WELLNESS WEEK // Why I Made the Switch from Spin to Orange Theory


[halves]Merritt Beck in The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Puffer Vest in Metallic Copper

Merritt Beck in The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Puffer Vest in Metallic Copper[/halves]

Merritt Beck in The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Puffer Vest in Metallic Copper

[halves]Merritt Beck in The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Puffer Vest in Metallic Copper

Merritt Beck in The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Puffer Vest in Metallic Copper[/halves]

Welcome to my second annual #StyleScribeWellnessWeek! I’m so excited to bring some brand new fitness, food and wellness content to you, in hopes it inspires and motivates you to start and stick to your goals this new year. Every single day this week (including Saturday and Sunday) I’ll be sharing something new – from recipes I recommend to the very best in activewear at the moment! Today, however, I want to address a question I have received a bunch over the last couple of months. As most of you know, I was addicted to spin class for a reeeeeally long time! I absolutely LOVE FlyWheel classes and went 3-4 times a week for over two years. In the last five or so months, however, I was really craving a change. And I think my body was too! As with any workout, your body can get used to doing the same exercises over and over which ends up making them less effective in the long run. I think it is important to mix things up every once in awhile to keep your body guessing! I also had been wanting to get more into running, and I’d heard Orange Theory incorporates that.


My first Orange Theory class had me a little confused, so I wanted to do a basic rundown on what it is here for those of you new to it too! You can read about the science behind it here, but basically the goal of each class is to get your heart rate in the Orange zone for a minimum of 12 minutes to maximize the afterburn (when your body continues to burn calories long after a workout!). In order to monitor your heart rate (and to see your score during/after class) you need to rent or purchase one of Orange Theory’s heart rate monitors. So worth it to know those numbers!! Your “splat points” are the number of minutes you spent in the Orange or Red zones. The Grey zone is very light activity, Blue is a warm up, Green is challenging but doable, Orange is uncomfortable, and Red is giving your all out effort.

See below for a look at my Orange Theory “Beat Reports” from previous classes – one of these reports is emailed to you following each class so you can see your total scores, calories burned, etc. It’s so helpful to track your progress and it’s fun to share too! As you can see, I try REALLY hard in these classes – I’m in the Red zone a lot!


After just one Orange Theory class, I knew it was such a good one for me personally. The class mixes work on a treadmill, on a rower and in a weight room area. Every day is different, with some days being heavy endurance days (longer time on the treadmill and rower), heavy power (heavy weights and short, fast pushes in on the rower/treadmill), tornados (short, fast spurts in each section), etc. I love the variety and it truly is such an amazing full body workout! I swear I can see my abs looking more defined the very next day – it’s nuts. It’s been a great addition to my fitness routine along with BBG! While there is a weight section in Orange Theory, it’s definitely not as challenging as my BBG resistance workouts – and my BBG resistance workouts are never enough cardio for me… so the combo of the two has been fantastic!

Okay, I know that all sounds super intense… BUT it really is designed for people at all workout levels. You can take it at your own pace, and there are modifications and levels for each section you can do. For example, you are given three options on the treadmill: walk (base speed of 3.5-4.5 mph), jog (base speed of 4.5-5.5 mph) or run (base speed of 5.5-6.5+ mph). If you choose to walk, instead of increasing your speed the instructor will ask you to increase your incline. If you’re a jogger or a runner, you will be doing pushes and sprints that are 1-2+ full points over your “base speed”.

I love getting outside and going on walks + runs, but I’m not nearly as good at pushing myself when I’m on my own. In Orange Theory the pressure of the score, teacher and other people in class whip me into shape and make me work my hardest! I never walk out of that class with regret. In addition to that, Orange Theory has given me the confidence and motivation to try harder when I do run by myself. I’m now able to run a full hour without a break! I don’t think I can say I’ve ever done that before this winter. I’ll share more on my fitness schedule Friday, but I do the three required BBG resistance workouts each week, plus a minimum of two Orange Theory classes each week. Since I usually work out six days a week, I’ve lately been doing a long run outside for that last workout day to mix things up… but it’s nice to have Orange Theory as a backup if the weather is bad!

Before you ask, yes I have tried Barry’s Bootcamp! But what I love about Orange Theory is what I loved about FlyWheel: being able to see my progress throughout class and after class in terms of calories burned, heart rate, etc. As a competitive person (with myself and others!), I LOVE seeing my score and pushing myself. I take a look every few minutes at the screen in Orange Theory to see how many calories I’ve already burned and how many splat points I’ve accumulated, and it motivates me to work even harder for the remainder of class!

PS // Here’s a PRO tip: Get there early and try to be on the treadmill for the first block! I’ve found my scores are always better when I start on the treadmill, as it provides a good full-body warm up. Also, if you want to increase your scores, choose to jog or run over speed walking!


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