Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory: Which Is Better?


This post is all about Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory.

Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory


I’ve been going to Orangetheory Fitness for about two years now, and I really love it (you can read my Orangetheory review here). It is such a great, well-rounded workout, and I feel awesome every time I leave the studio.

However, Orangetheory is a little pricey. So, when one of my friends told me about ClassPass, I was immediately curious.

ClassPass is an app that allows you to visit any fitness studio or health/wellness business that is affiliated with them. Every month, you pay a subscription fee and you are awarded credits. 

Then, you can use your credits to attend whichever fitness studio or health/wellness business you’d like.

I signed up for ClassPass a few weeks ago, and noticed that Stride Fitness was affiliated with them. Stride is really close to my house, so I decided to try it out.


What is Stride Fitness?

According to their website, Stride Fitness is “a treadmill-based interval training concept, delivering a total-body cardio and strength workout.”

At Stride, you can workout at your own pace, but they do have cards that sit on the treadmill that suggest speeds for you. The cards have two sides: walking suggestions and running suggestions.

On the cards, there are four levels. Level 1 is your “recovery pace” (i.e. a slow pace) and then Level 4 is a “sprint” pace (i.e. your fastest pace). 

In class, instructors will call out what level you should be on, as well as what incline you should be at, if any.

Heart rate monitors are offered in class, but in my experience, there’s no mention of certain heart rate zones or anything related to the monitors mentioned by the instructors during the class.

Stride classes are, essentially, 55-minute treadmill workouts in treadmill studios. These classes are HIIT classes (high-intensity interval training). 


What is Orangetheory?

Orangetheory is, according to their website, “heart rate-based interval training, where you train through 5 heart rate zones designed to charge your metabolism for MORE caloric afterburn, MORE results, and MORE confidence, all to deliver you MORE LIFE.”

One of the zones is the “orange zone”. If you are able to stay in this zone (or the red one, above it) for at least 12 minutes of class,  “this will boost your metabolism, burn fat, and burn more calories post-workout than traditional exercise.”


Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory

Here are all of the similarities and differences between Stride Fitness and Orangetheory group classes.


Similarities Between Stride Fitness And Orangetheory 

There are less similarities than differences, so we will start with the similarities between Stride Fitness and Orangetheory first. Then, we will cover the differences.


1. Both Stride and Orangetheory have dark lighting and great music

Stride Fitness studios are dark and a pretty, colored light changes from pink to green to purple (etc.) throughout the class.

Orangetheory is also known for its dark lighting and also its orange lights.

Both studios offer super upbeat, pump-up music. Think remixes of today’s top hits and all kinds of electronic music.


Woman running on a treadmill at Stride fitness.


2. Both Stride and Orangetheory have friendly/welcoming instructors 

At both fitness studios, I’ve always thought the coaches/instructors were really nice, welcoming, and helpful. Both classes are also in a group setting led by one coach/instructor.


3. Both Stride and Orangetheory have heart-rate monitors

With Stride, you have the option to buy a heart rate monitor. I’ve been to 3 classes now, and haven’t once seen someone use a heart rate monitor.

Orangetheory also has heart rate monitors, and most people use them in class. These heart rate monitors track your heart rate, of course, and will tell you which heart rate zone you are in.

Orangetheory coaches often refer to which heart rate zones you should be in, or they’ll encourage you to push yourself a little harder depending on what zone you’re in.


Here are the 5 heart rate zones of Orangetheory.


4. The class templates for both Stride and Orangetheory change often

This means that whether you go to Stride or Orangetheory, the class itself is constantly changing and different. If you go to class two days in a row, for example, the classes will look different from day to day.


5. Stride and Orangetheory offer a free trial class

First time trying either fitness class? No problem. Both Stride and Orangetheory will give you your first class free to try it out and see if you like it.


6. Stride and Orangetheory will give you a great workout

Both classes can be really challenging and offer a great workout with high calorie burn. Which one you choose will depend on what you are looking for in a class, and what type of overall workout you want to have.

We will get more into the details of what Stride and Orangetheory classes look like when we talk about the differences between the two classes next.


Differences Between Stride Fitness And Orangetheory

Now for the differences: Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory.


1. Stride focuses almost entirely on the treadmills, Orangetheory does not

To explain this difference, it will be helpful to know more about how each class is designed.


Stride Studio and Workout Details

In a Stride studio, you will have about 20 treadmills, a small area where weights are, and a small rack of yoga mats.

At the start of a Stride class, you’ll do a quick warm up with some stretching, and then get into the bulk of the class which is running (or walking) on the treadmill.

You can take a class that is entirely running-based, or you can take a few variations. They have a “Core” class which is 45 minutes of treadmill and 10 minutes of core/ab work. 

They also have a “Combo” class where, again, the majority of the class takes place on a treadmill, and then 15 minutes or so is spent weight lifting.

There is then stretching at the end of class. For the most part, Stride is a treadmill workout.


Stride fitness studio.
This is an example of what a Stride Fitness studio might look like.


Orangetheory Studio and Workout Details 

Orangetheory studios have about 12-15 treadmills, the same amount of rowing machines, and the same amount of weight stations on the weight floor.

There are also bikes for people who would rather bike than walk or run. The studios aren’t very big but they are sufficient for everything that goes on.

At Orangetheory, depending on what kind of class you signed up for (I explain this more in my Orangetheory review), you are usually on the treadmill for half the class, and then in the weights section for half the class.

The rowing machine is often thrown in as part of the strength portion of the class. For example, there might be a class where once you’re done with the treadmill portion, you will do a bit of strength, go to the rower, then back to strength, and then back to the rower again.

In my experience, there isn’t a lot of core-based work in Orangetheory, but there is far more leg weight lifting exercises. Orangetheory also offers much heavier weights than Stride.

Orangetheory also has “benchmarks”. Every couple of weeks, there will be a challenge that everyone in class will complete. For example, row 2,000 meters as fast as you can. When you’re done, you’ll tell your time to the Orangetheory coach and they will put it in their system.

Later, it will show up in your Orangetheory app. When this same challenge comes around again in a few months, you can try to beat your last score and see if you’ve improved. So far, I don’t believe Stride offers anything like this.

Orangetheory also offers a different class format called “Lift 45”. In this strength training class, you focus entirely on lifting for 45 minutes. This is a class for total body strength work.

Overall, Orange theory has more dynamic class formats and workout variety.


Orangetheory fitness studio.
This is an example of what an Orangetheory studio might look like. One side has rowers, the other has treadmills, and in the back is the weight floor.


2. Stride classes are more low-key

For one, Orangetheory doesn’t really condone people using their phones in class. In fact, there’s a sign on the doors before you go into the studio that says not to.

At Stride, on the other hand, I see people walking on the treadmills during class and scrolling on their phones.

Secondly, there are less people in Stride classes.

I’m not sure if this is just because Orangetheory is more well-known than Stride, but I haven’t attended a Stride class with more than 4 people, whereas I went to Orangetheory recently and the class, with about 25 people, was sold out.

Orangetheory classes tend to have a lot of people, while Stride classes do not.

Overall, in my opinion, Stride is less overwhelming/intimidating than Orangetheory.


3. There’s less socialization with Stride

As far as I can tell, Stride doesn’t offer any meet-ups for class-goers.

Orangetheory, on the other hand, plans a meetup every month or so and is always running a charity to raise money for a good cause.

Further, a big difference I noticed between Stride and Orangetheory is that when you walk into a Stride studio, you can actually go in the classroom and start warming up on your own.

At Orangetheory, on the other hand, you are not allowed in the room until the coach starts class, so you’ll hang out outside and listen to people chatting or partake in conversation with fellow classmates.

I personally like that you can go into the classroom before the Stride class begins, especially on days where I’m feeling less sociable! Plus, I can get started earlier and get more of a warm-up in.


4. Stride is cheaper than Orangetheory

Stride is cheaper. It’s as simple as that! Right now, I pay about $6 a class for Stride with ClassPass, whereas I pay about $16 a class for Orangetheory. Yikes!

With my current ClassPass subscription, I can attend 9 Stride classes a month. With my current Orangetheory membership, I can attend 8 classes a month.


A woman running on a treadmill.


5. The treadmills and equipment are nicer at Orangetheory

Far and away, the treadmills are better at Orangetheory.

At Stride, treadmills are often out of order. This is a rarity at Orangetheory, especially if they have gotten new treadmills recently, which a lot of studios have.

The microphone system was also down at Stride in my last class, so our instructor had to yell out what we were doing all class long.

I’ve seen the microphones go out at Orangetheory, but they were able to fix it quickly.


6. Stride is partnered with ClassPass, Orangetheory is not

I had no idea how much I would love ClassPass, and it took me way too long to try it out.

Stride is partnered with ClassPass, while Orangetheory isn’t. Unfortunately I think I’m going to quit Orangetheory soon just because I love the flexibility that ClassPass offers me.

With ClassPass, you can go to so many different fitness studios and try them out, so you’re never tied to just one studio. You can even get your nails done or a facial with ClassPass! 

Here’s my referral code if you want to try ClassPass!


A ClassPass sign up form.
ClassPass – if you want flexibility with your workouts, it’s worth trying!


7. Stride offers a towel every class, Orangetheory does not

This is such a minor thing, but Stride offers a clean towel to wipe your face off throughout the class, every class. Orangetheory does not do this.


8. Stride classes are slightly shorter than Orangetheory classes

Stride classes are 55 minutes in length while Orangetheory classes are typically 1 hour. Orangetheory also offers 45 minute classes and 90 minute classes on occasion.


9. The demographics of the classes are slightly different

At Stride, I typically see women ages 20-35, whereas at Orangetheory, I see both men and women (though, still primarily more women) from ages 20 – 70.

It does not matter your age for either class, but Orangetheory seems to have a wider range of ages and people in general.


My Opinion: Orangetheory is nicer, Stride is simpler

If you want a well-rounded workout, nicer machines and gym equipment, a social environment, and you have a flexible budget, I would recommend Orangetheory.

Otherwise, I would recommend Stride. It’s so low key that you can just show up, waltz in, get a good run in, and leave. It’s very low key and less social pressure. It’s also cheaper.


This post was all about Stride Fitness vs Orangetheory.


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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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