12 OTF classes in one month did this…

I tried 12 OTF classes in one month and here’s what happened: I found out I don’t sweat, I leak orange!

Orange Theory Fitness recently celebrated the opening of their 1,000th location making it hard to miss their bright orange logo or ignore their recent cameo on T.V. Yes- they’ve got a commercial now!

Here’s the basics:

So what is Orange Theory? (Directly from OTF’s website)

Heart rate based interval training. Backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. We call it the afterburn. Our members burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes.** And keep burning calories for up to 36 hours. *

WTF is a “splat point”: Seriously, if you’re competitive like myself, this is where you get sucked in. A “splat point” is awarded when you spend one minute in the orange heart rate zone. (Trust me you’ll work for these!) The scientific backing behind their madness? Apparently if you spend 12 or more minutes in this range, you’ll burn more calories throughout the day at rest.

First steps into the studio: The girls’ behind the desk always seem to be highly caffeinated in the best way possible. They must have a three cup requirement to work the desk to stay on top of their game. “Hi Todd” & “Are you ready for the workout today, Becki?” are blurted to every individual who walks in, not an exaggeration. The anticipation built in the lobby has to be built into their business model. I can feel the pump before even stepping inside the glass doors!

The coach: Prior to heading for the treads (seriously jostle in line to get a tread first, my best “splat points” come from hopping directly on the tread and turning it up!) the “coach” takes command. A brief intro plus overview of the workout is the final psyche up before heading inside to do work. ** tightens my ponytail.

The workout: Treadmills. Rowers. Weights. I’ll take torture devices for 1000, Alex. While I do actually hate rowing, the workouts are structured in a way that makes the impossible seem approachable. Sure, I can row my heart out for 30 seconds. Yes, I can take the MPH on the treadmill up for the last 15. The sneaky creators behind this workout must know a thing or two about how to get extra work out of me.

Building community: Nah, I’m too competitive for that. I probably piss some people off. In class, we are competing, even if you don’t think so. I peek at the MPH on the treadmill next to me. While Travis took the incline up to 7 at 12%, I followed at an incline 6. Bring it on, TRAVIS. Then the next round followed on the rowers. By this point, he knew we were competing and now it’s who can pull the most watts. He hits 415 (WHAT?!) I hit 391. After a full on sweat session, I high-five my mortal enemy and thank this total stranger for pushing me harder than I’ve ever pushed myself. Did we just become best-friends?! Darn you OTF, I might actually dig this whole group of competitors…..

First class to last class splat points: While the first class took a while to settle into and find the subtle differences between  “push pace” and “all out”,  the classes that followed seemed to challenge me. What I did yesterday, could look a little different the next day and regardless of how hard I worked, I learned that there was space for improvement. My very first class, I hit 12 splat points. The next several, I earned between 3-4. Then it clicked. Changing the intensity of the very same exercise can look different across different days and people. I had to find that edge for myself, meaning pushing past that “comfortable” speed and going for it. Recently, I’ve been reaching 12-30 (!!) splat points per class and finding completely new levels in my fitness (An all-out of 12 mph at a 7 % incline is a new reality- not just a pipe dream!)

The end of the month: What did I gain after a month of 12 classes? A new respect for my body and what it can do.  I now find myself running to the beat, focused on finishing without repeating a “don’t quit” mantra. The competitive side of myself now recognizes the efforts of the individual next to me- Sweat-aste? I find myself swapping sweaty high-fives with those next to me because I’m incredibly impressed with their efforts.

While every individual’s wellness is a completely unique journey and I preach doing whatever gets you moving that you enjoy, I can’t help but think that OTF is a game-changer in anyone’s health. All levels are welcomed and challenged at their own pace. The journey becomes your own, but you’re on the road with others heading the same direction.

Maybe I’ll see you in class, just look for the girl leaking orange.

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