Fitness, Fitness Tips, Healthy Living, Workouts

What To Expect Your First Time At Orangetheory Fitness

orangetheory fitness

Last Saturday I finally worked up the courage to try an Orangetheory Fitness class!

I know it sounds silly but trying new fitness classes is very intimidating for me. I still have never taken a barre class, never tried crossfit, never taken spin…yet am 100% comfortable taking yoga in a 110 degree room haha.

BUT with my yoga instructor out of town I figured it was the perfect time to take advantage of the free class Orangetheory Fitness offers to try the workout. To help ease your nerves if you’ve been thinking about trying Orangetheory Fitness too I wanted to breakdown how it works, what to bring, give both Bryce and I’s experiences and more.

What is Orangetheory Fitness?

According to the Orangetheory website, Orangetheory Fitness is a one-of-a-kind workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training™ and free weights to tone your body and gain energy throughout the day

Backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. We call it the afterburn. Members can burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes. And keep burning calories for up to 36 hours. 


How it works:

Classes are limited to about 25-30 people so you are required to sign up for Orangetheory Fitness classes in advance to save your spot. If it is your first time you’ll want to come 15-20 minutes early so they can explain everything to you but most people seemed to arrive 5 minutes before class started. 

Just FYI there is no warm up/ stretching before the workout begins. The second you step into the room to begin class you are giving it 110%. I highly recommend arriving 10-15 mins early to stretch in the lobby while you wait for your class to start!

When the workout begins you get to choose if you want to begin on the treadmill, rowing machine or doing strength exercises with weights. In the class I took the instructor guided us through about 15 minutes of intervals on each station then at the end we did a “tornado” where you spent only 2 minutes at each station to get your final burn in. The class then ended with about 5 minutes of stretching and cooling down.

I was very impressed how well the instructor guided the workout since it was very fast paced. He offered modifications, gave demonstrations and constantly reminded us to look at the 2 huge screens to see if our heart rate was in the orange zone or not. The goal was to get as many splat points or minutes spent in the orange zone as possible. 

Another thing I loved about the format of Orangetheory Fitness is that it truly is that it is a workout everyone can do. There are many levels from simply walking on the treadmill to a full on sprint. There was also a very impressive selection of free weights ranging from 3 lbs to 50+.


The goal is to be in the Orange Zone! 

People of any fitness level can do Orangetheory Fitness. Modifications are offered throughout the entire class and for the cardio parts you get to choose if you’re a walker, jogger or runner.


What to wear & what to bring:

Let’s start with what to wear. I recommend wearing comfortable workout clothing that you’re not afraid to sweat in. I wore Lululemon capri’s, a sports bra and tank and was fine. As for shoes be sure to wear a pair that you can spend about 20 minutes walking/running on the treadmill in. I struggle with shin splints so I could NEVER wear my standard gym shoes to an Orangetheory class. Just sayin…

I also highly recommend coming to class already dressed. The studio I went to didn’t really have a locker room. It just had 2 (beautiful) bathrooms, 2 showers and then a wall of cubbies to put your shoes/socks/keys in. Yes, you could totally change in the bathroom but ehh you just never know how busy the place may be.

Now let’s talk what to bring. If it’s your first time they will let you borrow a heat rate monitor for free. After your first class you actually have to purchase a heart rate monitor and must bring it to every class. Other than that simply bring a small towel and water and you’ll be set. 


orangetheory fitness


My experience:

I’m naturally a VERY competitive person. You challenge me to a race…I’ll do everything in my power to beat you. You pick up 15lbs weights next to me…you bet I’m picking up 20’s. I absolutely LOVED how throughout the entire workout everyone’s heart rates were displayed on 2 big screens in the room. I was determined to the most splat points and really pushed myself.

To my disappointment though I ended up getting the lowest number of splat points in the class. My instructor explained that if someone like Lance Armstrong took the class he’d probably have 0 splat points since he’s such great cardiovascular shape. He asked me if I was a runner which I answered yes and said that was why my splat points were so low. If I was to take class again he recommended adding more on an incline on the treadmill and using much heavier free weights. 

Real talk though…the treadmill was easy and for the free weights we did very basic movements like deadlifts, bicep curls and crunches. The only hard part for me was the rowing machine. HOLY SH*T! Two minutes into my time on the rowing station I knew my back muscles had never been worked like this in my life. I’m writing this post Thursday and I took class last Saturday and my back is just now feeling normal again. I need to do a lot more rowing in my life!


You get 1 splat point for each minute spent in the orange zone. I only got 8 and I believe you should try to get 14.


Bryce’s experience:

Overall Orangetheory Fitness is a good workout. I liked the structure but felt like the instructor was more of a cheerleader than a trainer. When I take a class I prefer an instructor who acts like a drill sergeant and calls me out when I’m slacking/ not pushing myself 100% instead of patting me on the back and telling me good job. 

I really liked the fact that you can see your heart rate displayed throughout the entire class on the screens. It helped push me to try harder to maximize my workout.



Bryce killed it in class!


How much does it cost?

Great question!

From the research I did it seems like every location has slightly different prices which makes sense since Orangetheory Fitness is a franchise. The studio I went to in San Diego charges $30/ class, had class pack options or you could do unlimited classes for $189/ month.

So yeah…it’s pretty expensive but you are getting a great workout that truly does feel like a personal training session. 


Would I go again?


I love trying new workouts and love the competitive side Orangetheory brings out in me. 

Would I actually pay for a membership?

Ehhhh not right now. I’m already paying $100+/ month at Corepower Yoga which offers yoga and bootcamp style classes. I also have a gym at my apartment complex and thankfully running outside is free. BUT who knows if I ever get burnt out at Corepower I may consider Orangetheory as an option.

Overall I feel like Orangetheory Fitness is a awesome option for beginners and those who are not self motivated to workout on their own. The workout is challenging and I bet if you went 3-4/ week you’d see some pretty impressive results. 



Your Turn,

Have you ever tried Orangetheory Fitness?

If so, what was your experience like?

Are you intimidated to try new workout classes?


Fitful Focus



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  • Reply Nicole @ Fitful Focus February 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I’ve been wanting to try Orange Theory. I’ve heard such great things!

    • Reply Diana Becker February 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

      It’s a great workout and you should definitely take advantage of the free class they offer.

  • Reply Kellen McAvoy February 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    I haven’t tried Orange Theory yet but it’s been on my list! You NEED to try spin and barre though! I am obsessed with Pure Cycling in Downtown — the first class is free 😉
    Kellen McAvoy recently posted…Week 5 Tone It Up 2017 #LookForLove Challenge Recap + Next Week’s WorkoutsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker February 12, 2017 at 8:08 am

      You should definitely try OTF! They have studios all over SD. Ahh I may just have to join you at Pure one of these days 🙂

  • Reply Alicia @bridges through life February 24, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I still have yet to try orange theory. I like weight lifting but not cardio very much. I do like trying new fitness classes though. I know this would be a great challenge for me it I am happy to hear that they offer modifications for all levels.
    Alicia @bridges through life recently posted…6 Activities to Budget for South Island New ZealandMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker March 3, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Orangetheory would be such an awesome workout for you and I think you’ll actually love the way the cardio is done. You won’t be bored that’s for sure.

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