Written by Megan Rivenburg
Happy Fitness Friday!
I’ve been hearing so much about Orange Theory that I had to try it as this week’s class.
I am SO glad I did because it was unlike anything I’ve ever done before and I definitely will be going back. I was sore for days afterwards, but, in the spirit of cutting the negativity and looking at the positives, I decided to celebrate the soreness as proof of my hard work and progress rather than complain.
This workout was intense.
The class was separated into two different groups at the start. I was in the group that started on the treadmills. We were instructed by our teacher Kelly to choose a “base pace-“ either walking, jogging, or running.
I chose a jog, and during this first block on the treadmills, we progressed from our base pace to a “push pace,” and from there to an “all out pace.” While my group did this, the other group was on the rowers, and also started out slower and gained speed and intensity throughout the block. Then, the groups switched places.
The hour-long class was cut into lots of 2-5 minute blocks like these, where we were instructed to preform different tasks using the treadmills, rowers, dumbells, mats, TRX cords, and just our own bodies. It was fast-paced and exciting because we never knew what was coming next. The music added to my energy, and so did the strength and “tough love” Kelly showed us.
Orange Theory gave me a complete, full-body workout. Nothing was forgotten, and I could feel it all for sure the next day. My legs in particular, though, got a real shock from the class.
As a runner, I am not used to getting very sore in my legs- I’m pretty used to those muscles and am able to recover fairly quickly. I think what did it for me was the squats using dumbbells. I could barely walk the next day! I had to hold onto the table when I went to sit down in a chair for support. I got a strange satisfaction from this pain. I knew that I had pushed myself to my limits and that I was becoming stronger and stronger- even if at this point it couldn’t feel more the opposite (ha).
I’m a real science person, so I loved how much of the science behind the “orange theory” we were told about. At the beginning of the class, we all strapped on heart monitors and some information was plugged into a computer including our names, weights, and ages. There was a big screen in the gym room that showed everyone’s names and beats per minute in either gray, blue, green, orange, or red.
This color code was used to monitor our intensity. We wanted to spend the majority of the class in the green zone, meaning that our heart rate was elevated but not to an extreme level. We were definitely working, but it was not too much to handle. It was ideal to have time spent in the blue and orange levels lower than the green, and gray and red levels lower than that. This was all shown on a big chart at the end of class during stretches, including an estimated number of calories burned for each student.
The reasoning behind this method of heart rate monitoring is that it really doesn’t take as much intensity as people generally think to get a full, hard, beneficial workout. It’s based in high intensity interval training, where intervals of various levels of intensity are practiced.
This really got me thinking about how we need to remember to give ourselves credit for what we accomplish and let up on the pressure we put on ourselves on a regular basis. We do great things all the time, sometimes without even noticing. Our bodies are extremely capable and we need to remember that.