Orange Theory Fitness Review

So I have completed my first four classes at OTF, since it opened on Saturday, and figured I would write a small review on it as well as a small update on myself in general. Link to OTF:


Orange Theory fitness is a gym that only has classes and they run from early in the morning (5:30am) to about late (7 or 8pm). The classes are an hour long and is basically HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – which is fast becoming a popular means of exercising. The other kicker for OTF, and it’s where it gets its name from, is the fact that they wirelessly monitor your heart rate throughout the hour long class. You wear a strap over your chest plate and attach a wireless heart rate monitor to it. There are two large screens on the walls for you to look at your current heart rate. Where they want you is in the “Orange Zone”, or level 4, which is your “anaerobic zone” or where your heart rate is about 80 to 90 percent of its max. They want you in this zone for about 10 to 20 minutes, and the rest of the time in the 3rd zone: your aerobic zone. (70 to 80 percent). At the end of class you can see your summary of what you did so you can see how many minutes you were in the different zones.

The class is split up into two 30 minute sections: rowing/weights and treadmill. As the class is HIIT based, the rowing and free weights is basically lower weight with high reps (cutting instead of bulking), and the treadmill is up and down every minute or 2 depending on if you are resting at your “base” speed, pushing, or doing all outs.


My opinion on the entire thing? It’s cool and can definitely be effective if your goal is to lose weight, cut, or gain endurance. If you want to bulk, then this is definitely not the most effective place to be as by the end of the class you are probably in a catabolic state (unless you use intra-workout supps). Although they, the trainers, tell you where they want you, they dont really push you to be there. Thats fine for me because I push myself to death as is already, and it should be ok for most other people, but for others that are a lot less motivated you may not be making the most of the workout. Speaking of working myself to death, the first two classes I wound up going home and puking because of how much I pushed it. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go that hard initially of course. The classes have really helped my endurance already quite a bit – its actually kind of amazing. I had class this morning and then decided to go out in the afternoon and ran about 6 miles in about an hour. I could not have done that a week ago for sure.

All-in-all I would definitely recommend trying it out as it seems to be very effective for what it sets out to do. It’s going to be more expensive than a regular gym (like LA Fitness/24 Hour Fitness) but having to register for classes will keep most people motivated to going, and it is a great and effective work out.

Some of my stats from class:
“Base” speed:  6.0 mph (unless theres a major incline)
Pushes: 8.0mph (” “)
All outs: 10.0mph (” “)
For inclines I drop about 2mph for everything as that is what kills me the most.
Average rowing distance/speed: 1500 meters/32
Average time in zone 2/3/4/5 (minutes):  2/47/10/1

Personal Update

I cycled off of my creatine supps (jack3d/anabolic halo) and they have been replaced by a non-creatine based pre called Cardio Cuts by NDS Nutrition. I absolutely love this new supp for energy and focus though the taste is quite bad. Ive gone through my isopure whey isolate and through a can of GNC’s whey isolate, and am now on “Six Star Whey Isolate Elite Series.” No real noticeable difference between any of them except isopure is definitely the best tasting, haha. the GNC isolate was absolutely terrible in taste. The six star has the highest amount of protein per serving (at a whopping 30g per scoop), and ironically its also the cheapest (at $20/1.5lbs @ Walmart).

Ill be posting my weekly update tomorrow so check back for my latest results. =)


9 thoughts on “Orange Theory Fitness Review

  1. smoke and mirrors…doesn’t do anything for ALL the skills essential in fitness…balance, agaility, accuracy, power, speed. Just another glitz of having fun instead of getting fit.

    • To each his own. Some people don’t worry about being “fit” as per your definition of the word. There are people that just want to lose weight and orange theory is an excellent way of achieving that. Are you going to be a body builder doing the classes? hell no. Are you going to be as “fit” as people doing crossfit? nope. But not everyone wants that. I don’t do OTF anymore as its not aligned with my goals but for some people it would work for them. America is the most obese nation in the world – i’d rather have people doing OTF than doing nothing at all, and im sure you’d agree with me on that.

  2. As someone who has been doing OTF for 8 months now I highly recommend you really try it before you claim it to be “smoke & mirrors”. You pick your own weights, so if you want bulk pick heavy weights! The floor excercises are always varied so you do work many different muscle groups that do challenge balancing, power and speed. OTF doesn’t have to be the only thing you do if you like your own excercise routines or want to do longer runs as well. But it sure does give an excellent base. And reflecting on devcodes’ comment, I have seen many people transform themselves going to OTF. I’m not sure what you mean by “fit” Mark… Because I see people at OTF who are very fit and have seen people become exceptionally more fit than when they began OTF.

    • Thanks for the comment. I see a lot of CrossFit people have almost a religious zeal when it comes to talking about their method of fitness. For me personally, I believe it’s all a marketing ploy (and it obviously works). They have sound fundamentals, especially because they do olympic lifts (something OTF doesn’t do), but the zealotry is kind of off-putting.

      To address one thing, you said “if you want bulk pick heavy weights” but thats not really possible at OTF as the one I went to only went up to 50lb dumbbells. I spoke to the owner (as he is a neighbor of my parents) but they wouldn’t get any heavier because no one (other than myself) would use them. Also, body weight exercises on the pully system are a very weak substitute for free weights. OTF is phenomenal for endurance, but not so great for building bodybuilder level muscle.

  3. As a highly self motivated, religious fitness person, I find OTF to be one of the best “all in one” workout. While I do many other fitness activities (Pilates, weight training, running) I find the OTF model to be fantastic for the early morning when you are crunched for time. You get a great workout burning approximately 475-500 calories in the hour (my regular average). It is important that you know what your max heart rate is for YOU. I had my heart fitness tested so my regular 80% would be different than that of someone my same age.
    I also find the instructors can make or break the class for a beginner. I prefer a challenge and can essentially make any workout my own max effort. I can go in a class and consistently build on my max sprint pace, increase my base, better my endurance, or improve my row distance. There is always something to push for. My favorite instructor keeps it creative, constantly changing, varying from high rep lighter weight to heavy less reps. The treadmill workouts prompt you to compete against yourself. Altering distance with timed drills. Definitely a class to create more “lean” muscle tone. If I had only one hour to work out, this would be my class of choice for an all over body workout. AND as a bonus, it gives you amazing energy all day long!

  4. I love it – I go to one in Colorado- I had high BP and overweight, the trainers work with me and it does not matter if I am working out next somone like thinkdevcode, my heart levels fit my abilities. 4 months and steal going stronger, even stronger and have gone down 2 sizes in jeans.

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  6. Well today was my second OTF class I a lot it’s very hard and be honest I’m overweight n in had shape and the floor excercises are so hard for me …now my first class was awful I pretty much vomited Cz it was super hard and also I felt tired and like dying and my legs hurt to the point walking was hard. Today however was different I still felt like dying at class but after I felt great really way more energy than what I usually have and I feel.good about myself for being doing someting to.improve my health n life .. I’m.excited about OTF it’s the first time I feel excited about working out in my life

  7. I just started OTF and I have to agree with your post. I just made the decision to stop doing Crossfit after doing it solid for a year. What I noticed about OTF in comparison is I actually need to back off on my intensity. My first class I was told I was hanging out too much in the orange and red zones. I needed to allow my body to hang out in that green zone so I could utilize the steady burn of a workout.

    What is interesting is during a crossfit class, it’s all about putting all you have into whatever you’re doing. Then there is usually a 10-20 minute time to work on olympic lifts. During that time you’re not moving very much, but you are working hard to lift heavy weights. With OTF, you’re moving the whole hour rather than the start and stop of Crossfit. You need to take the moments to chill out and hang in the green zone.

    I also agree with you, OTF isn’t for bulking up but for trimming down. It’s not AS challenging to me as Crossfit, but I believe Crossfit is harder on the body (but still excellent for your heart and lungs). I still get the head to toe fitness I’m looking for, but I didn’t like some of the results I was getting from Crossfit (bulking up rather than slimming down). Although I am a woman, so men may feel differently.

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