Welcome to the “OT”: Get in the zone!


Anyone that knows me knows that I am willing to try anything once.  I am always looking for new ways to mix up my workout routines and try something new for a challenge.  This curiosity of mine is what led me to the new Orangetheory Fitness  (“OT”) studio in Nashua, NH.

I was working out one night with my trainer, Michael Hinchcliffe of Feast Athletics (who is AWESOME by the way!) when he mentioned he was going to start training at the “OT”.  The WHAT??? I had never heard of it, but when he explained there was running involved, I had to learn more.  As I train for my upcoming marathon, I am working to improve my speed.  What if this could help?   I had to try it.

The first class at Orangetheory is always free so I had nothing to lose.  I signed up for my first class at 5:15 AM on a Thursday morning this past December.  Yes, I am one of those early morning workout freaks!


I arrived about 10 minutes early and was excited to see that the lobby was packed with people of all shapes, sizes, and ages.  I got my heart rate monitor and POD on and suddenly my name and stats, most notably my “zone”, was displayed on the big flat screen TV for everyone to see.  Talk about motivation and accountability!

THE flat screen

THE flat screen (courtesy of Yelp)

Here is the fine print.

The “Orange 60″, as it’s called, is a 60 minute interval training workout comprised of running, rowing, and strength blocks.  There are 5 zones based on heart rate.  Zones 1 and 2 are considered easy and are represented by gray and blue respectively.  Zone 3 (green/”base”), is the  moderate zone.  Zones 4 (orange/ “push”) and 5 (red/ “all out”) are the hard zones and reflect that you are training at 84% or greater of your max heart rate. The goal is to spend approximately 25-35 minutes of your workout in the green zone, 12-20 minutes in the orange zone, and just a small amount of time in the red.  The Orangetheory motto is “Base. Push. All out.”  According to the Orangetheory website, training is  based on the theory of “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” (EPOC) and meant to  produce an “increased metabolic rate for 24-36 hours after the workout.”


Treadmill area


Rowing stations



TRX/Strength area

Here is my version.  (I’m a runner, so I’ll focus on the treadmill portion.)

The workout kicked my &*#.  I have run 2 marathons and am training for my third.  I have completed several half marathons.  I strength train and cross train.  I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but this was a different type of workout.  My system was shocked and in a good way.  I was challenged.  It was me against that big, flat screen TV on display for the world to see.  I was not going to lose!  I quickly went into the green zone as we began on the treadmill block, but to push myself into the orange zone was not so easy.  I had to increase my speed to about 8.5/9 to go over the edge to orange.  To get to red, I thought my legs would fall out from under me.  I had to push the speed to well over 9.  You think you’re working so hard, but your zone says otherwise.  You realize you are capable of much more than you thought as you push yourself into the zone.


Since December, I have incorporated the “Orange 60” into my routine about once a week.  I believe that it has helped me to improve my pace because I have seen the results when I pound the pavement.  Orangetheory helps me mix things up, allows for additional strength and cross training that I otherwise may not fit into my schedule, reminds me what my body is capable of, and gives me a chance to train in a group setting.  I love the fact that the person to my right may be a beginner and the person to my left may be a seasoned athlete.  The trainers always give you options so every workout can be tailored to your ability.

This is a sample workout.


There were two blocks in this portion of the workout.  Here is Block 1 (@ 10 minutes):

Warm up to base pace / 2 minute push pace / 1 minute base pace / 2 minute push pace / 1 minute base pace / 1 minute push pace / 1 minute base pace / 30 second push pace / 30 second all out pace/ back to base pace… and then onto block 2…

Rowing: 750 meters

Strength work: Side plank crunch, full burpee, alternating supermans (you are given a certain amount of time to get through as many rounds as you can depending on the specific workout)

Rowing: 1000 meters

Strength work:  side plank rotation, plank jack with knee tuck, Roll out using TRX

Stretch, wipe off the sweat, and be proud of your hard work!!!

Keep in mind that the workouts are always changing so if you’re going more often than me, which is the Orangetheory recommendation, you won’t get bored.

This month, Orangetheory is running their March Marathon Challenge.  You log your treadmill miles every time you attend a class with a goal of reaching either 26.2 miles for a full marathon (if you’re a runner) or 13.1 miles for a half marathon (if you’re a walker).  If you’ve always wanted to run a full or half, this is a creative way to achieve that goal!  You’ll even earn a cool prize!  Other challenges are also offered such as a weight-loss challenge for anyone needing that extra motivation and looking for results.

To become a member at your local Orangetheory, the cost is $59 for 4 visits a month, $89 for 8 visits a moth, or $139 for unlimited visits each month.  The memberships are a monthly payment just like a gym membership.  However, they also offer month to month memberships with no contract required.  I paid $180 for 10 classes which expire after one year.

If you’re looking for something new, a workout that will challenge you, and results, Orangetheory is definitely worth a try.  Remember, the first class is always free.  Visit their website for more information or to search for a location near you.


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