Orangetheory is a franchise of group fitness studios that focuses on science-backed, heart rate-based training, where one hour of increasing your heart rate to the right conditions, will allow you to continue to burn calories for 36 hours.
Over the past few years, five of these Florida-founded studios have opened up in the Lower Mainland, all owned by hockey legend Trevor Linden. Thanks to New Balance, I was invited to my first Orangetheory Fitness workout, alongside Trevor Linden himself!
This was my first time doing a high-tech workout which combines science, technology and fitness. All participants wear special heart rate monitors for the workout and participants can see their own (and everyone else’s) heart rate, number of calories burned, and other information displayed on TV screens.
Throughout the one-hour class, your heart rate corresponds to a colour (grey, blue, green, orange, red) and the goal is to get your heart rate into a target zone that spikes metabolism and boosts your energy. Every minute spent in the orange zone gets you a ‘splat’ point, and if you can get 12 ‘splat’ points in your workout, your metabolism is spiked and you then ‘unlock’ the 36 hour afterburn that this workout is known for. However, if your heart rate is in the red zone, you may be pushing yourself too hard, and should dial back your efforts.
I love how Orangetheory Fitness uses gamification techniques to make working out personalized, purposeful, goal-oriented, and fun.
Every class focuses on a different fitness aspect like strength or endurance. In our class, we spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, then the other half of the class with a rowing machine, TRX suspension trainers, free weights, and other bootcamp-esque exercises like squats and plank jumping jacks.
My half of the class began with the treadmills, while the other half began with weights. I’m typically intimidated by cardio-based exercises, because I’m nervous I can’t keep up. But at Orangetheory Fitness, every person gets their own treadmill, and you set your own base pace as a speed walker, jogger, or runner. As the instructor tells you to pick up the pace, you increase your pace relative to your own base rate. For speed walkers, instead of increasing speed, you can increase your incline instead.
The treadmills used at Orange Fitness are state of the art, they have a bit of bounce to them so the impact is less on your knees. There is also a fan feature, so you can turn up the breeze and cool down as you sweat.
Just because someone next to me is running at a faster speed, doesn’t mean they are burning more calories. My boyfriend, for example, who is super fit, was running at a much faster pace than me. However, he didn’t earn nearly as many ‘splat’ points as me, because it takes more effort for him to get his heart rate to a higher level.
For the weights portion of the class, the exercises are displayed on a TV screen. You cycle through the exercises, at your own pace, and do as many cycles as you can within a certain timeframe. For example, the exercises we went through included rowing for 200m, followed by 15 reps of bicep curls, going back between the two exercises until time is up.
At the end of the class, you are emailed a copy of your workout stats for that class, as well as your monthly and annual totals. For my personal workout, I burned 775 calories, with a 146 average heartrate, and earned 19 ‘splat’ points. I really enjoyed this experience and I would love to do this workout again. Thanks to New Balance and the Fresh Foam Crush training shoes they gifted me for this session.
Orangetheory studio locations in the Lower Mainland include in the West End (1160 Davie Street), the Vancouver Convention Centre West (1055 Canada Place), North Vancouver (1171 Marine Drive), Port Moody-Coquitlam (400 Capilano Road), and South Surrey / White Rock (15355 24 Avenue).
For more information, visit: orangetheoryfitness.com.