Orangetheory Fitness finally opened a studio on my side of town, but it took me several months to build up courage and give it a try. I’ve heard about high intensity and knew about heart rate monitors with displays.

All that sounded pretty intimidating. But I felt I’ve hit a plateau and really wanted to shed the last few pounds I’ve gained over the summer.

So on my birthday several month ago I put my brave pants on and walked into a studio. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Today I thought I’d share with you what Orangetheory is all about, why it works (from my own experience) and maybe inspire you to give it a try:

studio workouts review


What is Orangetheory?

Referred to as an “The Ultimate Workout”, Orangetheory is a 1 hour, full body workout, focused on training Endurance, Strength and/or Power (source).

How much do Orangetheory classes cost?

The good news is that there are no contracts and many studios offer a complementary initial class.

The bad news is a single session could run $25-30. If you get hooked after your free trial, definitely look into package deals to save money.

You will also need to have a heart monitor. Some studios offer it at no cost, others require you to buy one. Check with your local studio for full details.

Who are these classes for?

Probably not for beginners. Although classes are advertised to be suitable for all fitness levels, I personally wouldn’t recommend them for someone new to a gym. Jumping into a high intensity training such as OTF without proper cardio training may actually do more harm than good. Having said that, it’s possible to go at your own pace and follow modifications if you want to give it a try.

You’ll definitely get the most out of Orangetheory classes if you already have a consistent moderate to advanced workout routine. OTF may be just want you need to take you to the next level if you’ve hit a plateau, need a challenge or just looking to try something new.

studio workout review

How do Orangetheory classes work?

Classes begin with activating your heart rate monitor. Staff will calculate your individual Heart Rate zones based on age, weight and height. During a workout your name, heart rate and the color coded performance zone appear on several flat screen TVs around the studio.

There are 5 zones — grey (resting/inactive), blue (marginally active), green (fat-burning zone), orange (which provides the after-burn) and red (maximum heart rate).  The workouts are designed to produce 12 minutes or more in Zones 4 & 5 combined (to achieve the after burn) during the treadmill training portion of the workout (source).

During the class one group will spend 20-30 minutes doing cardio intervals on the treadmill (choose runner or power walker option), while the other group does several sets of strength/power exercises using TRX, body weight, dumbbells, water rowers or BOSU trainers. Half way into a class the groups switch. The entire time an instructor guides you through routines and gives you prompts: “prepare to increase your speed, push for the next 45 seconds starting now”, “cool down, run at base speed for the next 2 minutes”, etc. It really takes the guess work out of interval training, if you’re new to it.

arizona fitness studio

What kind of results to expect?

Fat loss, muscle toning, increased strength and endurance with consistent workouts a few times a week + proper nutrition.

Why do Orangetheory Classes work?

Heart Rate Monitor. This was a game changer for me. In the past I worked out without worrying much about my heart rate. Here’s the truth bomb: your workouts can so much more effective if you keep your heart rate in the fat burning/performance zone. The visual display of your real time heart rate on monitors is truly empowering. I’ve learned just when to push a little more (and also that I rarely pushed myself hard enough or long enough before). Knowledge is power, my friends.

Interval Training. I appreciate that OTF workout concept is backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. In addition to burning 500-1000 calories during each workout, your body will continue to burn 15-20% more calories for the next 36 hours (source). That means that even while you’re sitting at your desk at work after a quality OTF sweat sesh, you’ll be burning extra calories. Winning!

Atmosphere. If you’re competitive like me, you’ll love Orangetheory. There is something about working out with a group of like minded people + flat screen TVs displaying your group’s performance that really motivates you to keep up! This was the part I missed the most in my home workouts.

Fun factor. Let’s just all agree that bright orange interior, upbeat music, top-of-the-line equipment, and motivational trainers make these classes so fun! I never walked out of a studio post-workout thinking it was boring and I always look forward to my next session!

Variety. My studio boasts that you will never do the same workout twice. One day we focus on core, the next day it may be legs and upper body. Challenging your body in different ways is a sure way to prevent plateaus!

Kid friendly (older kids). A few times I had to bring my 8 year old with me. Equipped with an iPad and snacks he didn’t mind waiting for his mom across the glass wall and even gave me an occasional thumbs up 🙂

arizona fitness studio


The awesome invigorating feeling you get after a workout carries with you all day. I haven’t gone consistently lately and I can’t wait to make OTF a weekly event. It’s a fantastic supplement to my regular exercise routine.

Have you tried Orangetheory classes? I’m curious how many of you use Orangetheory as your ONLY workout?

Have a wonderful day!


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