Orangetheory Review: Everything you Need to Know Before Signing Up

by | May 23, 2019 | Class Reviews

Orangetheory Fitness Review – One of the workout classes that has been taking the world by storm is Orangetheory Fitness.

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard everyone talking about Orangetheory Fitness.

From celebrities to best friends, or even co-workers, people from all over are joining “orange nation” and taking on their challenging HIIT workouts.

In this Orangetheory review, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) so you can decide if it’s the right workout program for you.

And it just might be, because it is for over half a million people.

Orangetheory is a community painted orange, and with their uniform HIIT workouts and challenging, yet friendly coaches, you could feel right at home.



Studies have continuously shown that HIIT (high-intensity interval training), is an extremely efficient way to maximize calorie burn. In fact, the fitness philosophy at OTF is known as the “orange effect”, and it’s based on maximizing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or afterburn. In other words, the HIIT workouts at Orangetheory allow you to burn more calories after you’ve finished the workout!

Let’s learn more about OTF.


What is Orangetheory Fitness?

Orangetheory is a 1-hour group workout that focuses on endurance, strength, and power. Each day is a new workout, so you’ll never have the same workout twice, which is one of the things that keeps people coming back, especially because you don’t know what kind of day it is until you show up! Another cool thing about Orangetheory is, every day OTF classes feature the exact same workout no matter the location or the class time, so you don’t get to be picky.

To give you some background, Orangetheory Fitness is a privately owned fitness franchise that is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The first studio opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2010 and now they have over 1,000 locations worldwide.

Orangetheory classes have a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowers, striders (bikes and ellipticals), dumbbells, benches, suspension trainers, medicine balls, and more. Every class integrates running, rowing, and floor/weights, but how long you are on each and the order differs from class to class (remember, you won’t know until you get there).

Orangetheory uses heart-rate based interval training, which allows you to burn more calories post-workout than more traditional exercises. When wearing their exclusive OTbeat heart rate monitors, your real-time results are displayed on large screens throughout the studio so you can stay on track. The intensity is based on your individual heart rate zones, which is what makes the workout effective for all fitness levels.


Summary of Orangetheory Fitness: Orangetheory is a 1-hour, group-based personal training program that focuses on high-intensity interval training, as well as cardiovascular and strength training.


How much does Orangetheory Fitness Cost?

Orangetheory is an investment in yourself. The rates and fees for OTF classes vary based on your location and the studio. However, there is a range of membership packages to choose from.

  • Basic is 4 classes for $59/month
  • Elite is 8 classes for $99/month
  • Premier is unlimited classes for $159/month

The best part is, no matter which level you go for at Orangetheory, there is no annual contract involved. Each package is on a month-to-month basis. You can also take additional classes at a discounted rate once you purchase a membership. If you want to do that, the average cost of a class is $28.

The heart-rate monitors also require an additional fee. They cost between $5 and $10 for a rental and between $69 and $109 to purchase.


Pro Tip: Anyone can try a free introductory class at Orangetheory, so find a location near you and give it a try!


What to expect at your first Orangetheory class?

Orangetheory workouts are designed for all levels of fitness, which means you get to set the pace of your workout!  Whether you want to use a strider or power walk, jog, or run on the treadmill, there are three different levels of intensity:

  • Base Pace – This is kind of an active recovery or warm up pace that you can maintain for a long time. You should be able to keep this pace and carry a conversation comfortably without being out of breath. In other words, your base pace should be one that is challenging but doable that can be easily maintained for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Push Pace – Your push pace is when you are pushing to yourself to the point that you are uncomfortable, but you are too out of breath to carry on a conversation at length with the person next to you. These are for when you want to step up your game.
  • All Out Pace – Your all out pace is for going all out! It’s when you empty all the gas in your tank and it’s the hardest you’ll work all class. It might sound intimidating but you never do this for more than a minute, and you always get to walk right after.

Your coach will guide you through your workout and help you push yourself through your paces along the way. But remember, you still set your own! It’s all about how you feel.

If you’re ever lost during the workout, don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize everything either. There are television screens around the studio that show both a graphic of the move you are on and number of reps per set for your strength training sessions on the floor. There are also treadmill signs hanging on the mirror to guide your speed choices. Whether you want to walk, jog, run, or bike, it is your hour! And with Orangetheory’s performance screens, you’ll know exactly when to push yourself.


Let’s talk about Orangetheory’s heart rate monitoring and heart rate zones!

As I mentioned above, Orangetheory’s workouts are based on the science of EPOC, or afterburn. Essentially, the goal is to maintain a target heart rate that stimulates your metabolism and increases energy, so you can continue to burn calories even after you leave the studio!

There are 5 different heart rate zones at Orangetheory:

  1. Grey Zone (50-60% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is the safest, most comfortable zone, consisting of very light activity to get your heart rate going.
  2. Blue Zone (61-70% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone is specifically for warm up and cool down exercises. Meaning, you are only preparing your body and mind for high intensity interval training and haven’t unleashed the burn just yet!
  3. Green Zone (71-83% Maximum Heart Rate) – In this zone, you have reached a challenging but doable pace. This is what Orangetheory categorizes as “Base Pace,” a pace that you can maintain for 20-30 total minutes. Your body starts to burn fat and carbohydrates evenly.
  4. Orange Zone (84-91% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is where the magic happens at OTF! The Orange Zone is where you achieve “EPOC” – what Orangetheory calls the “Orange Effect / Afterburn.” The goal is to accumulate 12 minutes or more in this zone within a 60-minute period in order to achieve the maximum caloric burn up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is completed!
  5. Red Zone (92-100% Maximum Heart Rate) – The red zone happens naturally and may be achieved during ‘All Out’ efforts when you’re using every ounce of energy left in your body. You don’t need to set an All Out pace for more than 1 minute at a time to experience maximum results here.

Personally, I think it’s cool that everyone wears a heart rate monitor at Orangetheory.

And just like there are screens to display the workouts as you go, there are screens that automatically display what “zone” you’re in (along with everyone else in the class). This makes it easy to push yourself, keep track of your heart rate and ensure you’re burning a lot of calories post-workout. The ultimate goal of every OTF workout is to train within the “Orange Zone,” a target heart rate, for 12 minutes or more. Doing so is said to improve your endurance, overall fitness, and more.

Splat Points – Splat points are the total amount of minutes spent in the orange and red zones. You get one splat point per minute, so you want to have at least 12 every time (since your goal is to train in the orange zone for 12 minutes). People typically get between 12-30 splat points based on the workout and how hard they push themselves. If you are new to OTF, it’s also not uncommon to get a higher amount when you first start out because your endurance is building up, and remember that everyone’s heart rates are different!


Pro Tips for Orange Theory beginners:

  • Arrive early. It’s important that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your first class so you can go over your fitness goals, and get set up on the heart rate monitoring system. It’s also a good way to introduce you to your fitness coach. Bring a towel and water! (You’ll also stay after class to review your heart rate performance with your trainer.)
  • Wipe down your stations! There are a couple wipes stations throughout the room, so make sure that when you’re done with each machine (treadmill, rower, and your floor station) that you wipe in down. You’ll notice that everyone else is doing this so it will be easy to remember.
  • Stick with your same number. This means you should pay attention to the number on the station that you start at and stay with that number for each block of class. For example, if you start on treadmill number 4, you should go to rower number 4 and floor station number 4. Not all OTF studios do this, but I think it helps makes things easier and run smoother.
  • Make sure you fuel up and stay hydrated! It’s not (never) a good idea to go burn 600 calories when you have yet to consume any. If you aren’t used to eating before working out, try eating a snack or at least a banana to get some energy.
  • Get good shoes! You don’t want to do HIIT in your raggedy, old, or stylish gym shoes. Instead, make sure you have a pair of comfortable and supportive shoes so you can focus on your workout.

Who is Orangetheory for?

It’s for everyone! Orangetheory is geared toward ALL levels of fitness, as everyone is encouraged to do the workouts at their own pace. Orangetheory coaches are trained to provide options for each exercise on the floor, in addition to offering a low-impact bike and strider alternative in place of the treadmill for lower body injuries or orthopedic restrictions.


Who should avoid Orangetheory?

Those who are pregnant should check with their doctors first before attending an Orangetheory fitness class, even if you’ve already been doing Orangetheory before you became pregnant. If you are a few months into your pregnancy and haven’t been doing any sort of fitness training, it might be best to wait until after you have your baby, but again, check with your doctor!


Pro Tip: The heart rate monitoring system that OTF provides a perfect way to keep an eye on your intensity as you progress through your pregnancy so you don’t overwork yourself.


All this stuff about heart rate monitoring, points, and interval training zones may sound intimidating, but Orangetheory classes are designed for all fitness levels so you can go at your own pace! Especially since your results are individually tracked and assessed.

Orangetheory isn’t like a your regular HIIT where people are screaming at you either. OTF classes are led by trained coaches who are there to guide you and motivate you to be your personal best so you can reach your own fitness goals. You’ll get the energy of a group workout with the attention and inspiration from an experienced personal coach. No matter where you start, you can experience the magic of the Orange Zone and spike metabolism, boost energy, and truly change your body from the inside out. Remember, your fitness journey doesn’t start today and end tomorrow – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.


Will Orangetheory Fitness help you reach your fitness goals? There’s only one way to find out! Find an Orangetheory class near you so you can see what orange nation is all about.

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