There is a new fitness studio in town! And it's.. really really bright orange. Have you heard about Orange Theory Fitness? It is a fitness franchise, and one just opened up in my neighborhood! My friend and fellow pure barre instructor Morgan told me it was an amazing workout and convinced me to try it with her this week..
Not that I need much convincing to try a fun new work out :) I did some research online before class to see what Orange Theory Fitness (commonly called OTF) was all about. Here is what I found on their website: "Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!" I also found that your first class is free to try it out.. which is always a bonus!
When I walked into the lobby I had to adjust to the amount of orange in the room. They take the "Orange Effect" very seriously over there.
After filling out the client intake form (always a good thing for studios to ask for safety reasons), and getting over my feelings of being in a Chuckie Cheese game room, they helped me get set up with a heart rate monitor. Every participant wears a heart rate monitor for the duration of class, and all of our names pop up on a big screen showing which heart rate training zone you are in.
The training zones range from gray (resting heart rate zone) to green, blue, orange and then red. And your goal is to get your heart rate in the orange zone of course.
Without getting too technical, the orange zone is achieved when you are tipping into your anaerobic activity. Anaerobic exercise is defined as short duration, high intensity exercise lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds up to around two minutes. After two minutes, the body’s aerobic system kicks in. Examples of anaerobic exercise are ones that use fast twitch muscle fibers such as jumping and sprinting. By using and developing those fibers we enhance our musculature and tap into the exercise post- oxygen consumption (EPOC) their website was talking about.
So what do we do at OTF to get into this "orange" zone? Half of the class time (about 26 minutes) is spent on the treadmill doing an interval workout. You do bouts of runs from jogging to all out sprints. I was wary of the idea of sprinting on a treadmill, but these are by far the nicest treadmills I have ever used. Very bouncey and cushioney! I was fine. No Shin splints here! While on the treadmill, I ran a little less than 3 miles in all.
The second half of class consists of strength training. We did some work on the row machines, which are no joke! I really enjoyed the fact that our trainer, Joe explained the correct form for a row machine and challenged us to reach a certain amount of meters per minute. After some interval work on the Urgometer (row machine) we traveled to the other side of the room to use the dumbbells, medicine balls and and TRX straps. According to Joe, the strength training workout changes every day. Some days the workouts are more leg intensive (think lots of squats and lunges) other days a lot more core work (planks, pushups and curl ups) and other days just a big mixture. The transitions are fast and always challenging!
At the end of class we had a quick stretch session, and Joe explained the concept of the orange zone a little more to us, told us to drink a lot more water today and sent us on our way.
I really enjoyed the class! I like that it has a boot camp, and personal trainer feel to it. Only about 14 people can take a class at a time. This ensures that each person in class gets at least a little one on one time with the trainer. The music was great and energizing. I think that I can definitely see myself enjoying OTF during the winter months when it's harder to get outside for a good run. One of the coolest parts about OTF is that by the time I walked home from class, I had a performance evaluation sent to my e-mail address. It showed my heart rate performance, how much time I spent in each of the training zones, along with an estimate of how many calories I burned (they asked me for my height and weight at the beginning of class for this calculation).
Morgan and I had a great time and I recommend you all trying it out! The first class is free after all! Just be prepared to get a little sweaty, and for all of the orange.
Have a great rest of your day!