Why Orange Theory Fitness is a Great Program

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Pandemic update: If you’re not working out in a gym, I’m loving this walking treadmill and am really intrigued by the TRX system for an affordable at-home option.

Several of my husband’s co-workers have raved about Orange Theory fitness for the last few years. I didn’t get the hype. What’s the big deal about a color-coded workout?

A lot, as it turns out.

I haven’t had a consistent fitness routine, or been in any sort of decent physical shape since before I had children. The fall of 2010, to be exact. I ran Hood to Coast, and it was amazing, and then my health dove off a cliff.

Since then, I’ve been a member of a gym more than I haven’t. I’ve had fits and starts, and fizzled out for a variety of reasons. I’ve lost weight and gained weight – but never gotten back to pre-baby weight.

This summer, it hit a breaking point, and I was (am) the heaviest I’ve ever been non-pregnant. Something had to give. Not only were my clothes tight, I just felt (feel) like crap.

I want to feel better. I want to be able to keep up with my kids. I need a fitness routine that fits my schedule and my mental capacity.

Somehow Orange Theory came up again, and since there’s one just down the street from my house, I decided to give it a try. They offer a free trial workout, and I dutifully got up at 5am to make it 30 minutes early to the 6am class for an orientation.

I loved it! I wasn’t sure about the cost – it’s pretty expensive. I knew I was traveling that month, so decided to wait until that was done, and to make an effort to get into an exercise routine on my own in the meantime. I also considered joining the local rec center, which is quite a bit cheaper even than the last gym I had belonged to. The routine didn’t work. And I never got around to joining the rec center.

About that time, my company announced that they were opening a corporate-subsidized Orange Theory gym on campus. Amazing! It was just the motivation I needed, with the added bonus of being quite a bit cheaper than the other Orange Theory.

It just opened up this month, and I took my first class opening day. I’m not far enough into it to say if it will be an unqualified success or not, but I do believe I have the highest chance of success with Orange Theory than with any other workout program – and that could be true for you also.

Orange Theory fitness is the perfect workout for making it easier to get life and business done.

Orange Theory fitness

Four Reasons Orange Theory fitness is a perfect workout

1. It requires zero mental effort.

Decision fatigue has derailed my workouts entirely too many times. Should I take that class at the gym? How do I decide which weight workout to do? Should I run intervals or go for distance on the treadmill? Should I also be using any of those other machines? What about that new, bright, shiny object?!

Orange Theory is a set workout that changes each day. Each workout is full body, and days focus on strength, endurance, etc. I may get bored with it, who knows. But for now, I simply show up at a scheduled time, do exactly what I’m told to do, and leave 60 minutes later with a solid full body cardio and weight workout. Done and done.

2. It costs money to not show up.

Similar to the mental energy required to decide what to do at the gym, it’s entirely too easy to talk yourself out of going in the first place. Orange Theory’s genius way to combat this is to charge you if you don’t show up and haven’t cancelled in the cancellation window (8 hours before the class time). If you’ve got a punch card-style pass, you use up a punch even if you don’t show up. And if you’re an unlimited monthly member, you’re charged $8 on top of your monthly membership fee for each class.

Given that it’s almost a budget-buster anyway, this is serious motivation. In fact, this morning I can guarantee that if I didn’t know I would be charged for not showing up, I would have skipped the workout.

3. Results are measured against your own fitness level, not anyone else’s.

Orange Theory’s whole methodology is based around how your personal heart rate corresponds to ideal zones for fitness. The goal is to be in the “orange zone” for at least 12-20 minutes per class. I’m currently averaging about 32 minutes in the orange zone per class, which means I’m working hard, ridiculously out of shape, or both. I am ridiculously out of shape, and there are plenty of times I’m on the slower end, if not the slowest, in the class. My competitive side can’t win competing against actual physical performance. But the way Orange Theory is structured, my competitive side can “win” at points, as the entire comparison is based on our own personal baselines.

4. “Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill people.”

My most recent weight gain has been primarily a result of an incredible amount of stress eating. The last several months have been stressful in a way I only imagined I was stressed a year ago. And without fundamentally turning my life upside down, there’s no quick way out. Actually, even with turning my life upside down, there still isn’t a quick way out.

Who I recommend Orange Theory fitness for:

Anyone who has some experience in a gym and lifting weights, but needs super clear motivation to stick to a fitness routine.

I don’t recommend that anyone who’s never lifted weights or spent time in a gym join Orange Theory. With 20 people per class in a fast-paced high-intensity class, the instructors simply aren’t able to give individualized attention to teach you how to do the exercises. They do a great job at giving brief overviews of each of the exercises and routines, and do spot check performance, but this is very much group instruction, not individual tutoring.

It is expensive. Quite a bit more expensive than simply belonging to any gym I’ve ever belonged to. But it’s much cheaper than paying for a personal trainer.

Does your workout reduce decision fatigue, reduce stress and motivate you to show up and push yourself to your absolute limits? If not, give Orange Theory a try!

(Orange Theory has no idea who I am beyond the direct payment I send them every month. This is an affiliate link, but I have no idea what sharing my affiliate link even gets me. I would have written every word exactly the same even without an affiliate link.)

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