I got a phone call from OrangeTheory Fitness center about my membership I had reserved a couple months ago. I hadn’t forgotten about it per se, but I kept forgetting to call them during their business hours to cancel my membership. I told them about my situation and they still invited me to their facility for a free workout. And who am I to say no to a free killer workout?
I have to hand it to OrangeTheory. They have created an incredibly dynamic workout with all the bells and whistles. The trainers are fairly personable (not quite the same level as CrossFit, but definitely above regular gyms). The equipment is top notch. And that tech! So advanced.
Unfortunately, I still think I must be at least part-wizard because technology, even the latest and greatest, doesn’t work on me.
Here’s the deal with OrangeTheory. You have a heart rate monitor on during your workout. The monitor is connected to a computer and registers your workout stats on a huge screen around the facility so you can keep track of how you are doing. There are 5 zones- grey for “not working”, blue for “warm-up”, green for what they refer as your “base”, orange for “optimal”, and red for “maximum”. They call themselves OrangeTheory because ideally you’ll stay in the “Orange Zone” for a good portion of the workout, and burn more calories and reap the most benefits in that zone (better sleep, better mood, more energy, etc). The monitors measure your heart rate to determine which zone you are in. And here is where my issue lies. I don’t know if, again, I’m just a wizard or if I have a shallow/light heart rate, but I have yet to find a monitor that reads my heart rate accurately.
I wasn’t trying to kill myself today, but I know I spent a good portion in the orange zone (maybe even a minute or two in the red zone), but my score was saying I stayed in the green zone and blue zone for the majority of my workout. I let the trainers know what my issue was, and luckily I am pretty good at pushing myself and using how I feel to determine which zone I was in, but it’s very frustrating.
I don’t know why I’d get frustrated. It’s not like I was going to join but because the monitor doesn’t work right, there goes my whole plan. And I highly doubt OrangeTheory is going to come to Whidbey Island anytime soon. But it would be nice to have a monitor work well with me, because it would be a great way to judge how hard I’m working, and I know I push myself harder to stay in the right workout zone when I can see how I’m doing.
How frustrating is this wizard curse with technology? Even treadmills and elipticals don’t read my heart rate right. I always have to use how I feel to judge how hard I’m working. Heart rate doesn’t cut it for me, or I’d flat-line and have to be removed from the premise by stretcher.
So, how do I translate the amazing equipment and technology to my budget and resources? I’ve already made several homemade medicine balls, and have a variety of cost effective and easy to transport equipment we use in our workouts. One thing I think we’ll have to incorporate to replicate an OrangeTheory workout is running on natural substrate. The treadmills at OTF are state of the art in terms that they have some give, so it’s more like running on earth than on concrete or other hard surface. Finding natural trails on Whidbey Island shouldn’t be too difficult. Maybe we can even find a beach to do a couple workouts. Sand makes running super difficult, but is also softer impact on the joints.
I think in regards to replicating the circuit workouts, I should incorporate more AMRAPS and Tabatas alongside trail/beach running. These circuit schemes are great interval training, and will keep the heart rate up while working on body conditioning. And supplement other schemes as Finishers or to complement a strength type workout.
The challenge I will have is pushing myself. I love the routine of OrangeTheory with their “Base”, “Push”, and “All Out”. I have tried using it with my workouts, and it helps, so I think I’ll try practicing this scenario in a park or beach workout on Whidbey to see how I feel.
I want to continue to make improvements to my fitness. I’ve regressed quite a bit this year already, but I feel that making this move will be good for my mind, body, and soul. I just need the motivation to make all my dreams come true!
Great job on hitting the gym today! I agree, Orange Theory is nice when the heart monitor works. It’s a great way for people to begin to connect with their bodies when you can have a digital indication of what your body is doing and match it to what your feeling. After a year of wearing a polar heart rate monitor I was able to tell when my heart rate was above 80% or lower without the monitor on. But like all tech it doesn’t match with organic things perfectly so you have to look at it in relative terms.