How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout

With a new Orangetheory Fitness studio popping up on every corner around the nation, it comes as no surprise that I get a lot of questions about the Orangetheory Fitness workout. As a Fitness Coach at an Orangetheory in Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, I picked up a few tips and tricks worth sharing to help the participants at my location get a better workout every time they come in to take a class. (Edited to add: I’m not working at OTF any longer!) And for those of you interested in joining the team at a studio, stay tuned to the end of this post, and you’ll also find some information on what it’s like to work at an Orangetheory as well.

If you’ve never experienced an Orangetheory workout, know that it’s typically a one-hour session in a studio with your time spent working on a treadmill, an indoor water-rower and the weight-room floor, utilizing dumbbells, TRX straps, BOSU trainers, medicine balls and your own bodyweight. Every single day, the workout focus is different (endurance, strength or power or a combination of all three), and a Fitness Coach leads participants through the workout, set to loud music in a very orange room. And of course, participants wear a heart-rate monitor and can see real-time readings of how hard they are working based on several training zones on big TVs in the room. For more details, check out “Everything you need to know about the Orangetheory Fitness workout.”

But if you’ve been attending Orangetheory for a while, it may be time to take things to the next level, and there are plenty of ways to do that …

How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout via A Lady Goes West blog

How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout

  • Increase your base pace. Your base pace is something you establish unique to you as an Orangetheory Fitness participant on the treadmill, bike or strider. And even though your base is supposed to feel “challenging, but doable” you want to make sure that you are actively adding onto your base pace as you get more fit. Every couple of weeks, add .1 to your miles-per-hour, or add 1% to your incline. Either way, continue to increase as the weeks go on. Then, you can work from your increased base pace and instantly the rest of your workout on the cardio portion will be harder.
  • Perfect your rowing form. Did you know that a lot of Orangetheory Fitness locations host free rowing workshops? That’s your best bet for improving your rowing technique, because it takes a lot of practice. You should definitely check out this video with step-by-step instructions on “How to Master Rowing,” and here are some things to note … 
    • Think about timing. It’s one count back and two counts forward to recover. Say these words in your head “Power” on the way back and “Patience, Patience” on the return to set.
    • Drive out of your legs like you are doing a jump squat in the air on the way back.
    • Lean your shoulders back behind you at the end of the move on the way back and lean forward on the way in. Your range of motion of your body should be big to get the most power.
    • Think about the order of movement like this: Legs>Core>Arms on the way back and Arms>Core>Legs on the way back in.
  • Add weight to your jumps. While this is a very advanced option, at times you can choose to pick up a dumbbell or medicine ball and add it to squat jumps, frogger jumps, burpees, etc. You’ll want to clear this option with your coach first, but it’s always something you can consider. Consider the focus of the day, and go heavier if there are minimal reps, and go lighter if there are more reps.
  • Use your arms on the treadmill. There’s no need to conserve your energy by keeping the upper-body still while you’re doing cardio work. And you certainly don’t want to hold onto the rails. I recommend pumping your arms back behind you with elbows at 90-degree angles the entire time you’re on the treadmill. You should do this whether you are a power walker, jogger or a runner. And when it’s time for incline work, use your arms even more and lean up into the run.
  • Talk to your coach. Let your Fitness Coach know that you’re interested in some additional challenges during each class. Most of us would be happy to check in with you on the weight-room floor a few additional times to give you that extra push. That’s the beauty of the format, because it’s basically group-personal training.

Orangetheory is basically immune from allowing participants to plateau because the workout changes every day, but if you want to get even more out of the time you spend at your studio, then it’s all up to you with these tips and tricks.

What it’s like to work at Orangetheory 

The best part about working at an Orangetheory Fitness studio? Free classes, of course! Yes, it’s true, you do get to do the workout for free as an employee, because it’s always important to know the product. (And did I mention the workout is awesome?)

How to get more out of your Orangetheory workout via A Lady Goes West - water-rower

As a Sales Associate at Orangetheory, not only will you be responsible for manning the front desk, answering the phone, greeting participants and checking them in, but you’ll also be very much in charge of selling new packages and memberships, following up with leads, and introducing new participants to the elements of the workout. Sales Associates work hand-in-hand with the Fitness Coaches to seamlessly bring a new participant into the studio for their first workout, get that person hooked and then sell that person a membership. You’ll get familiar with the equipment and science behind the workout and be the go-to problem-solver helping participants with their heart-rate monitors. It’s a fun job and a great way to get a little peek into working in the fitness industry. To be successful, you should be friendly, professional and good with people.

As a Fitness Coach at Orangetheory, your job will not only include learning how to deliver the workout-of-the-day in the Orangetheory way, but you’ll also help with sales. Fitness Coaches are responsible for promoting their classes, attending local events, reaching out to new participants the night before their first workout and attending monthly meetings for all staff and just for coaches. As a Fitness Coach, it’s best to have a background in both personal training and group fitness, because this particular role requires a little bit of both in delivery. While the workout is created for your by Orangetheory Fitness corporate, you do have some freedom to come up with freestyle core blasts and other elements from time-to-time. It’s fun to deliver the workouts, because you’re not doing the moves with the class, so most of your time is spent walking around helping your participants get the most out of the hour as possible. To be successful, you should be organized, able to keep perfect timing, be good at getting attention and leading a room.

There are two ways to get a coaching job at Orangetheory. Before a new Orangetheory Fitness location opens up, a corporate training and audition process will happen, which you can apply to be invited to. Or, at existing studios, the Head Trainer will have open-mic auditions from time-to-time when that particular studio is in need of extra help, and then they will train you one-on-one, if you are hired. Because there is no choreography to memorize, unlike my beloved Les Mills classes, I find that teaching Orangetheory classes is much easier to prepare for. Although it can be quite challenging when you fill the room with up to three groups of people doing different things at the same time and they are all simultaneously needing your attention. Good times!

Find and an Orangetheory near you

If you haven’t checked out an Orangetheory Fitness class before, I highly recommend it, so you can try an Orangetheory Fitness workout. Visit this site to find a location. The workout is so incredibly intelligent and effective and safe for nearly anyone. Find a studio near you and call in, because oftentimes your first class is free. Watch out though, because you’re likely to get hooked. And to my Bay Area friends, rumor has it that a location is set to open in the Financial District of San Francisco very soon, as well as a few more in the East Bay! 

For more fitness information, check out these posts.

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Questions of the day

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42 Comments

    1. I cringe when I see some of the rowing form at other gyms … but we do a decent job at Orangetheory of getting people to understand the basics. Watch that rowing video I shared and that should help you, Megan! πŸ™‚ ehhehe

  1. Thanks for this post! There are a couple OTF in Arlington, Va where I live. I almost signed up for a membership at one of them before it opened (pre-sales) and backed out because the location wasn’t convenient enough that I’d likely go multiple times a week. Good to hear about their hiring too. I’ll have to try out a first class.

    1. Hi Jamie! Hopefully another location more convenient for you will open soon. But there is usually a shower available if you did plan to make the trip and need to get ready there. Give it a try soon! πŸ™‚ Have a great day!

  2. I have only tried OTF once but my sister goes regularly and loves it. I wish there was one closer to where we live but they haven’t gotten here yet. I found the workout the be really fun and loved that it was constantly evolving. I’m sure you are one awesome coach!

    1. Hi Jenna! Thanks! Yes, I’m glad you got to experience it. But because it’s so different every single day, you definitely need to get back. Hoping you get a location closer to you soon, lady! πŸ™‚ Have a fabulous day!

  3. Love Orange Theory! The gym I teach at is very similar but much smaller. We have 12 people max in a class but on average 6-8. I love it! It’s my favorite style of workout so teaching it so much fun. I love creating fun workouts that I would do myself and even jump in sometimes πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Giselle! Totally cool that you can jump into the workout and create it yourself. I bet your members get SO much personal attention with those class sizes. I want to come take your class! πŸ™‚

  4. I have been meaning to check out a free class around me for awhile! I think it would be so fun, especially for a different workout than I’m used to lately!

  5. LOVE this post! I swear, 14 new OTF studios/gyms pop up in Denver everyday! I tried one class and loved it, but my schedule/the distance didn’t work out at this point in my life. I love how much the variety mixes up the training and how upbeat/positive the staff was at our downtown Denver location. The space, class, and staff reminded me so much of a boutique studio that I attended in Chicago called Sweat on State. I felt immediately at home. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

  6. I can’t say enough great things about the OrangeTheory class you taught us last month! It was everything I love about other HIIT classes, but offered more diverse equipment and factual measurements of how hard you’re working. The best part was that it totally worked for the range of fitness levels that we had in the class.

    Rowing form is a toughie for me, I’ve done rowing classes and barely felt like I had a workout. I think the level of perceived exertion with rowing must improve with practice!

  7. Another great post Ashley! Love all of the tips! We just did our first Rowing Clinic on Monday and got a lot of feedback from it. I’ll tag you on facebook. Keep these awesome posts coming!

  8. I recently went for my free workout the other day and loved it!! The only confusion I have is with the heart rate monitor. Is there any advantages of the wrist over the strap monitor? Or is it just comfort?

    1. Hi Danielle, Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed OTF. I’m actually not a Coach at OTF any longer, so you should ask your studio about the heart-rate monitor. I believe they are supposed to be equally accurate, with the wrist being more comfortable and easily accessible.

  9. High Interval Training is what I’m following when cutting. It’s effective on me as I can quickly notice the improvement not only in my weight (BMI) but also in my stamina. I recommend starting it on a treadmill. Maximizing your speed there then enduring that pace for a minute then go down to average then speed up again when you feel like you recovered but the key is not to stop. πŸ™‚

  10. Just found this site. Love OT. I am a runner and really needed something additional to my normal running routine. I already feel stronger. I have only been going for about three weeks at 2x a week but loving it! I run outside on my days not at OT. However isn’t anaerobic 80 to 90 percent of max not just 84 to 90 percent? I regularly get into the 80 to 85 percent at OT. Why does OT only say it is 84 to 90 percent when in fact every online article states that anaerobic is 80 to 90 percent of max.

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