Every new year holds fresh resolutions of fitness. We demand a lot for ourselves. We vow to eat better, exercise every day, and gosh darn it – stop drinking booze so much! We do well in the first month or two until we get frustrated…
We get frustrated because we don’t see the results on the scale. Our BMI still states we are at risk and we really miss Chick-Fil-A. Thus, starts our fitness destruction where those no-touch foods become touchable and our couch creates an imprint of your butt.
If this is you, I may have the solution for you – Orange Theory Fitness in Winston-Salem, NC. I was invited to try a class out since the facility just opened in December.
I had heard of Orange Theory but never ventured to try a class because of the distance. But now that there is an Orange Theory facility so accessible to me in Winston-Salem, I could not pass up on the chance!
First, you have to sign up to attend a class as space is limited and they only have one large room to fit sessions. I signed up for a class on Saturday morning.
When I arrived, I was weirdly greeted by a gentleman at the door who made me feel like I was lost. However, the manager and the rest of the staff behind the welcome desk was uber friendly and welcoming. They reassured that I was in the right place.
Orange Theory Fitness has clean and modern décor. There are cubbies adjacent to the welcome desk so your stuff is out in the open and in the peripheral of the staff.
When you enter the exercise space, it is dark and illuminated by orange lighting – taking the whole “orange theory” to another level. All the equipment is laid out for your blood, sweat, and tears!
The equipment was top-notch. This was my favorite aspect of the facility – especially the treadmills. As a casual runner/jogger with bad knees, I could really appreciate the gentle bounce their treadmill had. I felt like a gazelle prancing through the African Sahara.
The rowing machines, located in the center of the room, were another great way to get the heart pumping while you shift back and forth to the back of the room where all the weights and do-dads for exercise hung out.
When done with each station, you are expected to wipe down so everything is clean. This practice guarantees you won’t be playing in someone else’s puddle.
Lastly, two TV screens hung on the walls. If you were in the running/walking treadmill group, you had a TV showing your personal metrics (metrics explained below). If you were in the back of the room, the TV displayed all the exercises in case you forgot what the instructor said. This is a great feature for those of us that easily forget when sweating.
The star of the show at Orange Theory is the wrist monitors called OTconnect which tracks your heart rate. OTconnect is a phenomenal tool to help you follow how well you are doing during the 40-minute workout. The real-time stats helped me push myself so I could get my metabolism pumping.
You can even access your overall stats through Orange Theory’s Challenge Tracker app and receive an email of it after every workout. There’s no way you won’t be able to keep track of how well you are making your fitness goals a reality.
The instructor, Michelle, was phenomenal. She had a Julian Michaels approach of a push harder/no excuses – which I personally thrive on.
She was the epidemy of someone who knew her stuff as her arms looked like it was constantly flexing at us when she pointed to each station.
Since it was opening weekend, Michelle had already lost her voice but was somehow able to muster a Demi Moore husk that ordered us around with authority and care.
I did not work out as hard as I could have during the first half of the session because my husband needed me to be still for pictures. So every so often I would stop and pose. But do not be mistaken – I was sore the next day!
For the second half of the class, there was no way to pose when walking or running. In fact, there was hardly a place for my husband to stand so I used this opportunity to test out the gadgets provided and referred to the television to see how well I was doing for my workout.
This is where my sweat started dripping down my whole body. We shifted from jogging to walking to jogging to running fast and starting over several times to test our rest rate. It was a great cardio session and a technique I took home with me that I use still!
The Fitness Metrics
Orange Theory fitness uses EPOC (Exercise Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which is a science of getting you to burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout is complete. Coupled with eating well, EPOC can provide results by 20 sessions!
For every workout, you track the calories burned, your splat points, heart rate and steps in a chart that also shows your progress for the week, month(s), as well as years.
The idea is to challenge your body at the right intensity so you can work harder to recover oxygen lost during exercise. By doing so, you increase your metabolism so you can keep burning calories for days after – especially if you come several times a week.
The Orange Theory workout comprises of five heart rate zones based on your individual heart rate. You ideally want to hit the Orange Zone (hence the name).
In the orange zone, your heart rate is between 84 to 91% of your unique heart rate maximum. By the end of the workout, you will want a beautiful bell graph. If you spend too much time in the orange, however, you are overexerting yourself. The goal is to have 12 minutes or more in the orange zone.
The concept of Orange Theory is impressive and perfect for those that lack or later end up lacking motivation for achieving fitness goals. Even if you are happy with your fitness, it is still a fun way to switch up your routine!
When I first heard of Orange Theory, I thought it was a gimmick to get you to drop money. I also heard some friends say that it is a great way to “compete” with others by comparing each other’s charts. This concept turned me off initially as overexertion of your body can lead to injuries. However, I found both claims to be somewhat untrue.
First of all, you get the wrist monitor which is included in your sign up. The heart monitor is extra but not required nor needed for the class. The heart monitor is just a more accurate tool to track your progress.
Second, the competitiveness was not really present for me. I was too focused on working out when I was in the back of the room to even see my progress displayed in the front of the room.
Additionally, when on the treadmill, I was too concentrated on my progress to care about anyone else’s. I was pleasantly surprised that the competitive nature you face is against yourself – not others. I am all here for that!
How does Orange Theory tie into your fitness resolution?
At Orange Theory, you can see your progress every time you participate in a session. That alone can motivate you for a longer span and ensure you workout to your fitness ability rather than someone else’s pace.
Furthermore, it is a great way to see your progress so that you can really work hard to make your fitness resolutions and fitness goals a reality.
You also get a trained professional to help you push to do your best in every class. The trainers walk around the room, check your posture/form, and review your real-time chart to let you know if you should do less or more leaving no room for failure!
Lastly, their business motto is to help you maximize your fitness potential so that you are 1.) not too sore to come back and 2.) are able to consistently burn calories even when you are not working out and more importantly 3.) reach your fitness goals.