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Orange Theory fitness review

Orange Theory fitness review | UPMC Health Plan

Have you heard about this hot new workout called Orange Theory? The business is fairly new and studios are just starting to pop up. But we are lucky enough to have a studio right here in Pittsburgh located on Penn Avenue in the East End. With all the hype regarding Orange Theory and their awesome fitness classes, I decided to try it out myself so I could give all of you a totally unbiased and honest review of how it works and what it was like.

What is the Orange Theory?

Orange Theory classes are based on an interval and heart rate training that aims to spike your metabolism. The result of this type of training is termed by the company as the “Orange Effect”.

Here’s the scoop on my very first Orange Theory experience:

How much does it cost?

One class can cost between $15 and $25 depending on if you choose to buy a package or not. However, they do offer a free first class if you call and chat with them about your fitness goals. Because the class is heart rate based, you will need to borrow their heart rate monitor. They will ask for a credit card number just in case you walk out the door with it on.

Who should try it?

When I initially called to schedule my first class, they told me this is a “great workout for endurance athletes looking to get some strength training in or vice versa.” After trying it out, I would say the class is great for anyone! The class incorporates cardio and strength training — and because it is based on heart rate, it can truly be customized for any person and any fitness level. There was great mix of people in the class that included individuals trying to lose weight as well as conditioned athletes.

Why try it?

This is a great workout if you really want to challenge yourself. Your heart rate is projected on a screen as either green (not working hard enough), orange (just right), or red (working too hard). This immediate feedback makes it so easy to push yourself to stay in the orange zone as long as possible.

Does it hurt?

While the workout doesn’t hurt, it is based on high-intensity intervals, so it is tiring. The class consists of a 30-minute treadmill interval block and a 30-minute rowing and weights block for a great hour-long workout.

What’s the fun factor?

The music is GREAT, and the instructor did a great job making it a group exercise atmosphere even though each person is pushing themselves towards an individual heart rate goal.

What’s the difficulty level?

Again, because the class is heart rate based, the difficulty is very accommodating to different fitness levels. More conditioned people will need to work harder to get into their “orange zone”, while those new to exercise can get into the zone with lighter exercise.

Is it intimidating?

Any new fitness class can be intimidating, but the staff here was great and very helpful. Because it was my first class, the trainer took me into the room and explained how the class would work and got me familiar with their equipment.

What should I bring?

You should definitely take some water, maybe a sweat towel, and most importantly a positive attitude!


Overall, I can’t say enough good things about my experience. I really enjoyed this class and would love to go back. Orange Theory pushed me to challenge myself, had a friendly atmosphere, and the instructor was amazing!