You may have heard that after you exercise, your body bumps up its metabolic rate afterwards, burning an increased number of calories for the next several hours – even as you sleep that night. The OrangeTheory fitness philosophy has taken this to the next level, blending science and tech with competitive psychology – and has become one of the hottest new exercise trends.
Available in cities all over the country, OrangeTheory fitness classes exist in the space between CrossFit, high-intensity interval training and cardio. Perfect for people who like to track their bodily metrics with tech, it merges the '80s dichotomy of “jocks vs. nerds” into one super-athlete for the new millennium.
Each 60-minute group workout features five-zone heart-rate interval training, which takes you through five levels of exertion as measured by your heart rate. Classes are designed to push you into the “Orange Zone,” the state that produces “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption" (EPOC).
EPOC creates an “after burn” effect in your body, boosting your metabolism so that you burn through tons of calories. In fact, OrangeTheory claims that clients burn an estimated 500 to 1000 calories per workout – not bad for an hour’s work.
OrangeTheory fitness class members are provided with a heart-rate monitor in order to measure their efforts. Each workout features approximately 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. The goal is to perform multiple intervals that produce 12 to 20 minutes of exercise at 84 percent or higher of your maximum heart rate. When your body gets into this “Orange Zone,” the desired EPOC after effects will be produced. Results include increased strength, endurance and power – as well as dramatic weight loss.
But OrangeTheory isn’t just biology – it’s also psychology. These are high-energy, group classes with loud music and plenty of metrics to compare – and compete with. You might not think you’re the competitive type, especially if you’re a woman. We’re socialized to think that cooperation is to be celebrated and that competitiveness is bitchy.
But you might be surprised by your will to be in the top of the class at the gym. If you’ve ever capped off your evening by walking around your house to win your daily FitBit challenge, you’re probably more competitive than you think you are. OrangeTheory fitness might be a good fit.
Classes also mix exercises up to keep things interesting, so that you’re never stuck doing set after repetitive set. Workouts are a diverse combination of cardio and strength training: indoor rowing, TRX straps, weight machines, treadmills, and resistance blocks. OrangeTheory studios offer a complimentary workout for your first visit, and they are made for people of all fitness levels. Two to five sessions per week are recommended for most people.
OrangeTheory offers a competitive, group setting for high-energy, condensed workouts with available metrics. Overall, the best exercise program for you is the one that you will actually DO. Find the workout that speaks to you. Get excited, get motivated, and get healthy – your future self will thank you!
Treadmill image via Shutterstock