I didn’t manage to get a decent photo of my Orange Theory gym last week when I was in class; only many many videos that I could save and watch for later. I mentioned back in 2016 that I had wanted to work on my health and get in better shape. I wasn’t always consistent and earlier this year I definitely went off the rails and abandoned my workouts and exercising regimen altogether. It wasn’t a good feeling and even worse, I started to feel unhappy in my life about it. My daily struggle and reality is that I’m not going to be able to make time for this every day, but if I don’t do it daily, can I do a little bit instead? Can I make up for it in another way whether that’s drinking more water, cutting out sweets and unhealthy snacks, or eating better at work or during my own meals? The answer to all of the above is yes!
My work was celebrating a “Wellness Week” last week and as a part of this they were offering up the opportunity to go to Orange Theory. I didn’t know too much about it other than the fact that two of my team members loved it and did it regularly. Since I’d only ever done Soul Cycle, I wondered if it would be like that. Some said it was a less “culty” Crossfit. Sounded appealing enough to me – sign me up!
It had been awhile since I had done anything this strenuous and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even read up on Orange Theory (very unlike me!) How did I prepare? No sugary Chestnut Praline latte at Starbucks that day – only making sure that I had breakfast and lunch and at least a bottle of water before I went off to class. I stood in a room with 11 of my coworkers – all of us extremely nervous since I think the majority of us had never taken a class before. Before we went in, we strapped a monitor to our chests (touching our skin, near our heart and underneath our sports bra – if you were a female) Then there’s me, “Oh, I’m not wearing a sports bra – just a regular one!” It all worked out. I do this all the time, clearly.
The class was supposed to be an hour, but it felt so much longer than that. I don’t know exactly how long we did everything at each interval, but I know the first half of it was just running. During the run, based on your comfort level, you would adjust things like speed and incline to give you a challenge. Surprisingly enough, this was the part that I enjoyed the most! Elementary, middle school, high school – I never liked running, but when you’re on a treadmill and you make that choice for yourself along with a pretty good playlist, it feels like you can do anything.
After the run, we switched to the rowing machine and went back and forth between this and the weight station. This was the most challenging for me because the movement between was inconsistent. Even though I personally felt energized by the run, my body was tired. My limbs weren’t working the way I thought they would after this. At one point, one of our exercises in the weight station involved holding a weight above our stomach and moving our legs up and down while lying on the ground. Almost immediately, I felt my legs seize up. This was something that I did all of the time at home in my routines, but now my legs had completely locked up. I think at one point, I looked at my next exercise and the time left on the clock and just decided to lay back on the ground. I was done and that was okay.
So here are my final thoughts:
- I’ll give any class a shot. There are so many different ones out there and I knew immediately that Soul Cycle wasn’t for me, but Orange Theory was actually much more enjoyable! I would definitely do it again especially if it was a benefit offered by my company. 😉
- Working out with your coworkers isn’t weird. It might even almost be better than being in a room full of strangers because…solidarity!
- For two days after Orange Theory, my body was extremely bloated. It was like my body went through a bit of a shock because I hadn’t done something that intense in quite some time and it was storing water for days. Next time, I’ll likely prepare my body for something like that by being more active in the days leading up to the big workout.
- Even though you’re able to see everyone’s numbers and what your peers are doing, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is different and you can’t really compare yourself to anyone else in that room. It’s not even a competition.
- The best part about this was that I didn’t realize how strong I was. Using an 8-pound weight wasn’t easy for me and it was the lightest one on the scale of all the weights, but it was more than I thought I could do in the first place. I completely surprised even myself doing the workout and I think walking away with that feeling was the best part of my week. I didn’t know I could run that long and not hate it. I had never used a rowing machine. Everything was a challenge, but it made me want to be better.