Orangetheory has a reputation in the fitness community for its unique flavour of intense cardio and strength-training workouts, of which I’m intensely embarrassed to admit I’ve not done (in person). Don’t worry- it’s been added to my to-do list (number one is getting a Covid vaccine, so it’s a long list…) for life after hibernation. So when I was invited to give their Orangetheory Live online classes a whirl, I set my Fitbit to destroy and logged in.

I’m well-versed in HIIT training, thanks to connections to workout with elite athletes and coaches with Nike, and other media-friendly workout invites, I’m not shy when it comes to digging-deep and breaking a sweat. Heartrate-monitor led workouts are my jam. I like my workouts like I like my cheese, hard and a little stinky!

The premise is pretty simple. Orangetheory Live classes are ‘hosted’ by a real-life OT Coach, each at their respective Orangetheory location. So the coach who slugged it out with you during that burpee challenge last year can still encourage you now, from home. Coaches are trained to put you through the paces, guided virtually every step all monitored by the OTbeat, a high-tech heart rate monitor that pushes you to your peak, ensuring you not only burn a bunch of calories during the class but also hopefully for the next 36 hours after.

That’s the idea behind Splat Points, a straight-up system that correlates every minute spent above 84% of your target maximum heart rate to produce an effect called the “after-burn”, where you are rewarded with an increased metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after the initial workout.

Courtesy of “Orangetheory Fitness Canadaā€¯

The same template for their energetic classes is transported through the screen by the coaches. The visual aspect is crucial here, whether they are just cheering on your sweat-covered face or correcting your form, that bit of interaction is what will get you moving. The community aspect is at the core of all Orangetheory programming, yes, competing against each other via the screens in class adds to that charge, but the spirit is collaboration, via high fives, or the shared refrain of ‘burpee challenge?!’

The most important aspect: accountability. Signing up for a class means you’ll actually show up for the class, something I fully admit that in this lockdown-life, days can kind of get away from me. While treadmills, rowers and other cardio gear may not flow into your workout, you do get the motor working overtime, squats, dips, lunges, and of course burpees are designed to work your major muscle groups resulting in that explosive and exhausting after-burn.

A good set or two of hand weights, a yoga mat, towel, laptop and water are all that’s required to join. Orangetheory is membership-based and includes access to Orangetheory Live classes and the proprietary app that offers an entire catalogue of workout classes. Memberships, of course, include in-person classes in places where and when permitted.

Thank you to local Bloor West Orangetheory for hosting me!

All images, unless otherwise noted, by Libby Roach.