Mike and I have been serious about living a healthy lifestyle for quite some time. But when it came to fitness, that part was always on the back burner. In August of last year I become conscious about implementing discipline into my daily routine and I also began running. A few months prior to that Mike had started doing some at-home workouts like P90X, Insanity, and T25. We were doing pretty good but once the weather got colder and wetter, I found it more difficult to motivate myself to get out there every day.
I received a gift card from my sister-in-law to a place called Orangetheory Fitness and decided to go check it.
What It Is
The Orangetheory workout is a one hour, group, interval workout. There is one trainer and around 24 participants. The workouts are on a rotation between treadmills, rowing machines, and the floor - which consists of TRX bands, ab dollies, and free weights. During the workout you wear a heart monitor and your heart rate and calories burned are displayed on a large screen. This helps you to see how hard you are working and also track your progress.
How It Works
Your class time is scheduled in advance. They have an App that allows you to schedule your times as far as a month in advance. You may book a class same day if there is room or be added to a wait list if a class is full. For the most part whenever I've been on a wait list I usually do get in.
Once class starts you pick a spot where you would like to begin.
If you start on the rowers you listen to the ques from the trainer regarding to the rowers. The trainer will give you instructions on speed and other variables.
Once on the treadmills you pick a base pace depending on your fitness level. There is a little cheat sheet to help you figure it out. You listen for ques and adjust your speed and inclines accordingly. The three intervals are base, push, and all out pace.
Then there's the floor part of the class. You receive brief instructions on the workouts to preform and the number of reps. In case you need a refresher on form, there is a video streaming on a screen with a model performing each exercise.
The idea is to get your heart rate into the orange zone (84% or higher of your maximum heart rate) for about 20 minutes each class. This creates after burn that works for you after the class is over. Your performance report is emailed to you at the end of each class.
Going in I was very uneasy. Even though I had been jogging, it's been years since I've set foot in a gym. I knew my fitness level was on the lower end and I was a little afraid of humiliating myself. Also the heart monitor scared me. Everyone would see my performance on the big screen, oh dear!
When I walked in to my first class I immediately noticed the diversity. People in the waiting area were younger and older, men and women, skinny, muscular, curvy, and everything in between. Seeing such a large variety of people there, put me at ease. I also noticed that even though my name was on the screen, I was not wearing a name tag so it is pretty anonymous.
I started on a rower machine and listened to the cues. Understanding the instructions was pretty ease. I quickly realized that no one is paying any attention to me because, like me, everyone is completely consumed with trying to stay with the workout.
The workout is intense.
The music is upbeat and at a good volume. The trainers are high energy and call out words of encouragement, "Remember why you came in today," and "This is your hour, what are you going to do with it!?" and my personal favorite, "Yes you can, yes you will!"
After that first class I was completely exhausted. I didn't really want to go back because I was still very sore - I'm talking, can't-get-up-the-stairs sore. But Mike pushed me and we continued to go every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and once either Saturday or Sunday. The soreness continued for about two weeks. I pushed through it.
Slowly the soreness lessened, but after four weeks in I started to seriously doubt myself. I wasn't seeing any improvement in my stamina, I was feeling weak and tired. I was the last one to complete every round. I was so tired of finishing last.
My friend told me maybe this work out wasn't for me, maybe I should just stick to yoga. That made me even more determined to get stronger! I kept showing up to every class and I kept booking classes as far in advance as the App would let me.
Somewhere around month two, I began to feel stronger. I wasn't always the last one to finish the reps anymore. I began to notice small changes in my body; my legs and arms started looking more defined and my butt started lifting.
The most noticeable changes happened to my mood and energy levels. I was already feeling very good, but now I feel even better! Something about pushing yourself so hard during that hour releases endorphins that are just magical. I feel happy and very accomplished.
The Bottom Line
If you are not too serious about getting fit and healthy, the program may not be worth it for you. But if you want to feel better and experience a total lifestyle change that includes feeling happy and looking fit, I highly recommend Orangetheory.
My advice is to fill up your entire month with classes about every other day or so and you will get excited. Then when that class time rolls around you may or may not feel like going. You may even have a really good excuse why you shouldn't go. Then you will remember the $10 charge for skipping a class and you will drag your booty in there. And after it's all over you will be so glad you did.
What's your favorite fitness routine? If you've got a favorite spot that got you started and kept you going I'd love to know, post in the comments below.