Editor's Note: Orangetheory Fitness Highland is having its grand opening on November 30.
I don't really enjoy going to the gym. As a competitive volleyball player, I'm used to group camaraderie while working out. Lifting weights or running on a treadmill just doesn't give me the extra boost I need to keep motivated and push myself that extra mile or set. And while I like to try different classes and boot camps, the monetary commitment tends to be a bit harsh.
Enter Orangetheory Fitness, a national "group interval fitness concept." Studios opened in Colorado earlier this year (in Highlands Ranch and Centennial)—but they're a long haul from my downtown apartment. Which is why I'm looking forward to the opening of the Highland location (3300 W. 32nd Ave., Suite 101, 720-409-9509) later this year—one of just five new locations expected to open in the next year.
Here's how it works: Orangetheory is founded on the idea of interval training, where participants hop between the treadmill, rower, free weights, and suspension units throughout the 60-minute workout. That's not new. What's innovative is the heart-rate monitoring. You wear a band around your abdomen to track your heart rate on a large screen in front of the class (pictured, above). Your focus? To keep your body in the ideal zone to get the most effective workout. The orange zone signifies that you're at 84 to 91 percent of your max heart rate. If you spend up to 22 minutes in that zone, you'll continue to burn calories throughout the rest of the day. "This is fitness for everybody," says head fitness trainer Larz Smith. "It doesn’t matter what level of conditioning you’re at, you're still going to get a good workout, and I’m going to show you after class exactly what happened to your body."
Here's why I like it: While it's a group workout, each person can push themselves individually by picking their base pace on the treadmill, setting goals with the free weights, and, most obviously, checking their heart rate. It offers the group dynamic I need and lets my competitive side out by putting my numbers up in front of everyone else. You leave class knowing that you pushed yourself to your limit—not chiding yourself for skipping that last lap.
Bargain Tip: The gym offers a founder's level pricing option for the first month or so after opening—and it lasts for the life of your membership. On a monthly basis, you'll pay $79 for two classes a week (regularly $99) or $139 for unlimited classes (regularly $159). Not sure if it's for you? Print out a complimentary guest pass and try a session for free before committing.
Follow assistant editor Daliah Singer on Twitter at @daliahsinger.