Orange Theory Baltimore Studio Review - SLF Fitness Adventures
Orangetheory Fitness is taking the country, the world by storm. They are currently the fastest growing fitness franchise in the WORLD [yes they have studios open in 18 countries and growing] in part due to their unique take on group fitness.
Last summer — Orangetheory Fitness opened up a brand new location in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood. You can’t miss their bright orange awnings and maybe you’ve peaked through their massive glass doors and wondered — What exactly is Orangetheory? To answer that question I had to get a little help from my friend. Because as much as I would like to spend my days trying every new fitness trend that pops up I’m quickly learning that is not possibly.
Luckily I have a lot of fit friends - including Ameera who I knew could help me out in this department. Not only OTF her go to workout of choice, she has recently become an ACE certified personal trainer so she knows what she’s talking about.
Ameera Ahmadieh the fitness force of nature behind Meer Motivation
Hi I’m Ameera! I have always loved being active since I was a little girl. I think I pretty much tried every sport possible, from ballet to swimming to basketball, and maybe the reason for trying some sports were for the cool uniforms, but at least I tried! I played basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse in high school so I was always running around. Going from being active all year round 6 days a week to drinking and going to the gym 3 days a week in college, it was a wake up call for sure. I still enjoyed working out but with different eating and drinking habits, I saw negative effects on my body. I gained weight, my face would break out, and I wasn’t entirely comfortable in my skin. Fast forward to a little over a year ago and that’s when I really decided to get my sh*t together to take care of my body. This was also around the time where I took my first Orangetheory class and I knew it would be a good addition to the other changes I was making to and for my body.
What is Orangetheory Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness [affectionately known simply as “OTF” to it’s loving of fans] Is a workout are designed to be a mix of strength, power, and endurance exercises. The studio is filled with treadmills, rowers, and some equipment on the floor [bosu ball, TRX straps, bench with weights, resistance bands, etc]. with some classes focusing more on one than the others. Every workout is a mix between all 3 stations - treadmill, rower, and floor - and the goal is to go at your own pace but reach the orange and red heart rate “zones” that are projected on a screen with data from your heart rate monitor for a range of 12-24 minutes total.
What’s a “splat point” and what good are they?
The fun part is for every minute you’re in the orange or red zone, you get a “splat” point. You can set goals for yourself for how many splat points you want to get for the day, week, month, etc and even have friendly competitions with your friends. 12 minutes in the red and orange zone = 12 splat point. Pretty easy math right?
Points are cool and all but there’s actually some science behind acquiring them. Getting in the splat point zones are the focus to getting the most after workout calorie burn. Something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption [EPOC]. The harder you work in the high zone, the more your body is going to need oxygen after the workout to “cool the engine down” and burn calories long after you’ve showered and are back at your desk working.
Not sold yet? Stick with me there’s more.
First Impressions - What’s it really like inside an Orangetheory Studio?
A white and bright open lobby stocked with merchandise, lockers to store your belongings, and a simple front desk greet you when you walk in. Around the corner there are 2 showers and 2 bathrooms, so you can shower and get ready for work or a date after class if you please. It’s pretty simple and new since the studio just opened about a year ago. Soft music is playing over the speakers—and — if you take the 6 o’clock classes like I usually do —not many conversations are going on because ya know… that’s early.
Once inside the actual training studio, that’s where the real fun is. Main lights are dimmed, there is an orange overhead light [which is very flattering] and the music is blasting. I don’t know about you, but when a dope song comes on and the music is blasting, I will push myself so much harder. It’s really motivating stuff.
On top of that, the coaches have a microphone headset to walk you through the workout and motivate you through the overhead speakers. All of the treadmills are in a line, the rowers are in a line, and the floor area is more of a circular set up. There are 2 monitors to see your heart rate progress and then 2 additional monitors by the floor to see the floor circuit. I have been to a couple of OTF studios and Harbor East is definitely the best one.
Price - How much does Orangetheory REALLY cost?
Because Orangetheory Fitness is a franchise, each studio has different pricing based on location and will also run different promotions. In general there are three levels of memberships within Orangetheory, and research has told me they can range anywhere from $59-$200/ month - but you’ll have to contact your local studio for exact prices.
The one discount that is consistent throughout all studios is a “founders” membership. Basically if a new studio is opening up, you can participate in pre-studio opening workouts [for free!] and help spread the word and in return you will get a discounted founders price. That’s what I did and it was awesome!
With everything I have shared above, the price is worth what you get. To find a studio that isn’t repetitive with their workout routines and has calculated ways for you to successfully burn calories up to 24 hours after you workout, it’s a no brainer.
Perks and other notables.
If you are thinking about joining the studio, give them a call! They will help find an open class where you can come give it a try FOR FREE. They will ask you to come 30 minutes before class to fill out some paperwork and get a tour of the studio. On top of that, they will have the coach talk you through the equipment and overall exercise cadence prior to class, one on one. I found this part super helpful because they really explain everything in detail and give you time to ask any questions. That is one of the reasons why OTF is the best because you feel so comfortable before you step into the studio for your first sweat there!
There isn’t onsite parking but The front desk staff is always so welcoming and helpful, they definitely make the experience much better than most studios.
You will never take the same class twice. They purposely design every workout to be different than the last, and are always bringing in new exercises to incorporate to the floor routine. You will never get bored since you are always doing something different. On top of that, the coaches are always well trained and motivating. Yes it’s a group class but they will take the time to stop by, check in on you, and provide suggestions or corrections to your workout.
Lastly, there are always competitions and events going on. It’s something different every month and there are some pretty cool prizes so you can always participate in addition to taking the regular classes.
Know before you go.
There is no onsite parking BUT there is a Whole Foods right around the corner where you can park, go workout, buy a protein bar after and get your parking ticket validated if it’s within 2 hours. Pretty doable since class is only 1 hour.Make sure to plan enough time to walk the two blocks from the parking garage to the studio — 15 minutes before class starts should be enough.
The station you start at all depends on when you get to class — it’s first come first serve. For example, if you are there 30 minutes before class starts, the front desk staff will ask you where you will want to start (floor, rower, treadmill) and you will get a ticket with your start station and station #. If you show up closer to the class start time, the treadmill spots will most likely be gone [they are the first to go!] so you will only be left with the rower and floor as an option.
If you care enough where you start —plan to get to the studio 15 minutes before class starts. Since I take the morning class, sleep is too precious,I get there 5-7 minutes before class and I choose to start on the floor. The rotation goes treadmill, rower, floor, and I like to do the floor exercises first then move onto the treadmill and end with the rower.
Although the studio has showers — they don’t have towels, soI would recommend bringing one! You can store your stuff in the lockers [bring your own lock] or on the shelving unit that is close to the showers.
At Orangetheory Fitness the format of the class is the same all day, and at any of their 1000 locations. Whether you’re down for the 6am class [come sweat with me!] or 4:30pm class, you’ll get the same workout. .I will talk to my friends about the workout because it’s fun to see what they thought of it even though we workout at different studios.
[did you know that ALL OTF workouts are designed and TESTED by a team of professionals at OTF headquarters? What other studio or gym can say that about their workouts? They are science backed and coach supported.]
The size of the class can alter the workout slightly because the workout format is by groups. For example, if there are more than 28 people [each station has 14 sets of each equipment], then the class will be a 3G class which stands for 3 groups. That means at the start of class, the treadmill and rowers will be filled up and then the remaining people will start on the floor. If there are 28 or less people, it will be a 2G class which stands for 2 groups. They divide the class in to 3 or 2 groups every class and you rotate with your group. If there are 3 groups, you will average ~14 minutes at each station. But, if there are 2 groups, you can get more time at certain stations since more equipment will be open.
Within each class, there are all different levels of exercisers and coaches take the time to show modifications when needed. The coaches are super helpful with providing modifications and ask people to share any restrictions before class starts so they can keep an eye on you. They even have a bike and strider for those with knee injuries who cannot participate in the treadmill station.
Be sure to check out Ameera on Instagram and Facebook for some pretty killer workout videos and recipes.
Have you tried Orangetheory Fitness? Love it or hate it - leave a comment and let me know.