By Jacqueline Silvestri Banks
I just finished up two months of one of the newest fitness crazes: Orangetheory Fitness. You may have noticed this new franchise popping up all over the place and it almost reminds me of how Curves became so popular almost overnight and it was the hottest franchise around. Nowadays you hardly ever see a curves around, I wonder if Orangetheory Fitness will survive or have the same fate.
One of the great things about this concept unlike regular gyms is that there is no sign-up fee, you just sign up for a month to month and have 30 days to cancel at any time without being charged any cancellation fees, or you can pay for individual classes or buy a pack of classes in bulk. I will say that it’s not cheap. They have different membership levels so you can have 4 classes a month, 8 classes a month or unlimited. I chose the 8 classes a month since my daughter’s only in preschool for 3 days a week and you never know when you have to stay home with them.
The first few classes were like love at first try- or better yet, infatuation is a better word to describe it. That infatuation where you think you’ve found the end all be all and you’ll stick with this for the rest of your days and then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you dread going. The love just vanished. That’s what happened for me.
They pack a ton of people in there, I think there are 12 treadmills, 2 bikes and 12 rowers (I might be off a number or two) and sometimes they let an extra person in to the class that doesn’t have a rower to jump on or a TRX strap to work on. The concept is the oh so popular Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Different days focus on different things, like sprints, endurance, strength, core but the concept is always the same you do some combination of treadmill, rower and weights.
You get strapped up with a heart rate monitor (which you have to purchase and you can not use any other brand) and you can constantly see on the screen what heart rate zone you’re in, how hard you’re working and how many calories you’re burning so you can use those little numbers as your own personal motivation. It’s a pretty great system- except when your heart rate monitor doesn’t work properly, moves a tiny bit out of place and then you spend more time trying to get it to work again than actually working out. Sometimes heart rate monitors fit differently and it’s a little annoying that you can’t use your own if you already have one that you love.
While I did like the Orangetheory fitness workouts and I probably pushed myself harder on sprints than I would have on my own I’m still not a fan of spending that much time on the treadmill and the thing that can make it enjoyable for me is music. Music can make or break a workout for me. I’ll either push myself harder or count the seconds until it’s done so I don’t have to listen to the music anymore. It’s a group class… so you have no control over the music and there were many days I wished I had ear plugs with me- maybe I’m just an old fuddy duddy 34 year old. oh well. Is too expensive to spend your workout wishing it was over.
I also love lifting heavy weights, squatting, deadlifting, and working my legs. There is a lot of TRX work and most of the leg exercise are body weight with a few weighted squats and deadlifts thrown in there but I’m pretty sure the heaviest weights in there are 35lbs. Most of the time on the weight floor is spent on upper body and core which I guess makes sense since you do so much running and rowing- if you work your legs with weights too much you wouldn’t be able to do the running and rowing daily, you’d get no recovery at all. So if you’re looking for something where you’ll really be able to challenge yourself with weights- you’re not going to find it here. The main goal here is calorie burn and cardio.
So overall it’s a good workout if you’re looking for cardio based HIIT and don’t mind what kind of music is playing and you don’t mind not really doing much lower body exercise besides running and rowing.
If you love group classes and need some extra motivation it’s worth giving orangetheory fitness it a try, but in the long run it’s not for me.
Which exercise programs are you in love with? I love trying new things and would love to hear what all of you are doing!
Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and is passionate about helping families find vibrant health through here blog – JacquelineBanks.com where she provides useful information and great recipes. Jacqueline specializes in helping clients make small, easy changes that lead to big results! Follow her Facebook page to learn her latest tips and tricks.