My workout of choice right now is OrangeTheory Fitness (OTF). We (hubby and me) have been attending classes twice a week since May 2017 (less time for vacation and/or illness). As far as strenuous exercise goes, this is one that we both love and can really feel every time we participate in a class.
What is OrangeTheory Fitness? OTF is heart-rate based interval training that combines weights, the treadmill and the water rower (stations) to produce 1-hour classes designed to keep you burning calories for up to 36 hours after your workout. It blends cardio and strength training for a full body workout that will have you sweating and learning to push yourself to and beyond limits you may have thought impossible. You will spend a block of time at each station during your class.
During class, you will wear a heart rate monitor. Either a strap around your chest or a band on your arm. I wear an arm band and hubby wears the strap.
The theory behind OTF is EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (afterburn). It is a measurable increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity.
There are five (5) heart rate zones in OTF:
Gray – This is essentially your resting heart rate.
Blue – As you begin your warm up – your heart rate will start to rise. Imagine slowly jogging, walking or easy rowing. This gets your body ready to progress to the next zone.
Green – This is what OTF refers to as your base pace – an exercise pace you could hold for 20 to 30 minutes and still be comfortable (able to talk, sing, etc).
Orange – Now you are getting uncomfortable. This is the “push” pace. This is where the magic happens. EPOC is really present here – your muscles and lungs need more oxygen. Your breathing is rapid. Here you start to push your heart rate higher and feel the burn. You want to spend 12 minutes minium in this zone to reap the benefits of EPOC.
Red – This is your “all out” or max effort pace. You don’t want to stay here too long – 30 seconds to a minute. These quick burst of energy or “emptying your tank” are designed to help you increase your time in the “push” or orange zone.
2G, 3G: 2G means that a group will start on the treadmill and a group will start on the rower. Rowers will move to the weight room while the treadmill group will stay on the treadmill for whatever amount of time is in the block. When the block is finished, the 2 groups will switch.
3G is short for three group class – 1 group starts at each station – rower, treadmill and weights.
Splat points – you earn (and I do mean earn) a point for each minute you spend in the orange or red zone. You want to get a minimum of 12 points per class to get the most after burn affect.
Okay, so that was the technical side. Here is what a typical class looks and feels like for me.
Standing in the lobby waiting for class, my heart rate monitor shows that I am in the gray zone.
We like to start in the weight room when it is a 3G class or we start on the rower if it is a 2G class. My heart rate monitor barely gets out of the blue zone when I am in the weight room unless we are doing some cardio-type, body weight exercises like burpees, mountain climbers (running man), etc. What I love about the weight room is the variety – no two classes are alike. We use free weights, body weight, TRX bands, the bosu ball, ab dolly, step bench and weighted medicine balls. Typically, the exercises are done in rounds – three exercises, 20 reps for each equals one round as an example. In the weight room, I have progressed from lighter weights to heavier ones. Since I know that the blocks typically are shorter, I push myself to try more weight.
The treadmill. We are runners, so this is pretty easy for us (sometimes). They really mix it up here. Inclines, speed, long pushes. I typically get in the orange zone and stay there while I am doing this block. My base pace is about 5.5 mph, then I push at 6.3 to 6.5 mph and I can do my all outs at 7 mph to about 7.5 mph. This has increased steadily for me and I have seen real progress in my training runs and races. This zone is where I get the most Splat points.
The Water Rower. This one is difficult for me but I have learned to appreciate what it does for my core and back. I have to really concentrate on form and pausing at the back of the row so that I get more reps (spins of the wheel) using a little less energy. We typically row for distance – 300, 600, 1200 meters as examples. Then we get off the rower and do some sort of cardio exercise like jump squats or half jacks with a weighted overhead press. My favorite is when we row for a certain amount of time and see how far we can get. I stay in the higher end of the green zone here to the lower end of the orange zone.
When we have finished with all the blocks, we typically do a short stretching session and the coach will talk about things going on at the center, contests, etc.
The coaches are always moving around and checking your form. They are also encouraging you to increase your weight, run faster or row harder. Since I am a certified trainer, I like to make steady progress. I know when to push and when to say enough is enough. I trust my intuition and increase where I want or need to. I know when I am in the weight room if the weights are too light for what I am doing, then I will increase them on the next round. Same on the treadmill, I know when I can push a little faster and when I can go “all out” at a higher rate of speed. I have to keep a more steady pace on the rower and work on getting faster each time I am on it.
The music is loud and fun. The coaches have been known to sing along with it too. I appreciate that they let us know when time is running down – “keep it up treads…30 seconds left” and they count it down when you are done.
Every time I am finished with a workout, I feel like I have really worked out. I am sweating, my heart rate has been pretty high during the class and I typically burn between 450 and 550 calories depending on the class. I earn about 14 to 20 splat points during each class. Some people’s numbers will be higher (men especially). I love this workout. Just when I think that I am not making progress, I will put on a piece of my clothing and it fits more comfortably or it is a lot looser. I have had people comment they think I am losing weight but my weight has stayed pretty steady – it is the inches gone that they are noticing.
Other perks from OTF – you will sleep better and you will gain strength. No doubt you will sweat and there are times you will think “what am I doing?” And when you are finished with the class, you will feel strong and powerful for finishing it.
If you have not tried OrangeTheory workout, I highly recommend it. The class atmosphere is inspiring and invigorating. The progress you make each week keeps you wanting more.
Keep striving For a Good Life After 50,
Disclaimer: This is my own opinion, not a paid or sponsored post.