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How Does Orangetheory Fitness Work?

Orangetheory Fitness: What the 5 Different Zones on Display Mean

Your first Orangetheory Fitness class can be a lot to take in. With unfamiliar terms like Splat points and EPOC, all the information your coach throws at you will likely fly right over your head. The stats displayed on screen throughout class can especially be confusing to understand. And even if you consider yourself an OTF regular, chances are that you're not utilizing that data to its fullest potential. We spoke with OTF coach Tim Brown, who's been at the St. Louis, MO, location for three years now, and he broke it all down to help you have your best class ever.

How Your Heart Rate Is Calculated

Before your first class, all newbies are required to fill out paperwork asking for your age, gender, and weight. Based on this information, OTF's computer system will generate your maximum heart rate in beats per minute. Once you strap on your OTbeat heart monitor, you're ready to get started.

What the 5 Heart Rate Zones Mean

OTF's latest display screen update shows members their current BPM, current calories burned, and the current Splat total. The large number in the middle is the percentage you're currently maintaining of your max heart rate (current BPM/max BPM). Your heart rate is then broken down into five zones (as explained by Tim):

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  • Gray zone: 50-60 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is the most comfortable zone. Your resting heart rate with no exertion.
  • Blue zone: 61-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is your warm-up period. Your body is in motion and your work rate is rising.
  • Green zone: 71-83 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is a "challenging but doable" high-calorie burning zone. It's a daily challenge to have members strive to stay in this zone for 25 minutes or more of the workout. It's also refereed to as the Base Pace or "active recovery."
  • Orange zone: 84-91 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is a challenging and uncomfortable zone, which creates EPOC (Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption.) This is your Push Pace effort.
  • Red zone: 92-100 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is challenging and very uncomfortable; this is where you empty your tank and give it all you have. This along with the Orange Zone create your EPOC.

How to Reach EPOC

According to Tim, your goal should be to stay in the Orange (or Red) zone for at least 12 to 20 minutes in order to reach your "afterburn." "Getting in those zones produces what exercise scientists call the 'EPOC' effect," Tim told POPSUGAR. "EPOC occurs when our bodies require excess oxygen after a workout in order to return ourselves to our normal physiologic steady state or where you were before you stepped in the studio."

How to Get Splat Points

For every minute you spend in the Orange or Red zone, you earn one Splat point. Your goal is to reach at least 12 Splat points per class. According to Tim, getting to 12 or more Splat points will help you burn an additional 250 to 500 calories on top of the calories you already burned at the end of class. Hence, the afterburn. Specific factors, including your genetics, body type, and calories burned in class, also contribute to the number of calories you burn. Keep in mind that each person varies and that you may find some days easier to meet that goal than others.

"As you frequent Orangetheory, your Splat points will start to become harder to obtain, helping to push you into new areas of speed, intensity, or strength based on the workout," Tim said. "I tell every member that the goal of your class is to reach down into yourself and give your best effort; some days you just don't have it. But if you honestly give your best effort, then that's all that counts."

Lastly, the most important thing to remember after every workout is to replace a portion of the calories you burned within 30 minutes of finishing. "Feed and repair your body immediately so that you don't waste your workout!"

Image Source: Orangetheory Fitness
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