A New Theory on Group Fitness

Posted by @orangetheorystatecollege on Instagram

Imagine taking a group workout class with friends while still keeping all the benefits of a personal trainer and an individualized workout. This is exactly the concept behind State College’s newest workout facility, Orangetheory. While the State College location is brand new, this type of workout class has been around for awhile and has become popular nationwide.

Orangetheory is a one-hour HIIT – or high intensity interval training – class that combines various types of cardio and strength training exercises. Each participant can wear an optional heart rate monitor during class, which helps to track calories burned, heart rate and other statistics. 

The class gives you a full-body workout in just 60 minutes, and most clients report burning between 500 to 1,000 calories during one class alone. Orangetheory is designed around the science of excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. This means that even after the relatively short one hour workout, clients continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours. This is more commonly referred to as the “afterburn,” and is one of the most-raved about benefits of Orangetheory.

After hearing about all of the Orangetheory hype around campus, VALLEY had to give a class a go.

The Orangetheory gym is located at the corner of West College and Atherton, near several bus stops and the Metropolitan apartment complex. The studio itself is clean and bright, and the front desk staff were quite helpful with giving a tour of the studio itself and explaining the structure of the class. Oftentimes, trying a new fitness class for the first time can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start or what to do, but Orangetheory made sure to point us in the right direction.

One of the greatest parts of Orangetheory classes is that no two are the same. While they all have similar components, no class will have the same exact exercises. However, every studio in the country is on the same workout plan – so whether you take a class on a certain day in State College or in Los Angeles, you’ll still be getting the same great workout. 

What sets Orangetheory apart from a typical gym workout? 

Nicole Drouillard, a Penn State junior and regular Orangetheory customer, prefers Orangetheory to hitting the gym. After finding out about the State College location via Instagram, she’s now a membership holder. 

“I’m working out with a lot of people and it really pushes me to work harder as opposed to trying to motivate myself on my own,” Drouillard says.

There are three ‘stations’ that participants rotate through each class – treadmill, rowing and strength training. Everyone is free to choose where they start their workout, allowing for each person to have their own unique experience. The class primary focuses on HIIT-style workouts, which include intervals of high intensity work, followed by active recovery. A typical treadmill exercise, for example, may be a five minute circuit rotating between three different paces – base, push and all-out.

Orangetheory prides itself on being a high-intensity workout for participants of any and all fitness levels. But how can one take a group workout class if they aren’t the same level as everyone else? Orangetheory knows it can be frustrating to take a fitness class if you feel you cannot keep up with the movement, so every single movement during the class allows the option to modify the speed, weight or intensity to best suit your fitness level. There’s no judgement from anyone, since everyone is focused on getting the best workout that they possibly can.

With classes taking up only one hour of the day, they’re especially appealing to busy college students who may not have the time for a longer workout or to get to the gym every day of the week. There are a variety of membership plans, as well as drop-in classes, so there really is an option for everyone. 

After burning upwards of 500-1000 calories, VALLEY knows that you’ll feel exhausted afterwards. However, the feeling of accomplishing something and pushing yourself through a challenging workout can be extremely rewarding.

“I keep going back because of how I feel after. You know that when you’re done, that it was an amazing workout,” Drouillard says.

Before each class, VALLEY recommends eating a light, healthy snack and making sure to stay hydrated. A mix of simple and complex carbohydrates will keep you fueled without feeling too full throughout the workout. You’ll get much more out of the class if you’re properly energized.

Orangetheory offers a free trial class, so why not grab a few friends and give this new workout craze a try!


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