Morrisville, N.C. — Want to burn calories even as you sit on the couch? Orangetheory, a new fitness studio in Morrisville, boasts a workout that can help you burn calories even the next day.
With claims like that, I was determined to see exactly how intense this workout can be. I'm a gym member and routinely take cardio and some strength classes, so I figured I could handle the endurance-level needed. So, I grabbed my water bottle and headed to their new Market Center location.
As intimidating as it can be walking into a new gym, OrangeTheory, part of a national chain, probably has the best approach to easing those jitters. I met with the trainer who would be teaching my class. Caitlin showed me the equipment I would be using and explained how workouts are structured at Orangetheory.
The hour is broken into three components: Treadmill training (30 minutes), then indoor rowing and weight training blocks. A wireless monitor keeps track of your heart rate. The science behind the workout is known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Throughout the hour, your heart rate will be going through five target zones. The workout involves multiple pushes or interval bursts where you work harder than normal. This helps spike that heart rate up to zones four and five. Your heart rate is supposed to be in the middle around zone three most of the workout. Those intervals pushes are supposed to create an after-burn effect that will produce a 200 to 400 calorie increase to your metabolism in the next 24-36 hours following your workout.
Classes are limited to 24 people and half start on the treadmills and the rest on the rowing machines. Since I am not much of a runner, I wanted to get my cardio in first. So, I hopped on the treadmill. My instructor told us to start at a walking pace around 3 mph. Some walked briskly, while others ran. Walkers worked to increase incline, runners increased speed. During "pushes," each person made the necessary adjustments on their machines.
The hardest part of the cardio portion is comparing yourself to others. It is hard not to do that. At 3.5 mph, I'm running, while others are just walking fast. You have to just look for the level of incline or speed that causes your heart rate to go up to zones four or five. Push yourself but don't feel bad if you can't always raise the speed as high as suggested on the guide on your machine. It takes time!
The treadmill interval training had my heart rate up already, then I sat down at the rowing machine. These were my favorite. The mechanics involved with rowing really works your core and entire body. The first challenge was to keep it at a certain rpm, then we later worked to get to 200 meters within a minute. Rowing was combined with strength and resistance training. Everything was done in blocks of work that incrementally worked down to less reps.
The way the classes are structured, you could go every day and never have the exact same workout, owner Kristie Shifflette said. Each class is designed to work different muscle groups and uses different equipment. At the end of the workout, they email you a printout of your calorie burn. I burned 783 calories in that hour.
I actually took the class with Shifflette, who is an avid runner. After a career in the corporate world, she wanted to focus on something else and found that fitness was an industry where she really felt fulfilled. She said they are also looking to open another Orangetheory location in the Triangle.
With different membership plans available, Shifflette said a single class can cost anywhere from $6 to $25. And if you are interested in trying it out, they are offering "Free Session Saturdays" through April 26 at 2 p.m. Pre-registration is suggested. Just call the Morrisville location at 919-883-9469 to reserve a spot or find out more about membership.
Have you ever done a "boot-camp" class or anything that involves levels of cardio and strength training?