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IWLS Exercise Project-Orangetheory Fitness Review

Posted on December 18, 2018 at 1:33 PM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists

By: Paige Harnish and Travis Havens

Location(s): 1,000+ locations worldwide

Location Attended: 2181 NW 111th Street, Clive, IA 50325

Primary Contact:    Julie Bautista

           (515) 207-3430


Exercise Type: Full body workout focused on training endurance, strength, and power

Average Class Size: 20-24

Average Class Duration: 60 minutes

Cost Per Month: $$$*

I wanted to start our project with Orangetheory fitness because I have two patients (one nonsurgical and one postsurgical) who I have worked closely with, who have raved about Orangetheory. One of the patients continues to attend Orangetheory religiously (over a year now) and has gone on to complete a 5k, 10k, half marathon, triathlon, and more. The other patient attended Orangetheory for over a year and has continued her fitness journey at another local gym we will be blogging about soon.

As soon as I walked into the Clive location of Orangetheory, I noticed immediately that the facility was clean and cool in temperature. Front desk staff noticed and approached Travis and I in a friendly manner as soon as we walked in. Staff gave us a full tour of the facility, thorough explanation of the program, and described in detail what to expect during our workout. *I didn’t realize how much I appreciated the introduction until after touring other fitness centers later on.

The atmosphere of the facility suggested we be prepared for a rigorous and focused workout. Travis and I joked about feeling nervous although we knew we were fully equipped for the workout. We talked about how difficult it is to step into a fitness center for the first time and that although Orangetheory guaranteed that the workouts provided are suitable for all athletic abilities (which turned out to be true in scanning the room later on), it felt more appropriate for individuals with prior knowledge of and recent experience with exercise.

I loved the workout! The class incorporated cardiovascular and strength training which is great for promoting progress toward a wide variety of health and wellness goals. The class was designed for each participant to work individually within the instruction. With that said-- Travis and I were able to make the experience a partner workout by choosing to complete our sets together. Instructions were given verbally and listed on an easily visible flat screen. The instructor was effective and the music was motivating. The class was timed well and I never felt bored or overly exhausted.

Favorite Aspect: The workout itself! I loved the amount of variety within a single class and that I felt challenged, but never drained. The heart rate monitor was a great motivator and it was fun to review the heart rate report after class (participants are e-mailed a copy).

Area to Consider:  Participants wait in the entry way prior to class and the exercise room is opened minutes prior to the workout begins. Time is used efficiently during the workout which means little time for conversing and team building.

Bottom Line: If you have at least some prior knowledge of and experience with exercise, Orangetheory Fitness will provide a challenging, efficient, whole body workout. There are 700 Orangetheory Fitness centers across the U.S. and membership is valid at any location. All classes are instructed by certified personal trainers and vary daily.



I’d heard good things about Orangetheory in the past but never had the privilege of experiencing one of their workouts for myself. One thing I noticed right from the start, even before we got to the workout itself, was how approachable and knowledgeable each member of the staff was. They were more than willing to accommodate a couple OT first timers (Paige and myself) and answered all of our questions thoroughly and professionally.

Orangetheory’s program design is unique in that it is built around acquiring a certain amount of points each workout, called “Splat Points.” These points are attained by keeping your heart rate in the desirable zones (between 84%-100% of your max heart rate) for a specified amount of time. One point is awarded for every minute spent in those zones. The goal is to acquire at least 12 splat points each workout in order get the best results every time you step foot in the gym.

View a comprehensive breakdown of Orangetheory’s Splat Point heart rate monitoring system. 

As for the workout, it was tough. There’s no sugar-coating it. But the reason it was tough was because I made it tough. One of the advantages that come with wearing a heart rate monitor throughout the duration of your workout is having the ability to keep yourself in the sweet spot for some serious fat burning. It also serves as motivation to keep grinding as you push yourself to new limits. The workout itself was a relatively well-balanced HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuit that incorporated free weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, water rowing machines, TRX suspension training systems along with some treadmill work.

Looking back, I’d have to say that I felt slightly more fatigued from the cardiovascular work than I did from the strength training portion. Thanks to our competitive natures, and being that this was our first attempt at an OT workout, Paige and I found ourselves on the brink of muscle cramps as we were finishing our treadmill tempo-runs. With that being said, I’m sure if we were to give that same workout another go, we would likely fare much better simply from having experience with pacing ourselves.

Something to keep in mind: these workouts have a steep learning curve, and though you may feel overwhelmed at first, it doesn’t take long to gain a grasp as to how things operate. One thing I quickly realized after we were finished was the importance of finding your own pace (something that takes practice) and focusing on YOU, not where everyone else’s heart rates are at, or what size medicine ball or kettle bell others are using. It’s similar to the way I was taught to stay focused when I was growing up playing golf; you have to focus on you and your score, not what the other guys in your group are doing (it’s “you vs. the course” mentality). Push yourself to be better than you were the day before, aiming to make small improvements with each new workout.

As with most types of high intensity group training, there’s the potential for a lot of commotion (20+ classmates, music, noise from aerobic machines, instruction from class coach, etc.) and it can be difficult at first to stay focused on the task at hand. The better you can familiarize yourself with your surroundings and drown out some of the white noise, the better you are going to be able to focus on you and your workout. All in all it was a great experience, and I would absolutely recommend Orangetheory to anyone who is willing to step outside of their comfort zone, work hard and trust the system. This is the type of program that gets results, as long as you show up ready to work and put your best foot forward.

Favorite Aspect: Exercise demonstrations looping on TV’s & personal heart rate monitor feedback are both extremely helpful in keeping you on track throughout the duration of the workout. Being able to track your heart rate, paired with a great instructor and a high energy environment ensure that in one way shape or form, you are going to walk out of there feeling accomplished.

Area to Consider: One thing I look for in a gym is the opportunity to get to know my fellow workout partners either before or after class. The building layout and class schedule at Orangetheory both have a “buttoned-up, business only” kind of feel at first glance. Limited time and space before and after class can make any additional warm up/cool down or conversing difficult. Once you step through those doors into the workout room, it’s game time.

Bottom Line: This is a type of program where if you have the willingness to take a leap of faith, trust the system and apply a little bit of will power and determination, it’s almost impossible to fail. All of the resources required to be successful can be found at your nearest Orangetheory.


*Prices may vary.

$= $0-$50

$$= $50-$100

$$$= $100-$150

$$$$= $150+

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