By Gary Nager
I can’t yet guarantee you that the 60-minute group personal training workouts at Orangetheory Fitness (located off Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in New Tampa, next to Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks) will deliver the best possible results of any gym or personal training studio. What I can tell you is that the workouts are definitely intense, unique and even fun.
Although I have been working out consistently the last four+ years and have kept off most of the nearly 50 lbs. I lost, I have to admit that I hadn’t been as motivated the last few months to really give my all in my workouts. To that end, I signed up for Orangetheory’s six-week Ultimate Fitness Challenge — not so much to try to win the $2,500 top prize — but to see if I liked the facility, the workout, the trainers and yes, to get back my motivation to lose back the last 15-20 lbs.
Motivation, energy and heart rate are the big buzz words at Orangetheory. Each of the no more than 24 people in each class is given a personal heart rate monitor and the workout nearly always begins with 26 minutes on the treadmill, although there is both a stationary bike and a unique elliptical machine called a “strider” for those who can’t do a hard 26 minutes (walking or running) on the treadmill.
During that 26 minutes, the trainers have you establish a “base” pace that should get your heart up to the “green” zone (as shown on big-screen TVs), or between 75-85 percent of your maximum heart rate (based on your age). They then include one- or two-minute intervals of “pushing” and “all out” paces designed to get your heart rate up to and to stay in the “orange” zone (85-95 percent of your maximum) and, eventually, into the “red” zone (95 percent and above of your maximum heart rate).
The trainers will tell you that your heart rate should stay in the “orange” zone (thus, the “orange theory”) at least 12-20 minutes of each one-hour workout to achieve maximum weight loss and fitness results.
In addition to the treadmills, Orangetheory workouts include intervals on an ergonomic rowing machine and the “weight room” includes reps using a variety of dumbbell free weights, medicine balls, step benches, and enough sets of rings suspended from the back wall for each person in class to have a set.
The instructors generally do a very good job of explaining each exercise, but it is really important to pay attention as each is explained, because the trainers have a lot of people they have to keep on task, the music is loud and pulsating and the exercises themselves are designed to bring your muscles to full fatigue, while keeping your energy level high, so you definitely want to do them all correctly. The trainers also take the time to show you lower- or non-impact alternative versions you can do instead of the higher-impact exercises.
Orangetheory co-founder and Tampa native Terry Blachek says he is happy to bring Orangetheory to the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area.
“The choice to open in New Tampa was an easy one, and we are looking forward to becoming a staple in this tight-knit community.”
I’ve only been at the Challenge four weeks (I’ve done seven sessions in 14 days), but I have lost a few pounds, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have gone down and I’m already increasing my time in the orange and red zones with virtually each workout. Oh, and I feel great, too.
To get started, call 774-3488, visit OrangetheoryFitness.com or stop by the studio at 17515 Preserve Walk Lane. There are 55 classes each week, including Sunday.