This post has been a long time coming!
Most of you already know that I currently spend my days working as a Studio Manager at an Orangetheory Fitness studio in Brooklyn, New York. The biggest perk of my job is having easy access to pop into any studio on standby, and I have had my fair share of Orangetheory Fitness workouts over the past few months to be able to share valid information with you.
I have received a lot of questions regarding what to expect at an Orangetheory workout along with many comments expressing concerns about the workout coming across as too intense. Today I’m addressing them all in one post, and I’d love to answer any more questions you have in the comments section!
What is an Orangetheory Fitness Workout?
Affordable personal training in a group setting!
Orangetheory Fitness is a 1-hour total body workout that focuses on strength, endurance, and power. Each workout is created by a team of fitness professionals at the corporate headquarters in Florida and sent out as the same “Workout of the Day” to every studio across the nation every day.
Each class is different, but you can expect to spend 25-30 minutes on the treadmills and indoor water rowers for cardio training, and 25-30 minutes at a weight station doing a variety of exercises that uses equipment like TRX straps, dumbbells, BOSU balls, medicine balls, and ab dollies. You are working with a certified personal trainer as your coach throughout the entire class who makes sure that you aren’t over-training or under-training, and this is also tracked using heart rate monitors.
Orangetheory Fitness features high-intensity interval training that monitors five heart rate zones. All zones are color coded to make it easy to understand, and the workouts are designed to train in three zones: the blue, green, and orange zones.
The workouts are scientifically designed to keep heart rates in a target zone (the “orange zone” — hence the name!) that spikes metabolism and increases energy. The goal is to get at least 12-20 minutes of the 1-hour workout (well, 55 minutes with a warm-up and cool-down) in the orange zone while working at 84% of your maximum heart rate or higher. People who do this generally burn between 500-1,000 calories per workout (<- seriously), and continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours. This is called the afterburn, and is where the brand hashtags #startburning and #keepburning come from.
After the workout is over, your class summary pops up on the television screens, and these results are also sent to your email inbox for easy tracking.
Nearly all Orangetheory Fitness locations invite you to try your first class for free. (Local residents only.) First time visitors are asked to arrive at least thirty minutes before the class start time. This is to ensure that you will have the best experience possible with a proper introduction to the instructor, equipment, and science behind the workout.
Every studio is different, but all New York City (and most bigger city) locations are Premium studios. This means that the prices run a little higher, but there are extra amenities like showers, beauty stations with products, (our location will have actual locker rooms!), and a towel service.
You will never repeat the same workout twice. It took me a few classes to feel like I really got the hang of everything, but now it all seems pretty simple. It’s a fool-proof workout that is great for anyone looking for challenges, results, a community, and a fun workout environment!
Frequently Asked Questions
• How are Orangetheory Fitness workouts for all fitness levels?
I get this question on a daily basis, and it’s a great one!
Every workout is the same from studio to studio, but with the help of the Coach, they are personalized to fit any fitness level. For example, on the treadmill, you have the option to take class as a power walker, jogger, or runner. If you aren’t sure what level you should start at, that is where the Coach comes in with suggestions. At the weight stations, the exercise circuits are demonstrated by the Coach with options to modify or advance movements. You have a certain amount of time to complete each circuit (say, six minutes), so you go through it as many sets as you can. You’re at your own pace and may be going faster or slower than your neighbor.
That said, someone brand new to fitness classes could be in the same class as a professional athlete, both walking/running at their own speeds.
• What if I don’t like running?
While the workout is designed to train on treadmills and indoor water rowers for cardio, there are striders and stationary bikes available for those who prefer those machines. Coaches give speed suggestions and directions for all machines throughout the class.
• What are splat points?
You get a splat point for each minute you spend training in your EPOC zone (post-exercise oxygen consumption), or the orange zone. Coaches have a goal of getting everyone in the orange zone for 12-20 minutes every class.
Doing so gets you to naturally burn more calories, even after you’re done working out!
• What are tornado classes?
Every so often, a studio will announce a Tornado Warning. Tornado classes are split into three sections on the treadmill, at the weights stations, and on the indoor water rowers. Tornado classes feel more intense than regular classes, as it’s a challenge to spend nearly twenty minutes on each focus.
• How many people can attend a class?
Each studio may vary, but the average is 26. Classes are reservation based, and space is limited with the number of treadmills, indoor water rowers, and weight stations.
• How much are classes?
Each location and market runs on a different tier of pricing. As you can imagine, New York City studios are at the higher end. Right now, all OTF Brooklyn studios are running an amazing deal for the holidays. A drop-in is $32 per session, but you can sign up for a recurring monthly membership (no sign-up fees or long-term contract) for as little as $14 per session if you come 3-4 times per week. (Other locations throughout the country, say Tampa for example, offer unlimited packages for $159 per month. It just depends on the market!)
Memberships are the way to go if you would like to attend on a regular basis, but you also have the option of purchasing class packages in the amount of 10, 20, and 30 sessions.
• Can I use my OTF membership at other OTF studios?
Absolutely! Like I mentioned above, each studio is priced at its market value. All OTF Brooklyn locations are priced the same, so you can visit any of the three locations with a regular monthly membership or class pack. If you have a membership at a regular Orangetheory Fitness studio and travel to a Premium Orangetheory Fitness studio, you may have to pay a cross-regional drop-in fee to attend class there. Typically, however, this isn’t an issue, and you can use your membership for any class across the nation.
• Do I have to wear a heart rate monitor?
To experience the full “orange theory” behind the workout, yes, but it’s not required to still get in an amazing workout.
• Do I have to buy an Orangetheory Fitness heart rate monitor? And what is the difference between them?
Only Orangetheory Fitness heart rate monitors will sync with the OTbeat system and display your stats on the television screens in real-time during classes. You can, however, use OTF heart rate monitors to track other workouts outside of the studio if you download the OTbeat app.
First time guests are given a loaner heart rate monitor. There is a chest strap option as well as a wrist option, and you can try both before you choose which one to purchase. All members will be asked to buy their own heart rate monitor after that. Members choose the type of heart rate monitor based on their personal preference. Some like the chest strap and are able to keep it the tightest next to their heart for the most accurate results. Others do better wearing the wrist link, so they go with that option. It’s totally up to you!
Personally, I prefer the chest strap. Both are easy to clean with a sanitizing wipe or soap and water (just take the pod off/out).
• What type of gym clothes and shoes should I wear?
It’s not always easy to find a pair of shoes that are supportive enough for running, but light enough to walk around or strength train in, too. My best answer is a pair of running shoes that don’t feel too clunky.
I specifically chose these Nike FlyKnit Air Max sneakers to wear to Orangetheory workouts because they feel light but give enough support for everything from sprinting on treadmills to completing plyometric bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. (Also found here, here, and here) <- on sale!
As far as clothes go, you could wear whatever you want. I prefer to wear leggings and a tank top, but some wear shorts and t-shirts. A supportive sports bra is a must, and make sure to bring a change of clothes for afterwards because you will leave sweaty!
• How often should I attend classes?
There are several factors that employees and Coaches weigh in on before suggesting the right plan for you. What is your current fitness routine like? What do you do outside of Orangetheory workouts? What are your goals?
If you’re someone who is looking to lose weight or tone up quickly, they would usually recommend getting the Premier (unlimited) membership and attending classes 3-4 times per week. If you are someone who likes to bounce around different studios and go running outside a few times a week, maybe the Elite (8 sessions per month) would be best for you.
There are people who fit Orangetheory in between spinning, yoga, barre, and kickboxing classes, and others who strictly attend Orangetheory and come six times a week. Your local Orangetheory staff will help you find a plan that is ideal for you!
• Are the workouts just for women?
Not at all! If I had to guess, I would say that classes generally have a 60% female, 40% male ratio. It’s a fun and challenging workout to do with your spouse!
I’d love to hear about your experience at Orangetheory Fitness if you’ve ever given it a try below! Do you have any questions? I’m here to help!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever tried/would you like to try an Orangetheory Fitness workout?
• Do you use a heart rate monitor to track your workouts?
Are you interested in trying an Orangetheory Fitness class? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help get you set up in a free class! Park Slope — you also have access to a 1-week free trial and complimentary private classes when you secure the lowest VIP Founding Membership rates before the studio opens in early January. Message me for details!