Feeling the Burn with OrangeTheory Fitness
Cheryl Gerber Photograph
I am a competitive person. The drive to be the best in the room, and to feel challenged by others, lends a big hand to my success. Balancing work, relationships, my health and mental well-being are a priority, but I also want to go above and beyond that bare minimum “balance.” I have specific goals.
Among them is to get stronger and rock a bathing suit this summer; it has been a goal of mine for about a year now, and I’ve been searching for a new gym situation to match my personality and drive. I wanted a workout experience that would leave me feeling like I gave my all and am getting the most out of every minute. That is when I stumbled on OrangeTheory Fitness.
The first thing I like about OrangeTheory Fitness is that I was able to try out one class for free before any commitments - which I end up willingly committing to anyway! I show up to my first class 30 minutes before it starts, and a man dressed in orange smiles and jokes with me as he explains the whole concept behind the workout, and how to navigate my first class. From the reception room, loud, high-energy music is coming from the workout room, which is low-lit with orange hues and filled with people running on treadmills and pulling on row machines. The gym has been open since 5 a.m., and they hold classes every hour or so, until 8 p.m.
The concept of OrangeTheory Fitness is to give members a heart-pounding, high-intensity workout within 60 to 90 minutes. The exercise involves using treadmills, rowing machines, TRX, weight-training and timed as well as counted reps and sets. One trainer is walking around directing you, pushing you harder and playing disc jockey for the group. You wear a strap with a monitor around your chest, or your wrist, connected to large flat screens that track your workout efforts in real time by posting every person’s heart rate, calories burned, burn zone and various other stats. The goal is to accumulate as much time as possible in what they call the “Orange Zone,” the heart rate level needed to stimulate Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), which they say can help members continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after the workout. Also referred to as “afterburn,” for every minute you spend in the orange zone, you are given a “splat point,” and at the end of the workout you want to earn as many splat points as possible for the best afterburn effect.
The concept of posting everyone’s efforts on the screen with numbers, percentages and colors may sound intimidating, but in my several workouts at OrangeTheory since, my biggest challenge and competitor is myself. Even though some people may come in with intentions to be the best in the room with the highest splat points, most are there to beat their personal records. I also noticed more than just an afterburn effect when I finished my first class, covered in sweat. I felt some unexplained desire to go back. Within 24 hours of the workout, I wanted to go back for that workout again, and again.
Since it’s a franchise, all OrangeTheory Fitness gyms follow the same aesthetic as well as workout room set up. If you try out a class for yourself, just remember to have fun.
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