Seeing Orange with OrangeTheory Fitness

As you guys know, there’s nothing I like more than trying out new workout classes.

OK, wine. Maybe wine.

But I love trying a new challenging class — whether that be new to NYC or just new to me.

Especially when it’s one that’s absurdly popular across the country and came to NYC last — Orangetheory Fitness.



I don’t know if you remember I was quoted in the New York Times a few years ago (NBD), but the article talked about boutique fitness. At the time, Orangetheory had three locations and the founder said she was planning “national expansion.” Well, at 165+ locations, it’s worked.

I tried it yesterday for a press event with Calia by Carrie Underwood, which launched at Dick’s Sporting Goods today.

Calia by Carrie


The Outfit

My coworkers got outfits in advance; I RSVPed late and was given my outfit at the door. Oh good god, what would they give me that I’d then be forced to work out in in front of a bunch of fitness editors?

Turns outs, a really cute outfit! I thought there was no way in hell the bra would work for me, but it ended up being fine, and I loved how the patterned pants looked on me, too. That’s usually 100% out of my comfort zone, but these rocked. The only awkwardness was the printed sneaks I wore there. The shirt was cute on others, but weird on my short torso and with the high-waisted pants.

The price points are kind of mid-range: the pants are about $65, the jacket is $79.

The Workout

Going into the workout, I knew a little, since we’d covered it at work. I knew it’d be part rowing, part strength and part running. Sign. Me. Up.

They divided us into two groups, and I went with the group that started the rowing first. Save the best for last, right?

We rowed for a few minutes to warm up as the class was explained.

Orangetheory Monitor

You’re hooked up with a heart rate monitor, and you see three numbers at any given time. Because alphabetical order, I’m on the bottom right, so let’s look at me.

40% = percent of max heart rate (which I’m not quite sure how they calculate, to be honest)

79 = heart rate (this also alternated with calories burned)

0 = “splat points,” or – minutes in your EPOC zone, which is where you’ll be burning more calories even after you’re done working out.

You’ll notice that most of our displays showed gray except for one outlier. The little colored swatches underneath showed which of the five heart rate zones you were in. Gray was the baseline, green and blue were taking it relatively easy, and orange and red were where the magic happened.

Orangetheory Rowers

I have no idea how long each block was, and I hear it varies by class. We rowed for a few minutes, before moving on to the “Strength Room.” (This was not actually a separate room.) We started with several sets of lunges: traditional, with bicep curls, and then pulsing. We did this on each leg, then alternated, for 2-3 sets. From there, we did a set that focused on explosive power: lots of jumping squats, BOSU ball squats and BOSU ball sit-up to stand. We did that one 2-3x too.

From there, we moved on to TRX. My butt still hurts from this, and I am doing Pilates reformer the next two days in a row. This should be fun. We did a set of hamstring curls, legs in-and-out (there has to be a better phrase for this?) and TRX sit-ups. Oy vey.

After this, it was time to move on to the treadmills. I WAS READY. (Especially since I hadn’t earned any splat points yet.)

My name is Theodora, and I get exercise amnesia, but we did lots of intervals, ranging from 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes, mixing up both hills and speed. I maxed out at 10% incline on a hill interval, and 10.0 speed for one speed interval. (Note: these were not at the same time!) Judging on my orange/red time, I’d say the running portion was about 18 minutes. After some of the crazy intervals, we ran over to the ergs to row 200m before getting back on the ‘mill.

Orangetheory Stats

After class, they email you this handy-dandy performance analysis. I’ve done my own max heart rate test before, and it said it was 190, so ~192 is close enough. Also, 550 is a pretty nice burn for 57 minutes that aren’t all running.

Nothing Feels Better than a Finished Workout

I mean, there’s maybe a few things that do…but this is a family-friendly blog.

So! Would I do it again? HELL TO THE YEAH. The pricing isn’t very upfront on their website, but poking around shows that a class is $34, which is unfortunately the general going rate in NYC. Hoping they get on ClassPass, but even if they don’t, I can definitely see myself dropping in here on occasion. The workout is really similar to Barry’s, just a whole lot less douchey.

Have you tried Orangetheory? What’s your latest workout obsession? Why is there never enough time or money to do All the Workouts?!

21 comments on “Seeing Orange with OrangeTheory Fitness

  1. Laura

    Your last line about this is the best – like Barry’s, but not douchey 🙂 However, while I know EXACTLY what you mean about the attitude and see-and-be-seen culture of Barry’s (ugh it is terrible), I do think it’s a much better workout. So far Tread Fitness in Dallas is the only place I’ve found that has that kind of killer, think-you-might-throw-up-or-die workout WITHOUT being douchey… I just wish it were a chain! I liked the concept of OTF but the workouts didn’t seem as well thought-out or as hard as either of those. I’d be curious to hear how this compares to Mile High Run Club? I never got to try that one!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Oh no, I don’t care about the scene/lack thereof at whatever studio, I mean the instructors. Barry’s is a great workout, but the style of teaching isn’t for me. I liked that OTF felt encouraging but still felt like a good workout, and I do think it was well-programmed to hit almost all muscle groups. Mile High is a great class and amazing workout, but the focus is really running there with a side of strength, so it’s not apples to apples.

  2. joelle (on a pink typewriter)

    I’ve done OTF before and I looove it. I just don’t go often because of the $$… my dad is who told me about it, actually – he’s in his 70s, and goes religiously each week! His doc had told him that he needed more cardio in his life and randomly went into the local OTF studio to try it out, and now is a regular. 🙂

    Is your half this weekend? Mine is Sunday!

  3. Amanda @

    I tried an OTF preview a couple of weeks ago posted a very similar review on my blog! We even have some of the same photos 🙂

    I loved it and wish it was cheaper, but it’s New York so I’m not surprised. I could see myself going occasionally as a treat.

  4. Jamie

    Yay, thanks for posting your recap! I just started doing OTF about a month ago and am loving it! I’m going 2x a week, using it as sort of cross training for CrossFit (my primary workout). But I love it, & have been sore after pretty much every class!

  5. Kayla

    I love how I do the exact opposite and literally rush to start on the treadmill at OTF, strength training is my dessert and I save the best for last!

    Also your last line, hilarious and accurate.

  6. Allison @ With Faith and Grace

    I go to OTF in Minneapolis and it’s MUCH cheaper (by $8 a class) to get a membership than to pay class-to-class. I’m sure the monthly membership is still going to be expensive because it’s NYC, but people can save a lot of money that way.

    Anyway, I love it! I love that I don’t have to think about what I’m doing when I go. I just go, enjoy the structure and variety and I get the reward of running faster and getting stronger! 🙂

  7. Nikki@will run for pizza

    I tried OTF a few weeks ago and I loved it, but I haven’t joined…Like everyone else, it’s the price that got me. I love my strength classes at Lifetime, so there’s THAT membership…I love lagree at the one and ONLY place in Columbus that has it, and it’s NOT cheap, so there’s THAT monthly budget….and then I need to run, swim, spin, TRX, ugh, too many workouts, so little time. Or, I mean, too many pricey workouts, not enough $$! haha


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