Orange Theory Fitness For Beginners

If you had some vague goal of “working out more” or “losing weight”, I’m here to give you my beginner review of Orange Theory Fitness and kickstart your motivation for working on you this year.

I’ve been going to Orange Theory Fitness for two and a half months now (20 classes!), and I really like it. I definitely see myself continuing to workout at OTF for the long term.

The Workout. You can read their explanation here, but at its core, an OTF workout pushes you through varying effort levels on the treadmill, row machine, and floor exercises. The point is to increase your heart rate throughout the class, and it is tracked with a heart rate monitor. They have a few different class options: 2G and 3G. This just means how many groups there are in the class. A typical 2G class you will spend ~30 minutes on the treadmill, and  ~30 minutes on the row machine & weight floor. 3G is three groups, so you’ll spend ~15 minutes on each machine (treadmill, rower, weights). When you check in to class you’ll get to pick which machine you start on. In 2G classes, your options are the treadmill or the rower. I personally prefer 2G classes and starting on the treadmill.

The heart rate monitor is an extra expense, but I think it is an important part of the workout. It helps you understand how hard you’re working and if you need to push harder in order to get your heart rate up. I have the OTBEAT CORE which is a chest heart rate monitor, worn around the ribs.

Pricing. Pricing at each location will vary, but for reference I was a founding member at my location (California) and pay $110/month for 8 classes. They also offer tiers for unlimited classes and 4 classes /month. You can also buy class packs that are not restricted to a certain month. If you are a founding member at a new location (aka one of the first people to sign up) you can lock in a discounted rate. UPDATE, Nov 2021: if you have the chance to become a founding member at a new location, do it! I just got notice for my location that they are raising the prices for everyone (+$10/month) except for founding members. I don’t know if this is a policy throughout all Orange Theory locations, but it’s a great bonus to have your membership price locked in.

My Fitness Background. When I say I’m a beginner, I mean I literally have never been to an organized gym before three months ago. I ran track in high school and college, and coached track for five years, but mentally that’s very different than going to a gym and working out. Sure I know how to run and squat, but that’s about it. After college, I’d tell myself every year that I’d sign up for a gym. But the thought of going to a gym or workout class without knowing what to expect or do was terrifying to me. When I started getting Facebook ads for an Orange Theory opening up near me, I saw it as the perfect opportunity.


My Experience. Because the Orange Theory near me was brand new, I figured that there would be a lot of other newbies like me – and I was right! Before my first class, the gym staff did an overview of the gym, each machine and what to expect in the class. (They do this for any newbie, not just cause it was a new gym). At the start of each class, the coach gives an overview of what the workout will consist of so you know what to expect. I’ve liked every coach I’ve had so far except one (I just didn’t like his music choices) and they’ve all been genuinely helpful, nice, and supportive.

I did make one beginner mistake in my first class – don’t be like me. Each treadmill, row machine, and floor/weight area are numbered, and each person is assigned a number when you check-in to class. For some reason, I didn’t think about the fact that my treadmill number should match my rower & floor number?? So I ended up just standing in someone else’s floor area and she gave me the most confused look when I saw her looking at me in the mirror. Whooops!

Other than my one goof, Orange Theory has been a very welcoming and friendly place to workout. I am not in shape enough to run or jog, so I just powerwalk during the treadmill sections. I like that Orange Theory includes powerwalking in their workouts and I’ve never once felt silly or judged for powerwalking instead of jogging or running. You can still get a great workout from powerwalking too – get ready for lots of inclines!

The coach will always provide a demonstration of what to do during the floor portion of the class. If you ever are uncertain about an exercise, just wave down the coach and they will explain what to do or help you fix your form. If you have injuries or issues, let the coach know and they will give you an alternative way to do the exercise so you don’t hurt yourself or aggravate anything.

Final Thoughts. If you’re like me and have been terrified to step into a gym, but want to workout, I highly recommend Orange Theory. They offer a free class so you can try it before paying for any classes. If you’re really terrified, try going at a weird time when it’s less busy, or go with a friend.

If you have any questions about OTF, let me know! I’ve only been going for a few months, but I’ll try my best to answer. And if you ever want to join me, definitely let me know!

UPDATE: November 2021

Orange Theory is back open with restrictions depending on your location. My location is fully open, but all participants and coaches must wear masks once you enter the building. I still love the workout and highly recommend it. My location is now adding a 45-minute weights only lifting class. I will add my review once I try it.

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