When I signed up for Orange Theory Fitness back in the winter, it was with excitement and anticipation of a new way to cross train, in a class setting. Granted, my current gym offers classes, but they never were at times that worked with my schedule. So a once a week membership to OTF was my plan to start and then if I enjoyed the classes I could change my membership to include more.
Energetic and lively instructors: While I only attended 4 classes, the instructors were all professional, trying to have a bit of fun but also well versed in the class of the day. Each instructor was very fit and tried hard to engage us as we entered and left the studio. They also asked before we entered if there was anything they needed to know about our fitness/potential injuries or if we intended to use the treadmills or the alternative bike or strider.
Schedule of classes: While I don't have an exact number, the classes are available pretty much all day long. At the moment our studio offers 34 classes per week, but that probably changes depending on studio members and demand. With early classes for the before work crowd and early evening for the post work crowd and many in between, it is hard to have an excuse to miss class. Registration for classes is simple to do online and assures you place at the time you would like to go.
Facilities: The gym has plenty of equipment including treadmills, rowers and free weights. The front desk area, lockers and bathrooms are well equipped and seemed clean and tidy. Most of all, it was impressive that the front desk staff knew many of the members by name after your first or second class.
One size fits all: Every class is the exact same on any given day in all parts of the country. While each class is new and different, everyone does the same workout. The cardio portion of the classes includes a lot of treadmill work which is not something that works well for me. Three days of week of running is usually my maximum. So instead of the treadmill, I tried the strider (elliptical) and the bike, 30 minutes or so of weights and rowing are also part of the classes which worked well. Another blogger Coco, wrote a review of the class experience in case you are interested in all those details. You can read that here
Spotting for weights: There is a free weight portion of class and this is probably my biggest worry about OTF. As an older athlete, I have some issues such as a weak shoulder from years of tennis and a lower back that needs babying from time to time. There is virtually no spotting when using the hand weights or for that matter checking to see how you are performing the individual exercises.
Class size: 24 in a group fitness class is not excessive, but for older athletes, having a little attention is important. When one instructor is busy trying to keep everyone on task, it is hard for them to answer questions or help out. You are pretty much on your own during the class. It was surprising how little camaraderie there was between participants. Maybe this is a bit of an unfair assessment because I belong to such an inclusive and fun coached running group.
Pressure to perform: When using the cardio equipment, the encouragement to reach your push pace is emphasized over and over again by the instructor. They walk around to check the numbers on your equipment to make sure you are doing everything at their specifications. There is a digital board that shows your calories burned and what level you are performing at with orange being optimal. Wearing a heart rate monitor is key to ensuring all your statistics are available both during and after class.
Unfortunately, Orange Theory Fitness was not the right class setting for me, but I have not given up on group classes. There is another studio in town that offers classes without a cardio portion so that is next on my list for cross training. OTF is hugely popular and several of my friends love the classes. It's great to have options!
Ever tried group classes? Orange Theory Fitness?