Orange You Glad You Worked Out?

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Confession: I’ve never tried CrossFit or Pure Barre. I’m not really into yoga. I’ve taken one spin class in my 20-something years. Other than recently starting to lift weights with my Incredible Hulk of a boyfriend, the only exercise I’ve stuck to is a good long walk, or when the mood strikes, a run, around my neighborhood. When I heard about Orangetheory Fitness opening soon in Meadowmont – and the workout’s potential to burn calories up to 36 hours after class – I was intrigued. They sent me to their Morrisville studio to try out one of their classes that incorporates intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.

First-timers are asked to show up at the studio 30 minutes before the class starts. The incredibly friendly staff sign you in, show you around the (very orange, naturally) gym and go over all the heart-rate monitor info since we all wear them around our sternums. The best part about getting there early: You’re left with plenty of time to sit and scope out the class before yours. I watched through the glass and thought, “I can do that! Why do they look so tired?”

Donning a nametag, I started out with half of my class walking on the treadmill before either upping it to power walking or running. (The other half of the fairly small class did a quick warm-up on rowing machines before moving to strength exercises with free weights.) The main difference between Orangetheory Fitness classes and others are that the workouts are designed to keep you working at ideal heart rates and you’re supposed to keep an eye on it throughout the class. Your number is broadcast right next to your other classmates on two giant screens (though I wish there had been more), Brady Bunch-style. Depending on how hard you are working, your box is shaded white, blue, green, orange and red. It’s peer pressure, sure, but more than that, it encouraged me to push myself.

My name didn’t appear on the screen for the first bit of class, but I kept on running and powerwalking. In the middle of class, someone from the front desk came in with a new heart-rate monitor for me. Midway through the hour-long class, we switched and I was sweating. I was out of breath as I took a seat on the rower and it was a struggle toward the end to squat with good form. After class, the instructor chatted individually with the newbies like me and encouraged us to stick with it.

There was no doubt that I worked hard that night and the email waiting later in my inbox with my heart-rate stats – and calorie burn – confirmed it.

OrangeTheory Fitness, 104 Meadowmont Village Circle; 919-883-9424;

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Jessica Stringer

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