I decided to go outside of my comfort zone (aka running up a storm) and try a fitness class at Orangetheory Fitness. I’ve tried a few fitness classes in my day and have never really fell in love with anything that I’ve tried. I’ve liked plenty of classes (I would say Barre probably tops the list), but nothing that motivated me to break open the wallet.

Anyways, through the various classes, I’ve learned I have a few pet peeves that immediately turn me off from fitness classes:

  1. Class leaders who flat out lie to you. I get pushing people a little bit more than they expect to get a great work out. But I hate when the trainers will tell you that you have 10 left, then only 5 more after that, oh but wait just 5 more!! And now after that, 3 more!! I am not 5 years old and I can count. Just tell me the truth!
  2. Trainers/class leaders that push you too far out of your comfort zone. I get it – they are there to push your out of your bounds so that you get the great sweat sesh. BUT, I don’t appreciate someone pushing me down because I’m not touching my toes (I’m not that flexible) or telling me I can handle a weight for a series of reps that I can barely lift for the first one. 
  3. People who don’t appreciate other forms of fitness and act like you have to do their class or nothing else. Oh you run? No, you should quit that and do Crossfit 5 days a week and here’s why. No, never going to work. 


So anyways! Back to my experience at Orangetheory Fitness. I headed there a few minutes early as they requested so they could give me a tour of the studio and explain to me how things worked. The studio is brand new — opened just a few weeks ago — and it was clean and really pretty (I kinda have a thing for orange thanks to my high school colors). 

After they gave me a heartrate monitor (mandatory for classes), we headed into the studio and first checked out the “gym” section:


As you can see, there are free weights, benches and some TRX systems. 

Then we went over to the treadmills and rowing equipment.



The treadmills are probably the highest technology I’ve ever seen, super easy to configure! I also got a brief explanation about the workout (hopefully I don’t butcher it):

Basically, it’s a balance of cardio with weights and the idea is to get your heart in the “base” range, or around 78-80% as ideal, which is the fat-burning zone. They have these huge TVs throughout the studio you can see it in the corner in the picture above) that shows what your % so that you can make quick changes in real-time.

When you are running on the treadmill, you want the majority of it to be in the “base” range. There are times where you will go harder, and that’s OK — there’s a specific balance of how much time you want to spend in each “zone” throughout the class to get the biggest bang for the workout. They also have a all of their classes built on ESP — Endurance, Speed or Power. So, the classes will differ based on that (apparently the “tornado” class that I joined is designed to be a little bit harder overall by switching things up and just pushing you a bit more). 

After the tour, we headed back to the lobby area where there were people lined up (it looks like people try to get there early to start on their favored station). 

They opened the doors and everyone rushed in to get in the station that they wanted. I’m not quite sure what I would have preferred to start out with, but they had reserved me a treadmill and that was totally cool. As you know, I can run all day so it felt good to run on a treadmill! And it felt like clouds under my feet (or maybe it was my Brooks Pure Cadence 4s!), which I’ve never experienced with a treadmill!

So we did about an eight minute workout on the treadmill, which was mostly in the base range with a few “push” moments and a sprint, which took you out of the fat-burning range. Next, we hit up the rowing machine. This was a mix of rowing and doing squats… and then it was off to the weight section, where we focused on arms (these t-rex arms were so happy). 

The overall class was about an hour and switched the three stations I think three times total. The trainer pushed you, but still let you set your limits, which is something that I really liked… especially when it came to running (I never experienced the 12 incline on a treadmill… ha, that was crazy!).

I felt like the class went really fast and I was sweating like crazy. I felt like I got a really great workout (according to the monitors, I burned about 670 calories – based on the heartrate monitor) and liked what we did (especially the arm work, I’ve never tried TRX before). 

So the verdict?

Well, I signed up for a membership. I guess you can say I liked it! I was sold because they didn’t violate my rules above and I loved the mix of running within the workout. I also loved that it worked a lot of muscles that I never focus on (arms) even though I always say I will.

It’s the kick in the butt that I need to get going! I am going to commit to two classes a week. The great thing is that they also have showers so I can do a morning class before work or easily head there after work. It’s literally two minutes away from my office.

If you’re interested in trying out an Orangetheory Fitness class, I highly recommend heading to the studio and just trying it out for one class. They are popping up all over the country and their classes are free for first-timers. I know that it might not be the structure for everyone, but I’m excited to finally find a fitness class that speaks to me and is enjoyable. And mostly, one that I can complement with my running and not have to sacrifice that for this, if that makes sense.  


Have you ever attended an Orangetheory Fitness class? What’d you think — for you or not?

What’s your favorite fitness class ever? 



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