I’ve heard quite a bit of hype about Orange Theory Fitness lately and was curious… but living farther south means there was no facility near me. We don’t get all the trendy things here 🙂 Last weekend, I finally got a chance to join my Illinois Volée team members for an event. We went to an Orange Theory class in Chicago, followed by pizza and a talk about goal setting with haute volée Anna Weber.
We started the class by getting fit for our heart rate monitors (you’ll need to get there early for your first class). The HR monitor fit is important as you can see your name and heart rate performance on the monitor during class, and will be using it to measure if you are working in the right range. We were split into two groups, with my group starting on the row machines and the other group starting on the treadmill. If you have an injury or just prefer not to run they also have striders and bikes.
We started out with a few minutes on the rowers and then transitioned to a two-exercise strength circuit, followed by 300 meters on the rowers, strength and repeat. The instructor demonstrated each of the strength circuits as we transitioned. This session lasted for about 30 minutes and got my heart rate up pretty well – mostly green but a little bit of orange zone (you want to aim to stay mostly in the green zone, but high speed intervals should get up to orange). The idea is to get somewhere between 12-20 splat points, which equates to that number of minutes in the orange zone (about 80%+ of your target heart rate), in order to maximize the continued calorie burn throughout the day.
We then switched to the treadmills for 30 minutes of intervals. They have “base pace” recommendations on the machines based on if you are a walker, jogger, or runner. We started out at base pace and the instructor led us through a series of increased inclines, transition to push pace (1-2mph over your base pace), and quick bursts of all-out pace. I was in orange and red quite a bit here. For me, once my heart rate is up then it tends to shoot back up fairly quickly. If I had started out on the treadmill first, I would’ve had an easier time managing my HR, but that just means I got to work a little harder. 27 splat points – not bad for a first-timer!
After OT we headed over to Fleet Feet for great pizza, lots of Nuun, and goal-setting advice from Anna. She had some great advice and provided some insight into what training and nutrition is like for an elite runner. One thing I learned is that I seriously need more sleep – apparently my mostly 5-6 hours a night is not in the ideal range, go figure 🙂 – and also naps. For now I think I’ll have to settle for getting extra Zs when I can and know that when my kids group up there’ll be lots of sleep!