I just did the math, and I gained 80 pounds with my first pregnancy. 80 POUNDS. I went from weighing 117 the day I found out I was pregnant, to 195 the day my first child was born. That is a lot of weight. And, the crazy thing is, I gained most of it during months 5 through 8 of pregnancy. I put on 70 of the 80 pounds in 3 months. (If I could insert an embarrassed emoji here, I absolutely would. Actually, I probably can, but I don’t know how.)
My first pregnancy was difficult for me. It’s not that I wasn’t excited about being pregnant, it was mostly that I was the first person in my group of friends to get pregnant. I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t have anyone that I could talk to, and I thought being pregnant gave you the go ahead to eat whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted.
I’m sure there are a number of scientific reasons why I gained so much weight so quickly, but I’m not qualified to even speculate on those. Personally, I think all the pregnancy weight gain started with really bad morning sickness. I felt sick all the time, and not just in the mornings. I gravitated towards comfort foods in order to try to make myself feel better. And, before I knew it, I was eating all the comforting things, all the time. Initially, I stopped working out because, I felt so sick. Then, I never started back up again because it just got too hard. Once I got out of the routine of working out (which lets be honest, I was in college at the time, so it wasn’t really a steady routine to begin with), it was almost impossible to get back into working out again.
So, long, long, long story short, I ended up super overweight after giving birth to my first baby. After the birth, I was really unhappy with my body and felt very uncomfortable in my skin. I suffered from really bad postpartum depression (which is another topic for another time), and that made it incredibly difficult to lose the baby weight. I was completely unmotivated to workout. It didn’t help that I got pregnant again within a year, and then again a third time (with twins) in another year. I had four kids in three and a half years, and I was in what seemed like a never ending cycle of being pregnant or having newborns.
My health and wellness became the last priority on my extremely long list of tasks to complete. I could barely even walk around the block without getting winded or needing a break, and my weight seemed like an insurmountable mountain that I would never be able to conquer.
Enter my very beautiful and extremely fit sister-in-law, Michelle. Around Christmas of 2017, Michelle invited me to try an Orangetheory Fitness class with her at her local studio in Colorado Springs.
I was hesitant to accept the invite, because I was really intimidated and scared of the idea of going into a gym with other people to workout. I was nowhere near the preconceived notion I had in my head of where I thought I should be fitness-wise to enter a group fitness class. I told myself I had to be at some mystical (and also unattainable) level of fitness to begin. I had exercised my entire life up until my pregnancies, so my pride was getting in the way of me jumping back into working out. Somewhere in my subconscious, I thought I couldn’t go back into the gym at a “lower level” of fitness than my peak level of fitness. But, in reality, I was never going to get back to my peak, if I didn’t start working out again.
So, I decided to give Orangetheory a try, even though I was pretty sure it would be too hard for me. I read up on Orangetheory, and discovered it was just the type of workout that I would like. I also found out it is an ideal model for someone trying to get back into shape or for someone just starting their fitness journey.
Surprisingly, I loved it. I walked out of the workout feeling like I had pushed myself to the limit, and I hadn’t been able to get myself to do that on my own for years. Although, initially intimidated by all the seemingly perfect people in the class, the group setting was actually one of my favorite parts. There were people at every different fitness level, literally. It was encouraging to know that everyone else was doing the same workout, experiencing the same pain, and still continuing to workout despite the level of difficulty. I also really liked that I was able to see my real-time workout stats on a screen the entire time. Orangetheory outfits you with a monitor that allows you to see your heart rate, calories burned and number of splat points (more on that later) at any given time. So, I had a visual representation of how hard my body was working.
So, what is Orangetheory?
If you have been following me on social media for any amount of time, you probably know that I’m obsessed with Orangetheory. But, have you been wondering what it actually is?
Well, for starters there is a lot of science behind it. I reached out to local head trainer from the Harmony location, Kylie Bergmann, to explain:
The science behind Orangetheory’s success is formulated through Heart Rate Based Interval Training. After equipping members with their very own heart rate monitor using the Tanaka formula (this determines each members’ individual maximum heart rate), each participant is able to track their heart rate throughout class and use the information to achieve EPOC. EPOC is the physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout, known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.” The one-hour workout is designed to create 12 minutes or more of intensities at 84% or higher of maximum heart rate, leading to EPOC. This program design produces the workout “after burn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after the workout, meaning higher calorie burn post workout. For many members, this is what enables transformation and/or weight loss.
But, I’m still confused.
Orangetheory is a one hour, full body workout, focused on training Endurance, Strength and/or Power. OTF uses Heart Rate Based Interval Training, which burns more calories post workout than a traditional exercise. When wearing their Heart Rate monitors, your real time results are displayed on large screens throughout the studio. Intensity is based on your individual Heart Rate zones, making the workout effective for all fitness levels. To top it off, OTF fitness coaches to lead the workout to prevent you from over or under training. 1
The coach will guide you through the 5 different heart rate zones: resting, easy, challenging, uncomfortable, and All Out, telling you when to push harder and when to pull back for recovery. The goal is to spend just 12 to 20 minutes with your heart rate elevated in “The Orange Zone” to boost your metabolism, burn fat and burn more calories. 2
For every minute you spend in the orange and red zones, you earn a splat point. The goal of the class is to accumulate 12 or more splat points per class.
What does an Orangetheory class look like?
At Orangetheory, there is a new workout each day. The daily workout is run throughout the day at every location throughout the world. So, regardless of where you are (Fort Collins, New Orleans, Australia, etc.), you are doing the exact same thing that everyone else around the world is doing.
Each individual workout is run by a coach who takes you through the class. The coach tells you exactly what you are supposed to be doing every minute of the hour that you spend there. They explain the workout, breakdown each movement within the workout, and facilitate the transition between the stations.
There are three different stations that you split your time between during any given class:
- Treadmill: During every Orangetheory class, a portion of your time is spent on the treadmills. This is the cardio portion of the workout. You are coached through a series of different intervals on the treadmill, known as blocks. Each block is broken down into a combination of three different paces or speeds (base, push, and all out). The paces are defined by your speed on the treadmill and how hard you are working at each speed. Whether you walk, jog, or run, you’ll go at your own pace based on your fitness level. They also have bikes and striders available as alternates to the treadmill.
- The building block for each treadmill interval is the base pace. This is a challenging pace, but one that you can maintain for up to 20-30 minutes. Typically, you start most workouts at your base pace and build up from there into the other two paces. Your base pace speed corresponds with the green heart rate zone and is where you want to train you heart to recover.
- One level up from base pace is push pace. Your push pace is built to make you feel uncomfortable and should correspond with the orange heart rate zone. At the end of each effort at push pace, you should feel like you need to recover. Typically, after each push pace there is a base pace recovery. This means you drop your speed back down to your base pace to let you catch your breath and allow your body to recover.
- The fastest and final pace is the all out. This is your sprint speed. You should feel completely gassed at the end of every all out. The goal of this pace is to get your heart rate into the highest heart rate zone, the red zone. The longest time you will spend at all out is one minute, and there is always a walking recovery after an all out pace.
During the treadmill part of class, the coach will call out a series of paces and how long you should be at each pace. The coach keeps time for you and lets you know when the different intervals start and end. The goal is pick a specific treadmill speed for the base, push, and all out, and then maintain those speeds throughout the entire workout. Almost everyone in class has different base, push, and all out speed, so you just focus on your own speeds. One person might have a base pace at 4 mph, while another may have a base pace around 6.5 mph. (The highest base pace I’ve noticed in class was 9 mph!)
2. Rower: The most challenging station, in my opinion, is the rower. Much like the treadmill, the coach calls out the speeds and efforts. There are also the same general paces on the rower, including base, push, and all out, however you focus less on these and more on your form and perceived effort. Sometimes, the coach will give you a series of distances to complete with exercises in between. Every stroke on the rower activates 85% of your body’s muscles to help you improve endurance, strength and power. 3
3. Floor: In the weight room, you will use a variety of floor equipment, including dumbbells, benches, TRX suspension trainers, medicine balls, BOSU trainers and Ab Dolly’s. The workout is typically a combination of different exercises that you run through at your own pace until time is called. The coach demonstrates every exercise and gives form guidance throughout the class. Each exercise is also displayed on a monitor for you to reference during class. You pick your own weights for each exercise, so the difficulty is up to you. Like the other stations, the weight and floor exercises change daily. This allows you focus on different muscles each day. The coach can also provide options for any movement if you have injuries or limitations.
Depending on how many people are signed up, there are two classifications of classes. The first is the 2G (two group) class. That means everyone in the class is divided up into two groups. Usually, during 2G classes, the time is split equally between the treadmill and weight room (with the weight floor time divided up into strength exercises and rowing). During a 3G (three group) class, everyone is divided up into three groups, and equal amounts of time are spend at each station.
After enjoying the trial class so much in The Springs, I decided to get a membership in Fort Collins. As cheesy as this may sound, from the moment I walked in, I felt welcomed and at home. Every single person that worked there knew my name within a week. The people are genuine and the environment is incredibly supportive. I can always tell the goal is for you to truly enjoy the class.
The coaching staff is truly top-notch. Each coach is a certified Personal Trainer and current with a CPR and AED certification. According to Kylie, “We pride ourselves on quality of workout and knowledge of our coaches. Our coaches are incredibly passionate and genuinely enjoy helping others.”
There are so many great benefits of working out at Orangetheory and tons of reasons why it has become my favorite way to workout. First of all, I have lost a lot of weight. I’ve also rearranged the make up of my body. I have accumulated more muscle and lost fat. Because of this, I have noticed a visible difference in the way my weight is distributed throughout my body.
Over the past two and half years, I’ve gotten into the best shape I’ve ever been in. I have seen a huge improvement inside the studio. My speeds on the treadmill have increased, and I have adjusted to heavier weights in the floor portion of the class. When I started at Orangetheory, my base pace was probably somewhere around 5.0-5.5 mph, and I have increased that slowly over time to a 7 mph base pace.
On top of in studio improvements, I have also been motivated to do more things outside of the Orangetheory studio. I began training for my first half marathon at the beginning of last year and ended up running a total of five that year. I also fulfilled my lifelong goal of running a marathon in February of this year. The difference between when I started Orangetheory in April of 2018 to now, is honestly, astonishing.
“Orangetheory is a total-body group workout that combines science, coaching and technology to guarantee maximum results from the inside out. It’s designed to charge your metabolism for MORE caloric afterburn, MORE results, and MORE confidence, all to deliver you MORE LIFE. Because the work you do here in our studio will make all the difference out there in your world.”Orangetheory Fitness
I love Orangetheory, and I love the people that work there. The energy during the workout is so motivating and the music is always good. The equipment is in excellent shape and the studio is always clean. I’ve gotten to know some other amazing members and really enjoy my time there. I would highly recommend Orangetheory to anyone at any level of fitness.
In Fort Collins, there are two Orangetheory locations. The original studio is located at Drake and Timberline behind King Soopers. The second location is at the intersection of Harmony and College, and it is located in the same complex as Qdoba.
If you are interested in learning more or booking your first workout, you can reach out directly to either studio. Your membership is good at any location throughout the world. So, when you travel or want to book based on which studio you are going to be closer to that day, you are allowed to switch between any location.
Orangetheory Drake Road: (970) 632-2020
Orangetheory Harmony Road: (970) 658-5758
1, 2, 3, 4 references and information from Orangetheory.com