By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Sponsorships and affiliate commissions help support our research so we can help you find the best products. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
Odds are you've heard the buzz surrounding Orangetheory Fitness based on the studio's stellar reputation for challenging-but-satisfying workouts and a motivational community atmosphere. But just in case you haven't heard—or have and need an extra boost to finally sign yourself up for a class—we're here to help by answering some of your burning questions on how Orangetheory's customized heart rate training program can help you launch your weight loss or muscle building transformation journey.
We'll also be sharing real results and transformation pictures from current members that have made progress and changes in their lives with the help of Orangetheory Fitness. Read on and get started today!
Does Orangetheory Help With Weight Loss?
In short, yes. Orangetheory can help with weight loss when training consistently and eating a well-balanced diet. An Orangetheory class consists of training intervals across three stations—cardio, rower, and floor. Unlike traditional high intensity interval training (HIIT), Orangetheory's approach uses heart rate zones—gray, blue, green, orange, and red—to help you maximize your effort during each session.
Additionally, Orangetheory uses their patented OTBeat Burn™ heart monitor (available for in-studio purchase or on the Orangetheory website) to display your training metrics in real-time during class with the goal of spending at least 12 minutes or more in the Orange Zone. Additionally, the Orangetheory method takes advantage of post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC) to help boost your metabolism and keep you burning calories after your workout.(1)
Does Orangetheory Build Muscle?
Resistance training is a well-known component of muscular growth from exercise.(2) Orangetheory's program emphasizes strength (or resistance) training as part of their three-station system. When participating in the "floor" portion of the 60-minute session (depending on the class) you'll be training with equipment such as dumbbells or a TRX suspension system that uses your body weight to help build up your strength and muscle. Orangetheory updates their workouts daily to ensure that the focus is on different muscles every session for a full-body approach.
Orangetheory Before and After Results
We asked several current Orangetheory members about their motivation behind joining the studio and how Orangetheory helped them achieve their fitness goals. Here are their inspirational stories:
Member since 2021
When my daughter was born I was 350 pounds. The first six months with her I struggled to be able to help my wife with what should have been simple tasks. I needed to finally make a change. When the Oceanside location opened up five minutes from my house, I knew it was time to try something new.
I really fell in love with the program which made it easier to stay motivated and continue my progress. The coaches and the staff at my studio couldn’t be more supportive and kept me in check. The biggest hurdle is just going to your first class. Once you get through one, the rest comes easy. They make it fun and it becomes your family.
I am now able to run around with my kids and without being tired after 5 minutes.
Anyone that knows me can’t believe that Orangetheory is the key to my success. I’ve lost 130 pounds in about a year and a half. I take class five to six days a week and I couldn’t be happier. Orangetheory has changed my life.
Member since 2017
Orangetheory's Transformation Challenge (a yearly eight-week physical challenge) is actually one of the things that made me fall in love with Orangetheory. I was not even two months into my membership when the challenge was starting. I signed up to use it to help me stay accountable with booking my classes. After 25 years of a completely dormant life, staying committed to an exercise program was a completely foreign concept to me. I decided to use my first Transformation Challenge to really make some healthy changes, aside from just working out. I changed my eating habits, my sleep habits, and tried to change my mindset about living a healthier life. My success during Transformation Challenge helped me carry the momentum forward, and I was able to lose 100 pounds over the course of a year.
For last year’s Transformation Challenge I decided to start focusing on what I could do to get stronger, and physically lift heavier weights. I used Transformation Challenge as my starting point for new habits, making sure I was targeting the correct muscle group with each exercise, and perfecting my form. Now, heading to the heavy weight rack is my norm, and sometimes I even surprise myself with some of the weights I’m able to use. Transformation Challenge is a great way to jumpstart making the changes and starting the work on new goals you want to achieve.
Member Since 2015
At age 58, Orangetheory has helped me get into the best shape of my life. I have so much energy all day, every day. Mostly, I cherish the solid and lasting friendships that have come from being an OTF member. The term Fit Fam is truly heartfelt. Thank you, Orangetheory!
Member since 2019
After seeing pictures from a vacation I was disgusted with how I looked and realized it was time for a change. I had gotten into a rut and had become very sedentary and lazy after work. I had tried several different gyms and workouts but nothing stuck for more than a few months. Then I tried OTF and it was the best decision I had ever made. I started off with the idea of only going three days per week but then immediately upgraded to the unlimited membership. Before long I had dropped over 30 pounds and several belt loops.
Benchmark Days (repeating a workout six months later to show progress) proved to be "can’t miss" days because it provided documented proof of improvement.
It was interesting to see how outside factors like sleep, nutrition, and stress affected my workouts and I was soon making changes for the better.One of the best parts about class is that you don’t have to build a plan or think too hard. You show up and follow the program for the day so you can just focus on what’s in front of you. My original base was 4-5, push was 5-6 and all-out was 7-8. Now my pushes are 7-8 and all-outs range from 12.5+ depending on the day.
I’ve seen drastic changes in appearance as well as a much more defined muscle tone and have even completed multiple Spartan Races outside of OTF because of the work I’ve done in class.
Member since 2022
OTF has completely changed my life. The coaches, the staff, and the atmosphere have helped, supported, and inspired me on my fitness journey resulting in an incredible 100 pound weight loss. It has been a fantastic journey and one that I will be continuing.
Member since 2021
On Thursday December 2, 2021, I walked into Orangetheory Harlingen at 5am for my first class. I was not in great shape and I had never worked out with weights, let alone in a group setting, but as soon as I walked in those doors, I found a sense of community and support from not only the coaches who saw athlete potential in me, or the sales associates who always welcome us with the biggest smiles, but also from all of the other members who I now see regularly. I saw a group of people with different backgrounds and fitness levels who are all on their own fitness journeys with their own reasons for being there. I felt encouraged to push myself knowing I was able to take it at my own pace or with modifications.
There was never any pressure of being a super athlete right from the start. The workouts are truly for anyone.
Since joining, I have lost around 20 pounds and am down 8% body weight, but what had started as a weight loss journey, has since turned into so much more. It’s truly been a full transformation from the inside out. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I am not the same person I was back then. The Orangetheory coaches at my studio have helped me to see that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. Not only has my strength improved, but so has my running. I went from doing a 5k run in 45+ minutes to now just 26 minutes. I’ve run my first half marathon and have my second one coming up, something I had thought someone like me could never do. I changed my narrative from "I’ll never be able to do that," to "I can’t do that yet, but one day I will."
How long does it take to see results from Orangetheory?
Results will vary depending on your body composition and the effort and consistency dedicated to each class. On average, you should expect to start seeing changes, such as improvements in stamina, strength, weight loss and body fat reduction, in about 8 to 12 weeks of regular training at Orangetheory.
Is Orangetheory 4 times a week enough?
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended to engage in 150 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous activity a week to help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes.(3) That means that completing 3 classes each week exceeds this goal and helps contribute to positive changes in physical (and mental health)—especially when it comes to the heart. This recommendation also considers safety and allows for proper recovery between classes.
Will I get in shape with Orangetheory?
Orangetheory classes are designed to optimize your health and wellness through heart rate training. Heart rate training can not only help you push yourself towards greater results, but it can also help boost cardiovascular fitness by improving your VO2 max, or the amount of oxygen used during intense aerobic exercise.(4) Orangetheory also includes muscle-strengthening exercises on the floor that contribute to overall power, function, and muscle mass increases.
What are splat points used for?
Splat points mark each minute spent in the Orange and Red zones during each training session. These zones represent the anaerobic training zone, where your body gets energy from glucose without the use of oxygen to help burn calories and increase bone strength and density.(5) The goal of each Orangetheory workout is to spend 12 minutes or more in Orange Zone, which can earn you 12+ splat points per class.
How hard is Orangetheory?
Orangetheory can be challenging but is accessible for all fitness levels, so you can train at your own pace and have options for pre-existing injuries or conditions. Each Orangetheory class is run by a certified coach who is there to help guide you through the session.
Our Final Takeaway
A fitness transformation often comes from a desire to make a change for intrinsic (you do it because you enjoy it) and extrinsic (you do it for the reward) reasons. As hard as getting started can be, staying consistent and motivated becomes the real challenge. Studios specializing in group fitness, like Orangetheory, provide community and accountability to help you achieve your desired results and give you the tools to maintain them over time. In addition to motivation, studies have shown that group fitness classes may help reduce stress levels and improve physical and emotional well-being.(6) You may have noticed that a few of our featured transformation stories referred to Orangetheory as family, which isn't an exaggeration. Change can be difficult, and participating in a class with several like-minded individuals with similar goals and reasons for being there could be the catalyst for your transformation. If the Orangetheory experience sounds appealing to you, give it a try. The first class is free!
ACTIVE.com’s editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated.
- Lecovin, G. (n.d.) Exploring Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (Epoc): 'Burn Baby Burn!' NASM. Retrieved June, 15, 2023 from https://blog.nasm.org/excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption
- Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543.
- Neufeld EV, Wadowski J, Boland DM, Dolezal BA, Cooper CB. Heart Rate Acquisition and Threshold-Based Training Increases Oxygen Uptake at Metabolic Threshold in Triathletes: A Pilot Study. Int J Exerc Sci. 2019 Jan 1;12(2):144-154. PMID: 30761193; PMCID: PMC6355121.
- Piercy KL, Troiano RP, Ballard RM, Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Galuska DA, George SM, Olson RD. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA. 2018 Nov 20;320(19):2020-2028. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.14854. PMID: 30418471; PMCID: PMC9582631.
- Anaerobic Exercise. (2022, August 19). Physiopedia, . Retrieved 17:37, July 12, 2023 from http:///index.php?title=Anaerobic_Exercise&oldid=315250.
- Yorks DM, Frothingham CA, Schuenke MD. Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2017 Nov 1;117(11):e17-e25. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.140. PMID: 29084328.