Why I Quit Orangetheory
If we crossed paths six months ago, you would have seen me sporting my orange heart rate monitor and water bottle. I would probably be headed to an Orangetheory Fitness class. I am not here to bash Orangetheory Fitness. In fact, I love their workouts and feel they are effective for some things (though not all). This article may help you make the decision to quit, or join, depending on your fitness needs.
Why I joined Orangetheory
I love to run. If left to my own devices, that’s all I would do. My problem is, I love to run at a comfortable pace. As a long distance runner, I can go forever. However, I’m not a fan of speed work, which is probably why I’m not getting any faster. Orangetheory is great for sprinkling in speed work. Each class has 25 minutes of treadmill running, consisting of speed and hill intervals. “Great”, I thought “now I’ll have someone forcing me to face my limits and run faster”. Aside from the treadmill running, there is also a strength training component. Again, I hate anything non running, so I thought this would be a good way to incorporate some serious strength training.
Why I Quit Orangetheory
Yes, there is treadmill speed work, but 25 minutes just isn’t long enough to see any real improvement in marathon times. Ideally, I would head outside to tack on more miles after an OTF class, but that rarely ever happened (my fault, not theirs). I also found that I had a mental block on the treadmill. I couldn’t push the pace to my limits because I had some strange anxiety that would arise any time I went above 8.0. I could sense my feet tripping over each other and had visions of myself flying off the back of the treadmill (again, not their fault). As far as the strength training went, it was good, but not great. Most of the moves were still cardio based (think burpees and pop jacks). I was missing the heavy lifting that I knew I needed to see any real improvements in strength. In an ideal world, I would go to Orangetheory just twice a week and supplement with heavy lifting in the gym twice a week. The pricing structure doesn’t make this a great option. To attend OTF twice a week, you are paying $99 a month. Unlimited for me was $139 (I got in on a special rate). Obviously, unlimited is the better deal, but then you have the “I’m paying a crap ton of money for something I’m not using every day” guilt of being an unlimited member, so you go 5-7 times a week.
The Moment of Orangetheory Truth
I was loving Orangetheory Fitness so much, it soon began to replace my love for running outdoors. I had the Philadelphia marathon coming up and what was supposed to be supplemental training became my main training. I still did weekend long runs, and an occasional longer run during the week, but most of my fitness time was devoted to Orangetheory. I felt fit, I felt strong, my heart rate continued to improve, but is Orangetheory good for marathon runners? If you read my Philadelphia race recap, you already know the answer…for me, the answer was NO. I crashed and burned at Philly. It was due to a combination of things: I was sick, I went out to fast, however, I know the biggest reason is that I was lacking the milage during training. I am not blaming Orangetheory at all. I should have kept up my mileage outside of class, but I didn’t. In the end, I became really good at Orangetheory, but my marathon suffered.
What I’m Doing Instead of Orangetheory
I still love a good treadmill run every once in a while, especially when dealing with the Florida heat; and, I still need motivation to do core work and to stretch…enter Aaptiv. Aaptiv has been a great substitute for Orangetheory. It is an app with guided workouts, coached by top instructors, set to awesome playlists. I use the treadmill running, outdoor running, and core workouts the most, but they also offer strength, rowing, elliptical, and even meditation. What I love most is that the workouts vary in length, anywhere from 10 minutes up to over 2 hours. I can actually use it to prepare for a marathon and still get the appropriate number of miles in to make me dangerous. For more info Download Aaptiv on iOS!
Note: this post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own