Source: Orangetheory Fitness
I haven't stopped thinking about Orangetheory Fitness, since my very first class. I signed up assuming it would be a one-time-thing, but this was far from the case. Here's why I loved it and why I'm praying it'll open a studio in San Francisco.
The vast majority of Orangetheory Fitness classes are 60 minutes long. Like any studio workout, each trainer brings something different to the table, but every class is a combination of cardio on the treadmill and the rowing machine plus strength training. The first class I took had a cardio WOD written down on a whiteboard — it was a run-row combination that was fun and flew by — while the next trainer I took was offering instruction from start to finish during the cardio portion of class. Close to halfway through, the cardio stops, and you head over to the strength-training portion of class. A large screen shows off the moves programmed by your trainer; he or she will demo each move in the circuit so you can see what it looks like in person, and then you're able to move at your own pace. I loved that there was a combination of weights, TRX, and bodyweight moves in each strength-training portion, and if I forgot how many reps I was supposed to do or what proper form looked like, I could look up and check out the screen instead of having to bug my trainer. This leaves room for each trainer to offer one-on-one instruction to the class and make sure everyone is staying safe.
The Orange Effect
What truly sets Orangetheory apart from other classes in this sphere is the addition of the heart rate monitor. Everyone is fitted with their own heart rate monitor that hooks up to a large screen for all to see. Your effort is divided into five categories designated by its own color. The reason this studio is dubbed Orangetheory Fitness is that it's all about the orange (or level four zone). The trainers explain that the orange target zone is where major calorie-burning happens, and when you spend the recommended 12 to 20 minutes here during your class, the afterburn effect can take hold where your metabolism spikes and your energy increases. According to the website, participants burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories per workout.
Source: Orangetheory Fitness
I love being challenged, but I absolutely hate being yelled at when I'm working out. I typically have a tough time with a no-nonsense, bootcamp-style class, but each Orangetheory instructor I encountered pushed me without pissing me off. I tend to have a hard time when a trainer tells me I'm not working hard enough, since they have no idea what's coming up for me or going on in my body, but in this class, the numbers don't lie — if you're dialing it in, the screen tells all. Since you're hooked up to a HRM, the instructor can see whether you're in the blue, green, orange, or red zone and can offer additional instruction to make sure you get the most effective workout possible. I also appreciated (and was surprised) that like any good yoga class, each trainer asked the class if anyone was dealing with any injuries or pain that day, so they could be cognizant of the issue and offer appropriate variations.
If Orangetheory Fitness was easy for me to get to, I would be hitting up these classes multiple times a week. Each 60-minute session flew by, and I felt challenged from start to finish. I have no doubt that if I kept up with a consistent Orangetheory schedule, I would notice a big difference in my muscle tone and measurements. So here's my plea, Orangetheory Fitness: I know you have studios down in South Jose and a little to my east, but please move to the city of San Francisco so we can spend more time together. I hope I don't have to visit my parents in South Florida before I see you again.