It was AWESOME and the 55-minute class flew by. I had a bunch of you guys request more details when I shared a brief recap of my experience on Snapchat, so I wanted to provide a more detailed rundown of the class format, what I thought about the workout and what you can expect during your first Orangetheory Fitness workout.
What is Orangetheory Fitness?
Orangetheory Fitness is an interval-based workout that uses heart rate monitors to encourage you to push yourself (based on your own fitness level) and includes three different components – interval training on the treadmill, indoor rowing and weight room floor exercises.
Orangetheory Fitness is a studio fitness franchise and the group fitness classes are typically limited to less than 30 people. Workouts vary day-to-day and often have a certain focus (strength, endurance or power, etc.). An instructor leads the class through a workout rotation on the treadmill, indoor rower and weight room floor and offers form correction, exercise demonstrations, encouragement, cues and more.
What is the flow of a typical class?
During an Orangetheory Fitness class, you can choose where you begin and participants rotate through time on the indoor rowing machine, treadmill and weight-room floor. In the class I took, we rotated through every station three times but, as my instructor explained, you can expect to typically spend a total of 25-30 minutes walking or running on the treadmill (broken up into shorter blocks) and the rest of the class time split between the indoor rower and the weight room. My class also included a five-minute stretch at the end of the workout.
An instructor will lead you through the workout, demonstrating weight room exercises and calling out when to crank up the intensity on the treadmill and indoor rower. I found the cues easy-to-follow and while everything was very fast-paced I never felt lost or overwhelmed.
One of my favorite aspects of the workout from a personal trainer’s perspective is that it is a workout that can be completed at various levels to meet you where you are in your fitness journey. Whether you choose to walk on the treadmill and challenge yourself with inclines or kick things up and sprint your heart out, you can modify the workout to make it suit you and your current fitness level. And I loved how our instructor went around to check on everyone on the weight room floor to correct form and offer modifications. So important and so great to see!
What makes Orangetheory Fitness unique?
The workout was definitely the most high-tech workout I’ve ever done! A big screen above the treadmills displays your name, heart rate, percentage of your max heart rate, calories burned and “splat points.” (I absolutely LOVED the way this information was displayed and found it seriously motivating.)
Heart rate levels are represented by colors and you earn a “splat point” for every minute you spend in the orange or red zone. The orange and red zones are the “after burn” zones that occur when your heart rate is up to or over 85 percent of your max heart rate, allowing you to continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after the class is over. Basically, you get a splat point when you are working your butt off!
Our instructor said that ideally you’ll spend most of your Orangetheory workout in the green zone – your “base level” zone – and 12-20 minutes per workout in the more challenging orange or red zones.
Throughout the workout, we moved from the treadmill to the rowing machine to the weight bench and I never felt like I was at one station for too long. The workout kept me engaged and interested and the time spent at each station was short enough that I felt like I could give it my all without feeling like I was going to die.
At the end of the workout, our instructor said our stats from the workout would be emailed to us which I thought was way too cool!
Another way Orangetheory incorporates technology into the workout is by displaying the weight room floor exercises on TV screens above the weight benches so you can easily reference them during your workout. (The instructor demonstrates the exercises as well.) In my first class, the weight room floor exercises included a combination of traditional dumbbell strength exercises, bodyweight exercises, plyometric exercises and exercises performed with the TRX straps.
Would I go back?
Absolutely! I’d love to return to Orangetheory and think it would be a great addition to my workout routine. The one major drawback? They do not offer childcare which is a bummer for me, but I’m hoping to attend some weekend classes here and there as my schedule allows.
I think it’s important to add that I personally would not feel comfortable taking Orangetheory Fitness classes 5-6 days a week as my only form of exercise. (I’m not sure what OTF instructors advise, but I have a feeling they’d recommend the same thing given the style of workout.) The workouts are intense and I think taking classes on non-consecutive days would make the most sense both from a recovery standpoint and a safety standpoint since the HIIT-style workout provided by Orangetheory Fitness is quite intense.
What should you wear? What should you bring to a class?
For my first Orangetheory Fitness class, I wore workout capris, a supportive sports bra, a tank top and my Nike Flyknits and felt great! I saw some participants wearing shorts which would be totally fine, but we did some exercises where our butts were in the air (plank jacks to knee tucks and bench pop-overs) and I personally would have felt a little self-conscious in shorts.
I brought a water bottle with me (highly recommended!) and wish I would’ve brought a towel with me as well, as towels are not provided by the studio.
During your first class, you’re able to borrow one of the Orangetheory Fitness-compatible heart rate monitors to use for free. I was instructed to arrive at my local studio 20 minutes before class began to learn more about the workout, meet with an instructor before class, fill out a liability waiver and borrow a heart rate monitor.
How much does it cost?
From what I can tell, cost varies by location, but for my local studio, here is the price breakdown:
- $28 for a drop in class
- $69 for 4 classes a month
- $109 for 8 classes a month
- $159 for unlimited classes each month
Clearly it is not a cheap workout!
I asked about gift cards and they said they do have people purchase 10-class packages as a gift for friends/family and the cost for a 10-class package is $199 and you have one year to use the package before it expires.
Another important thing to note is that if you do sign up for Orangetheory Fitness you must purchase the heart rate monitor for $69 or the new heart rate monitor wrist band for $99 to use during your workout.
Questions of the Day
- Have you ever tried Orangetheory Fitness? Thoughts?
- Would you ever want to try Orangetheory?
This was so informative. Thank you for sharing. I had done the research but reading your testimony was definitely the final push I needed to realize that OTF is the right direction. So, thanks!
Paige Garrett says
I love OTF! I’ve been a member for over a year now. I was an unlimited member, but I recently bumped down to 2x/week so i could start sprinkling in some other workouts for variety. I think 2x a week is a much better deal for me- easier on my body, and I tend to push myself harder each time knowing that there’s a limited number of classes I have. I will always be a member in some shape or form though!
My absolute favorite thing about OTF is the community- the instructors knew my name, knew what injuries I was prone to, what my favorite workout songs were, etc. I felt so supported by the community, and loved that everyone was treated like an athlete, regardless of body type, speed, or ability. I never thought I would enjoy waking up at 5:30am to go to the gym… proved me wrong! I thought it was going to be intimidating, but instead I have found the opposite- that it really does a ton for your self confidence.
Valerie @ Geaux Momma says
Love this review! i have been wondering what this type of workout was like.
I just recently tried OT as well and loved it! They were very thorough with the instructions making me feel super comfortable once the workout started. The only downfall is the cost. If I lived close to one and felt like I would use it on a weekly basis then I might consider it more.
Chris L says
OTF has been the cure to my fitness rut. As a guy, I typically worked out at the gym with weights and resistance exercises, and no running on the side with some different sports. I started OTF at my wife’s suggestion about one year ago, 2x per week, interspersed with the gym and running. I got to love it so much that I moved to unlimited earlier this year, and now go about 5x/week. I was worried about the lack of heavy resistance/weights but find myself challenged enough that I didn’t miss it. My muscle mass/strength didn’t change, but my overall health and fitness certainly improved. I like that I just need to show up – 5:15 AM, and I actually look forward to it! Somebody else lays it out for you, and you can alter your intensity as needed. It’s never boring, with changing exercises, focus, etc. Sometimes I go hard and get 30+ splat points, other times a little slower and get <20 splat points. I am a little older – almost 45 – and was worried about how my body would hold up. I always seemed to carry some strain or injury. While I understand that the post recommended 2x/week, and this would certainly be a good place to start, I am surprised to say that using OTF as your primary workout several times/week is doable. I have had less muscle soreness, injuries, etc as I have ramped up my attendance. All in all, while not cheap it is highly recommended.
Dave Bozsvai says
Hi I recently tried OTF and enjoyed the program. I thought the program moved very quickly and was a lot of fun. the instructor was extremely supportive to the point where I decided to sign up immediately after the class. i have to say that immediately after the class I was very tired, and Sore as my fitness level was pretty low. after the class the coach talked to me about recovery. The next morning i felt great and cant wait to go back to my next scheduled session. Rates are what the rates are, and considering if you would have joined a local rec you would not have had the support and push to keep moving . I have been guilty of joining local rec centers for years but dont know how to get a good work out and at times get intimidated by all the fancy dressers in the gyms. While I was beat the day of the work out I felt great the next day. definitely going back
Kristin Etienne says
you should try camp gladiator
Joanne Murray says
Hi, do you just show up or do you need to reserve a spot? (ie less than 30 in class; start times?). Thanks!
You need to reserve a spot ahead of time! 🙂 I called my studio the first time but you can also reserve online.
Tanya Lee says
I went in for my free introductory class and loved it! I was nervous I’d be struggling the first time but the instructor, Tanner, was amazing! He was very encouraging and kind. After the class I signed up for the 8x per month deal. To my surprise, I did not receive a copy of the contract or even a receipt. Unfortunately after I got home, I had a fever for 12 hours and vomited and had diarrhea. Because of the fever, my body needs 2 weeks to recover prior to doing any high intensity workouts. I’d already let OT know I’d also be out of town for 2 weeks in April and it didn’t make sense to sign up now but of course, I felt pressured while I was also feeling a little faint from my first OT workout. I recall reading something about having 3 days to cancel. I signed up on Friday, I called on Monday, not necessarily to cancel if there were another option. I just can’t see paying for all of April and not being able to use it. The person I spoke to mentioned rolling over to May but then I’d have to do a class every other day in May which is not feasible. I’d love for OT to work with me on something that makes sense. And if that means cancelling, well the 3-day period ended on Monday. The manager was not there. It’s Thursday and a manager has still not called me back. Unfortunately it’s too common to have issues regarding gym memberships and this is taking my initial good first impression and turning it into a bad one.
In the 8x/ month deal, your classes won’t expire, you can use them again the next month.
If an 8-class package costs $109, then why do you charge $199 for a 10-class (gift) package for a friend or family member? That’s a lot of money for the additional two classes. What am I missing?? Thank you…
The 8-class package for $109 is for a monthly membership of 8 classes a month.
Maybe it’s so the person with the gift card doesn’t have to pay for the heart rate monitor? It’s $69 I believe.
Tried my first class today – not enamored that so much of the time was on a treadmill. And the studio was poorly designed. It was too narrow and you couldn’t see the screen. And it just felt really cramped. Pretty expensive for cramped. It wasn’t what I expected at all.
Derek La Prade says
Hello…wondering…how does Orangetheory Fitness figure out your individual maximum heart rate to base your workouts on? With all of the high tech gear…I’m assuming they do a VO2 Max Test…
Hi Julie! I start OTF tomorrow. I don’t want to go into any contracts or automatic monthly deductions from checking account. I may do the drop in classes or get 4 classes per month but I need to pay when I’m ready; don’t want deductions. Thank you. I am a beginner to this. I like indoor cycling with instructors but moved to Florida and have not found cycling yet!! I think it will be great! Thank you.
Orange theory is great but their chest heart monitor is defective like some Chinese product. It don’t read and crashes every other day. I asked the staff for the replacement but she replied, “Did you wipe the sweat on it because it don’t work if wet” Now, tell me when we do HIGH INTENSITY work-out then r we gonna stop and take a moment to wipe sweats? How ridiculous. Don’t get the chest monitor because it is super defective.
I just started at OT and love it! I am a runner and it definitely challenges me! and has taken me out of my winter rut! My body is tired the next day but I cannot wait to go back. I go twice a week and run outside the other days.
Is it normal to be a bit tired after an OT session? My legs on my outdoor runs the next day are super tired.
Been going to OT for 3.5 months now. Love it so much! Variety and intensity are awesome, the classes go by super fast and you are always doing something so you are never bored. Been going 4-5x a week and it has made a difference in my fitness level. Sure, you get tired once in a while after a session, but that’s normal (and it also depends on your fitness level). Some sessions are harder than others, especially when there are a lot of inclines when running (the strength sessions). I’m sore in a new place every week, but that’s how I know my muscles are continuously being worked. The monitors work fine…sure they’ll disconnect once in a while, but nothing’s perfect! Just ask for a replacement! Bottom line, OT is awesome, perfect for people who love high intensity, cardio based workouts. The only downside is that it is expensive….I wouldn’t mind so much for $159, but I live in DC, which is a “premium” location, so for my unlimited membership, I have to pay $60 more a month than if I lived 10 minutes away in Arlington, VA. I’m not sure what “premium” benefits I get over someone who lives in Arlington, so to me that is a bit of a rip off! Unfortunately I can’t get over to Arlington on most days and rush hour would take me 30 minutes. Right now all I have to do is walk over to my studio after work, easy-peasy. Sigh, the things we do to stay in shape! :p
Thank you so much for posting this. I have also had OTF on my radar for about a year and this answers all my questions. Unfortunately the local OTF for me pestered me a ton when I signed up for the free class that I never went in before because I was so scared off by them! Your info really helps though for me to reconsider them again. Very informative! You rock!
I hate talking to others while working out. I prefer to blast my music and concentrate on my workout. I’m assuming listening to your own music is not allowed. Do you think it’s feasible for an antisocial person to attend these classes? I’m not a fan of group workouts so, I’m apprehensive.
You don’t have a chance to talk to anyone. The workout is fast paced and really intense. You might chat before the workout but the most you talk with anyone is to give a high five.
I wasn’t even comfortable with that at first but I found it motivating and supportive.
Do they weigh you before you start your first class?
This review is so informative. The follow-up comments also help me to figure out this place is worthy to work out.
Hi OTF fans
I am a founding member OTF been doing it since it’s inception , I am an fitness enthusiast and have particapated in so many different types of workouts including running marathons and half marathons. I will say , this is the first exercise routine that I haven’t gotten bored of just yet and it’s been seven years . I.T keeps you accountable , templates are different every day and I have seen the difference it’s made in me both physically and in my overall performance especially during race training ! Hope this helps , give I.T try you won’t regret I.T!!!!
Great review! It’s really helpful, all the information I’m looking for is here, and that’s great. Thank you for your article
David Baldwin says
I am wanting to make OT a regular workout with my fiancé. I went today and found the rowing and treadmill part great, they showed me how to operate them and the proper form for rowing. Where it all fell apart for me was in the weight section. I have some degenerative discs and don’t want to do any further damage. I know a strong core is my key, along with proper exercise form and possibly being selective on which exercises are best for me. I tried choosing the exercises with not as much flexion.
My issue is the instructor is trying to spend 30 seconds showing the form before each exercise. But there are details in the form that are important. She couldn’t spend much time showing form while also coaching the treadmill/rowers. At least half the class was using improper form in the exercises so I couldn’t learn by watching them.
I am trying to figure out is I can get a list of the exercises, then take it to my chiropractor/PT to learn the form and decide which exercises I should avoid (use one of the alternatives during that routine). I am willing to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure this is only being shared so I can come back to the class and rock it. The facility said they could not share the exercises, so I sent a Facebook messenger message to corporate asking.
In the meantime, does anyone have a list of the typical exercises that I could follow my suggested process with my chiropractor/PT??
I would sincerely appreciate this as I really want to continue workout routine with confidence.
Thank you so much in advance.
I’m wondering if the heart monitor works at home as well as at OT? I would like to supplement my routine when in home.
Thanks for the info. I have my first OT class tomorrow, and your article answered some lingering questions I had.
Awesome workout that actually works!! The OTF afterburn is such a huge benefit! The results are all that matters and this workout works period!
Susan Dubose says
i did my first class today. it’s simple and easy, but engaging 🙂
Thank you for sharing! This ís so helpful for me.
I am so glad that you tried Orangetheory and loved it! I started going about 2x a week a year ago and it has made such a positive impact on my life!
Hello…wondering…how does Orangetheory Fitness figure out your individual maximum heart rate to base your workouts on?
Yes they do. They have an algorithm that determines 5 heart rate zones for you based on your gender and age. This is how you get a personalized feel although you are in a group setting.
Yes they do. They have an algorithm that determines 5 heart rate zones for you based on your gender and age. This is how you get a personalized feel although you are in a group setting.
Roxy D'melo says
I love the idea of the splat points and although I’ve done internal training with a heart rate monitor before, I haven’t done it as part of a class. I’m definitely going to have to try this class out!