My Third Stop At #FITRow: OrangeTheory Fitness Assembly Row

Splat points? Heart rating training? Treadmills... weights... rowers... OH MY!

My head was swirling as I prepared for my first OrangeTheory Fitness class at Assembly Row. OTF (as the folks in the know call it) would be my third stop on the #FITRow tour. I had an amazing time at both Club Piles and Title Boxing so OTF had a lot to live up to.

While flipping through Facebook and Instagram, it seems as if everyone I know and follow is on the OTF train. 

I was told by General Manager Paul to arrive 30 minutes before class was set to start so the team could show me around the studio and get me set up with a heart rate monitor.

So what is Orange Theory?

When you want to lose weight, build endurance or get stronger, interval training workout sessions are the right choice. At Orangetheory, our fitness sessions are 60 minutes long. You'll move through a variety of stations, each of which features a different exercise. Every time you visit us, there will be some new exercises to do, which helps keep all of our workouts fun and new for you.

Upon arrival at our studio, you'll be outfitted with a heart-rate monitor. Our instructors will show you how to use the monitor to keep track of your heart rate during the workout. As you move through the interval training sessions, our gym instructors will help you with form, challenge you to do your best and assist you in setting goals for the workout and for your overall fitness level.

Anybody can get in a fun and well-rounded workout at our studio. We welcome beginners, intermediate exercisers and athletes alike. If you need a modification of an exercise or a bigger challenge than the rest of the class, our instructors will help you.

There are three possible HRMs (Heart Rate Monitors) you can choose to use: arm, wrist or chest. Your first class at OTF is free and they provide you with a HRM to borrow for that class. Since I ended up taking 2 classes the first week, I went for arm the first class and wrist the second so I could compare.

The staff at OTF Assembly Row was amazing and put my worries at ease. Reegan (the coach for my first class) invited all of the new folks inside the studio with her to go over the basics and what to expect during the class.

Once we walked through the studio and got the basics, we were ushered back out to the hallway to rejoin the rest of the waiting class. Reegan opened the door and greeted each person with a high-five. My kind of entrance. :) 

I wasn't sure what to expect out of my body since I had completed the Boston Olympic Triathlon the day prior, but I was ready to give my all.

For this first class, Reegan opted to break the 60-minute class into 4 quadrants (treadmill - weights - treadmill - weights). The second class I took under Jason's coaching was 2 halves (treadmill - weights).

I opted to start both classes on the weights portion. When you enter the studio, the coach asks half the class to start on the treadmills and half on the weights. Each weight station, treadmill and rower is numbered. If you start on rower 3, you will use treadmill 3 and weight station 3. Pretty easy way to make sure people don't waste time trying to claim a weight station in the middle of the class.

The folks starting on the weights actually used the rower as a warm-up before kicking off the weight circuit. Once we were sufficiently warmed up, it was time to learn the weight circuit. Reegan demoed for us and shared how to modify if needed. There were also TVs set up in the studio where you could watch a demo at any point. So you would complete all 3 exercises then make your way back to the rower for a 400 meter row.

Oh boy the power jack with the medicine ball seemed easy for the first 20 then the last 10 burned. I did opt to do the tricep push-ups on the ground instead of on a medicine ball.

I really liked the constant change between the exercises to keep my mind from getting bored. PLUS the music was ah-may-zing!! Kudos OTF DJ Kudos! Not sure if the coaches or the studio pick it, but they rocked it.

The 10 minutes really did fly by. I kept an eye on my fellow weight crew and was pleased to see people were modifying left and right. Everyone was so focused on their own workout that I didn't feel like a single person was checking out how I was modifying or what weight of medicine ball I was using. 

With our 10 minutes up, it was time to wipe down our stations and move to the treadmills.

Since I hadn't heard of a push or an all out, I appreciated the cheat sheets on the treadmills.

When on the treadmill you can choose between power walking, jogging and running. For my first class I went with the runner option. I opted for Power Walker during class 2 for comparison.

I wasn't sure what my base pace should be, but I played around with it during class. Reegan would yell out how much time we had left on one circuit and what would be happening next. Since the pushes were around 30 second to 2 minutes or so, it kept me on my toes and allowed me to really push the pace. For one of the all out pace sections, I was actually running at a 6:15 min/mile pace. SAYYY WWHHAAA??? Who knew this body could do that? 

The quotes above the treadmills were a helpful touch when I was trying to dig deep.

The time on the treadmill definitely passed faster than the time on the weights, but that is probably because I enjoy the running much more. Haha. 

With 30 minutes down, it was time to get back to the weights before a final treadmill section. 

Since I was constantly focused on form and counting the number of reps, the 60 minute class actually flew by.

During the entire class, you could keep track of your calories burned, splat point total and average heart rate. We all know how motivated by numbers I am during Flywheel so this seemed up my alley.

Additionally it is emailed to you after class.

So what are splat points?

Splat points = The total number of minutes you spent in the orange and red heart-rate zones in a class. It's cumulative, so if you spend a few seconds in a zone at one time and a few more seconds at another point, those seconds will be added to your total time in the zones.

I was a little disheartened by the number of splat points I earned... or lack thereof. I was told that the more conditioned you are, the harder you have to work to earn splat points. Maybe they were just buttering me up, but I appreciated hearing that. I also had to cut myself some slack as it was my first class and I was getting the hang of how it all worked.

Overall, I had a great time in the class and Reegan was a great coach. She was super motivating, clearly explained the workouts and as I mentioned offered modifications when needed.

During my second class, Jason opted to keep the entire treadmill workout as 1 unit and the weight circuits as 1 unit. You can see the weight units below.

I was really proud of myself for upping the weights I used for these circuits.

When it was our turn to hit the treadmills, I opted for the Power Walker option. Let me tell you friends, it is TOUGH to walk at a 15.0% incline. I felt like I was sweating more than I needed to be for walking on the treadmill. So OTF wasn't lying when they say no matter what option you pick, you will get a good workout in.

I was a little shocked to see 0 splat points. I followed up with GM Paul about this after the fact. He said it could be partly on the HRM option I had used. He recommended I stick with the forearm option for all future classes. Good to know.

If you (sorry when you) check out a OTF class (your first is free), don't feel awkward or nervous about asking for explanations or modifying! 

Overall, the class was evenly balanced with folks of all athletic abilities, which was reassuring. The HIIT (high intensity interval training) style truly keeps you in the moment and eliminates the chance of feeling bored.

As I mentioned above, your first class is free. There are three different memberships types you can choose from.

So I ask you: are you ready to earn those Splat Points?

Note: As the FITROW Ambassador, I am going to be trying out each of the studios opening at Assembly Row. Please note while I got a complimentary class, my reviews are always honest. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!