It's January, the most depressing month of the year according to many. The holidays are over, it's cold, It's back to work and routine, there is less sun, and it's generally grey and dreary outside. It's also the time of year that we decide, usually after indulging way too much over the holidays, that we need to do something about those extra pounds. I've wanted to get in shape for a few months, not necessarily to lose weight but to gain strength and muscle and to tone up and tighten my core, the one thing we all wish was a bit firmer after kids. My kids are 10 and 6 so there is no excuse really that I haven't gotten back to where I feel I want to be. And it's not that I don't exercise - I run on a regular basis, and I had been going to a gym a few times a week.
What I realized after only 6 weeks at Orangetheory Fitness is that I was not exercising in the right way to lose weight or sculpt muscles. There is a difference between exercising for general health, and with the intention to change body composition. I made some faulty assumptions: I assumed that because I was running for 30 minutes a few times a week that I was working out. I wasn't. I used to do track since the age of 5 until high school, and I have crazy good endurance. A 5k run doesn't phase me, but 20 minutes on the treadmill at an OTF class and It feels like the hardest I've ever worked.
I also could never stick with a gym. I couldn't find the motivation to go on a regular basis, partly because I didn't see the difference in my body and I wasn't feeling the difference in my mood. I would get on the stair climber, elliptical, or treadmill for 30 mins and then do some weights but everytime I left, I felt that I didn't get a good workout. Do you know that feeling? What was preventing me from pushing myself harder?
The answer for me was that I didn't know how hard I was working out. I couldn't tell if I was pushing myself or not. In my case, I felt that I needed to be extra careful. I have a heart murmur and I need to work out to keep my heart healthy per my doctor's orders b/c heart disease does run in my family, but I also didn't want to push myself too hard (which is more to do with my own anxiety than a medical order). This is where the heart rate monitors that we wear at OTF makes ALL.THE.DIFFERENCE. For the first time I can see how hard I'm pushing myself. I can see that I was not pushing myself hard AT.ALL.
After 6 weeks and only going to the gym twice a week I am beginning to see improvement in my body and my mental health is feeling great too. I actually got up early twice last week so that I could make the 8:15 class because the other morning classes were full. I am actually excited to go to the gym. I love the way I feel afterwards and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way my body is changing for the better.
These are the top 5 things I love about OTF and why I keep going back.
The Coaches - the coaches do a great job of getting to know everyone and learning our names. They motivate in a supportive way and connected with me right away so that I could feel comfortable in the class. I love that everything I meet a new coach they seem to follow the same system of making the newbies feel comfortable in the class.
The heart rate monitor system - The heart rate monitors are connected to TVs around the room so we can see how we are doing and if we need to make small adjustments to reach our goal.
The music - The music is so good. And I know you are thinking I have good workout music already what is the big deal? The big deal is not having to keep putting earbuds back in after they fall out, or having anything connecting to me at all. The fact that it's just amazing music that seems to be choreographed perfectly with the workout structure is pure bliss!
The Orange effect - All I need is 12 minutes in the orange zone to have an amazing workout that is going to keep burning fat and calories through the next day. 12 minutes. It's perfection.
The flexibility with the number of classes and locations - I'm very lucky because there are two OTF classes next to me, but a few weeks ago I was in Ottawa for holidays and there is an OTF gym there, and there are OTF gyms all across Canada so even when I'm traveling for work I can still go to the gym and get the same great workout.
Overall I'm really enjoying OTF and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 6 week brings. You can try it for free and see if you love it, too.
Disclaimer : I received a discount off membership at OTF but as always the opinions are my own.