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Studio Review: Orangetheory Fitness

This post includes a full review of my two experiences with our nearby Orangetheory Fitness.  Please note that I did receive a free class as a part of their first class free promotion that is available at all Orangetheory Fitness locations.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Always speak to a doctor before making changes to your current fitness program.

Studio Review: Orangetheory Fitness

This was my second time stopping by an Orangetheory Fitness class, and I can say that I can understand the addiction!  I have now used the first-class free pass twice – once back in April 2015 and once recently, as you’re allowed to try a second time after 12 months have passed.  While both classes were very different (target area, instructor, etc), I can definitely say that they both lived up to the hype!

Each hour-long class included almost every piece that I would need to feel like I’ve gotten a complete workout for the day.  Since I posted a while back that I was re-trying OTF on my Insta Story, I’ve received several requests to update my old review with new thoughts.  Below is a bit more detail on the class structure and my thoughts on the increasingly popular Orangetheory Fitness workouts.

What is Orangetheory Fitness?

Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) is a workout that is entirely backed by science.  The structure of the class is such that it is targeted towards maintaining a specific target heart rate zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy.

OTF also highlights that they actively utilize the science of EPOC – Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption – or what they also call the “afterburn.”  According to their website, OTF members burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in one class and keep burning calories up to 36 hours after the class is complete.  Thus the “afterburn” is excess burning of calories happening after the class.  (Crafty, eh?)

How did I find the studio to be unique?

In both classes, I was offered a heart rate monitor that connects with a screen in front of the class.  (Note: This is no longer typically provided if you become a member, this was only free for the trial.)

The team tracks your weight up front, then gives you five zones that show where you’re focusing your time and how hard you’re working throughout the class.  Each of the zones is color coded and is an ideal target zone for a variety of goals.

The “green” section is where most people try to stay for most of the class, because it’s the “burning calories now / losing weight” zone (basically right in the middle of your heart rate zones.)

I focused on staying in my “orange” zone, which is supposedly where you get the most after burn.  According to the instructor, the “orange” zone is optimal for burning more calories after the workout and gaining muscle rather than losing weight.

What is the flow of a typical OTF class?

At least at the studio I visited, each day of the week is targeting a different area of your body.  I.E. Monday is legs, Tuesday is arms, etc.  Though, while the moves may be focusing on a specific area, each workout is still fairly well rounded and works most portions of your body.

The workouts both started with a short warm up.  The bulk of the class is split, with half the time focused on cardio work (treadmill or bike and/or rowing) and half the time being a circuit filled with muscle toning work.  (Part of the circuit that we completed is pictured below.)

The circuits were both fantastic!  With a relatively large number of attendees in the class, the instructor kept us moving and consistently checked our form.  As I mentioned, the circuits were well rounded and I definitely felt like I fit in a great workout.

In terms of areas of improvement, neither of the classes included a cool down and only one included a short, optional stretch at the end of the class.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I feel that cool downs and stretches are an incredibly important, often overlooked area of most classes.  Unfortunately, that was exactly the case with OTF.

Would I make this “my” studio?

Yes and no.  I loved the circuit portion of class, but I likely wouldn’t make this my workout for everyday.

At least for where I am right now in my fitness journey, OTF might be a little bit too intense to attend every single day.  I would likely visit up to three times per week on nonconsecutive days, allowing myself to mix in some purely cardio focused work and mindfulness practices in between.

I will say that I LOVED the science-backed portion of class.  Too many group classes nowadays are overly simplifying the workouts to appease to the masses.  I do think that it’s a total bummer that they got rid of offering heart rate monitors to members, as being able to track your heart rate is key to getting the most out of this workout.

Tips for your first OTF workout

  • Arrive early to your first class, as you’ll need a little bit of time to program in your information and understand the heart rate monitor
  • Confirm with your specific studio as to whether they’ll allow you to use their heart rate monitor for free during for your trial class
  • Wear gym shoes and I would recommend wearing leggings or capris over shorts (we did a lot of work laying down on a bench and I likely would have been uncomfortable in shorts)
  • Definitely bring a water bottle and a towel to class – there is no doubt that this class will getting you sweating!

 Pricing & Locations

There are several locations across the nation, but each is owned separately as a franchise.  While the workouts are supposedly structured similarly, the pricing does vary by location.

At my local OTF, prices are as follows:

  • $28 for a drop in class
  • $69 for 4 classes a month
  • $109 for 8 classes a month
  • $159 for unlimited classes each month

Clearly not cheap!  I definitely think that it’s worth trying out the free workout before committing to see if it fits within your current regimen.

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