Workout of the Week: Orange Theory Fitness, Fairfield
It takes a lot for me to get up and going pre-6am on the Friday after Thanksgiving but was I intrigued to find out more about Orangetheory Fitness in Fairfield. Wow, the workout came in way above my expectation. I admit, I was skeptical since OTF is a franchise but I was really blown away and my experience during this one hour left me wanting to come back for more.
The idea of Orangetheory is scientific but simple: a 60-minute workout designed to push you into the Orange Zone (see color coded descriptions below). This creates “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. It’s what burns calories after your workout.
When you enter you are given a clean heart rate monitor to wear and your name is entered into a computer and posted up on the screen. Throughout your entire one hour workout that includes treadmill, rowing and floor exercises, your % of maximum heart rate is calculated (based on beats per minute, age, weight). Your total calories burned are also calculated. Throughout the workout you are encouraged to reference the monitor to see what colored zone you are in: grey (resting), blue, green, orange (your target during a portion of the class and therefore the name, ‘orangetheory’) and red. While on the treadmill, the knowledgable ‘coach’ guides the participants (categorized into walkers, joggers & runners) to move from their ‘base pace’ and incline, up and out of their comfort zone and through timed intervals and at times reaching your ‘all out pace’ or max incline. So someone to your left can be walking on a 6% incline at 4mph, while at the same time I could be running at a 1% incline but at a 8mph pace. This is how the workout works for everyone – from first time exercisers to ironman triathletes. (On a personal note, I normally don’t like running on the treadmill but in this class environment I was motivated to work in some serious sprinting – something I would never do on my own.)
From the treadmill we moved on to the rowing machine and again the instructor guided us through the different speeds. The final portion of the class was the ‘floor’. The program is outlined on a TV screen for our reference however the instructor still demonstrates and walks you through each exercise. The workout I did included squats, mountain climbers, TRX tricep extensions, reverse lunges with bicep curls and upright rows, bicycles and more rowing. A total body workout! (I also noticed BOSUs, steps and some ab equipment that is used in other classes). The floor part of the workout can be completed at your own pace. You have the workout laid out in front of you and if you are quick you can move on to the next exercise. You aren’t waiting for others to catch up and vice versa.
I am told that each and every workout is determined by their corporate offices so the workouts are different each and every day, however their instructors are much more than talking heads. The instructors play their own music (in the case of my instructor Ralph, he played his very own music – he is a recording artist!), and are outstanding motivators and are on top of everyone in regard to proper form. Rachel tells me that in December they will be rolling out a longer 90-minute workout and they also have something called a ‘TORNADO’ which involves three groups each doing 1 minute intervals.
At the end of my class Ralph threw in some extra abdominal exercises (because this was the morning after Thanksgiving of course!) and took us through a cool down and stretch. I really loved the workout summary that shows me that next time I can step it up a notch.
There were many things I liked about OTF. The staff and instructors incredibly friendly and the studio is new and immaculate and the equipment was easy to use. There was a great sense of camaraderie among the participants and our Coach and I really loved the fact that I could visually monitor the results of my efforts. I’m extremely competitive with myself and this class was a great fit for me. I encourage anyone to try out this class (first class is free).
525 Tunxis Hill Cut-Off
Fairfield, CT 06825