Orange Theory Review and 8 Tips – BEGINNER 2023


This post is all about an Orange Theory review, and 8 super helpful tips for your first class.

Orangetheory review for beginners.


I’ve heard great things about Orange Theory for a while now, and when a friend mentioned that she really liked it, I decided to try it out!

As of May, 2023, I have attended over 100 Orangetheory workouts : ) Here’s my take on Orange Theory, and some tips for you if you decide to try it out!


Orangetheory Fitness Review

In this post, you will find the best Orangetheory review for beginners.


Before Your First Orangetheory Class

Here are some key tips before your first Orangetheory class.


Tip #1: Your first Orangetheory fitness class is free as long as you’re local

Your very first class is free, as long as you’re local. If you aren’t local, like if you’re visiting a friend in a different city, you won’t be able to take the class for free and will have to pay whatever that studio charges for a “drop-in” – which can be expensive! So just be sure that you’re local to whichever location you decide to take your first class so that it’s free.

When you walk in, you’ll notice the energy of the room immediately. At least in my experience, the instructors (or coaches) are usually pretty chatty with their class, and it’s obvious that the people in the class have developed relationships over time. It’s a cool culture!

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to keep up, don’t be! It is a great workout, and can definitely be tough, but you can really take Orange Theory classes at your own pace! And you will see so many people of all varying ages and fitness levels alongside you.


Tip #2: Show up 30 minutes early for your first class

Once you register, you’ll receive an email from Orange Theory asking you to show up 30 minutes before class start time.

This way, the people working at Orange Theory can give you a run-down of how the class works beforehand, including getting you set up with your heart rate monitor. They’ll also give you a tour of the studio before class starts, and show you how to use the exercise machines.


Heart rate monitor on a wrist.


I took my mom and sister to Orange Theory one day and for whatever reason, they weren’t able to get their heart rate monitors set up properly in time for class.

They still had a great workout, but I was a little bummed because in my opinion, the heart rate monitor is the best part! And really makes the whole experience. So just be sure to get there in time for that to be set up for ya : )

Otherwise, I’m not going to lie – I understood maybe 10% of what they told me during the introduction. In hindsight, they did an awesome job giving me a run-down but it was so much information at one time that I was a little overwhelmed. This leads me to my third tip.


Tip #3: Take the class with a friend whose done Orange Theory before, if you can

Luckily, I had taken my first class with a friend, which I really recommend. When I didn’t understand what was going on in class, or I had a question, I could just turn to her for guidance/help!

I highly recommend going with an experienced friend for your first class so that you feel a little more comfortable.

If you aren’t able to take your first class with a friend, no worries! The instructor will know that you are new and will be close by for help if needed.

It also helps to remember that everyone in class once started Orange Theory with no idea what the heck they were doing either. Everyone was a beginner at your fitness studio at one point!


Tip #4: Remember your number 

Before class starts, you will be assigned a number. This number represents which machines or stations you will use throughout your workout.

For instance, if before class you are assigned the number 7, you’ll use rower #7, treadmill #7 and strength station #7. All rowers, treadmills and strength areas are labeled.

I personally did not realize this was a thing so during one of my first classes, I started on the correct treadmill (I was #11) but then when we switched over to the strength portion of class, I went to station #6 because I thought you could just go anywhere you wanted… when the person assigned to #6 saw me in their spot it was quite awkward haha.

Luckily I realized quickly, but please learn from my embarrassment and remember your number! 😛


Heart Rate and Splat Points

Orange Theory is all about monitoring your heart rate to maximize your 60-minute workout and I love this.

There are 5 different zones your heart can be working in: Gray, Blue, Green, Orange and Red. Gray is the lightest activity level, while the Red zone will be achieved during a maximal effort.

Here’s a great graphic breakdown from :


A breakdown of the 5 orangetheory heart rate zones.


The heart rate monitor that you will wear will measure your heart rate throughout the class, and keep track of how many minutes you spend in each zone.

If you spend one minute in either the Orange zone or Red zone, you will receive a “splat” point. If you get at least 12 splat points (i.e. you spend at least 12 minutes in the Orange or Red zones), you’ll achieve optimal caloric burn up to 36 hours after your workout is over. That’s what I was told at least!

When you’re on the treadmills, you’ll be able to see at what percentage of your maximum heart rate your heart is at. This is pretty cool because you get to watch just how hard your heart is working!


A picture of how the orangetheory heart rate monitor tracks how many minutes you are in each zone. This is a bar graph.
Your heart rate monitor will track how many minutes you spend in each heart rate zone.


2G vs. 3G

For your first class, you will likely start on a rower for at least a small warm-up. This seems to be where they start all the newbies.

There are three different exercise types and sections in an Orange Theory class: water rower, running on the treadmill, and strength exercises. There is also a bike option if you prefer that to running.

What you do in your 60-minute class will depend on if you signed up for a 2G class or a 3G class.


2G Class

A 2G class is a class where you’ll do two (2) of the three types of exercises. For example, running on the treadmill and strength building.


3G Class

A 3G class, on the other hand, is a class where you’ll do all three (3) types of exercises: running on the treadmill, strength building and rowing.

I personally like 2G classes better because I’m not a big rowing fan, and the 2G classes seem to usually consist of just treadmill and strength, with a brief warm-up on the rowers.

There are other class types that Orange Theory offers but 2G and 3G are the most prevalent in my experience.


Tip #5: Each Orange Theory class is different from the last!

What’s cool about Orange Theory is that you won’t show up and do the same thing every day – every class is different from the last.

Also, Orange Theory doesn’t give you a run-down on their website that you can read before you show up for class that day to see what you’re in for. It’s kinda like a fun little surprise, if you will… lol.

The Orange Theory regulars will tell you pretty quickly that you can turn to Reddit to see what’s on the docket for the day. Whether you choose to look there before class is totally up to you! I don’t usually look but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t before haha.


An Example of an Orange Theory Class

Let’s say you signed up for a 2G class for your first class for the purposes of this example. If there are a lot of people in your class, some of you will start on the rowers and some will start on the treadmills. About half way through the class, the groups will switch places.


Rower & Strength

Let’s say you start with a warm-up on the rowing machine, and then shortly thereafter move to the strength section.


Multiple people rowing on row machines in a dark gym.


In the strength section, you’ll see exercises like deadlifts, ab bikes, push-ups, and chest press. Dumbbells are often used, and some TRX straps exercises might be thrown in, too.

Weight lifting experience will come in handy here, but if you’ve never lifted weights before, don’t worry! The class instructor demonstrates everything before you get started, and they will always be an earshot away if you need assistance or have any questions. Likewise, there are TV screens that show moving demonstrations of the exercises so you can always look there for help (I know I do!).


A picture of a woman doing pushups.


After a few rounds of different exercises, in this example, you will switch over to the treadmills for the last half of the class.



The treadmill is probably my favorite part of class because you can see, in real-time, how your heart rate is performing right on your treadmill.


A picture of a person on a treadmill - just their bottom half of legs.


If you’re not a runner or a jogger, you don’t need to be! You can be a power walker and walk on the treadmill for the treadmill portion of class. You’re still gonna get a great workout in no matter your fitness goals!

The treadmill workouts will have you really pushing yourself.


Tip #6: Make sure your incline is set to at least 1.0 

On the Orange Theory treadmills, an “incline” of 0.0 is actually a decline! So you will always want to have your treadmill on an incline of at least 1.0 incline unless you want to give yourself some shin splits : )


Cool down 

Once you finish the treadmill portion of class (or whatever your final exercise is), the whole class will participate in a brief cool down. This will involve some breathing exercises and some stretching.

After that, you’re done! If it’s your first class, the class instructor will show you how to read your final stats (calories burned, max heart rate, splat points, etc.). And you’ll get a chance to ask all the questions you’d like.


A picture of what the orangetheory app will show you about your health stats after class.
After class, you can see how many calories burned, how many splat points you had, your max heart rate and how many steps you got, and more!


Tip #7: Don’t be scared to try something new

I was definitely a little intimidated before my first class, but you really don’t need to be! If you’re worried about looking funny, or tired, or whatever – you should know that the room is, first of all, kind of dark haha.

It’s not hard to see but it’s definitely not an environment where everyone’s looking around at each other. Everyone’s so focused on what the instructor is saying, and therefore focused on their own workout, that you don’t have much time to pay attention to any one else.

And it’s really not that competitive either, at least not in my experience! At times you’ll be right next to someone who is also running or rowing or squatting, but again, everyone goes at their own pace, gets out of their comfort zone, and pushes their own unique limits, so competition really isn’t a thing!


Tip #8: Don’t take it too seriously!

Hopefully for your first class you’ll have an awesome instructor who plays some great music that gets you pumped up. Yes, this is a workout, but it should also be fun. So, don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy it!


Friends laughing together on a gym floor.


Bonus Tip #9: Make sure you bring a water bottle!

Trust me, you will want it!


Orange Theory Pricing

Orange Theory has a few different membership options as well as class packs that you can buy. The following prices are accurate for the Jacksonville Beach area as of January 1, 2023, but they may be different depending on your location and the pricing of the orangetheory studios in your location.

For example, I know that studios in Arlington, Virginia are more expensive than Jacksonville Beach. If you live in a big city, don’t be surprised if the prices are a little higher!


Orange Theory Class Options

Here are the Orange Theory class options and prices as of January 1, 2023:

  • Unlimited: $169/month. With the unlimited package you can attend as many Orange Theory classes as you’d like. If you are a first responder, a nurse, or something similar, your local studio may offer $10 off your unlimited monthly membership.
  • 8 Classes/month: $109/month
  • 4 Classes/month: $69/month


There are also class packs, where you can buy a certain number of classes. These classes expire one year after the purchase date:

  • 10 Class Pack: $199
  • 20 Class Pack: $359
  • 30 Class Pack: $499

You can always “drop-in” as well, which will cost $28 a class. But don’t forget that as long as you go to a local-to-you studio for your first class, it’s free!

You can also go to any Orange Theory location once you sign up! So, if you visit a friend in another city or head to your hometown to visit family, you can take Orange Theory classes there, no matter what kind of membership you have.


Is Orange Theory worth it?

In my opinion, YES! I am so glad I signed up. If you are in need of a workout where you can just show up, have someone tell you what to do, and get your butt kicked in the process, Orange Theory is the workout for you.

Likewise, the heart rate monitor is a game changer. I love being able to see just how hard my heart is working, and all of the stats at the end of the class are fun to see, too!

The workout is also very much full-body. You’ll leave each class knowing you got some cardio and strength training in.

Lastly, when you join Orange Theory, you can use their app to sign up for classes. Their app is awesome. It tracks all of your workouts and stats, and makes signing up for classes a breeze!

If you have any Orange Theory questions, leave them in the comments below! And if you decide to try Orange Theory, definitely let me know! : )


This post is all about an Orange Theory review, and 8 super helpful tips for your first class.


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A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women. Read more about Taylor here.

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