Ambassador’s Corner: Orangetheory at South Lamar

By Billy Bosco – August 1, 2022
Brian Fitzsimmons

Hello, AFM! Today, I’ll be covering my workout at Orangetheory.

Despite running two marathons in my life, I still don’t enjoy cardio more than lifting heavy things. Knowing the emphasis Orangetheory places on cardio, I was still excited to try it because I enjoy fitness of any kind.

Getting into a fitness routine is challenging. People are often confused about how much they should lift or run and how hard to push themselves. Orangetheory does a great job managing this for you.

Before we jump in, this month’s Ambassador’s Corner supports the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, which has been advancing conservation in Texas for 30 years and counting. Thank you for your generosity and support in transforming Texas for current and future residents. Every donation goes toward caring for our state’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources.

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The Process

Orangetheory offers many classes, but they still give you their undivided attention on your first day. The instructor for my class was actually a high school friend of mine named Anna, so I arrived 30 minutes early (they recommend 15 minutes) to catch up. 

During this time, you sign some liability waivers, tour the gym and hear how the heart rate monitor works. Once the previous class cleared out, Anna showed me around the room and told me how to work the treadmills, rowing machines and weight floor section. Every station is labeled with a number, which is where you stay at each station. Once I was familiar with everything, it was time to work out! My heart rate appeared on the treadmill and big screen TV, and I was off! 

The Workout

Each class places a different amount of emphasis on cardio versus weights. This class was more cardio-oriented, so it was a 15-minute cardio circuit followed by a 15-minute weight/rowing machine circuit. We repeated this twice for the full hour. 

I’m not a fan of running, but I understand the importance of cardiovascular health. The 15 minutes flew by, thanks to the tempo change every couple of minutes. You start out slow to gradually raise the heart rate and, eventually, the pace is a comfortable run (or walk). The goal is to stay in a certain heart rate zone that they claim is the sweet spot for burning maximum calories from fat. So whenever my heart rate would get out of that zone, I could increase or decrease the speed. This helped the run go by quickly as I was focused on my heart rate and breathing. 

After the run, there’s a brief rest while transitioning to the weights. I was concerned they wouldn’t have heavy enough weights that I’m used to lifting. Orangetheory impressed me by having up to 70-pound dumbbells, which is plenty heavy for what we did. 

The weight circuit included one heavy lift in the 5 to 8 rep range. This was followed by an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) or a similar but easier-on-the-body move. This allowed you to go heavy for a little and then burn out safely. The first weight section was legs, so we performed weighted sumo squats and burned out with frog jumps. My quads were burning, but in the way you want! After a couple of sets on your own, we used the remaining time to perform a core exercise for as many reps as possible. This was nice as my quads were already burning from the run. 

The remaining 3 to 4 minutes were spent on the rowing machine, which is my favorite piece of cardio. We did two sets of 100 meters as fast as possible and then rested as needed. There was one final all-out row and then we rested the remaining time while the runners finished their circuit. 

That was the first half of class; then, we repeated the format but with a slower tempo run and different muscle targets on weights. Finally, the workout ended, and I managed to survive!

My Review

Orangetheory is a franchise, which means you’ll get the same thing wherever. This isn’t bad, though, because it’s a consistent, well-rounded workout. The heart rate monitor holds you accountable. It lets the instructor know when you’re struggling or not pushing yourself. It helps you change the pace and pay attention to your breathing and how it affects your heart rate. 

Cardio is cardio, wherever you go. Some people love it, most hate it, but everyone needs it! You don’t have to be a runner; you can walk and still burn calories while improving your cardiovascular health. The weight section, while simple, was effective. They hit all key muscles with heavy weights and burned them out. The rowing machine will always be my favorite, so I was sad it was underused in this class. However, each class is different.

This class isn’t for everyone. I wish there were more opportunities to interact with the instructor and classmates. I didn’t feel the community aspect I feel at other boot camp-style workouts. I wanted to talk with the instructor more but was too busy gasping for breath while running or lifting weights. However, as I watched people leave, I could tell there is a strong community base.

Orangetheory is great for a majority of people. You’ll improve cardio, lift heavy weights, make friends and keep yourself accountable. It just depends on your love or hate for cardio!


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