I’m taking a break from my usual home and food posts today to talk about something a little different…exercise! Specifically, I’m going to share an Orange Theory review with you. I’ve been going regularly for the past year and wanted to share my experience since I know they’re popping up everywhere and a lot of people are wondering whether to try it and what the deal is. This isn’t sponsored and I’m not affiliated with Orange Theory in any way other than as a paying member of my local studio. I’m hoping this Orange Theory review and a breakdown of the pros and cons might help you if you’re considering it as an exercise option for yourself. I know it can be really scary to step into a new place!
I think the big question a lot of people are wondering is, is it worth the money and the commitment? I’ll cover a lot of points here in my Orange Theory review but my short answer is yes. But of course that will vary person to person so I’m going to break down my particular situation here in this Orange Theory review and hopefully that will help you make your own decision about whether it’s the right fit for you.
I was an athlete growing up and starting running competitively when I was pretty young (10 years old). I loved it (you know……most of the time…). However, I started having issues with my knees by late high school and towards the end of college I was training for a half-marathon when my left knee went out of commission for good. I haven’t been able to run since then (almost twenty years now) despite physical therapy, massage, ultrasound therapy, foam rolling, you name it. And for most of those years I felt very, very adrift with running taken off the table as an exercise option. It had been my go-to for so long and was such great, easy exercise. I tried walking, gyms, yoga classes, spinning classes, at-home videos and phone apps, but I didn’t love any of it, didn’t do it super consistently, and never really got the results I was looking for. And those results are nothing earth-shattering. I wasn’t (and still am not) looking to lose tons of weight or be crazy ripped. I basically want to eat what I want to eat (within reason, I’m an overall healthy eater) and for my clothes to fit. And if a few muscles showed up that would be okay too :)
I decided to try Orange Theory last March. One of my friends and my sister-in-law had both been doing it for a couple of months and were really loving it. I hadn’t even considered it because I thought with the treadmill aspect I’d be out of luck. And that actually brings me to the perfect segue into a handy pros and cons list for this Orange Theory review.
Orange Theory Pros
- It’s a very adaptable and flexible workout to suit physical limitations, different fitness levels, and injuries. Most of the hour-long classes are broken into two halves – you spend half the time on a treadmill and half the time on weights (with a rowing machine mixed in). For the treadmill half of the class I walk since I can’t run. But I’m walking at a steep incline most of the time and at a fast clip so I am in a FULL sweat the entire time. I’ve never had a walking workout feel so challenging (in a good way) and it’s good, hard cardio I wasn’t getting anywhere else. So one of the reasons Orange Theory works for me is it gives me a cardio option that was completely lacking from my exercise routines for the past twenty years. There’s also a stationary bike and an elliptical option for people dealing with injuries.
- You’re told exactly what to do. I love this. I go and I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do while I’m working out. If you’re someone who loves the autonomy of going to a gym and doing whatever you want, then you may not love Orange Theory. But I love being told what to do, especially on the treadmill, where I know I would never get the level of cardio if I were on it myself without a coach telling me what to do to get the most out of those 20-30 minutes. On the treadmill you’re led through a workout that’s designed to keep your heart rate going up and down in intervals to boost your metabolic rate for 36 hours after the workout. I also love that the weights portion usually addresses all major muscle groups. If I’m going to pay money to go work out somewhere, I want to feel like it’s worth my investment of time and money. And based on the fact that I can actually kind-of-sort-of see my bicep, tricep, and shoulder muscles for pretty much the first time in my entire adult life, I feel like I’m getting my investment’s worth here!
- As with anything, consistency is key. I signed up for Orange Theory’s “elite” membership which means I get eight classes a month, so I usually go twice a week. There are also options for four classes a month, unlimited classes a month, and packages of classes (a ten pack, a twenty pack, and a thirty pack). You get the best rate per class with the monthly memberships and I love that it keeps me accountable as far as going regularly. I pay the money for my membership every month whether I use the classes or not so unless I’m super sick, I’m always sure to go those eight times a month and I know that this consistency has helped as far as those arm muscles being sort of visible now after a year! There is also a con side…keep reading my Orange Theory review to see the other side of this. But ultimately, the membership plan works great for me.
- If you sign up for a monthly membership like I did but you’re going to be out of town or you get sick with something that’s going to last awhile (I had pneumonia last June and July), you can put your membership on hold for 30-60 days, and you can do this up to twice a year. If it’s an illness and you get a doctor’s note, there is no charge for putting your membership on hold. If it’s for any other reason there’s a $15 fee to hold your membership – so you pay only $15 that month, not your full membership amount. I only put my membership on hold that one time when I was recovering from pneumonia so it’s not something I think I will do often but it’s a nice option to have when something is going to keep you from working out for an extended period.
Orange Theory Cons
- Unused classes are lost. This is a double-edged sword because as I mentioned earlier in this Orange Theory review, I actually like that there are a set number of classes I have to use each month because I feel compelled to go those two days a week. But when I came down with pneumonia last summer I forfeited three or four of the classes I paid for. I could certainly buy a block of classes instead of the monthly membership to combat this but it would cost me an extra $48 a month. So I’m still coming out way ahead by doing the monthly membership since most months I’m using all eight of my classes.
- There’s an eight-hour cancellation policy. Meaning if you cancel less than eight hours before a class you’ve signed up for, you’ll be charged for it anyway (or you’ll lose a class from your monthly membership). I haven’t had this happen yet after a year but if you wake up not feeling well or you have a sick kid keeping you at home and you’ve signed up for a class that morning, it’ll be too late to cancel it.
- There’s no childcare. This isn’t really an issue for me since both my kids are in elementary school now but if you have younger children you’d have to figure out childcare for them while you work out.
- It can be a little sales-y after you try your first class (which is free, by the way!). I’ve heard some people can be put off by this. Like, they feel like they get this full court press to sign up after trying a class and then wind up signing up when they’re not really sure. Just don’t get swept up in this! If you try a class and love it and want to try a membership right away, go for it! If you want to sit on it a little longer, do that. You don’t have to sign up on the spot. If you want to try a few more classes before making a decision about buying a package or signing up for a monthly membership, they have a drop-in rate. I think it’s $20 or $25 a class so it’s a little steep, but worth paying if you feel like you need a few more classes to tell whether it feels right for you or not. I’m so glad you’re here reading my Orange Theory review and my experiences going for the past year, but there is nothing like going and trying it out yourself!
This isn’t really a pro or a con but I’ve heard some people say they think the instructors can be too in your face and high-fivey. I’m sure this varies a lot studio to studio and even coach to coach within the same studio. I certainly have my favorites at the location where I go. So that’s where it may be worth trying a few different classes with different coaches when you first start out. The coaches I go to most often are not super in my face or asking for high fives all the time. I’ve never been a chatty gym person. I basically like to go, do my workout, and leave. Sounds a little anti-social but it’s just how I am. I’m not a jerk to people…if I see someone I know or the coach says something to me I’ll smile and talk and all that, I’ve just never been one of those people who goes into a gym and talks to everyone and makes tons of new friends. I’m not shy but I can be a little introverted. And Orange Theory still suits me just fine.
One other thing – if you choose to sign up for a monthly membership and then want to cancel, you need to give 30 days notice. Not really a pro or a con either but just something else to keep in mind if you try it and decide to sign up.
If you have any questions about this Orange Theory review or my experiences having gone there this past year, ask me in the comments below! It’s been the best fit for me of the various things I’ve tried and I’m going to continue going for sure! You can search for a location near you by clicking HERE. And remember that your first class is free!