A new Orangetheory Fitness studio opened near my house recently and I tried a free class. I thought I would just go through what the class was like for those who want a little info about the workout.
For your first class, they ask that you get there a half hour early to get you setup with a heart rate monitor. (You can borrow one for your free class, but if you get a membership you will need to buy your own. I’ll get to that in a minute.) The heart rate monitor options are a chest strap or an armband one you can wear on your forearm or upper arm.
When you have your heart rate monitor on, it should pop up on the monitor in the lobby. It displays your name, heart rate, and zone you’re in. Hopefully you’re nice and relaxed at this point, class hasn’t started yet. They had everyone hang out in the lobby until the class all showed up, then the instructor for the class shouts out a few instructions/encouragements to everyone and we all file into the studio.
There are treadmills, rowers, and a weights area in the studio. In our pre-pep talk, the coach instructed half of us to head to the treadmills and half to the rowers and we would switch halfway through the 55-minute workout. I headed to a treadmill first, so I’ll break down the workout from that perspective.
The coach said it was an endurance-focused workout this day. Workouts are supposed to have different focuses and you never know what you’re going to get. You just show up and get served!
We immediately started our treadmills, there is a little chart at the top of each treadmill that breaks down if you are a power walker, jogger, or runner. If you’re a power walker your Base speeds are 3.5-4.5 mph for the workout, but you change the treadmill’s incline significantly on the “push” and “all out” segments. Joggers are at a 1% incline the whole time and the speed range is 4.5-5.5 to start. Runners are supposed to start at 5.5 (or higher to get your heart rate in the green zone) at 1%. Again, this is your “Base”.
After a 5 minute warmup, the coach started calling out changes. Keep in mind, the coach is also calling out instructions to the other half of the class on the rowers/weights. There are “Push” sections where the joggers/runners are recommended about 1mph over where you were, but it could be higher so you can get your HR up into the orange zone. Power walkers change the incline. So we would push for a couple of minutes, then drop it back to base for a couple of minutes. Then push for three minutes, back to base. Then we had 1-2 minute sprints of “All out” where you are encouraged to be 2mph over your base (or even higher, if you can.) We rotated through the three zones for about 27 minutes before it was time to clean up our machines then switch with the other half of the class.
For this half of the class, we started with an 800m row, then moved to do some weight exercises. Bicep curls to overhead press, squats, calf raises… then back over to do a 2-minute row, with the goal of hitting 400m in that time. Then more weights, different exercises. Then back to row 400m. The coach demoed each block of strength moves before we started, but the moves were also displayed on screens around the room.
The weight stations had a step, a rack of weights, and a TRX strap. We didn’t touch the TRX in my class, which I wish we had! There are some more weights in the center of the room if you need a heavier dumbbell that isn’t at your station and there are also mats hanging on the wall so you can grab one if you’re doing floor work.
After finishing all of these rotations, we wiped our stations down once more, did a few stretches and the displays showed the collective number of calories burned by the class, each individual’s calorie burn, and how many Splat! points each person earned. The goal was to spend at least 12 minutes in your Orange or Red zone (but they don’t encourage you to push into Red, if you’re hanging out there too much the coach may call on you to back off) and you get a splat point for your time in those key zones. Then you collect your splat points over your time of being a member.
I barely eeked out 12 splat points… my heart rate only got to the orange zone during the treadmill portion. It remained relatively low during weights and rowing even though I was working hard. This was my first time rowing, it’s tough!
It was a sweat fest and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.
Wear regular workout clothes, you’ll probably get pretty warm so you don’t want too many layers. But you may be doing some moves on the floor where you have your legs in the air, so loose/vented running shorts may be inappropriate. I just wore capris and a tank.
The class was a good mix of men and women with all different body shapes/sizes. It shouldn’t be intimidating for anyone of any fitness level to be able to try this workout because you are only competing against yourself, even though it’s in a group environment. You high-five people next to you after pushes and there is a lot of Whooping! and cheers for others.
They have private bathrooms, lockers available for you to place your items and a key hook spot if you just want to leave your keys in a communal place. There is a water fountain and there was even a water bottle filler spot on the fountain so you could bring your own bottle and fill it.
At the studio I went (in Las Vegas, NV), the prices were:
- $59 for 4 classes a month
- $99 for 8 classes a month
- $159 for unlimited classes a month (they had a special pre-open price of $129 for this level)
Also, remember… you have to buy your own heart rate monitor. You may say, “I have a heart rate monitor at home!” (or 3 HR monitors like I do…) But that doesn’t matter. You have to buy the OTF monitor.
- $59 for chest strap monitor
- $99 for armband monitor
If you’re not financially tapped out yet, you can also buy OTF gear.
I loved the class and had a lot of fun, but I’m not signing up for a membership just yet. Depending on where I send my kid to school next year I may sign up. I’m a cheapskate and $1200 a year for 2 classes a week is school money! I could run on my treadmill at home and lift some weights at home. Granted, I don’t have a coach telling me what to do at home, but I could use Aaptiv classes.
I’m still conflicted on the timing too… The earliest class they had was at 5:30 am. I could make it to that, but my body doesn’t like to exercise at that time these days. So I’d be left with fitting in a mid-morning class at 8:30 or 9:30, which would have to be my “lunch hour” from work. Or the evening classes, which means I would have to coordinate with getting my daughter from school, feeding her, and my spouse’s work schedule. And I still like to be around to play with her and to get her into bed as much as I can, I spend all day away from her while I work!
I hear you about the high cost of classes…sometimes they seem to be insane when a lot of it can be done for less elsewhere! Having a support group and buddy to work out with always makes things better as well.