Working out continuously for years on end can be a bit draining. I found that the hard way when I couldn’t motivate myself to be regular with my training sessions at the gym.
I figured I needed a drastic change of scenery. And spicing up the training routine would not hurt either.
So, I started looking at my options. Changing gyms can be somewhat difficult. You have to spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect one that is tailored to meet your requirements. And once you have signed up, you’ll have to start building a rapport with everyone at the new place – the staff, the trainers, the people.
It can be a pretty daunting experience. But I decided I had to go for it.
Luckily, I have a friend, Kim, who’s worked her way through most of the major fitness clubs in America. She recommended that I try OrangeTheory Fitness, the franchise where she was currently working out.
Taking her advice, I started researching more on what I could get from an OrangeTheory membership. After reading up a bit about their programs and classes, I realized why Kim felt that OrangeTheory could help me get out of my training plateau.
Their training programs were different from anything else that I had tried. I was immediately intrigued. So, I decided to sign up.
I have been working out there for a while now, so I finally have a measure of where OrangeTheory stands as far as fitness clubs go.
To help my fellow fitness enthusiasts, here is a detailed review of my experience as a member of OrangeTheory to help you figure out the positives and negatives of the gym as well as some other relevant information that could help you make an informed decision.
Is OrangeTheory a Good Gym?
For people who are looking to get result-oriented training, OrangeTheory Fitness is one of the best franchises. They make use of scientific principles to plan their workouts and deliver rapid results, especially in terms of weight loss.
Before signing up and purchasing the membership, I had already heard a bit about OrangeTheory before. It’s a pretty massive chain with plenty of members and positive reviews in general.
So, it’s safe to say that the gym is consistently providing good results as well as consistent services.
Moreover, another thing that I loved about OrangeTheory is how widespread the chain actually is. There are more than 1,400 fitness clubs associated with OT just in the United States.
Now, the next bit is something that I liked but didn’t need that much. Since I have been working out for years, I know the kind of equipment, routines, and exercises that are best suited to my needs. So, I don’t need a lot of assistance from trainers.
But at OrangeTheory Fitness, the trainers are quite involved. I have seen many members, including Kim (my friend from earlier), who just walk into the gym and start following the instructions of the trainer.
I didn’t exactly know how I felt about that. So, I went around and asked a few members about their opinions. In most cases, people felt that this was the most attractive feature of OrangeTheory. Mike, with whom I had paired up for a group training session once, told me that he never lacked the motivation to complete his workouts ever since he started following the training routines set by the trainers at OrangeTheory Fitness.
Listening to their insights, I did feel that it might be a great opportunity for beginners who want result-oriented training sessions.
In fact, the training programs devised by OrangeTheory could even attract some of the most experienced athletes.
The most notable differentiating factor between OrangeTheory and any other gym where I have worked out in the past is the training approach. At OrangeTheory gyms, they pay a lot of focus on 1-hour long workouts based on the concept of the afterburn effect.
As experienced as I may be, I had no idea about what the afterburn effect was or how it worked. So, naturally, I asked my trainer, Townsend, about it. Allow me to impart some of that education down to you enthusiastic folk.
Townsend basically told me that the afterburn effect or EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) could be activated during workouts so that the body continues to burn calories even after you’ve stopped exercising.
Sounds mad, right?
But his reasoning made sense and was backed by fact-based science. Orange Theory has basically found the perfect workout that enables us to work out at different intensity zones to maximize EPOC.
High-intensity workouts, as devised by OrangeTheory, create an “oxygen debt” in our bodies. So, our bodies continue to work out to fill this deficit long after we have stopped exercising, resulting in a greater calorie burn percentage.
Townsend shed more light on his explanation, but I think this will give you a good picture of how Orange Theory operates. While I haven’t tried their Orange program long enough to give you a fair judgment on whether it works, most people I’ve talked to gave glowing reviews.
Samantha, a co-worker who is a member at a different OrangeTheory club on the other side of the town, admitted to losing more than 10 pounds after around 40 classes, which was a huge accomplishment.
Overall, OrangeTheory has a lot of appealing factors that I’m drawn towards. The welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere, the wide variety of classes and training programs, the science-backed workouts, and the professional atmosphere – everything was to my liking.
It’s a bit pricey compared to my previous gyms. But people say that the extra price makes them more accountable and responsible. I guess everything works out well if you learn to look at the bright side!
Does OrangeTheory Have Good Equipment?
For me, the quality and amount of machines and equipment available at the gym could make or break the deal. The ideal fitness club should have a huge range of machines as well as a lot of them so as to prevent long waiting lines.
OrangeTheory Fitness focuses more on heart-rate-based interval training sessions. The entire routine is divided into three sections comprising rowing, cardio, and strength training.
Because of the rigid training structure, some might feel that the equipment and machines available are not as diverse as they would like. For example, cardio training can be performed on machines like treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, striders, and steppers.
In my facility, the rowing machines are place together. From there, I would alternate to strength training which was done using a suspension trainer, a step, medicine balls, BOSU balance trainers, dumbbells of different weights, and some other equipment.
Most importantly, you get a heart rate monitor to track your intensity levels during the workout. But as far as I know, this is not true for all OTF locations. Samantha had to purchase her own monitor as the Studio wasn’t able to provide her with one.
Normally, members are encouraged to purchase the trademark OTF heart rate monitors. But you can even use an Apple Watch or other similar technology for this purpose.
Overall, all the basic and standard machines and equipment needed for strength and cardio training are available at OrangeTheory.
However, I do think that OrangeTheory Fitness might repel professional bodybuilders simply because of a direct emphasis on losing weight and the lack of customizable options with regard to training routines and strength-based equipment available.
When I signed up for OrangeTheory Fitness, I knew that they only had group-based training sessions. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea since I liked working out alone. But because I needed to change my monotonous workout routine, I decided to give it a whirl.
Broadly, there are two types of group classes available in all OrangeTheory Fitness gyms. I have given both of them a try, and here’s how I feel about them:
60-Minute 2G Classes
This is the very first OrangeTheory Fitness class that I took. I had no idea what the initials stood for, but the trainer advised me to begin with this routine, so I did.
The 60-minute 2G classes basically comprise two different groups of people taking a single class. The aim is to switch between strength, rowing, and cardio training at different intervals to complete the training efficiently.
On my first day, I started with the treadmill, jogged for a while, and then had to move to the strength section while a member from the other group took my place in the cardio section.
It was tiring at first, but also a bit exhilarating as I had never done anything like it before. Despite demanding a lot from me, the classes were fun and exciting and allowed me to enjoy my workouts.
60-Minute 3G Classes
After trying out the basic 2G class, I decided to join the 3G classes as well. The only difference between the two, honestly, is that there are three groups instead of two in this type of class.
All the exercises, especially when it comes to strength training, are more or less the same.
Another difference between the two is that only the most experienced OrangeTheory coaches are allowed to preside over the 3G classes.
Most OrangeTheory members prefer taking the regular 2G and 3G classes. So, there aren’t a lot of people opting for other classes like Lift 45. This was fine by me because I don’t like crowded areas in gyms.
So, naturally, I signed up for the Lift 45 program. The classes were a bit less fun, but they were certainly effective. As the name suggests, the program requires you to perform weightlifting exercises for 45 minutes.
You cannot focus on cardio or any other kind of training during this class. This was something that I didn’t like because combining the benefits of cardio and strength is something that I’ve been doing for years.
This is a relatively new, cardio-based workout that many people incorporate into their routines as a supplementary class. If you have purchased a basic or elite membership, the run/row program won’t be recorded in your class count.
So, you can easily mix it up with other classes. Basically, you have to switch between 15 minutes of running on the treadmill and 15 minutes of rowing.
Personally, I felt that taking this class is only worth the effort if you are short on time or combining it with another routine like the 45 Lift like it.
In some branches, you will find some additional classes like 90-minute 3G or 45-minute 2G/3G to work out based on your requirements.
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Amenities at OrangeTheory Fitness
OrangeTheory is a fitness franchise that focuses mostly on result-based workouts. As such, there are no additional amenities that are normally present in high-end commercial gyms like the Equinox, Lifetime Fitness, or LA Fitness.
Mostly, all of their amenities are purely meant for tracking workout results and improving the efficacy of your training routine. Some of them are:
- State-of-the-art heart-rate monitoring technology.
- Showers and locker rooms.
- Retail stores for branded merchandise and trademarked OrangeTheory products like heart rate monitors.
Now, this might be off-putting to many people who want a more wholesome experience at the gym. My friend Dave, for example, cannot let go of the YMCA simply because he likes doing everything at once – working out, swimming, and playing racquetball.
But in all honesty, those are one too many distractions that I don’t need. If I had a basketball court waiting outside my gym, my workout time would reduce significantly. So, I never minded the lack of additional “amenities” at OrangeTheory. I think it’s perfect for their brand message – focus entirely on result-based workouts, nothing else.
OrangeTheory Fitness does not offer any childcare services. The whole facility is designed only for result-oriented workouts and fast-paced training.
Devoting an entire section for children would mean more compact space for working out, which would be difficult for large groups.
Personally, I felt that OrangeTheory studios had sufficient space. But if something were to reduce the size of their workout lobbies, I would not be comfortable with the idea.
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What are the Pros & Cons of OrangeTheory Fitness
While I am enjoying my time at OrangeTheory Fitness, it’s not the perfect gym. There are some drawbacks as well as benefits to joining their community.
Let’s talk about a few of them:-
Pros of OrangeTheory Fitness
- There are more than 1,400 OrangeTheory Fitness clubs in the United States, making them very accessible to the general public.
- A highly welcoming environment and good for families to work out together in groups.
- Workouts are pre-planned for each individual based on their requirements.
- OTF heart-rate monitors allow users to track their own intensity levels and keep a check on their progress.
- Presence of monthly challenges and rewards to improve motivation.
- Variety in workouts and training routines, preventing monotony at the gym.
- Result-oriented workouts.
Cons of OrangeTheory Fitness
- It can be a little expensive when compared to other commercial gyms.
- No additional amenities like swimming pools, saunas, hydromassage beds, tanning beds etc.
- Canceling a scheduled class involves a lot of hassle, and the individual needs to inform the gym 8 hours before the beginning of the session.
- Too much focus on data and numbers might mislead and demotivate fitness enthusiasts.
- Some of the classes are very crowded.
- The workout routines might be too intense for someone who is lagging behind in progress compared to the rest of the group.
How Much Does a Membership at OrangeTheory Cost?
There are different types and levels of OrangeTheory membership plans with diverse prices
If you are visiting OT for the first time, you will be given a free class.
Purchasing a basic OrangeTheory Fitness membership will cost you around $65-$70 per month, depending on the location of the studio. The elite package is priced at around $100 per month. The premium plan of OrangeTheory can be purchased at around $160 per month.
If you don’t want to be a regular member, you can purchase guest passes for a limited time. But these are more expensive.
To get a comprehensive insight into the membership options at OrangeTheory Fitness, check out Orangetheory Prices & Membership Cost.
What Does OrangeTheory Membership Include?
The perks and benefits that you enjoy at OrangeTheory will mostly depend on the type of membership that you have purchased.
The premium $160/month plan justifies its membership cost by giving you lots of perks like being able to sign-up for multiple classes on the same day, unlimited access to nationwide OrangeTheory Fitness studios, and so on.
However, the benefits and perks that you enjoy will vary from one location to the other. So, it’s best to confirm this at the helpline desk before you purchase the gym membership.
Which OrangeTheory Membership is the Best?
Deciding which membership plan is worth it will mostly depend on your requirements. Since OrangeTheory is a bit expensive, you will have to make sure you invest your money in the right place.
If you are serious about working out and being regular with your training, the elite package should be the best option. It will give you nationwide access to all studios (provided they are not premium locations that charge some extra fees) and allow you to work out conveniently.
If you just want to try out the place first, consider purchasing guest passes to get a feel of their routine.
Does OrangeTheory Have Hidden Fees?
There are no “hidden fees” per se, as everything is mentioned in the official policy of the franchise.
There is an initiation fee that all members have to pay while purchasing their memberships. The fee could be as high as $100.
Apart from that, there are some late cancellation fees that will be deducted from your account if you miss your classes or are too late in informing the gym about your absence.
Is OrangeTheory Worth It?
I have been working out at OrangeTheory for a while now, and in all honesty, it’s completely worth it. I’ll tell you why.
I already mentioned that I switched gyms only because I was stuck in a monotonous rut and felt unmotivated. That has never been the case since I joined OrangeTheory. There is just so much going on.
I was relatively antisocial within the gym because I liked to focus on my workouts. At OT, I am constantly interacting with my trainer, other people from my group, and basically anyone that I lay my eyes on. And all this while I am performing some of the most intense workouts I’ve ever experienced!
Based on my experiences and testimonies of co-members, I can also say that OrangeTheory does produce effective results and can help you get in shape with its science-backed routines.
The only drawback is that there are no additional amenities like swimming pools, saunas, hydromassage beds, tanning, and so on. This is off-putting for many people as most commercial gyms have such facilities.
So, if you are into a more wholesome gym experience, this might not be the best place for you. But if getting fit and working out is your only focus, OrangeTheory is definitely worth it.
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I have told you everything I could about my time at OrangeTheory Fitness. I hope that reading this gave you a good idea of whether or not it is the right gym for you.
The place where you exercise can largely determine your health and fitness. So, you should always pick the best one for yourself and your body.