If you read my previous post about Orangetheory Fitness, you'll know that fitness for me is about having the strength and the energy to do things I want to do (for myself, and with my kids). It has been a good decade since I worked out consistently for longer than a couple of weeks, and I am thrilled to say that this is the last time I'll be able to say that. Things have changed, my friends!
I'm going to explain a few things to you about Orangetheory so that you can understand some of the changes that have happened with me.
Base, Push, & All-Out Paces
Everyone wears a heart rate monitor during class at Orangetheory. There are a couple of T.V. monitors you can look at throughout the workout that show each person's name and their current heart rate. Each workout consists of 3 different stations: the treadmill, the rower, and the floor (where we do several different methods of weight training). Sometimes we focus a little more on one or two stations, but there's always a good variety. While on the treadmill and rower, there are three different paces.
The first is "Base": your cardio comfortable pace (while on the treadmill, this will be a particular speed and incline if you like to power walk, or a higher speed with lower incline for a jogger or runner).
Next up is "Push" pace: they have a recommended increase of pace for each level of treadmill user (power walker, jogger, and runner) that should put you at a "push" pace. This should put you in the "green zone" which is between 71-83 percent of your maximum heart-rate. When you glance up at the screen that shows your heart rate, it will be shown in green.
Last is "All Out": this is your cardio sprint. If you're a power walker, you'll be going at a higher incline and if you're a jogger or runner you'll be going a couple of mph faster than your base pace. When you're at your "All Out" pace, you'll be approaching the "orange zone", at 84-91 percent of your maximum heart-rate (which will be shown in orange up on the screen).
I find that in order to get my heart rate into the right zones, I generally have to increase my pace beyond the recommended mph. After a couple of classes, you start to figure out what your pace should be for each zone.
They also use 3 other heart rate "zones":
The grey zone is 50-60 percent of your maximum heart-rate. You're at rest in this zone.
The blue zone is 61-70 percent of your maximum heart-rate. This is your warm-up zone.
The red zone is 92-100 percent of your maximum heart-rate. I can't tell you anything about this zone from experience. I haven't spent much time there and if you do hit the red zone, your coach will be asking you to let them know that you're still feeling good (this is when you're really emptying your tank!)
When I get home from each workout, I have an email waiting for me with a performance summary so I can track my results. Here's what it looks like:
The "Orangetheory" Theory
Your goal during the workout is to get 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84 percent or higher of your maximum heart-rate (the orange zone). This creates EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption, also known as oxygen debt). When this happens, your body continues to use oxygen and burn calories as if you were still working out. This "afterburn" can increase your metabolic rate for 24-36 hours after your workout! And that is the Orangetheory!
Splat Points & My Challenge
For every minute you spend in the "Orange Zone", you earn a "splat point". So you're looking for 12-20 of those babies during each of your 60-minute classes.
At my first visit, my coach told me that first time visitors tend to either be really low or really high with their splat points. Unfortunately for my competitive nature, I was on the low end. I got a whopping 3 splat points that day. My coach tells me I'm a low splat point-er. She explained to me that either my heart is just really strong (so my heart rate doesn't get that high very easily) or my body isn't currently able to work hard enough to get my heart rate up that high, so over time as I get more fit, I'll see my splat points raise.
This has been true for me so far. I have slowly managed to get my points up to 9 (and I can't wait to finally get double digits!). Someday I'll hit that target of 12 points, but in the meantime, I'm forced to compete with myself rather than those high splat point-ers up on the screen!
My Physical Results & Measurements
I know some of you are just waiting to hear what has changed for me physically (that's why we exercise!), so let's get to that. I would love to share a "before & after" photo here, but my goal is not weight loss, so I don't have a particularly visual result to show. My goal is to increase my strength and endurance. Muscle weighs more than fat, and I'm hoping to increase muscle mass, so I'm not going to go by weight for these results either.
I did take my measurements before starting Orangetheory and again before writing this post. So far, I have lost 2 inches from my hips and waist and I've gained a half inch to each bicep. Wahoo! That's real, measurable progress!
Note: Although it has been a couple of months since I started at Orangetheory, I had 3 weeks of sickness in November and December, and was out of the country for 10 days in January, so I haven't been able to attend as consistently as I would have liked. If I had been able to attend every week, I could have seen a bigger change. I'm excited to keep going and see more changes!
Another way that I am measuring my progress is by my performance. I know I'm getting better because I've tripled the number of splat points I can get in a class, but recently I did something else that showed progress. I went for a walk/jog outside one day and realized that I can now jog twice as far as I could when I started this!
Another thing that has changed is my perspective. I'm actually amazed at the fact that I WANT to work out. When I have to miss going to classes for a few days, I find myself longing to go back. If I can't make it to an Orangetheory class because of my schedule, I actually WANT to get outside and jog- even if it's snowy, icy, and cold!
One of the most important things, for me, is to feel like I have the energy and stamina to keep up with my kids when they want to play with me! The other day, we all got our coats, boots and snow pants on and we went outside to build a snow fort! You guys, making large snow balls and packing snow is a LOT of work! I had so much fun with these girls and we all worked until we were worn right out! This is one of the best things about getting more fit! I don't feel like I need to sit on the sidelines like I used to when my kids are busy having active fun!
How I'm Feeling
I'm truly excited about this change in my life. I love that I can go to a class and just follow the instructions given by the fitness coaches. I don't have to decide what to do and for how long. I don't have to wonder if what I'm doing is effective. I just go, follow instructions, and leave confident that I've put in an hour of great work. That said, if I am not feeling up to a particular exercise (or if my bad knees prevent me from doing one), the fitness coaches have all been SO great about offering alternatives. I'm excited to continue this journey into the rest of this year!
Find A Studio Near You!
If you're interested in trying Orangetheory Fitness, check their website for a location near you! There are now 10 studios in the GTA and another 10 will be added in 2017! Your first visit is always free, so you have nothing to lose- go try it out for yourself!
Disclosure: I am part of the Orangetheory Fitness Ambassador Program with Yummy Mummy Club. All opinions shared are, as always, my own.