How I transformed my body with Orangetheory in just eight weeks

I think we can all agree on this year has been rough, pandemic, quarantine, too much wine and lounging around in oversize sweatpants with nowhere to go and eating our emotions hasn’t exactly been the best thing for our minds and bodies, am I right? 
I decided that something needed to change, no more excuses! I needed to put myself first, and so I did, the last couple of months I prioritised my physical and mental health.

Orangetheory opened its first studio at Amager strand in Copenhagen this summer. It is in my neighbourhood, and therefore I noticed it, otherwise, I had never heard of it before. I was curious because I was always looking for something that worked for me but knowing myself, I always get bored and quit, so I didn’t expect this would be any different. But they offer the first class for free so I had nothing to lose!

The first class

I was terrified before my first class. I hated running. I was out of shape and had no idea what to expect. And it was brutal! But that was mostly my own fault. I am fiercely competitive, so I gave it my all the whole time earning a total of 58 splat points by staying in the red zone for almost a full hour! Usually, you should only remain in the red zone for a minute or two at a time. I was holding on to the rails of the treadmill, trying not to fall off and die. I should have accepted that I wasn’t a runner yet, but a power walker.

I would by no means consider myself a fitness person and to be honest, I used to hate working out. Never the less I signed up for the Eight-week Transformation Challange I was scared of what I had gotten myself into, but I like challenges, so I went for it.

I didn’t love Orangetheory right away. The first week was tough, and I dreaded the workouts, but I knew it was good for me, I just had to push through.

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The second week was my breakthrough

I started feeling and seeing my body change. I already saw muscle definition after one week! I was hooked. As the weeks went by I also noticed a shift in my mental state. I wasn’t as focused on weight loss but more on how I was getting stronger, faster and better at the workouts, I saw muscles where there was flab. Now eight weeks in, I have to force myself to take rest days. It is so addicting. Never thought I would be that person. I was unmistakably not a morning person either, but here I am taking classes at 6.15, even on Saturdays. OTF has reshaped my body and mind.
The workouts are still challenging, and I keep pushing my limits. Have I thrown up one time in the middle of a workout? Maybe. Do they make you push yourself so hard? No. The great thing is that you can do it at your own pace, the only one you need to focus on is yourself and I can assure you people are to busy tracking their own results instead of worrying about yours.

I normally like to be in control of everything, but it is so liberating to be able to walk into the studio not having to plan my workout, and not even knowing what is about to happen. Give my brain a break, just follow instructions, give it my all and leave an hour later with an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Left up to my own devices at a regular gym, I know I wouldn’t push myself nearly as hard. I would easily let my mood affect my outcome and half-assing through my workout because nobody will call me out on it. You won’t get away with any of that at OTF.

The community spirit

What I love most is the feeling of community, the coaches and the people at the desk are so friendly, and everybody knows your name. Being a typical Scandinavian person, it was weird the first couple of times, I was not used to this American-ish enthusiasm that comes with the franchise, but I am so into it now!
The OrangeTheory trainers are incredibly welcoming and informative, and they create this special bond with the clients. It is not just about the workout, but the community of people who are pushing, motivating, and encouraging each other. It is a fiercely loyal, cult-like community in the very best way possible.

Orangetheory Body Transformation Challenge: After each workout, you get a detailed summary of your workout in your inbox from Orangetheory Amager Strand
My first workout ( the one with all the splat points) vs. a recent one.

The workout

Orangetheory is a total-body group workout that will push you out of your comfort zone. It combines science, coaching and technology to guarantee maximum results from the inside out.
The classes are 60 minutes long and focus on high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In each class, you’ll go through workouts on a treadmill, on a rower, and the floor. You can burn up to 1.000 calories per class. I’m burning an average of 600 calories during every workout. However, I did hit 760 calories in my first class (the one with the 58 splat points) where I almost died from a heart attack on the treadmill.

The five heart rate zones

Your coach will guide you through our five different heart rate zones: resting, comfortable, challenging, uncomfortable and All Out. They tell you when to push harder and when to pull back for recovery (my favourite sentence is: “3, 2, 1 walk it out”). The goal is to spend 12 to 20 minutes with your heart rate elevated in “The Orange Zone” to boost your metabolism, burn fat and burn more calories and get that desired 36-hour afterburn, 36-hours!

There are three main types of classes, and each class has a distinct focus. Endurance classes feature long stretches on the treadmill, and high rep counts on the floor. Strength classes have a lot of uphill climbs on the treadmill and heavyweights on the floor. In power classes, you’ll work on speed, and sometimes they combine all three. You can also be surprised by a signature challenge class like Catch me if you can or Orange Everest among others. The class is divided into two groups. One starts on the treadmill, and the other begins on the floor and rowers.

The great thing is that the workout is scalable and suitable for all levels of fitness. If you can’t run you can powerwalk and if running just isn’t an option you can use a stationary bike. Your coach can provide options for any movement if you have injuries or limitations. The weight and floor exercises change daily; you will never get the same workout twice, so it never gets boring.
The studio provides you with a heart rate monitor, and your real-time data is displayed on television monitors to help you track your intensity, heart rate, calories burned and splat points earned. Heart rate is shown as a percentage of your estimated heart rate max based on your age, and calories burned is provided as an estimate based on biometrics.

The "theory" behind Orangetheory

OTF is based on something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), a concept that refers to your body’s increased intake of oxygen after physical activity. It’sIt’s colloquially referred to as the “afterburn.” During a one-hour long OTF workout, the goal is to spend at least 12 minutes in the orange zone or in zones four and five (red zone) combined. For each minute you spend in the orange zone or higher, you earn one “splat point.” Earning a minimum of 12 splat points will result in an increased metabolic rate for up to 36 hours post-exercise.

You can see real-time data during the workouts, which enables you to push harder and reach the orange zone if you are not already in it. After each workout, you get a detailed summary of your workout in your inbox. I like data, and I like to track things. I can feel that the technology keeps me accountable, and I push harder to compete with my earlier results.

My Results

In eight weeks, I have lost 5,9 kg of fat and 6,2% body fat.

In eight weeks, I have lost 5,9 kg and 6,2% body fat. I crushed my goals! I didn’t win the Transformation Challange, but I am so happy with my results, especially since I didn’t focus on my eating habits until the last 3-4 weeks. I have more muscle tone on my entire body, and I’ve lost considerable weight in my face.
At 41, and after four pregnancies I wasn’t sure I would ever see my abs again, but here they are. If fact I am in better shape than I was when I was 20.

Orangetheory Body Transformation Challenge: My before picture on September 14th before the Transformation Challange at Orangetheory Amager Strand Orangetheory Body Transformation Challenge: My after picture on November 7th after the Transformation Challange at Orangetheory Amager Strand
Orangetheory Body Transformation Challenge: My before picture on September 14th before the Transformation Challange at Orangetheory Amager Strand Orangetheory Body Transformation Challenge: My after picture on November 7th after the Transformation Challange at Orangetheory Amager Strand

I can genuinely say that I have never found anything that worked so well for me like, and I love every minute of it. I got a few of my friends to join OTF and even my husband that swore he would never in his life join a gym and hated working out even more than I thought I did. Now we are that annoying couple that works out together and compares stats in the evening.

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Disclaimer: I have a collaboration with Orangetheory, but that didn’t affect my opinion of the workout or its results.