Orangetheory Fitness is a Florida-based franchise and has finally made its way to Texas, with locations popping up all over Plano, Carrollton, Mesquite, Dallas and soon Fort Worth. When the Preston Hollow location opened up a few months ago, I was invited to check out the studio and was immediately intrigued with the concept and loved the aesthetic of the studio. Fist pump. Essentially, Orangetheory offers a 60 minute heart-rate based interval workout that is designed to help you burn 500-1000 calories per class. It incorporates workouts using row machines, treadmills, TRX, and free weights. Being a smaller person, I don’t think I burn that many calories in typical workouts and I was ready to put that claim to the test.
The Space: The Preston Hollow location is the largest of the all the studios that have been popping up. It’s a large one studio location with high ceilings and tall windows. Loved all the natural light and the openness of the space. The lobby area is open and inviting, allowing people to hang out as they wait for the next class. The studio itself is L-shaped and has a long row of treadmills and row machines on one side and a weight room on the other side. Everything is neat, tidy, and clean, just the way I like it.
The Classes: In each class, the routine will incorporate three elements during the interval training: treadmill, weights/TRX, and the row machines. What’s also really cool is the technology integrated into the class experience. Everyone is asked to wear a heart rate monitor that’ll keep the guest cognizant of where their rate is during the entire workout. In the classroom, there are TV monitors that display each persons current heart rate and it also changes color depending on which of the 5 heart rate zones (grey, blue, green, orange, and red) you may be in. In the 60 mins of class, you’ll be asked to push yourself to reach the orange zone for 12-20 of the 60 minute class to achieve EPOC. All that means, is that your body will continue burning calories after class. You can read more about that here.
During the class, you’ll be asked to do a variety of different intervals and exercises, either on the treadmill, row machines, or in the weight room. Don’t worry, the instructors do a great job guiding you. Throughout the class, you’ll be able to see on the TV monitors your current heart rate, the color zone you’re in, the total number of points you’ve currently achieved in the orange zone, and total calories burned so far. Sounds like a lot of information, but it’s easy to understand and is a motivator throughout class. There are also guides on the treadmills for newbies who aren’t sure where they need to be during the jogging/running segment of class.
The beauty about this workout is that each workout is truly different for everyone. The amount of energy and effort it takes to reach the orange zone is different for each person because it’s based solely on your fitness level. Because it’s based on colors and points, it helps level the playing field and the need to keep up with the person next to you. For example, I had a friend who was on the treadmill next to me. We were both in the orange zone. However for me, it meant running at a level 7 on the treadmill, whereas for him, it was a 9 or 10.
My experience: I attended three classes by three different instructors and each class was challenging and slightly different. Before each class, all newbies are given a quick walk through before each class to get familiar with the row machine and the basic concept of the class. I love that they do that. It definitely put me at ease before the start of class. Once class starts, the group is split in half. One group will warm up on the row machines and hit the weights and the other half will start with the treadmills. In the weight area, there are also TV monitors that display the exercise circuit to refer to and how reps for each exercise. I thought this was really helpful. I typically like starting with the row machines and weight room first and save the treadmill segment last. I know I can really push myself to run a lot harder on the treadmill.
Instructor: I enjoyed Tak, Randy and Ray’s classes. They all made me feel very welcomed and gave me a brief overview before each class. They also did a great job juggling the two groups in the class and offering the right instructions. They were really encouraging and supportive. For the most part, they were great at checking form.
Loved: I absolutely love the use of the heart rate monitor. I’m definitely a huge metrics and data girl and being able to see concrete data on where I am during a workout is such a huge motivator for me. It’s so hard for me to gauge how many calories I am actually burning and where my heart rate should be. I was able to burn 500-600 calories each time I went and that’s huge for me. Seeing the numbers pushed me to work even harder and set personal goals for myself. My first time, I burned 500 calories and was able to reach the orange zone for only 12 minutes. My second time, I was worked hard to burn 600 calories and reach the orange zone for 20 minutes. Going with a friend also encouraged the both of us to go harder. Nothing like a little friendly competition.
After achieving those goal. it felt so good to walk away, knowing I spent my hour well. All the stats are also sent to your email so you can see how many calories you burned, average heart rate, and how long you were in the orange and red zone (aka fat burn zones).
I also really like the treadmills. They respond quickly to changes in speed and incline and were more springy. Definitely easier on my knees.
Feedback: The only issue I had was with the reliability of the heart rate monitor. Sometimes it would go a little haywire during class and register incorrect HR and calorie burn. Before class started, I had one HR monitor that kept registering the wrong heart rate. Fortunately I was able to replace it. I’d hate to get incorrect data after a class. I think checking everyone’s HR monitor before class to make sure it’s registering correctly would be a great check point. Right now, it’s up to the guest to make sure the screen is registering correctly before starting class.
Some feedback from friends that I brought along craved more challenging weight segment to their workouts.
“I liked the facilities and the equipment. As an avid runner, I really enjoyed using the treadmills. The water rowing machines were nice too. I was a little underwhelmed by the strength portion of the workout. I was expecting more intensity there. Also, I’m not sure my heart rate monitor was functioning properly. Otherwise, I had fun and would do it again,” – Dave Mason.
“I really liked the heart rate monitor system. It helps maximize your workout while incorporating a variety of cardio and weight lifting exercises. I noticed that a few fellow gym members were experiencing issues with the heart rate monitor. I would definitely visit Orangetheory again and have incorporated what I’ve learned there into my current workouts,” – Diep Pham.
Difficulty Level: At first glance, this is a really intimidating class and it is fast-paced. Because the workout is heart rate based, it allows all fitness levels to go at their own pace. For some people, they weren’t able to reach the orange or red zones, but were still able to burn 500+ calories nonetheless. On the treadmills, you have the option to walk, jog or run as long as you are able to get your heart rate up. There are few breaks in between sets. Any break you get still involves some sort of active recovery. In the end, it’s a great workout and it’ll definitely kick your butt.
FYI/Costs/Parking: The PH studio is located off 75 and Walnut Hill, next to the Trader Joes. There’s decent amount of parking in front, on the sides, and near the other shops. The summer promo right is your first two classes are free. After summer, it’ll go back down to one. You can sign up for class by calling in. Keep in mind the evening classes fill up quickly so I’d recommend calling in a week ahead otherwise you’ll get waitlisted. Definitely bring water and your own towel and shoes that can handle both running and weights. Another tip for those who’ve never used a heart rate monitor, it’ll go under your shirt or sports bra. Place it a little to the left to be right under your heart. You can also purchase the heart rate monitors if you’d like. And don’t forget to return them after class, otherwise you’ll be charged for them.
Another tidbit, if you are leery about the cardio portion, they also have one stryder and bike if the treadmill portion is too much for your knees, ankles, back, etc. The additional amenities include two showers, two private bathrooms, and water fountains. Here are details on their memberships. Pricing ranges from $60 for the Orange Basic (4x a month), $99 for Orange Elite (8x sessions a month), and $159 for unlimited or Orange Premier. Your sessions don’t carry over. Use them or lose them!
The Takeaway: Definitely a new favorite. I’m all about efficiency and making the most of my time and I love the feeling that I’ve had a very productive workout every time I leave. I definitely recommend it for people who are looking for a well-rounded workout and a challenge. I was able to gauge my own fitness level and push myself more so than I normally would in any fitness class.
In order to review Orangetheory Preston Hollow, Deep Fried Fit was compensated for her time. However, all opinions are her own.