What is…Orangetheory Fitness?
Following the opening of Japan's first Orangetheory Fitness in Yokohama, a second Orangetheory Fitness studio is scheduled to open in Azabu Juban this coming December. Currently, this boutique fitness franchise boasts about 800 studios across nearly 20 countries, including 45 states in America. This year, Orangetheory Fitness was named the fastest growing woman-owned company by Forbes.
EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T TRIED (OR EVEN HEARD OF) ORANGETHEORY FITNESS YET, IT'S LIKELY YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS.
What's the Theory?
In the US, Orangetheory touts the slogan "the best one-hour workout in the country". Here in Japan, it's an even grander statement - "the best one-hour workout in the world" (loosely translated). Whatever the scale is, Orangetheory is fast-becoming one of the most popular full body group workouts and rapidly working its way into Crossfit-esque popularity as a household name.
If you were to describe Orangetheory in one sentence, it would be a highly energetic fitness class touting a results-driven workout centered on heart-rate based high intensity interval training (HIIT). The "theory" part refers to Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), or an "afterburn" phenomenon that posits stimulated metabolism and improved energy levels due to the bodies increased oxygen consumption (and calories burned) after an intense workout. Basically, the afterburn translates to increased fat-burning. Based on individual intensity level, one 60-minute class is estimated to burn between 500 and 1,000 calories - and participants can burn an expected average of 15 to 20% more calories above their standard resting calorie burn for up to 36 hours.
What's a Class Like?
Orangetheory is a 60-minute circuit workout using a combination of cardio and strength training. Cardio intervals utilize both treadmills and rowing machines while tools like TRX straps, BOSU, and dumbbells, as well as full bodyweight training, comprise the strength training intervals. Typically, a class is divided into two groups: one starting on the treadmills and the other alternating between strength training and the rowing machine.
Every class at Orangetheory is different but each day's workouts have a distinct focus on training Endurance, Strength, or Power. In endurance classes, you'll have long stretches on the treadmill or the rower and high rep counts on strength workouts. Strength classes focus on steep treadmill climbs and heavy weights, while power classes primarily feature speed-work and explosiveness.
At every studio, everyone is equipped with OTbeat - Orangetheory's exclusive heart rate monitoring technology. During a workout, heart rate data is transmitted live to large monitors throughout the studio; after class, results are emailed and readily viewed through a dedicated app. Intensity is based on individual heart rate zones, making the workout effective for all fitness levels - and meaning that comparison to others is not helpful! Stats are visible to everyone but with the pace and intensity of each class, you're doing things wrong if you're paying attention to anyone's workout but your own!
There are no schedules announcing the focus of each day's workout beforehand, but the daily workouts are the same across Orangetheory studios around the world.
How Are My Heart Rate Zones Calculated?
First-timers will all fill out a survey stating their fitness goals and maximum heart rate (MHR) is calculated through age, height, and weight. Admittedly, for performance athletes such calculations may be cause for concern. Once MHR is determined, color-coded levels of effort are assigned by percentage of MHR. Runners, cyclists, and triathletes will surely be familiar with the Orangetheory effort levels, as they correspond exactly to heart rate zones.
All Orangetheory workouts are designed to place participants in the coveted orange or red zone (Zones 4 and 5), meaning 84% or higher of MHR - for 12 minutes or more to maximize afterburn. For each minute spent in the orange and red zones, participants receive a splat point - the goal is at least 12 splat points per class.
Each month, a "Tornado" workout offers a chance to speed up the regular workout by rotating through the treadmills, rowers, and strength work in shorter two to three minute intervals over an extended 90-minute class.
How Does Orangetheory Fitness Help Me Reach My Goals?
Well, it all kind of depends on your goals, but Orangetheory is a great workout for everyone. At Orangetheory, every group workout is led by an experienced and certified personal coach. Knowledgeable and encouraging, coaches are committed to helping members meet their fitness goals.
For those seeking weight-loss, attending three to five sessions per week and with proper nutritional planning, one can expect to see an estimated loss of three to five pounds per week. Athletes with performance goals attending two to four sessions per week can reasonably utilize Orangetheory as a means of increasing power, speed, and strength.