Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Orange Theory Fitness- My First Experience

I'm always up for trying a new fitness class so when my friend Brie organized a free private class at Orange Theory Calgary I quickly opted in.

For once, I didn't research anything about the class beforehand. I knew you wore a heart rate monitor and tried to get into a certain "zone" but that was it.

So, I went into my class uncertain, but excited, about what was ahead.


Our class was at 4:30 but they recommended we show up at least 30 minutes early, the first time, so we could go through the orientation. There's some paperwork to fill out, you get a tour of the facility and you are given a heartrate monitor. I've worn a heart rate monitor before but I never realized just how tight it is supposed to be. Ladies, they suggested it fit like a bra that's two sizes two small for you. It's uncomfortable for a few minutes and then you don't even notice it is there.


So, why do you have to wear a heart rate monitor?

From their website:  "Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption, our heart rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect- more energy, visible toning and extra fat and calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout."

Now, every workout is slightly different. You can start in the strength training section or cardio session depending on how many people are in your class (up to 24) and what you do varies.

For our class, we started with 27 minutes on the treadmill. I was a little (very) excited as I LOVE the 
treadmill and structured running workouts. If you didn't want to use the treadmill there was also some spin bikes and an elliptical. If you did pick the treadmill you could choose to walk, jog or run. You then were given a sheet of paper with three descriptions... Base, Push and Sprint. It may take you a few times to figure out your pace, for each, but each zone is designed to target different heart rate zones (or colours, in this case.) Because I run on the treadmill at least four times a week I was fairly comfortable with my base pace (something you can do comfortably for 20-30 minutes) around 6.1-6.2, my push pace at 7.0 and my sprint pace between 9.0-9.5. The spints are never more than one minute so you're meant to truly go all-out and challenge yourself.


You heart rate is displayed on a screen above the row of treadmills so you can dial it up, or down, depending on where you instructor wants you to be. I loved this, however, the monitor was directly above my head so I found myself struggling to sprint and look up to see where I was without falling off the treadmill. I would love to see some monitors behind you so you can look straight ahead and see them in the mirror or even on your treadmill.


Following the treadmill portion we moved to the strength training area where we did some arms, chest, and core work. We used weights, our body weight, and TRX ropes. We also went back and forth to the rowing machines in between sets. The challening part was you had to get your heart rate back down to "resting-rate" (aka the green zone) before you could start your next set. So, if you feel like you're ready to keep going you really have to listen to your body (and watch the monitors!)



The instructor really made this class even better than it already was. She was friendly, energetic, helpful and encouraging. I loved her music and the fact you could tell just how much fun she was having.

And, then we were done. The fastest 55 minute workout I've done in ages!

After a quick cooldown, and stretch, we went over the results which are displayed on the monitor.

The average person burns between 500-1000 calories per class.

The goal is to be in the Orange and Red Zones about 12-20 minutes of the 55 minutes class.


Final thoughts: You guys, I'm pretty sure this is my new favourite class! I loved pushing myself on the treadmill and also incorporating strength training.

I loved learning about my heart rate and being able to monitor it. OT also has an app so you can keep track of your workouts both at the gym and during your outside activities.

Okay, so who wants to open an Orange Theory here in Lethbridge with me??! (I'm serious!!)

OT offers a free trial week (with three classes) so if you have one in your city (jealous) I highly recommend giving it a try! 

Have you ever tried OT?
What are your thoughts on HR training? 
What's the last new-to-you fitness class you've done?



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