Social media interactions are a mixed bag. Sometimes you’ll meet people that you mesh with, and other times, things don’t end up working out. Through the wonders of social media (actually, from a long time reader the blog), I recently learned about a new fitness studio that opened right near my house a couple of months ago. I’m still hardcore training toward my DDP Yoga certification, but my February-April ’15 lower back injury is pushing me to dig a little deeper to get into shape for the DDP Yoga retreat.
Orangetheory Fitness is located at 3333 Consaul Road in Niskayuna (next to Hannaford). The studio is owned by the Parisi family, who also run The Hot Yoga Zone right next door (side note: that’s a place I highly recommend for anyone looking to get into any kind of yoga).
Orangetheory Fitness has all the equipment you’d associate with a gym (treadmills, weights, rowing machines, etc), but it’s all laid out in a way that is amenable to circuit training. That’s pretty much what this is. The workout is a 60 minute interval training session in a group setting (classes max at around 24), and the circuits change every day. Some days, the focus is power, which has more explosive moves. There are endurance days, where the reps are lower but the intervals are longer. Then there are days where it’s all mixed up. It’s a workout that is meant to challenge the most elite athletes, but it’s accessible to all levels of fitness.
There’s a trainer there that calls out what you’re supposed to do, demonstrates the moves, and walks around motivating people. It’s all structured around your heart rate, similarly to DDP Yoga, so you control how hard you work. Unlike DDP Yoga, you get the most out of the workout by spending 1/5 of the workout in what’s called the orange heart rate zone. (For DDP Yoga, we want the green, fat burning zone.)
The way it works is that you wear a Bluetooth heart rate monitor (it’s a strap that is positioned around your torso), you do what the trainer says and try to stay between the green and orange zones (which are calculated based on sex and age), and then you get results.
The results are also instantly emailed to you the second you walk out.
The ability to numerically visualize your customized results instantly sets this apart from most other fitness routines (except, of course, DDP Yoga). In the email, you get to see how many calories you burned, how much time you spent in the various heart rate zones, and what they call Splat! points, which define the number of minutes spent in the orange zone. According to the Orangetheory, if you spend >12 minutes in the orange zone (>12 Splat! points), guys burn an extra 400 calories and ladies burn an extra 300 calories after the workout. I have my own theories as to why this is physically possible, but I try not to over-think it. I consistently burn >900 calories per workout.
After a little more than a month, I am seeing serious results!
The injury and some poor diet choices made me put on about 20 pounds since the beginning of the year. Half of those pounds are gone. I started going just once a week, and the last 2 weeks, I’ve bumped it up to three. I’m noticing major gains in upper body size, and I’m starting to see some muscle definition and striations, which are new things for me. It’s not detrimentally impacting my DDP Yoga training, either, in fact, it’s helping my endurance.
My biggest accomplishment, however, came this past Tuesday. This particular week had different challenges with prizes per day. Tuesday was the farthest distance on the treadmill in 24 minutes. Because of the size of my muscles in my lower body, I know my heart rate will get more steadily higher by just walking briskly at a high incline, so that’s what I’ve done until Tuesday. On Tuesday, I pushed myself, not to win the challenge, because there was no way, but just to see what would happen if I tried to run. Mind you, I haven’t run in 10 years. I made it 2 miles in that 24 minutes, which included a couple of 30 second walks and 30 second sprints. I was amazed. Again, a 12 minute mile isn’t the greatest time, but considering I was spending 5 hours on a couch in pain at night 3 months ago, that’s pretty damn good!
The social aspect of this place is pretty astonishing as well. I’ve connected with most of the owners, managers, and trainers via facebook, and they treat everyone who walks in the door like life-long friends. It’s really a cool and inspirational vibe.
The one issue I have with the place, and it’s more of a general comment on the marketing of Orangetheory Fitness (and honestly most workouts) in general is that their advertising depicts peak athletes engaging in the workout. Honestly, until I heard the word of mouth from someone I trusted, I was convinced it wasn’t for me, and I would consider myself pretty athletic. I encourage anyone at any fitness level to try this out. They’ll let you try one or two workouts for free. Tell them I sent you!
The memberships are really straightforward, and there’s no long term commitment if you do sign up. The only catch is that you have to buy their heart rate monitor (they let you borrow one for one off workouts), which was a bit of a bummer for me since I already own 2. Their monitor is compatible with smartphones via bluetooth, so I’ve actually been using it for my DDP Yoga, too.
I’ve been squeezing in the workout before work. Waking up and working out right away is always rough for me, but, somehow, seeing that monitor with my heart rate makes me completely forget the time of day. They have classes later in the day, too.