What to Expect at Your First Orange Theory Class!

If you all are anything like me, you like to be prepared. I hate going into something not knowing what to expect. It gives me so much anxiety. So when I decided to go to my first Orange Theory class, I searched the internet for info on what to expect, bring, wear, etc., but I didn’t really find much! So I’ve put together this post to help you know what to expect at your first Orange Theory class. I hope it helps!

What is Orange Theory Fitness?

Orange Theory Fitness

Orange Theory is a group fitness class incorporating the treadmill/bike, row machine, and weights.

What should I wear?

For women, I recommend wearing a supportive sports bra, a tank top or tshirt, and leggings. I prefer to wear leggings because I would feel a little exposed during some of the exercises on the weight floor if I wore running shorts. If you wonder whether you can just wear a sports bra, ask your specific location at your first class. For shoes, wear closed toed supportive tennis shoes. Put your hair up and wear a headband so your hair isn’t constantly getting in your face. And wear an extra hair tie on your wrist! I don’t wear any jewelry besides my watch and rubber wedding band. I’ll link it here! For men, Kyle always wore basketball shorts, a cut off tshirt, and tennis shoes.

What should I bring?

Make sure you bring a water bottle and your heart monitor! They will loan you a heart monitor on your first day, but once you purchase one after that, you’ll have to pay to rent one if you forget yours. I also like to have a hand towel for when I get extra sweaty! Also, feel free to bring work out gloves if you don’t like the rubbing of weights or a row bar. You can bring the water bottle, gloves, and towel into the work out room with you.

What should I eat before class?

If you want to go to an early morning class, I suggest getting something in your belly beforehand! Most times I would drink either half of an energy drink, a cup of coffee, or my greens and eat a Verb bar or some granola. I didn’t like to go on a full stomach though! I feel like this is pretty different person to person so do what you would do before a tough work out and switch things up to see what works best.

Which heart monitor should I get?

Orange Theory Heart Rate monitors

This is totally personal preference. Kyle wears the arm band monitor, and I wear the one that wraps around your abdomen. The one I wear sits right under my bra strap and stays put during my whole work out. You can try out each one and see which one you want to purchase- I highly recommend doing that before choosing. Sometimes, both monitors will stop picking up your stats if you’re too sweaty or if it didn’t connect correctly. They’ll give you tips on how to wear it the best way and what to do if it’s acting up. If it’s acting up during class, the workers will come in and help you. Last I heard, OT was also working on a monitor that works with apple watches so they might have that ready by now!

What do I do when I first arrive?

If it’s your first day, they’ll ask you to arrive early. Just go to the front desk, and they’ll walk you through everything. They even take you into the work out room early and show you everything. For future classes, when you first arrive, they usually have cards sitting on the front desk and they will ask you where you want to start first (treadmill, row machine, weight floor), and they give you a station card. Then you can hang up your coat, drop off your keys and phone in a cubby (our facility asked us to not bring our phones into the work out room because it messes with the bluetooth for the monitors), and wait for the coach to come out. The coach will give you a rundown of the class and then let you in the room- they don’t want you going into the work out room until the coach opens the door. All the stations are numbered, and at my location, it’s first come first served. So if you really want to do the treadmills first, try to get there a little early because those seem to go first. At my location, you just pick the machine you want to start out on and then stick with that number for all the locations. For example, if I started on the treadmill and my treadmill was number 3, I’ll also go to the number 3 row machine and weight floor station. I have heard that some locations assign the numbers as well, but they’ll tell you at your first class!

What is a typical class like?

Once you get into the room and pick a station, the coach will go over what the class is going to be like specifically. They’ll use a white board to write out the row machine exercises so you don’t have to try to remember exactly what they said. The exercises on the weight floor will be on the TVs for you to follow along with, and the coach will also demonstrate each exercise to the whole class before you start. They’ll give verbal instructions as you’re running/walking on the treadmill. The coach will give you a heads up before it’s time to switch stations and will then instruct you when to do so and where to go. There are a couple different ways the class can go, but the most common one is when you are only at each station once. If you start on the row machine, you’re there for 15ish minutes followed by the weight floor for 15ish minutes, and then you end on the treadmills for 15ish minutes. I’ve been to one class where I went around the stations twice so the individual times at each station was shorter. I also was at a relay class one time which meant that I was on a “team” of 3 and each team member is at a different station, and we switched places periodically. You are still doing all the same exercises, it just switched it up a little bit. Again, the coaches will explain it all and make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing. I know this sounds overwhelming, but it really isn’t once you get in there. The coaches are REALLY good at making sure the class goes smoothly for everybody.

How much is it?

Your first class is FREE. Kyle and I both did the 8 classes/month package, and that was about $100 a piece. If you want unlimited classes, it goes up $60/month. We liked the 8 classes a month package because we still went to our gym and on runs outside of Orange Theory. Some people at my OT used it as their main work out so it made sense for them to have the unlimited package. That amount of money can seem like a lot, depending on where you are in life, but it was so worth it for Kyle and I. I mean, some people spend that on coffee, hair, or nails every month so it’s just all about what you want to spend money on! *These prices could have changed since we started OT*

How many calories do you burn?

Orange Theory is definitely the work out that I burn the most calories in. I would usually burn at least 500 calories per class. Kyle would get up to 1000 sometimes! Please remember that exercising is not all about the calories, but OT is a GREAT option if you are looking to burn lots of them!

What are the zones?

Orange Theory zones

Orange theory has 5 zones. Grey, blue, green, orange, and red. Grey is when you’re barely expending any energy and red is when your heart rate is maxed out. In my first class, I was in the orange and red zone for most of the class. It kicked my butt in the best way possible! In future classes, I spent the most time in the green and orange zone. The zones are based off your heart rate so the higher your heart rate climbs as you work out, the higher the zone you’re in. The picture above is from the Orange Theory Fitness website.

What are splat points?

Splat points stand for the amount of minutes you were in the orange and red zone. 1 splat point= 1 minute spent in the orange or red zones. Don’t worry too much about this- you don’t get in trouble or anything like that if you don’t get a certain amount of points. They just like you to work as hard as you can, and your heart rate can be a good indicator of that! As you can see in the photos above, my range of splat points is huge.

Do I have to run?

NO! They give you the option to either run or walk on the treadmill, and you can switch it up any time you want. They give instructions throughout the whole time you’re on the treadmill for both runners and walkers. I started off walking but a few months into my OT journey, I switched to running. I think the walking really prepares you if you want to get into running. The left photo are my stats from walking and the right are from running.

Do I have to know anything about weights?

NO! They give detailed instructions and examples of all the exercises. You mainly use dumbbells, work out balls, or bands. The coaches are also very helpful with form so speak up if you have any questions! They’ll probably come help you if they see something wrong without being prompted.

What about people with injuries or physical limitations?

First, you need check with your doctor if you can do Orange Theory. If you can, tell the coach your limitation when you get to class. If it’s your first day, they’ll probably ask you about it anyways. The coaches are really good about giving alternatives for all exercises, and they have a few bikes specifically for people who can’t be on the treadmill. They don’t encourage using the bike long term, but if you need them, use them!

What’s the class schedule like and how do I book a class?

Download the Orange Theory app on your phone, put in your location, and see what class is open! Your first class is free, and it’ll give you specific instructions on how to schedule your first one. The app is super convenient and makes it super easy to book classes, explore the schedule, and look at your stats. Once you download the app and sign up (no payment yet), you can select you location and look at the schedule. If you want to book a class, select the plus sign next to the class. Each studio usually has a wide range of class times starting as early as 5AM and going until 8PM. I loved going to the 5AM class before work. If you see that a class is booked, select to be on the waitlist. At my location, I almost always got into the class when I started on the waitlist. That’s probably different depending on the studio so just try it out and see. If you go to select a class, and it has a stop watch next to it with a number instead of the plus sign, that means there is a waitlist. Just click it, and it’ll add you. Then when you go back to the schedule, the number listed next to the class you selected is your number on the waitlist. If even the waitlist is full, it’ll say FULL where the plus sign/stopwatch usually is. I liked to book my classes as far in advance as possible so I had it on my schedule and knew I was in the class. You can schedule a few weeks in advance which I highly suggest.

*I would like to say that I have NOT been at Orange Theory since spring 2020. Once COVID hit, they closed for a bit. When they opened back up, Kyle and I were in the process of moving so we froze our account. I do not know what the rules are now regarding COVID, but just call the studio to check beforehand if you want to know!

I hope this post helps someone feel a little less stressed about their first Orange Theory class! If you’ve been wanting to try it, I highly suggest doing so. It is a great work out for all types of people. Even if you are new to working out or have been working out for years, I bet you’ll enjoy it. When I was strictly a runner, I loved it because it helped with my speed and strength training. Now that I lift more, I want to get back into OT to help continue my cardio endurance.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment! I’m happy to help. And please let me know if you end up trying Orange Theory! I’d love to hear how it was for you.

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