Orangetheory Review: Heart Rate Monitored Metabolic Workout

Natalie-Orangetheory-Workout

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...

Orangetheory-Heart-Rate-Monitor
Orangetheory-Heart-Rate-Zone-Screen

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!”

Orangetheory-Islington-Studio-David-Lloyd
Orangetheory-Islington-Studio-David-Lloyd

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.

Orangetheory-Polar-HRM-Report

My Verdict

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!

David-Lloyd-Orangetheory-Studio

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?

Les Mills Immersive Fitness™ has Launched!

IMMERSIVE-FITNESS-LES-MILLS-NATALIE.jpg

Les Mills IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ has just launched in the UK, and as a huge fan of Les Mills workout programmes, I was really excited to be one of the first to try it. I headed to the UK’s first IMMERSIVE studio at David Lloyd Rayne's Park for a completely mind-blowing workout.

What is IMMERSIVE FITNESS™?

IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ is a workout concept developed by Les Mills. If you haven’t heard of Les Mills, why not?! They are the creators of globally-successful group fitness classes such as BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ and RPM™ (a studio cycling workout). Well, RPM™ has now been taken up a notch. 

THE TRIP™ is the name of the 30 minute class that I experienced, fusing RPM™ with the IMMERSIVE concept to complete a truly unique exercise experience.

During the class, the lights are lowered and rich visuals on a screen taking up the entire wall of a purpose built studio transport you through galaxies, space-age cities and across oceans. The virtual reality changes with each workout track, ensuring a variety of hills, flats, mountain peaks, time trials, and interval training. Throughout the whole class, the instructor’s cues are not only synchronised with the music, but the on-screen graphics, which is really motivating and helps to completely immerse you in the ride.

Les Mills Immersive Fitness The Trip David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness Cinematic Class David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness RPM Video Game

My experience of THE TRIP™

My IMMERSIVE experience was completely sensational. I didn’t think once about the length of the workout, I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and loved every minute of it.

While riding through the space-age city, it felt like I was in a TRON video-game and while climbing up steep glaciers it was like being in a movie. My favourite part of the workout was when, while sprinting laps around the digital velodrome, we were leaning forward into descents and pushing sideways around corners. The combination of these perfectly cued movements with the incredible cinematics, made it feel like I was in a theme park simulator. I even felt my stomach lurch a couple of times; in a good way, of course!

Les Mills Immersive Fitness David Lloyd Class Workout

This workout would be fun for absolutely anyone (so long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little) and would also be a great way to introduce children and teenagers to workouts that would otherwise seem daunting. 

I couldn’t stop raving about the class for days after trying it. I’m looking forward to it being rolled out into more clubs nationwide so that I can ride THE TRIP™ again and I’m excited to see where IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ goes next...

Have you manage to squeeze yourself into an IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ class at David Lloyd yet? Let me know what you think to the concept!