Workout Wednesday: Three reasons to try Orangetheory Fitness Meridian

It’s about 20 minutes into the workout, and I am well past warm. I am downright sweaty. I’m doing some kind of move on the floor, but in about a minute, I’m headed back to the rower, and soon my half of the group will hit the treadmill block. This workout is nothing like the one I experienced last week, but it is part of the fun, and it’s exactly how Orangetheory Fitness in Meridian works.

Working on the weight floor

Orangetheory uses science to back up it’s workout, the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption. Basically the whole premise is workout for an hour, burn extra calories for up to 36 hours. They do this by targeting heart rate zones that stimulate the metabolism and increase energy. Each workout is a combination of power, strength, and endurance elements using a treadmill, a rower, the TRX system, free-weights, and body-weight moves.

Our coach says that it’s time to switch it up and I’m back on the rower. We have a goal to reach before the next block, and coach comes by to check everyone’s form and do some encouraging. I love that Orangetheory workouts are like a combination of a group fitness class and personal training. I get the energy of a group fitness class, the support of others who are working out around you, and the knowledge, encouragement, and accountability that comes with having a coach.

Getting it done on the rower

According to Natalie Carver, OT Meridian’s Manager, “Orangetheory Fitness prides themselves on having coaches that are the cream of the crop. They all have different personalities but your coach is highly trained to help you achieve more than you thought possible while educating you on how to move efficiently and effectively.”

Trainers Parker and Amanda having some fun while shopping at Fleet Feet

Done with the rower. Yikes. Completely out of breath. Going straight to the treadmill. As I begin walking for our active recovery period, I have a second to close my eyes and breathe deeply. It’s not time to relax, but I feel more prepared for what comes next. That, and my heart rate did come down a little, which is the whole point of active recovery. I look up at the board, and I’m back in the green zone. Just in time too, because we’re starting our first push of the treadmill block.

Orangetheory works in easy to understand vocabulary and visuals. Warm-up pace, Base pace (which is comfortably hard. Like a, I’m working out, but I could definitely sustain this pace for a while, kind of hard), push pace is getting out of your comfort zone, then all out, which is pretty self explanatory. Then there is the heart rate board. Everyone in the class wears a heart rate monitor and the data is displayed on a board in the front of the studio. Attached to your name is a color: grey means you probably haven’t started the workout, blue is warm-up time, green is a good place to be in base pace or recovery, orange is that target heart rate zone that will help you find results (hence the name, Orangetheory), and red is okay if you can still breathe, but you shouldn’t be there your whole workout. Check out this article to learn even more about the board and workout. The board also displays calories burned and splat points, which have to do with your time in the orange zone, and everyone has a splat point goal for the workout.

Nearing the end of the push, but we are going straight into a 30 second all out. I focus on my breathing, and pretty much everything but the music fades away. I repeat one of the mantras my dad used to tell me when he coached me: “you can do anything for 30 seconds.” Breathe, push, faster. Then it’s over- walking recovery. I wipe away the sweat with the towel I brought (and you definitely want to bring a towel), take a  drink from my water bottle (because, hydration!), and look up at the board. I’m right on the cusp of the orange zone, but I’m back in the green. Just in time, as we start the next block.

Base. Push. All Out

As we get back to base pace, I look around the room. It’s a well-rounded class today. According to Head Trainer Amanda Booth, “We serve the fitness newbie to the elite athlete; 18 to 80 years old.” On one side, there is a woman who I’ve seen before, her push is walking with a little bit of incline to increase her heart rate. We talked a little but before class, and she has only been coming for a little while, plus, she said she hates running. On the other side, is a younger guy, I don’t think he has gone down to a walk for almost the entire treadmill block so far. Part of me envies him, but then I remind myself that this workout is my workout, so I have to focus on the fact that my heart rate is in the right spot (definitely solid orange right now), and that’s what I need to be doing. I see people doing modified workouts on the weight floor- some need to simplify the exercise for one reason or another, and some want to make it harder. During my block, one of the core workouts didn’t feel great, so I asked our coach for a modification, and she had one for me right away. Then there are a couple people who are nursing injuries or need an alternative to the treadmill, so the bike and elliptical are full today as well, and the rowers wait for those people on the wait floor to finish, because they’re heading back to the rowers soon. Back to base. One more block and we go into the cool down.

As a runner, the interval training and cross-training combined in this workout is great for me. According Booth, the Orangetheory workout is good for anyone because, “We train with ever changing variety, duration and intensity. This cross training will help improve your endurance, strength and power. We help create well rounded athletes.” So although the workout is great for anyone, runners and walkers get the strength training that they need, while incorporating speed and endurance work as well. All of which make for a better run when I am on the road. I come 1-2 times a week, which allows me to get my regular run-only training in and still have at least one rest day.

Orangetheory’s website says that 2-5 sessions of their one hour workout each week will provide results whether your goal is weight loss or performance, and that is if Orangetheory is the only training that you’re doing.

Last all out, then post-workout. We cool down and then grab a group picture, because we totally crushed our workout. Splat points were off the charts. There’s a little bit of chatter as people trickle out of the studio. Some use the showers, some just head home, but looking around, everyone is smiling. It’s a tough workout, it pushes you; you sweat a lot, but it’s a lot of fun too.

A post-workout picture from OT Meridian

I’ll end with this. Here are three reasons to give Orangetheory Fitness Meridian a try.

  1. The first workout is free and contracts are month-to-month. You get to try it out first. I think you’ll love it, but if you don’t, aren’t committed to going back. And, because contracts are month-to-month, you aren’t stuck if it doesn’t work out for you long term.

  2. It is such a fun, encouraging atmosphere! Upbeat music, lots of movement, high-quality equipment, challenging but doable blocks of work, etc. Plus, variation keeps it interesting. Coaches are willing to talk you through plateaus and do their best to modify for injuries, plus they are always encouraging. If you don’t show up for a while, the studio will call to check in and see how you’re doing. The workout is fun and the people care, which makes for a great environment to reach for your goals.

  3. It’s a workout that is customizable and produces results. You don’t have to be a certain kind of athlete for Orangetheory to work for you. You can walk or run, and floor exercises can be modified. It’s all about how hard you push yourself and your heart rate zones. It might be a group setting, but it is definitely your workout. For me, it only took a couple weeks before I started feeling stronger and noticed changes in my endurance. Although it is a tough workout, and there’s a good chance you’ll experience some soreness, that soreness means growth.

If that’s not enough to give it a try, take into account that OT is the fastest growing fitness company in the world for a reason, then give it a try, and let us know what you think.

- Brenna Greenwood

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