Let’s get Physical… and Digital By Margarite Benevento

Orange theory fitness logo / Keep Burning

Long gone are the days of throwing on your headband, leotard and scrunch socks to go hit the gym and 'aerobicize' to the songs of Olivia Newton-John.  A friend recently asked me if there is anything I haven’t tried when it comes to gyms and my answer to her was I’ll try anything that looks fun. 

Social media has made it so easy to be inundated with the latest trends in any area of interest.  My last media inspired fitness venture was Cross Fit, which took the world by storm a few years ago.  I was on my way to work when I heard a radio ad for a free trial for Cross Fit. Later that day I looked up their website and decided to give it a shot. Add that to my many fitness adventures.

 Fast forward to last year when I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and came across a free trial offer for OrangeTheory Fitness.  My first thought was why is this on my news feed I didn’t like this and I ignored it.  However, a few of my friends had liked the page so it kept showing up in my news feed and eventually I caved and clicked on the link. Persistence in advertisement works, it gets me to click almost every time. The free trial link took me right to the information form that I filled out and I was contacted the next day to schedule an appointment. Meanwhile, I went to their website and noticed there were treadmills involved. That right there left me skeptical because I don’t run unless it’s a life-threatening situation like a bear is chasing me and even then it’d be questionable. Treadmills are the bane of my existence and I’m sure many others feel the same.  

OrangeTheory Fitness is gaining popularity quickly and being touted as the #1 workout across the country.  In my opinion they have done an outstanding job branding the company by using their signature Splat point symbol right in their name.  If I am traveling and I see a sticker or shirt with only that symbol on it, right away I know it is OrangeTheory.  Thanks to technology, OrangeTheory provides a personal vital monitoring system for your workout.  If you are competitive with yourself or others, these workouts will inspire the added push to really excel and achieve the recommended number of Splat points.  

Screenshot of Orange Theory Fitness class results

When you sign-up for your first experience, you are setup with a heart rate monitor that you wear around your torso.  This monitor will display your heart rate on the screen during your workout to track personal progress.  Not only does it provide details during your workout but also at the end a summary is sent to you via email and also gets reported in the OT Beat app.  The OT Beat app allows members to book sessions, view their workouts performed, interact with the OT community, set goals, and perform workouts outside of the studio while using the heart rate monitor to record the workout. OrangeTheory lives by a three-tier system, Base (71-83, Green), Push (84-91, Orange) and All Out (92+, Red).  The heart rate monitor is used to determine which of those three zones you are in and allows you to determine if during the workout you need to push harder.  Coaches guide you throughout the workout in order to obtain the minimal amount of Splat points (12) to be able to continue burning calories for the next 24-36 hours.  The classes can involve up to three stations: Treadmills (my nemesis), Floor- that involves TRX bands, weights, benches, bosu balls, ab goodies, etc. (not too bad) and then water rowers (my favorite but can kill you after a while).  A new workout is generated daily and keeps it from predictability and becoming mundane.  You never know what the workout will be until you get there…and it is too late to turnaround. 

As I mentioned before jogging/running is not my preferred method of exercise, but to my surprise, OrangeTheory has managed to make it bearable.  How? Coaches calling out intervals throughout the blocks and my constant obsession to make sure I hit my Splat points actually makes the time on the treadmill go fairly quick. However, this can become a curse due to the fact that there are moments you may think you are “golden” only to realize you aren’t pushing yourself to the limit/zone the program wants you to be in. After each workout I can’t help but look at the heart rate monitor to make sure it’s still there, because these workouts are a killer. Every workout just means you need to work harder. Thanks technology for trying to kill me. 

OrangeTheory Fitness has managed to use technology and digital media to take traditional fitness and make it something new.  The extensive use of apps has made it easy to track and monitor results.  Digital media allows interactions to be more personalized and focused on client care so that OrangeTheory and its clients stay connected with each other. I will continue to enjoy my workouts at OrangeTheory knowing that I am pushing myself and constantly testing my limits.