I think the whole Groupon/LivingSocial/CrowdCut/DailyDeal market is getting a bit ridiculous. Now, I’m in the business of scoping out discounts (for my job, as well as for my own personal use), but 19,583,892,734 offers a day on things like blenders and leggings is a bit much.
Anyhow, a particular Groupon recently made its way to my inbox and I contributed to their click-through rate to see what it was all about. The offer was for a small, unique gym called OrangeTheory Fitness. Upon further research, I realized that I could get a free week of classes so the Groupon wasn’t really necessary. Why not? I’ve become somewhat complacent at my current gym (LA Fitness) and was ready to try something new anyway. Plus, their Minneapolis location is about a mile from my work. Perfecto.
What is OrangeTheory all about?
OrangeTheory is a franchise, with locations all over the U.S.
According to their website, OrangeTheory Fitness is “a one-of-a-kind workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training, and free weights to tone your body and gain energy throughout the day”.
They claim that participants burn up to 900 calories in a single 60 minute session.
What’s unique about this concept is that everyone wears heart rate monitors and your heart rate (and everyone else’s) is continuously displayed on several screens in the room.
This workout was just plain awesome. The first 30 minutes or so were spent on the treadmill doing interval work. The goal is to keep your heart rate in your “orange zone” when you are doing a “push” (80-90% of max heart rate), and in your “green zone” when you’re at your “base pace” (70-80% of max heart rate). There are about 10-15 people in each class session, and the trainer will tell you to increase your speed or incline in intervals. Occassionally, they will tell you to go “all out”, which may push you into your red zone for a short time (over 90% of max heart rate). The orange zone is supposedly your target heart rate zone for optimal fat burning.
What I really liked about this concept is that you can’t cheat yourself. Everyone has different levels of fitness, so for some people, speed walking on the treadmill will put them in their orange zone. For others, it’s necessary to get up to a 7 or 8 mph run to get to that level. Regardless of your speed, everyone in the class can see what your heart rate is at, so if you’re not pushing yourself, you and everyone else know it.
After 30 minutes of interval work on the treadmills, we moved on to the weight room. Our group did some circuit training that involved kettlebell swings along with pushups and cross-body situps on the bosu balls. We then moved back into the cardio room and did sprints on the rowing machines. WOW. These machines are awesome. True water resistance (actual water in the rowing machine) which gives you a total body workout (back, legs, biceps, triceps, etc). In between rowing sprints, we did dumbbell curl presses and squats. Oof. The workout still wasn’t over
Back to the weight room – our group was given one final circuit that involved suspended full-body pull-ups, medicine ball lunges, and flutter kicks with the medicine ball to finish the hour.
Every workout is different. Our trainer told us that they have created over 1,000 sequences so frequent visitors will never do the exact same workout twice.
At the end of the 60 minute session, everyone’s final results are displayed on the screen. It shows you how much time you spent in each heart rate “zone”, indicating how hard you exerted yourself throughout the workout.
It’s so easy to work out absentmindedly at the gym. Not the case here. I got a much better workout than I generally do on my own and am encouraged to push myself through each interval. It’s like boot camp, only with more technology.
I was sore for several days after my first session. I’ll be going back a couple more times to use up my free week and will seriously consider enrolling at this gym in addition to my LA Fitness membership. Although it is expensive, it’s almost like having a personal trainer. I think that doing OrangeTheory even once per week on top of my regular workouts will give me a leg up to increasing my overall fitness.
Have you ever tried OrangeTheory Fitness, or another unique fitness concept? What did you think?