By Rachel Nania
Orangetheory, the latest fitness class craze, is leaving its clients seeing orange. (Courtesy Linda Roth Associates)
WASHINGTON — Whether the preference is spinning, stretching or lifting legs over a ballet barre, one thing’s for sure: Boutique fitness studios are winning over the District.
And the latest class craze is leaving its clients seeing orange.
first made its mark in the D.C. area in 2013 with its Fairfax,
Virginia, studio. Since then, the Florida-based franchise has opened 10
locations around D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and has plans to more than
double that number by next year.
Orangetheory shares many similarities
with its competitors: The classes feature loud music and dim
lighting; screens displaying each participant’s workout statistics hang
on the wall for all to see. What’s different is that the motivator is a
Before class, each participant is
given a heart rate monitor and assigned a maximum heart rate based on
their age, weight and sex. Throughout the 60-minute interval workout —
which bounces between a treadmill, a rowing machine and floor/weight
exercises — participants spend time in the different color-coded heart
rate zones, illustrated on the screens.
Gray is the resting zone, blue is for
warming up and green is considered the base pace. The two most
important zones are orange — the “push pace,” which is 84 to 91 percent
of your maximum heart rate — and red, which is considered “all-out.”
“A lot of people go to the gym and
they workout for 20 minutes on a treadmill and they say, ‘Yeah, I worked
out.’ This is actually telling you — physically showing you — what zone
you’re in and what’s actually happening as you work out,” said Brittany
Collins, studio manager of Orangetheory’s Mount Vernon Triangle
location in Northwest D.C.
In addition to burning calories in
class — an estimated 500 to 1,000 per hour — Orangetheory’s claim to
fame is the workout’s ability to burn calories long after the treadmills
are turned off.
Collins explains the production of
excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, keeps one’s metabolic
rate elevated for 24 to 36 hours after the workout is done. EPOC is
generated while one is in the “orange zone,” so the more time spent in
orange and red makes it more likely to burn calories after class is
“That is what Orangetheory is all
about. These are scientific workouts that have been researched and
proven to the most efficient workout in that interval training,” Collins
To keep track of how much time is
spent in these target zones, participants are awarded one point for each
minute they exercise in orange or red. The goal is to accumulate at
least 12, which is achievable, but not without some sweat equity.
At a recent class in D.C.’s
Orangetheory studio, head coach Muhammad “Coach Moe” Kamara led 13
people through an hourlong “power” workout consisting of running
sprints, rowing bursts and a number of plyometric exercises.
“Most people sit at a desk all day,
most people sit on the couch all day, and so in [class] is where they
get to really work their heart rate, increase their heart rate and help
them burn calories and burn fat, as well as increase their metabolism,
which is going to help them long-term — after the class is over, when
they’re sleeping. That’s what we’re about,” Kamara said.
Kamara’s job is to call out the
appropriate times for all-out exertion — and modifications for those who
have injuries or who prefer power walking at an incline over running.
But it’s up to the individual to put in the maximum effort — and to pull
back when advised.
“It’s that interval, in and out, that’s important to really maximize the calorie burn and the afterburn,” Collins said.
The cost of Orangetheory Fitness
varies based on studio location, and the information is not available on
the website. Class bundles are offered at a discount, but a drop-in
rate runs about $32 for the hourlong session.
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