Several Orange Theory Fitness locations popped up in the greater Cleveland area over the last several years. It was on my to do list to try an Orange Theory Fitness workout and I finally got around to doing so. Orange Theory workouts are a little mysterious and the process to sign up and actually take the workout was in-depth. Today in my Orange Theory Review, I’m sharing my full experience and everything you need to know about taking a class.
Orange Theory is a fitness franchise that was founded in Florida in 2007. Since the founding, the company has grown tremendously and today there are more than 650 Orange Theory Studios worldwide. Studios are in 44 of the United States and in 11 countries.
Most Orange Theory workouts are 60-minutes in duration and include a cardiovascular component and a strength training component. I was told by my instructor that no two classes are ever the same, and ironically, when you attend an Orange Theory class you don’t know what workout it will be that day.
Part of the selling point of Orange Theory Fitness classes (or OTF for short) is that according to the company, you will feel energized and continue to burn additional calories up to 36 hours after your Orange Theory workout. In addition, you will burn, on average, at least 500 calories per class. I did find this to be true for me.
Orange Theory Review
Signing Up for Orange Theory Classes
According to the Orange Theory Fitness website, anyone can take one class for free. I started by filling out a form on the web page for my local studio, asking to take the class. After filling out the “Try Us Now” form I received a call from the studio to schedule my class. In retrospect, I think I should have just called the studio in the first place.
When I spoke to an employee at the studio I told her what class I wanted to attend. The class I selected was over the lunch hour and would run from 11:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. and was titled Orange 60. I was told I would need to arrive 30-minutes before class start, or at 11:15 a.m. and I was reminded at least twice during the call that I would need to be on time.
Orange Theory Review: Arrival and Check In at Orange Theory
I arrived right on time. The studio had a parking lot and I found one opening. Another class was already in session when I arrived so the lot was pretty full. Upon entering the studio I saw a small bench, a boot pan and lockers. I went to the front desk first, however, to double check on protocol. I was told to put my belongings away and use the boot pan (I had also been told on the phone to please not wear street shoes into the building that would track in salt).
I brought my own lock and locked up my belongings. I wore running shorts under sweat pants so I didn’t have to change my entire outfit. Again, I wasn’t positive what kind of changing room or setup would be on site. They do have a changing room, restrooms and a shower (wonderful for folks returning to work mid-day). Good to know for future reference.
Then I went back to the front desk and was asked to fill out some paperwork about myself, my health history, fitness goals, my history with working out (I told her I’ve done it all except for cross fit!) my motivation for working out and the typical liability waiver that most fitness studios ask you to sign.
One of the questions was regarding the price I normally pay for fitness classes. I put $10 which was probably a bit of a flub because I have found classes as low as $7 or $8 at my local recreation center. As part of the questionnaire I also had to write down my height and weight. This information was used for the heart rate monitor (more on that in a bit) to determine my personal caloric burn during the workout.
The front desk staff was friendly and welcoming. We talked a little bit about my answers and then an employee gave me a heart rate monitor to use during my workout. This one had a washable chest strap. I had never used a heart rate monitor before and was actually expecting something to put on my wrist.
I was told to place the monitor just below my bra line and to make sure the monitor was touching my skin. I opted to do this in the restroom instead of flashing the entire lobby with my white stomach. After coming back to the front desk, the previous class had ended and I was led inside the studio and introduced to my class instructor.
What Do I Need for an Orange Theory Class?
I brought my own water bottle and towel for class. Wipes are provided to clean off equipment after class. There are also floor mats available so you don’t need to bring your own mat. A change of clothes, if desired, and showering supplies would be on your own if you decide to shower or change on-site.
Use of a heart rate monitor is encouraged, but not required for Orange Theory classes. Heart rate monitors can be purchased from Orange Theory or you can bring your own. By wearing the monitor, the instructor call also see your progress and encourage or push you – as needed. This is another benefit to wearing the monitor.
Orange Theory Review
What Can I Expect During an Orange Theory Class?
Prior to the class beginning the instructor went over use of the treadmills and the WaterRower machine. He also briefly walked me through a strength training station I would use. The station included items such as a floor step, free weights and a TRX suspension band. The treadmill, rower and station were all marked with a number. This would be my number and my station throughout the class.
As a first-time student I was told I would be starting on the floor, on the WaterRower machine. After your first class you can start there or on the treadmill, your choice. I’m really glad they started me the floor because I was then able to see how long and what kind of workout I would be doing on the treadmill – and adjust my efforts accordingly.
In prep for the Orange Theory Review, I wore running gear to the class, after hearing through the grapevine there were treadmills at Orange Theory Fitness and running was part of the class. That day, I wasn’t in a hardcore running mood and to be honest I had not run on a treadmill in about two years so I wasn’t going to go all out. I did learn I could power walk the treadmill routine instead, which is what I chose to do.
Again, I was told that no two classes are ever the same. This gave me pause as I typically want to know what I’m walking into. Is this arm day and I just did arms yesterday? Is this running day and I just ran yesterday? I like to vary my workouts so this was a little odd to me. Once class began it moved quickly. There wasn’t much of a warmup or any stretching, we jumped right in, with me starting on the rower.
The music was loud (Top 40 and hip/hop) and the instructor had a headset to talk over the music, tell us what to do and to encourage us. As someone who has tried a lot of different workout classes I was able to adapt alright to Orange Theory but if you are brand new to working out – I think this class would be very overwhelming. Brief instruction was given on strength training moves but, again, if you have never lifted weights before it would be easy to have bad form and risk injury.
I actually had bad form, in particular on TRX suspension band (which I had never used before). The instructor did make a point to correct me a few times but being it is a group setting and not personal training he also had to focus on others as well and not give me full attention during the class.
While every class includes a treadmill segment, I should note there were a few stationary bikes which you can use instead of the treadmill. It was pretty warm in the room. I wore a T-shirt but easily could have worn a tank top. When I moved to the treadmill I did the fast walker track, increasing speed and incline. To reiterate, the class I took was 30 minutes on the floor followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill. We did have a cool down and stretching period at the end of class during my Orange Theory Review.
Orange Theory Review
How is Orange Theory Different?
Throughout the class our heart rates were displayed on large TV screens. Talk of “splat points” was constant. I did not fully understand the splat point until I asked for clarification after the class ended. You receive a point every time you spend 1 minute of your workout in the orange zone. The orange zone is the ideal heart rate zone for your body.
However, if you do not wear the monitor you will not accumulate points or have your information displayed on the screen. Watching my stats during the class was nice, but at times I found myself just staring at the screen. Another view would have been nice, particularly during the treadmill segment.
During a typical class you are encouraged to secure at least 12 splat points, or spend 12 minutes in the orange zone. If you are having an “active rest day” the instructor told me you would attend class and tell him and then strive for the green zone, as an example. There are ways to attend class and not push it to the max every time.
After class ended we used wipes to clean off equipment. I was trying to remember my final “score” and was pleasantly surprised to find that my final stats were emailed to me directly after class ended. I definitely got a good workout in and was sweating. I burned more than the 500 calorie average, which felt right on par for how intense the class seemed to me. I was pleased with the workout in general.
How Much Does Orange Theory Cost?
After class ended I was again greeted by a front desk employee and asked about my experience. She then began to relay membership options and ask if I wanted to sign up. I would be hard pressed to try any workout only one time and up for a three-figure monthly membership.
While Orange Theory Fitness allows one class for free, they do not have a trial period or trial membership available. It would have been nice to have something like that offered, such as for a week, 10 days or even one month. I believe this would allow me to try several classes at an intro price, experience how no two classes are alike and see how different instructors teach.
During my Orange Theory Review I was offered an Elite membership (8 classes per month) for $99 per month, with the price dropping to $89 per month after 6 months. Another option I was given was a Premier membership (unlimited classes) at $159 per month, dropping to $149 per month after 6 months. Both of those memberships were out of my price range. There is a basic membership advertised online (4 classes per month) but that was not offered to me, and something to note in this Orange Theory Review.
I asked about drop in classes or class packs and was told I could purchase a 10-pack of classes for $199, a 20-pack for $359 or a 30-pack for $499. All class packs expire after 12 months. The class packs were not initially offered to me, until I asked. In addition I asked for a pricing brochure, but was instead given pricing hand-written on a piece of paper, which I found odd.
I was asked what my hesitation was and I said that while it was a good workout, the pricing was not. To reiterate, I’m used to paying roughly $10 for a drop in class and to be honest in the greater Cleveland area the most expensive classes I have found for drop in are studio yoga ($16 per drop in) and Pure Barre ($20 per drop in). At $28 per drop in, Orange Theory tops them all. The 30-pack is the best deal for drop in and would be about $16 per class.
Overall Experience: Orange Theory Review
In regard to this Orange Theory Review, please note pricing may vary depending on location and I know in some areas of the country these prices may not seem expensive. I offer the comparison to show what is average in my metro area. That being said, the facility I went to was clean and new inside. It opened two years ago. Everyone was friendly and I did have a good workout.
In addition, Orange Theory Fitness does offer a lot of classes. There are early morning, daytime, lunchtime, evening and late night classes to fit almost any schedule. This is a huge benefit if you work full-time or are a busy parent. There are also a few classes listed for 45-minutes in duration and 90-minutes in duration. Unlike Barre3, there is no childcare offered at Orange Theory.
One last item of note, for this Orange Theory Review is that Orange Theory is strict about their cancellation policy and you must cancel your class at least 8 hours prior to class start or you will be charged. I also had to give credit card information to Orange Theory in order to take my free class.
Disclosure: I am not associated with Orange Theory Fitness in any way and did not receive anything in exchange for this review. I attended one free class at the studio and chose to write about my experience with an Orange Theory Review. Anyone looking try their workouts can try one class for free. All opinions and thoughts here are my own.