Orangetheory Fitness is now open on Mercer Island, adding another dynamic fitness option to our community’s abundant health and wellness offerings.
The studio is located in The Hadley building in downtown Mercer Island along with Freshy’s Local Market and Mioposto Pizzeria.
Classes are offered in 60-minute workout sessions split into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training with heart rate sensors to track intensity and maximize metabolic burn. The studio has 12 treadmills, 12 rowing machines, 12 suspension-unit systems as well as free weights and benches for sessions of 10 to 25 people.
I tried it out last week, curious after I heard from a friend that she worked out at the Orangetheory on Capitol Hill before the Mercer Island location opened.
“You’ll love it, because you’re a runner,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the combination of cardio and strength-training.
But I love running outside, only opting for a treadmill as a last resort if I’m desperate for a run, and there’s a snowstorm or a heat spell. Plus strength-training is at the bottom of my fun-workout list. I was a little skeptical.
Here’s how it worked. As instructed, I arrived 30-minutes ahead of my first class and spent that time filling out paperwork and figuring out how to strap on a heart rate sensor.
This sensor straps around your chest and allows you to track on an overhead monitor how hard you are working, according to five heart-rate zones: gray, blue, green, orange, and red. According to the “Orangetheory Fitness Philosophy,” the interval training is designed to produce at least 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your individual maximum heart rate, which translates to Zones 4/5 (the “Orange” zone).
The science behind the program is “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).” So theoretically, after your Orangetheory workout, your body will continue to need oxygen at a higher rate than before your exercise, and you’ll continue to burn calories as if you were still working out.
The workout is two-parts: cardio and strength-training. You can start on the treadmill or you can start with strength-training. Most of the people in my class started on the treadmill, as I did. The music starts pumping (I noticed ear plugs at the front desk as I filled out paperwork, and now I know why), and the fitness trainer provides instruction through an interval workout.
Basically, you start on the treadmill at a base speed (as a power walker, jogger, or runner), and you spend the next 25 minutes doing 1, 2, and 3-minute intervals at higher speeds, taking rests between intervals at your base pace.
With the upbeat music, the trainer’s encouragement, and a bit of distraction trying to interpret my vitals on a large monitor, this was the most fun I’ve ever had on a treadmill.
Cardio was followed by rowing and strength-training exercises – variations of burpees, lunges, squats, and curls with free weights and TRX equipment. You get your own weight-training station, which is nice, so there’s no competition for benches and sets of dumbbells. The trainer also provides easier modifications, which I was glad to have. This was the hardest part of the workout for me – I’m generally averse to weight-training of any kind – though a group workout like this is probably the best way for me to get it done.
At the end of the workout, you get a post-workout summary. According to my summary, I burned 626 calories and earned 32 “splat points,” which meant that I spent 32 minutes of my workout in the Orange zone or above. Not bad for an hour-long workout! I also felt a little bit better spending the rest of the day sitting at my desk at work, knowing (theoretically) that my metabolism was still revved up and burning away calories. Five days later, I’m still sore, but I’ll be back for more.
For a heart-pumping, 36-hour calorie-burning fitness challenge that will make you love your least favorite workouts, give Orangetheory Fitness on Mercer Island a try. They are offering free classes and special Founders Rates through March 8th and celebrating a Grand Opening party on Thursday, March 9th. (RSVP here.)
Orangetheory is located at 2601 76th Ave SE in the Hadley building in downtown Mercer Island. Learn more about Orangetheory Fitness at mercer-island.orangetheoryfitness.com.