BEE-ast Mode: Orange Theory Fitness Review
I recently won a raffle at work. The prize: 3 free classes to Orange Theory Fitness. Right up my alley. I was so excited that when I got the email notification I screamed, "I won!". No joke. The prize pack included some bright orange swag - you know, the branded water bottle and sweat towel - and instructions to call the studio, set up an account, and start burnin'!
Now, I've been to OTF one time before. It was a while ago when a new location opened up in Old Town, Chicago and they were offering free classes. Obvi I snagged a class. And I liked it! Basically it's a heart-rate monitored interval workout with 3 different stations: treadmill, row machine, and floor exercises. Pending on how the trainer organizes class, you'll rotate through these stations, performing differing high-intensity interval exercises.
What makes it unique when compared to similar studio models (Shred415, Barrys, Studio Three, etc.) is that throughout class your heart-rate is tracked and you can view your personal stats on a TV monitor displayed in the classroom. The goal is for you to keep your heart-rate within a certain range and each range is assigned a different color. What's the sweet spot? Well, 'orange'. Duh. The concept is based on the science of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)... Using a color-coded system and a heart-rate monitor, participants watch their real-time stats on the TVs around the room and adjust their workout accordingly to stay in the target orange and yellow zones, and spend less time in zones that are either too intense (red) or not intense enough (green and blue). Below is an example of what a board looks like.
Anyways, let's break down each one of beezy's BEE-ast mode classes. And please forgive me in advance, the details are slightly inconsistent per class. The first visit I was just getting my bearings, but for classes 2 and 3 I had more of an idea of what to expect and could provide a more comprehensive recap!
First class -
Day/Time: Sunday @ 9:45AM
Rating: A good workout, but the fun factor was a 'meh'. I'd say 6/10.
Rationale: I started on the floor. And I never start on the floor. I prefer to run first to get my heat-rate high and then switch to weighted floor exercises. Also, this class was split by :30 min floor (rower was mixed in briefly) / switch / then :30 minute treadmill. I like to bop around and switch stations more frequently. I also wasn't vibing on the music that day. Ah, what can ya do?! I still got a great workout and I was sore afterwards. And, as Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it best, "I'll be back"!
Second class -
Day/Time: Thursday @ 6AM
Rating: Hot fire flames. I'd say 9/10.
Rationale: The schedule labeled this as a '3G' class. I had no idea what that meant, but I signed up and decided to roll with it. I loved it. Class was structured by the three stations: either start on the tred, the rower, or the floor. Once you picked your 'battle station' - as the trainer called it - you performed two 'blocks', otherwise known as 'circuits' at that station. Once the two circuits were complete, the entire class rotated to their next station (treds to rowers, rowers to floor, floor to treds). Also, I basically sprinted into class this time around so I could snag a treadmill as my first station :)
The tred circuits involved two different interval sprint sets, the first with increasing inclines, and the second was simply flat road and speed focused.
The rower circuits involved two different metered rows (300m & 200m), accompanied by various medicine ball floor exercises off the rower (squats, lunges, jumping chest press - is that a thing? - lol, etc).
The floor exercises involved two different circuits with various arm and ab exercises using the TRX bands. Oo ditty- KILLA.
Third class -
Day/Time: Wednesday @ 6AM
Rating: Again, hot fire flames. 9/10
Rationale: I know, I know, another 6AM-er?! But this time around the schedule labeled this class as a traditional "Orange 60". I figured I'd give it a go and see if it would be an improvement from class #1, which was also a traditional Orange 60. The trainer was adorable - so kind and nice. She greeted every person at the front desk and asked how their morning was going. Class started with a quick warm-up stretch before entering the studio for 'endurance' day - as she called it. She then let us into the studio to pick our starting stations - rower or treadmill. Where did I start? Is that even a questions - tred it was.
The tred group started with 3, 7 minute blocks on the treadmill, each with a goal distance. And this time, we restarted our treds after each block (on/off). Simultaneously the rower/floor group was also performing exercises (which I will later detail). One thing I should note, which I forgot to detail in the last two classes, is that the treadmill group is further segmented into "walker", "jogger","runner". So, as the trainer is calling out pace or incline increases, you adjust based on which group you classify yourself as. This was all new to me. And, to admit, it slightly confused me the first time around. It's simply a lot to listen to. Basically the entire class the trainer is giving instructions to various stations and you have to tune out the instructions not relevant to you (i.e.. if i'm on a tred, I'll tune out the trainer's instructions to floor/rower stations). Now when you throw in additional instructions for tredmill segments, you've got my head spinning! I guess concentration is slightly difficult at 6AM :) Anyways, each jog/run block was basically circuits of a push pace + backing off to a recovery pace. No inclines were added (simply stayed at 1.0 incline throughout pushes and recovery).
Groups then switched. The rower/floor group had two blocks (one was about :15 min, the other was about :6 min). The :15 min block included a 600M row + TRX exercises - AMRAP within that :15 min block. The :6 min block included two different ab exercises, with 10 burpees between each exercise - again, AMRAP within that :6 min block.
Conclusion - Claps n' snaps. OTF is a unique way to bring together cardio and strength, all the while monitoring and tracking individual progress in real-time. Additionally, each class was SO different. I loved the variety. The space was clean, the equipment was in great condition, and most importantly, I got a great workout each and every time I went. The trainers truly make or break the class, but I guess this is true of any workout class. Patrick and Mia were both fab; they get the beezy stamp of approval. Their classes were high-energy and the workout was challenging, but achievable.
I had pee-pants both times. Is that TMI?? Well, it's a sign of a good workout. KP, are you reading this?! You know what I'm talking about. Ah, well anyways, thank you OTF for my prize pack. From this lil beezy who NEVER wins anything, I'm glad I got lucky at OTF!