves a bit. The atmosphere is my favorite part because the lights are very dim and the music is super loud, so it almost feels like every class is a party!

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The first time you go to the studio, you typically will sit down with one of the sales associates to fill out forms and discuss the goals that you wish to get out of Orangetheory. They ask you to come around 30 minutes early so that you can give all of your information and get an introduction to the studio. After you have had your discussion, the sales associate will bring you in to meet with the coach for that class, introducing you and making the coach aware of your goals and any restrictions you may have. The instructor will then show you how all of the machines and stations work so that you feel comfortable when they are giving instructions to the whole group with specific terminology. I really appreciated this when I first got my membership because I didn’t feel as anxious about potentially looking clueless in a room full of people who had been doing this workout for months. 

My favorite part about Orangetheory is that the workouts are supported by science and you can physically see your stats throughout the workout using their OTbeat technology with the heart rate monitor that you wear during class. This monitor shows your different stats on large screens around the room, as well as on your treadmill. For some people, it might be intimidating for others to see your progress throughout the class, but for me, I enjoy it because I can see where I need to make changes in my intensity levels. The workout itself is based on your heart rate and has five zones in which it can lie. The gray zone is the first one, which is the most comfortable of the zones and uses 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. In the blue zone, you should either be warming up or cooling down and using 61-70% of your maximum heart rate. The green zone is “challenging but doable,” using 71-83% of your maximum heart rate. Orangetheory is named after the orange zone, which uses 84-91% of your maximum heart rate and you get the “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” effect, otherwise known as EPOC. The goal of each class is to spend at least 12 minutes in this zone as this will allow you to burn calories for up to one day after you have finished the workout. In the red zone, you are giving your all with 92-100% of your maximum heart rate.

The workout consists of three main parts: the rowing machine, the treadmill, and the weight section. For a 60-minute 2G style class (which just means two groups for an hour), you can choose to either start at the rower or on the tread. If you start at the rower, you will typically just warm up there until you move back to the weight section with the rower being included in some of the workout blocks there. You spend approximately 25 minutes at each part, switching halfway through class. The workout is very challenging, but the coaches are pros at giving modifications to help you succeed. For example, if you are not a runner, there are always power-walker options for the treadmill. If you cannot use the treadmill, there are also a few bikes and ellipticals to use. 

I know that Orangetheory is not the most cost-friendly option out there for gyms, but it is the perfect workout for me because I don’t need to plan a single thing when I want to go to the gym. The instructors are amazing at pushing you beyond your limits and making you laugh through the pain. I hope you know a bit more now about my favorite workout in the world!

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Kate Dahlman

U Mass Amherst '24

Kate is a senior English major with a minor in business and a certificate in Professional Writing and Technical Communication at UMass Amherst. She is very passionate about all things literature! When she isn't studying or writing an essay, she loves to read, cook, and work out. She loves being apart of Her Campus at UMass!