Orangetheory is a workout that very explicitly fuses fitness and science to create an amazing exercise experience.
When I first heard about Orangetheory, it was as if my prayers had been answered.
I really love the idea of monitoring my heart rate, but it’s something that I think requires a little guidance from a professional in order to use the information that you’re fed to its full potential.
I’m so glad that I’ve found a fitness concept and dedicated studios to do the hard work for me.
Well, not all the hard work...
The Orangetheory Concept
Orangetheory® was developed in the US by Ellen Latham and is a high-energy, interval training based group training class.
What’s particularly unique about it, besides the super sleek, state-of-the-art studio and equipment, is that it is a heart rate monitored session.
During the workout, you wear a chest strap with a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate, along with everyone else’s in the class, is displayed on screens in the studio, which tell you your heart rate, % of max heart rate, and colour indicates which heart rate zone you are working in. You can also see an estimate of calories burned.
Getting such immediate, visual, data-driven feedback on your workout is incredibly motivating.
The session aims to take your heart rate to a target zone - the Orange Zone - to stimulate metabolism.
Here’s how it works:
“Backed by the science of [excess] post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), 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!”
The Orangetheory Workouts
Each workout is divided into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.
The workout that I did alternated between time on a treadmill (one of the few treadmill sessions in my entire life that I have enjoyed) and resistance training using a mixture of freeweights, TRX and bodyweight. There was also an option to use the rowing machines (added incentive: David Lloyd clubs use the WaterRowers, which are a dream!).
All classes on a given day will be the same workout. However, they change from day to day in terms of what equipment is used, what exercises are performed, and what the split between cardio and resistance is.
The studio doesn’t advertise what focus any of the classes are scheduled to take. This prevents people from only booking on to classes that they favourite and training in ways that they are probably already pretty used to (something that I would most likely be entirely guilty of).
Instead, the Orangetheory trainers want people to benefit from all-round fitness training.
I absolutely love Orangetheory.
My only tiny criticism is that without undergoing lab testing, calculations of your max heart rate, and therefore heart rate zones, can’t be 100% accurate. Here, they are based on a standard formula. But, taking all of the awesomeness of this workout into account, it’s damn close enough!
The concept of a heart-rate monitored group workout is brilliant. I love getting immediate, genuinely useful feedback based on actual data. It’s a great motivator during class, and enables the trainer to respond to you more personally, too.
During class, there are lots of names on the board, but it doesn’t matter. Your heart rate zones won’t be the same as anyone else’s, so the only person that you’re competing against is yourself.
It’s so easy to become completely immersed in the experience of the class.
It’s great that the workout design is based around the physiological theory of EPOC. It makes the sessions a brilliant choice if you’re looking to lose weight.
I’m not looking to lose weight, so the instructor estimating how many calories I was going to burn post-workout was slightly terrifying (I struggle to eat enough calories anyway!).
However, knowing that this was due to pushing myself into higher heart rate zones was thrilling. My goals are to really improve my aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and this workout gives me a very visible and stimulating structure with which to do that.
I also like that I was emailed a report following the session, so that I can also compare data across classes and aim for improvements.
I wish that I had a studio closer to where I live or work so that I could go more often!
Where To Find Orangetheory
I attended a class at David Lloyd’s Islington Orangetheory studio. There are also studios in Aldgate, Enfield and Winchester.
What're your thoughts on Orangetheory?