My First Week with Orange Theory Fitness

I thought I'd write about my experience with Orange Theory. Partially because before I did this week I wanted to read other experiences and people like Andrew Coleman Smith really helped as a motivator. 

Now I'm not a fitness buff and I abhor gyms. I don't like how crowded they get and I seriously struggle with self motivation. With over 50lb to lose (or close to 5 stone depending on your counting) my BMI says I'm obese, I consider myself "fluffy". The list goes on. My main point is that I haven't exercised in a long time and so I'm starting at square one.

I went along to the session after guzzling down a GBK Chicken burger for dinner (no chips) and an hour nap. Not healthy I know, but it's got fuel for me to burn and I know that being hungry and without energy is just gonna make the session harder on me than it needs to be.

Dusted off those running shoes

The first session I turn up, am given a heart rate monitor (can't use my polar fitness here sadly). There was an explanation and demonstration on what happens in the session along with a few other newbie people. I'm excited at this point as I'm about to start this journey and feeling positive about it. I start off on the treadmill and realise immediately that I don't think I could have done it without my running shoes. Their High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method meant my heart rate was bouncing up and down every few minutes with the highest being about 95% of maximum heart rate. I spent most of the time power walking but threw little jogs in to get my heart rate right up when it needed to go up. My all out run I imagined myself trying to catch a bus (which for several years I'd just not bother and wait for the next bus to come along).

The Orange Theory they work to is that if you spend at least 12 minutes out of an hour at 84% of your maximum heart rate or higher you trigger up to 36 hours of afterburn. This is ideal for someone like me who's metabolism is extremely slow.

Here I come!

Two things I noticed whilst on the treadmill.

  1. The training zones are very high heart rates. They don't work in the fat burn zone that I've heard talk of. I think the rest pace is in the fat burn zone? Will double check next time
  2. The treadmills are really good! The responsiveness in speed is way better then any treadmill I've been on previously. The speeds are also significantly faster than any other treadmills I've been on. I was power walking at a speed setting of 3.

The floor session involved weights, lunges and a bunch of core exercises which I knew as soon as I saw it that I'd need to modify. I cannot perform a single press-up and so did the modified versions which still had my arm muscles shaking from the stress of it.

Completed! Oh that was hard work.

Overall it was a solid hour of me working out and at no point did I slack off and at no point did I feel like slacking off. Where I needed to pause to take a breather, I did or I lessened my pace. I burned over 500 calories according to the board which has to have been the most I've ever burned in a session anywhere. My muscles felt achy but I felt happy that I'd pulled through and actually felt like I'd tried to do it and not just doss about in a gym with no clue what machine or exercise to do next. The structured nature of this session meant at no point did I feel lost or confused and it meant I could focus. I was glad to see everyone struggling regardless of fitness. No one had an easy time of it.

The following day everything HURT! All my muscles were aching and I knew then that it had worked. I signed up for another session two days after the first, this time I opted for the earliest one at 5:15am. I didn't have dinner the evening before that session and didn't have breakfast before it. I woke up, ready to try exercising before work. However my body still ached from the previous session. It ached less but still aching. As soon as I got on the rower for that session I could feel the burn and some of my muscles felt they physically could not give any more. I realised then that my body needed more rest. A lot more rest! 

I started off on the floor section and slowly worked my way through, taking more pauses and focussing on getting from one rep to the other. I didn't complete the recommended number of sets but at this point I was just grateful to be able to do one rep!

We then moved on to the treadmill and I think it was at this point that whatever energy stores I had ran out. I tried getting to the orange zone but my head felt like it was about to float off somewhere. I was struggling to just stay awake. This was when I realised that I couldn't push myself on the treadmill and my main focus was just to survive it. I power walked the whole way through and by the end of the session I wobbled off and waddled back home to collapse on my bed and drift in a state of semi consciousness. I got up for work but my muscles ached and I knew that stairs were not going to be my friends today. Managed to get through work, ate lots of protein and a sneaky free doughnut (the super bad Krispy Kreme type) and made it back home in one piece. That session I hit almost 400 calories burned.

Pre-workout selfie :)

That brings me to today. Everything hurts. Again. I have given a lot of thought over the past few days as to whether to join Orange Fitness Theory (OTF). When I first heard the price I thought to myself, yeah right! Like I'd ever pay that much! They are doing a promotional offer of £139 a month for founding members with new members joining afterwards paying almost £200 a month. I've watched online video reviews and read some reviews of others who have done OTF and they look like they pay similar prices everywhere, it's not a London only thing.

Before the session I thought it was an absurd amount of money. I mean Easy Gym is £21 a month and that's 3 doors down from this place? After the session though I realised something. This place works, you go in and you workout, you don't doss about, you don't feel like dossing about. You're motivated to work hard. You give your all in these sessions and walk away satisfied knowing you have. I've tried every other gym in my area (except Pure Gym) over the years and I have never had that in any of them. I once a few years back committed the shameful deed of having a gym membership for a whole year and going less than once a month. That was an expensive mistake.

I still think OTF is expensive but weirdly it works out cheaper than paying for a gym I'll never go to and never use and in turn I would never see any benefits or results from. For example. Nuffield Health are asking for £84 a month for their membership, that's just access and doesn't include their joining fee etc. 

So after much umm-ing and ahh-ing I decided to sign up to OTF. It's a rolling contract so if after the first month I don't see any results, don't use it as much as I should or I decide it's not worth the money then it's only the equivalent of a month and a half of Nuffield Health's gym membership that I would have spent (don't start me on Easy Gym).

My next session is Monday night which gives me a good couple of days to recover, eat lots of protein and rebuild what little muscle I currently have. 

My goal is that in 1 months time I will be the lightest I've been in 2 years. If that works out in 2 months I hope to be the lightest I've been in over a decade.

I'll post up some follow up articles on how my progress is going later down the line.