Orange Theory Workouts: The Real Deal

12 Min Read

People put me to the test when they learn that I am a trainer. It happened during a family meal with my girlfriend’s relatives not too long ago. The topic shifted to OrangeTheory, a popular bootcamp fitness program that combines strength training, cardio, and technological elements.

Katie, my girlfriend’s sister, had been attending a local franchise for a while, and everyone was curious to hear my thoughts on the exercise program.

People probably assumed I would attack OrangeTheory with the same ferocity with which I had just consumed a dessert.

Everyone was taken aback by my remark, but it serves as a useful reminder while searching for the ideal physical activity.

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Finding the Right Exercise Routine for You

I’ve been a trainer for almost 15 years, and my clients have included many celebrities. My first reaction generally takes people by surprise when they ask me what I think of their exercise routine.

I began by inquiring as to the desired and actual frequency of physical activity each week.

This is the most underappreciated component of selecting the proper routine for your objectives and physique, and I call it the consistency ratio.

Your preferred exercise routines are the “best” ones. However, “working for you” is not so much about repetitions and sets as it is about maintaining an effective routine over time.

If you are given the best program in the world but can only stick to it for a few months, you will be disappointed with the outcomes. If you completed a “inferior program” 80% of the time for a year, you would have significantly better outcomes than with the current strategy.

The rationale is self-evident: success depends on your continued interest and dedication. You may always “optimize” afterwards, but reliability (rather than perfection) must come first. Both your diet and exercise routine need to change.

There are a lot of ways to get training these days, including online coaching, digital streaming, bootcamps, apps, and one-on-one instruction.

Therefore, you should begin by thinking about the factors that might decrease your motivation to exercise.

This encompasses items like:

Can you describe the atmosphere of the gym?

  • Do you have a routine of self-assurance-boosting physical activity?
  • If not, do you have access to resources that might help you become more assured?
  • Do you enjoy (some, not all) of the exercises?
  • Is there a sense that it’s helping you?
  • Are you making it happen by taking the necessary steps, or are you trying to find ways to put it off?
  • Does it mesh with your daily routine, or does it demand so much adjustment that you can’t wait to finish the program?

Although there are many additional factors to think about, the optimal consistency ratio seems to be about 80% or higher.

Is it possible that there are aspects of OrangeTheory that I dislike?

Indeed, and we’ll be discussing topics in further depth below.

However, regular attendance is more important than perfect attendance any one week.

Can OrangeTheory Help Me Get in Shape?

Now, about that sister of my lover. She finally got into the habit of working out regularly. So long as the motions weren’t hurtful, I told her to keep at it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff if you’ve discovered a solution. Maintain your presence.

In terms of OrangeTheory specifically, there are aspects of it that are beneficial to people in terms of consistency, the setting, and the exercises.

An hour long OrangeTheory exercise combines cardio and weights to increase stamina, strength, and power. Plus, heart rate monitors track your improvement during the workout and display the data on displays for everyone to see.

Supporting either fat reduction or muscle building (through dietary manipulation), the workouts are ideal for people who thrive in a class setting.

While I enjoy working out in the gloom of a garage, I know that many individuals have a difficult time doing it on their own.

Training in a large group is inspiring and less daunting than training alone, as shown at OrangeTheory.

My girlfriend’s sister Katie said,

“It taught me how to do exercises that I could use outside of their gym, but which I would never have tried on my own in a regular fitness center.”

The bonds you build with other people can serve as a form of accountability by letting you know when you’ve let someone down.

There’s no denying the efficacy of working out in a group. Oh, and for better or worse, you’re less inclined to call in sick when your heart rate is shown on the video displays.

In addition, the workouts in Orange Theory are game-like, which may serve as an added source of inspiration.

The term “splat” refers to the points you get while exercise. These splashes of color represent the amount of time spent in the zone of maximum heart rate.

For maximum calorie burning (more on that below), the Orange Theory website recommends aiming for 12 splat points with each workout.

If fat loss is your objective, Orange Theory exercises do get a few things right.

Even while cardio equipment like the treadmill, cycle, or strider accounts for the bulk of the time spent exercising, strength training is also incorporated. Strength training routines often consist of three or more exercises performed in rapid succession.

Some of the Born Fitness clientele employ a method of working out known as “tri-sets” or “mini-circuits” for burning fat.

Before going back to the strength circuit for another session, they do a quick burst of cardio, often on the rower. At Born Fitness, we employ this method as well, but exclusively with our more experienced customers (and for certain durations, see below).

Spaces for Orange Theory to Grow

Before beginning an OrangeTheory program, there are a few things to think about from a workout perspective. These are not flaws in the strategy per se, but rather considerations that may make it inappropriate for your needs.

First Problem: Low Levels of Exercise

You’ll be putting your body through its paces for an extended amount of time if you do 26-28 minutes of cardio on the treadmill and 26-28 minutes of high-intensity circuit-based strength training.

My first issue with OrangeTheory is that it promotes extreme effort as a virtue without guaranteeing positive outcomes.

Think about what you consider to be a “great” workout. Yes, intensity is needed, but only in reasonable doses.

It’s dangerous to define a “good” workout as one in which you burn 800 calories and leave the gym covered in sweat angels. Furthermore, this may cause some people to believe that they must “earn” their meals by engaging in strenuous physical activity.

If you’re serious about getting in shape, OrangeTheory can show you how to achieve it. But high-intensity workouts without modifications will lead to declining rewards, exhaustion, and increased injury risk.

I’ll typically have clients do a 1-2 week strength phase followed by a 4-5 week high-intensity circuit phase in our coaching program. To help you achieve progress and provide your body a variety of challenges, we alternate periods of intense work with periods of relaxation.

Problem No. 2: Cardiology With a Pinched Focus

High-intensity exercise is a great way to boost your aerobic fitness, but it’s unnecessary if you don’t want to see visible results.

A recent study found no significant difference in fat reduction effectiveness between high-intensity and moderate-intensity exercise.

The meta-analysis (a study of studies) compared HICE (high-intensity interval exercise) with MICE (moderate-intensity continuous exercise) to determine their relative benefits.

Building aerobic capacity (measured by VO2 max), increasing oxygen delivery to muscles, and enhancing cardiovascular health were all side effects of HICE exercise.

However, if weight loss is your only goal, HICE and MICE appear to be equally effective.

Problem 3: It’s Hard to Tailor Group Workouts to each Individual

This isn’t unique to OrangeTheory, since numerous mass-market group training regimens offer similar benefits and drawbacks.

The strength training routines in OrangeTheory seem to be chosen at random.

While working out at random might be fun (and certainly can work up a sweat), it doesn’t tell you anything about your progress toward your strength training goals.

When you combine strength training with aerobic intervals, your body has less time to recuperate in between sets. When your rest periods are too short, you can’t push yourself hard enough between sets to gain (or keep) muscular mass.

When you’re trying to lose weight, strength training is a bad idea since it can lead to excessive calorie expenditure and muscle and fat loss.

Adding extra work (sets x reps) to your routine over time can help you achieve your goal. Keeping a log of your workouts and then doing those activities over and over again for a period of 3-5 weeks is the simplest approach to do this.

Having said that, we are able to provide constructive criticism for virtually any physical activity. Stick with Orange Theory and see where it leads you if it encourages you to exercise regularly, does not put you at risk of injury, and provides a setting you find pleasant.

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