Going into this year I wanted to shake things up fitness-wise. I wanted to take my cross training to the next level... err... or to any level because let’s be honest, I don’t cross train.
I’ve been doing planks regularly since November and I do walking lunges to warm up before running but other than that, I wasn’t doing much.
So I wanted to shake it up. I had been looking at Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) for a few years as something I wanted to try. I had seen people on social media really enjoying it and the fact that some of it was still running was also a plus!
I’m in no way affiliated with OTF, I just want to share my experience in case anyone is curious!
So for anyone that doesn’t know OTF, it’s an interval based workout style that rotates between treadmills, rowers, and weight/floor exercises. You have a heart rate monitor that’s tracking your beats per minute and displays them on the screens that are set up around the room. The goal is to get your heart rate into higher levels for certain intervals and earn splat points and the screens allow you to see how you are doing.
My first class was hard. I was doing moves that my body wasn’t use to and because I was coming out of marathon/Dopey training, I already had a lot of cardiovascular fitness and it was really hard for me to get into the higher heart rate zones. I was slightly discouraged because i couldn’t “play the game” the way i was hoping i could but that was okay. However, I took my first class and was sore for 3 days after. I’m talking my glutes and thighs made walking, sitting, standing, and stairs not fun. I was definitely walking funny but it also showed me my weaknesses and that even though I didn’t get splat points, I CLEARLY got my butt handed to me.
After the first class and the days following, I was determined to give another class a try. Well, actually, I thought to myself, “what if I just committed to doing it once a week for all of February? It’s the shortest month, I could do once a week for the shortest month.” So I signed up for a basic membership and started going every Sunday. Over the month, I can tell I’ve gotten a lot stronger, I’ve gotten better at really pushing myself, and I’ve really enjoyed working out with people. It keeps me engaged and I just have to listen to the instructor and follow along for an hour. I love it!
The one part that’s frustrating is that I still have a really hard time earning splat points. During the class if you get your heart rate into the “Push” or “All Out” range (basically HR Zone 4 and 5) you earn splat points which don’t really amount to much by my internal competitive side gets a little discouraged that it’s hard for me to “play the game”. I’m getting better at it though and really pushing myself beyond the limits that I had set for myself mentally. I’m braking some serious internal barriers!
So how has it helped my running? The rower means I’ve developed stronger shoulders and back which helps with stamina. Also, pushing myself hard during the class intervals helps me keep redefining what a “hard effort” is which has made me a stronger runner on speed work days. This week I had some of the best runs I’ve had in a while and I can’t help but think OTF has something to do with that. Additionally, moving my body each week in different ways helps keep everything loose and my muscles more mobile.
Once a week works perfectly for me so I’m going to stick with that for the foreseeable future and I’m looking forward to see how it helps me over the next year and into the future!
Overall, if you are looking for a new fitness class, you can probably get a free class and give it a try!