What is Orange Theory?
Recently I dragged my daughter into a local Orange Theory. What is all the hubbub? I have seen several pop up in various locations, and wanted to know why you might like to join them in a sweat fest. Well, here is the lowdown on the franchise that now has 1000 locations nationwide including one on the Nike Campus.
How does it work?
First of all, there are three stations that you will work in. Treadmills, Rowing machines, and a strength station. Before class you line up outside the room and are given a high-five from the Coach as you walk in and a station- I was rowing machine 1, and Sarah was rowing machine 2. We were to proceed to Treadmill station 1, and strength station 1. Very organized! There is room for 30 participants which requires signing up via their app prior to coming to class.
Rowing machines and treadmills are relatively self explanatory. However, they build in intervals at each station. The rowing station for instance was 300 meters, and then 30 medicine ball jumping jacks. You alternated between the two exercises, and at the end of the designated time period for that station, you moved to the next. Treadmills had three speeds, and you were to work in each of the three based on the coaching prompts.
The strength station has a screen with moving avatars on it to show you what to do, and then how many times. Again, you try to get as many done as possible in the time period allotted. Lots of pumping music going!
Here is a photo of the changing of the stations thru the glass from the lobby. They also provide a wet wipe to wipe down your machine after you use it. Thoughtful!
is to get into the orange zone- which is 85% of your heart rate max for 12 of the 60 minutes of class. 1 minute equals 1 of what they term SPLAT points, and you want to get 12 splat points. This is accomplished by wearing a Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor that you purchase, and you have real time monitoring on the screens above you. This picture below shows the various heart rates happening in the class at that moment.
At the end of class, your summary is then up on the monitor and emailed to you.
Here is my summary.
My daughter told me that she would look up on the monitor, and guess I wasn’t working hard based on the fact that I wasn’t in the Orange zone. Then she said she looked over and I was actually dripping in sweat, working as hard as she was. Interval training happens to be something I am relatively trained for courtesy of summer soccer, so it requires a big effort by me to hit the Orange zone.
Notice I only got 8 of my 12 splat points. Sarah got 14. I promise I was working super hard! My heart rate profile was similar to a guy who the coach said had been working out 4x/week for 6 months. He also didn’t get very many splat points. This was disappointing since they make such a big deal about the Orange zone part…if you are well trained in their system, how do you keep making the splat happen??
Finally, they did a quick 3-4 minute cool down, which was great since the high-five was our only warmup.
IF you need help getting motivated and like group sessions with loud music and a coach, this seems like a good option.
IF you aren’t good about doing intervals, this seems like a good option.
IF you know what muscles you are supposed to target with the strength work, and you feel them when you do the strength moves, this seems like a good option.
However, the lack of warmup and the lack of information about the target muscles in the strength station were problematic for me. They could take the avatar and at least highlight the body part targeted on the person moving!
What is your experience with Orange Theory?
Sarah liked it. I like it, but of course I don’t want anyone hurt and drop out because of the “work hard to get your splat points” environment. Plus when you get fit, how do they keep motivating you? Let me know in the comments below!