Seeing Orange

This summer I’ve been seeing more orange than normal. Yes, I’ve finally jumped on the Orange is the New Black bandwagon (p.s. I’m told I look like Piper?). But the orange I’m referring to is Orangetheory Fitness. Once or twice a week I’ve been going to the Orangetheory studio near my house for a kick ass 60-minute workout.



What is Orangetheory?

Scientifically put:The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as ‘Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,’ or EPOC. By providing you with a heart-rate monitor and POD, we can monitor your 5-zone interval training sessions that we call the Orange 60. During the 60-minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate. This program design produces workout “afterburn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for 24 to 36 hours after the workout.” Source:

Simply put/In my words: Orangetheory is a heart rate monitored, interval workout using treadmills, rowers and weights. They supply participants with a heart rate monitor and display your heart rate and heart rate zone on a TV screen during class. The goal/idea of the workout is to rack up time spent into the orange-colored HR zone. The more time spent there, the greater the “afterburn.”


Heart rate displayed on a screen. The yellowish color is actually orange. Source

Half of the class starts the workout on the treadmill and the other half starts on the rowing machine and in the weight room. On the treadmills you have the option of walking, jogging or running. There are 3 key paces that the coaches reference: Base Pace, Push Pace, and All-Out. Base pace is something you can maintain for 45 minutes-1 hour, push pace is 1-2 mph over base pace and all-out is 2+ mph over base pace. You’ll do a combination of all 3 paces during the treadmill portion with “pushes” ranging from 30 seconds-3 minutes and “all-outs” from 30-60 seconds. There are many options for people of all ages and fitness levels so beginners do not need to be intimidated.


Treadmills on the left, rowers on the right. Source

In the weight room, you typically start out with a rowing segment (or having some rowing thrown into the weight circuit). During the circuits you may use dumbbells, TRX straps, medicine balls, benches or even bodyweight. Nothing is too complicated and again, there are many options and modifications.


Using TRX straps in the weight room. Source

Basically, follow the workout, watch (and challenge) your heart rate and you’ll leave the class sweaty.

My thoughts:

-I like starting the workout on the treadmill because a) I think it’s the hardest part so I want to get it done first, and b) I would rather warm-up on the treadmill than the rower (the first few minutes of the class is for warm-up). Technically, if your goal is to burn more calories I’ve heard you’re supposed to start in the weight room. But because that’s not my goal, I’d rather rack up a little more mileage.

-Sometimes my body is smarter than the heart rate monitor. Kind of confusing since the HR monitor monitors my body’s stats…but it’s technology and we all know those gadgets can be a little off sometimes. I don’t rely too much on what the screen says and I base my effort off how heavy I’m breathing and how quickly I recover from intervals. That being said, it is interesting that sometimes I feel like I’m working hard but my HR shows I can push a little more.

-Coaches make a difference. Just like a lot of fitness classes, having an upbeat trainer/instructor/coach can inspire you push a little harder. And for me, it can make the workout go by faster.

-It’s expensive. I’d like to consider it an investment. I’m not a big shopper so I feel a little better about spending the money to buy packages (single class is $25 but packages range from $180-$300+ depending on how many sessions you buy).

-It’s no substitute for the endorphins after a long run, but I love how I feel after an Orangetheory workout. I’m sweaty, energized and usually a bit sore the next day.

-Purchase your own HR monitor strap (you have to buy it from their studio for $25). Just think about sharing a strap with 18467234 sweaty people….never mind I don’t want to thing about that.


Annnnnddd that’s all I have to say about that for now. Now you know what I’m referring to when I say, “I went to Orangetheory.” I’m pretty sure there are about 100 studios across the country so if you have one in your area, take advantage of the free trial class (and let me know how you like it).

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What are your thoughts?