I’ve been hearing about Orangetheory Fitness (or OTF) for a couple years now and was excited to see it was finally making it’s way to Alberta. Lucky for me, Brie arranged for a private class at the Seton location in Calgary for the Blog Squad and I was able to try my first class.
I went in super intimidated. I was under the impression that it was a competitive class, and while I do get my sweat on frequently, it’s definitely not at a group fitness class level. Turns out my impressions of the class were wrong and I walked away feeling smitten and wishing I could fit it into my regular routine. Sigh, so many fitness classes, so very little time.
What is Orangetheory Fitness exactly? It’s a heart rate based workout that combines treadmill interval training, rowing, and weight training combined in a 60 minute group exercise class. What makes OTF unique from other fitness classes is the use of the heart rate monitors. Everyone wears one with their rate rates displayed on a central screen. The goal is be in the orange zone for 12-20 minutes over the course of the class. So while you can see everyone else’s stats on the screen, there is no element of competition. Everyone’s heart rate is different and affected by different things day to day so you really can’t compare. This also makes it good for all fitness levels because you’re working based on your own abilities.
Every class is a different mix of running, rowing or weights so you’ll never do the same thing twice.
Our class start with 30 minutes on the treadmill and I was certain I would die before even getting to move on to the weights. Again, the class is designed to work at your own pace and abilities. If running isn’t working for you, there’s the option to jump on a spin bike or elliptical and the running itself has different levels of effort (walking, jogging and running). Each treadmill has a cheat sheet pace guide for all three levels that tell you about where you need to be for your base pace, push pace and all out sprint.
I classified myself as a jogger and really enjoyed the push to reach paces I would probably never hit on my own. The great thing about running intervals is that they’re short but effective in getting that heart rate into the orange zone.
I also have to declare my love for the treadmills the use. They were amazing! I felt like I was running on a cloud, they were so easy to use and had a fan built in that I most definitely took advantage of.
Once we were done our running intervals, we moved to the floor a weights and rowing circuit. I love that you have your own space with your own equipment to work with. There is another monitor that has visual cues for all the movements and reps to complete which makes it pretty fool proof. We had a couple different circuits that consisted of bench jumps, plank leg raise, chest flies, upright rows, reverse chest flies and rowing. My favourite part? The rowing! I’ve missed rowing so much since my days at Crossfit and I felt totally badass hitting the prescribed distance with speed and ease.
The hardest part of this block was having to wait until your heart rate came down to begin another round. Since I rowed so hard, it felt like I was waiting forever to get going again.
My second favourite part? TRX! I still want to get a TRX for home use (it’s been on my Wish List for a couple years now).
Coach Kristen was fun and personable and did a fantastic job keeping the party vibe going and our energy levels up. I definitely love working out to some good tunes blasting, giving me something to focus on besides the sweat running down my face.
Once our time was up, we were led through a quick stretch and sent on our way. By the time we walked out the door, we already had an email with the results from the class in our inbox.
You can definitely say after my first class, I’m smitten with Orangetheory Fitness. I really love the science behind OTF, the class format, the fresh studio space and workouts themselves. I can definitely see how hitting up OTF classes on the regular could get you into fantastic shape fast, whether your goals are weight loss based or performance based. I would love to add OTF into a regular rotation specifically to help my running since I thrive on having others push me to my limits.
The downfall to OTF is the membership options. Memberships are month-to-month with no contract, with the option of 4 sessions/month, 8 sessions/month or unlimited monthly. I would love to see a punch pass option that doesn’t expire so I can squeeze in a class whenever I have some kid free time.
If you’re interested in checking out OTF for yourself, they offer new members a free week trial. For now, you’ll find me trying to figure out how to squeeze in my free week at the new location that just opened here in town.
Huge thanks to Orangetheory Fitness Seton for letting the Blog Squad take over their facility to get our sweat on.
Have you tried Orangetheory Fitness yet?
What is your favourite piece of workout equipment? Mine is definitely the rower, TRX and barbells! *flexing emoji*