What you should know BEFORE your first work out at Orangetheory Fitness

To begin, let’s define Orangetheory Fitness:    “Base. Push. All Out.  Fitness, meet science. The idea of Orangetheory is this: a 60-minute workout designed to push you into the into the Orange Zone. This creates “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. It’s what burns calories after your workout and gives you noticeable, lasting results with Orangetheory Fitness.”

Yes, please! I’ll do a work out that continues to burn calories in the next day.  It’s like a 2’fer 1

Pre-work out:

The members usually line up in front of the door to the studio waiting for the trainer to greet them and tell them the goal of the day. Generally work outs are either  focused on endurance, strength, power or all three.   No work out is ever repeated so there is no excuse to ever be bored.  “Does anyone have any injuries?” the trainers asks.  Adjustments are made for those that do to use the stationary bike or the strider.

Two groups emerge into the studio as half will go on the treadmills and half will head to the rowers.  There will be a quick warm up to get the heart rate up and one group will head over to the floor while the other stays where they are and their work out begins.  Each block is timed and the trainer has a work out prepped and ready to go for each station.  Cues will be called over the microphone which are easy to pick up and adjust to.  I’m always impressed with the trainer’s ability to manage both the floor and treads/rowers while challenging people to pick up their pace or back it down depending on their zone.  The three paces- base, push and all out are referred to many times during the class as the trainer instructs you over the microphone which phase you should be in or fast approaching.

“The Floor”

Orangetheory Fitness, (High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT))  is a mix of 60 minutes of rowing, treadmillls (“treads”) and “the floor” which consists of timed interval blocks of specific combinations of weights and exercises that includes body weight, free weights,  BOSU Balls, TRX, benches and medicine balls.   Each exercise is demonstrated by the trainer as well as alternate options should you not be able to complete the exercise fully.   Note:  some trainers move through the demonstration quicker than others so be sure to hustle over from your last station.   Sometimes I have no clue what he or she just said because I’m recovering from a cardio block so I call the trainer over and ask again with no issues.  The floor station also has a tv monitor with a picture of each exercise as well as the reps for visual learners.

TIP: The equipment is numbered so whatever number treadmill you use is the same for the rower and floor station to avoid any confusion. 



Orangetheory’s flat road level on a treadmill is a 1.0.  You can pound away on them as it supports your steps with a bit of give, unlike traditional treadmills that are all too familiar to encourage shin splits.  Given the fact that I’m just beginning my fitness journey, my body needs to get used to running again.  I’m supporting my body weight and at this point I’ll take any help I can get.  All of the interval workouts require some sort of incline and it’s as easy as the touch of a button for the treadmill to adjust the level quickly. No need to fiddle around with the speeds, distracting you from your work out or falling off of the treadmill, although there is a safety clip if you need one.  Need to speed up or slow down? One button.  Boom.

Walkers, joggers and runners alike can all be successful on the treadmill and reach their targeted heart rate.  I consider myself somewhere between a walker and a jogger but personally I’d rather run than walk because walkers may be moving slower than a jog but their incline is usually much higher than a runner.  I’m talking like an 8,9, or 10.  Have you ever walked at a 10 incline??  It’s not pretty for me.   No one gets off easy here and don’t plan to “just walk” because heart rates don’t lie.


The water rowers use water for resistance where you would normally find a wheel. I was definitely impressed OTF had them as I had never seen or heard of them before.   Rowing  provides a low impact option to get your heart rate up.  I haven’t quite figured out the technique but the trainers help me improve every single class.  I also check out YouTube to visually practice before my next class. Rowing is a careful combination of 60 percent legs, 20 percent core and 20 percent  arms and mastering it takes time.  Be patient- you will improve every class.

The Music:

This is my favorite part. While I’m more of a Beyonce-loving, I’m-almost-40-and-still-love-clubbin-music type of gal, rock-n-roll will make an appearance from time to time, depending on the trainer.   It’s not my type of music but somehow I find a way to carry on.   Usually it’s current, top 40 music that is sped up to fit the work out.  I swear I will speed up my treadmill if I hear a good song and it really does motivate me!  That’s exactly the point.

Heart Rate Monitors:

You can borrow one from OTF or purchase your own. One option is a wristband, if available, or a traditional monitor that you wear under your breast plate.  Occasionally, monitors have issues because you are wearing it incorrectly, sweating too much and it’s not reading the heart rate, there is a technical difficulty or it’s simply not on.  Or maybe that last one is just me.    The front desk staff is quick to come into the room to make adjustments or issue you another monitor so you can maintain your work out.    OTF wristbands are available for purchase and I recommend buying your own.  Just be sure it is charged up before each class.   Simply attach it to a charger that connects to your computer.

You are now ready to begin your first work out.  You are going to love it!

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