What Is Orange Theory?

This is a photo of me sitting on a bench in my Sweaty Betty workout attire.

What Is Orange Theory?

June 16, 2017

Fitness Wasn't My Forte

For those of you who remember me in my high school days, I was super athletic (cross country, track, volleyball, hapkido) and I ate just about everything under the sun. When I went off to college, I still tried to run from time to time but that was the extent of it. Over time, the running stopped too because in Arizona it is over 90 degrees about a quarter of the year. Hard to run outside when your brain feels like it's going to melt right out of your head, know what I mean? I will say that I always liked to run, but I just didn't want to fry in the sun and I never liked going inside a gym. Gyms smell like other people's sweat, they're closed off and I despised running on a treadmill. 

During the month of May, my company decided to host a Wellness Challenge. The goal was to get the most team miles and it was calculated: total team miles for the week/# of people on the team.

We were super competitive, and over the challenge I definitely realized I wanted to get back into shape. Nothing makes a competitive person want to work out more than a fitness competition. Let's face it. I am super competitive, so I couldn't not give it my all. 

During this Wellness Challenge, one of my good friends told me to check out Orange Theory. I had never heard of it before (being totally honest) since I wasn't really into the fitness game. However, after she explained it to me I decided to try one class. I'd like to say the rest is history, and it's been a month and a half since I started. I look so much healthier and feel so much better than I have in years. Since I've found something that works for me, I thought I would bullet out a list of what Orange Theory is and why it works for me.

Less than an hour.

The workouts are typically under an hour. The most common class is 60 minutes, but it's really only 54 minutes of working out and then 6 minutes of stretching post workout. There is a 45 minute option too, which I like even more. If you feel adventurous you can opt in for an early morning 90 minute class, but again I love the short nature of the workout. 

Interval training.

I never liked weights. I only really ever enjoyed running. However, with Orange Theory you are focusing 1/3 of the time on the treadmill, 1/3 of the time on the row machine and 1/3 of the time with weights. It is the definition of interval training as you're switching to each within every single workout. 

This interval training helps to tone and work all of your body, whereas before (for me) I was just working the same muscles in my body from running.

Calorie burn

The goal of Orange Theory is to keep your heart rate in the "orange zone" which is just above the green where your body knows it's moving (e.g. walking) but not in the red (e.g. running uphill). Staying within this orange zone for at least 12 minutes per workout stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Not to mention increased calorie burn for 36 hours after the workout, which is called the "afterburn."

Your heart rate is tracked by a heart rate monitor you wear during the entire workout. Most people are burning 500-1000 calories per 60 minute workout which is amazing. When I first started, I was burning close to 600. Now that I've been doing it for a bit, I am burning closer to 500 calories per workout, which essentially means I have to work harder to get my heart rate and body burning the amount I was when I first started. As your body gets used to the workout, you simply have to do more to get your blood pumping in the same manner because your body gets accustomed. 500-600 calories per 54 minute workout is a huge amount of calories for such a short period of time, and you will burn MORE calories even while sleeping and resting for up to 36 hours after the workout, because your body will be in a higher metabolic state.

 Personal training

I find that Orange Theory is a cross between a standard gym membership and personal training. The classes have 20-30 people, and sometimes they're smaller (5-10 depending on time of day). I find it is so much more helpful to have a trainer show me how to use the equipment and show the proper way to do any given exercise in the weight room, rather than trying to figure it out on my own. Not to mention I would likely hurt myself in the process of figuring out how to use a particular machine, or lifting a weight the wrong way. While you are not paying the expensive cost of a personal trainer, you are definitely getting that attention during the workout.


All of the coaches are very motivational (of course some more than others) but I really find it uplifting when they're telling me 30 seconds left, DO NOT GIVE UP. I don't know about you, but I need someone telling me to keep going. Otherwise I feel pain and lose sight of the finish line. 


When you pay for a membership of this caliber, you will go to the gym. You also have to hold yourself accountable when you go, and do the best you can for 60 minutes. Everyone there has committed to this higher intensity workout, and all for their own reasons. I hold myself accountable to keep moving the entire workout and do every single rep. Make them all count.


It's always upbeat, and it's the kind of music you'd want to workout to on your own. If you see me at any of the classes, you will catch me dancing for several minutes at the very least. When "my song" comes on (which is about 300 songs LOL!) you will see me moving the best I can no matter how tired I am. When I'm so exhausted towards the end of a workout, I lip sync instead. 

This is a photo of me kneeling on the ground ready to take off for a sprint.

If you live in Tucson Arizona, there are 3 Orange Theory studios in town. For the summer (months of June, July and August) mention my name (Adaleta) or ADAATUDE and they'll hook you up with a free class. If you decide to join the gym long-term, you will get the corporate discount for mentioning my name. Even if you don't plan to go long-term, go test out a FREE class. What do you have to lose? Besides 500 calories?

How has your fitness journey been? Were you a similar boat as me? Or have you stayed active for years? I find inspiration when hearing others' stories about health and fitness goals, struggles and achievements so leave those in the comments below!

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Rocking Sweaty Betty Leggings