Well, the latest trend in fitness has finally hit RVA (Richmond, VA, that is). Orange Theory Fitness opened up last fall in the Short Pump area of Richmond, and I have been anxiously awaiting my first class. Until now, I couldn’t try it, given my pregnancy and recovery postpartum, but last week, I dropped in for a class, and here is my Orange Theory Fitness Review.
How does Orange Theory Fitness Work?
Let’s start with the philosophy behind the workout. Based on the physiological theory of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), OTF trainers and members monitor their heart rate throughout a 55-minute class to ensure that they enter and stay in the Orange Zone of their heart rate for at least 12-24 minutes. This program produces an ‘afterburn’ effect, an increase in metabolism for 24-36 hours post workout. If done properly, members can burn 500-1000 calories post workout. Wow.
So how is it done? Upon arrival to the small, boutique studio, I was given a heart rate monitor to wear during my workout session. Not only was my heart rate monitored throughout the workout, but it was displayed on a leaderboard on a TV screen during the class. Whoa! I never anticipated the motivation that this would produce for me personally. I was constantly watching the screen to ensure that I was pushing myself and that I was in the lead. Clearly, I am competitive.
So what did I have to do?
The class was divided into 2 groups – cardio and weight trainers. I started in cardio. During the first 23 minutes of class, I had to alternate between the treadmill and the rowers. I ran .75 miles at a 6.0 mph pace, then rowed for 200 meters; then back on the treadmill for .50 mile at a 6.0 mph pace, then rowed for 800 meters; then back on the treadmill for .25 mile at a 6.5 mph pace, then rowed 1600 meters. I completed the run, but rowing is new for me; I only got in the first 2 circuits before time was up.
After the cardio session was completed, my group moved over to the weights. We had 3 circuits to complete in 21 minutes, each 7 minutes long. The first circuit was dumbbell squats, dumbbell front raises, and mountain climbers. The second circuit was ab rollouts, oblique ab rollouts and jump squats. The third circuit was dumbbell hammer curls, dumbbell lateral raises and rows using the TRx straps. Although the weights were low, the reps were high and the trainer kept us moving. My heart rate fell a little, but not much.
After a quick cool down and stretching, I had finished my first OTF session. The trainer reviewed our workout with us, using the leaderboard. During the class, I had burned 389 calories. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like much, given everything I did. I would likely have burned closer to 500 calories had I run for the same amount of time. But, it the premise is true, I had spent 14 minutes in the Orange Zone of my heart rate, indicating that I would burn more calories in the next couple of days. They even sent me a Performance Summary of my workout for the day, reviewing my calories burned and the time spend in each heart rate zone. This class was considered an Endurance class, but they also focus on Power and Strength in some classes. From what I understand, no 2 classes are the same. So for those seeking variety, OTF is fantastic.
Is it worth it?
When it comes to customer service and follow up, I have to say that OTF is pretty incredible. Starting with the moment I emailed them to set up a class, the staff has called me on multiple occasions to ensure I understand the class, know what to expect, and set me up for success. Since attending the class, I have heard from the head trainer and sales rep to enroll me in a membership. Pretty impressive.
Will I try another class at OTF? Probably. It was fun, energetic, competitive with great music. Will I join as a member? I am not sure. It seems a bit pricey, given the amount that we are already spending at a local gym. But for the kind of person that needs the motivation to show up when they sign up for a class, or even have a workout designed for them, OTF is pretty remarkable. Sign me up again!