Review: Orangetheory Fitness

Author’s Note: This is my personal, unbiased opinion of Orangetheory Fitness and I was not compensated in any way for this review.

20160918_152405I had the good fortune of having an incredibly active visit to Chicago. I asked my cousin, Susan, with whom we were staying, if she wanted to work out while I was there, and I got an eager YES! as a response. She did not disappoint! Between a gym workout, walking sightseeing, and a run clinic, I managed to offset all the amazing food we enjoyed and come home weighing less than when I left. Here’s how my trip went:

Friday – Orangetheory Fitness (60min/668 calories), walking around downtown and 19,512 steps total

Saturday – Art Institute of Chicago and 14,316 steps total

Sunday – Run Clinic (1hr 6min/3.54mi/578 calories), Architectural Boat Tour and 16,109 steps total

Not bad eh? Made up for having deep dish pizza and beef sandwiches!

The Workout

So how was Orangetheory Fitness? Well it’s easier if I start with what Orangetheory Fitness is. From their website:

The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. By providing you with a heart-rate monitor and POD, we can monitor your 5-zone interval training sessions that we call the Orange 60. During the 60-minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, which translates to Zones 4/5. This program design produces workout “afterburn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for 24 to 36 hours after the workout. When combining the amazing workout with EPOC, our clients burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories.

So essentially you’re getting a varied 60-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout that includes cardio and strength training. You’re wearing a heart rate monitor the whole time, and your heart rate, %max and calories burned are displayed on a large monitor so you can easily glance up and see if you’re hitting the target zone (they make it really easy to see if you’re in orange by changing the color of your square according to your heart rate).

What I love about their system is the DATA. They e-mail you your results after your workout so you can see how you did. I wore both their wrist heart rate monitor and my Polar heart rate monitor. My Polar had me at 668 calories burned, so they’re a bit low but not too bad! They promise you’ll burn 500-1000 calories an hour so either way you read it I was in that range. They provide 3 different types of sessions, one strength-based, one endurance-based and the one we did, which was tabata-style. There were about 20 people in the class, so half of us started on the treadmills and the other half on the floor. Treadmill people switched between three phases, Base, Push, and All Out. You could choose between running and power walking, and during the course of the workout I tried both. I started with jogging at a 4 mph pace for my Base. Push was 6 mph and All Out was 7 mph. Each interval was between 30 seconds and 2 minutes and were varied.For power walkers, the goal was to stick to the same speed but raise elevation between 4 and 15%.

After about 8 minutes, we switched and moved to the floor. Floor exercises were TRX and ab based: crunches, plank toe touches, the dreaded burpees. Once we finished a set of each, we moved to the water rowers, which I’d never used before. Really fun! Our goal there was to finish a specific yard length of rowing in a certain time before moving back to the floor exercises and repeating until the block was complete. All in all we had 3 treadmill sessions and 3 floor sessions total, with each set of ab exercises being different and each rowing session being longer and faster. Before I knew it the 60 minutes was over and I was pooped!


The best part? I abhor group exercise classes, but the pace was so fast it almost felt like a solo workout. You don’t have time to chitchat with your neighbors, and if you’re able to hold a conversation during this workout you’re not trying hard enough. And the way the room is laid out isn’t conducive to watching other people workout, you’re all in a line and often in front of a mirror so you can only really watch yourself, so it removes the comparison to others. A group workout for people who don’t like group workouts, who knew?!


I went to an Orangetheory in Chicago, and they have premium pricing there. $79 a month will get you 4 sessions, or almost $20 a session! Now you know I’m frugal (in the case of gym memberships I’m a flat out cheapskate) so $20 a SESSION is very high for someone like me, but if you can afford it I think it’s a really great workout and it was challenging while still being enjoyable. Okay okay, I still hate burpees but that was a very small part of the whole thing. Their website is kind of vague regarding pricing (I had to search a bit) but my local Orangetheory Fitness in Moorestown, NJ (still about 30 min from home) is $59 a month for up to 4 sessions, which is a bit more reasonable. Even so, out of my budget. The good news is you can try the first workout for FREE.


I really enjoyed the workout at Orangetheory Fitness, which says a lot considering how much of a lone wolf I am when it comes to workouts. I burned a lot of calories in that 60 minute session, and I was sore for the next few days (all those public transit stairs were groan-inducing). I got to try new equipment in the form of water rowers and TRX suspension, and I got to workout with Susan, which was a blast! I’d say if it’s within your budget and you prefer to have someone else guiding your workouts, then this is a great option and well worth the money. If Orangetheory sponsors the Adventure Run again and I won a free membership I’d absolutely use it!

So what about you? Have you tried Orangetheory? Let me know in the comments!




Wool: My Current Obsession

I admit it, dear readers, I have been distracted. Summer is in full swing and I’ve been spending time outdoors and spending quiet time enjoying my favorite pass time: reading. Yes, my lovelies, not writing for you, as I should be, but getting lost in a world not my own. The world of Wool.

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Wool is a 5-part series written by Hugh Howey, and is a post-apocalyptic science fiction book. If you’re not into the post-apocalyptic thing like I am, it might not appeal to you. But Howey can write rich, nuanced characters in a well-developed world that keeps me “page turning” (I read on a Kindle, okay?).



For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is more than a self-published ebook phenomenon―it’s the new standard in classic science fiction.

In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.

I haven’t even finished READING this yet, and I’m itching to recommend it. I can also recommend Sand, which I read a few years back.

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I hope you check out Hugh Howey!  I’m gonna go finish reading Wool. 😉



Review: July Love With Food Box – A Tasty Farewell

I’ve said before that I don’t understand how Love with Food chooses it’s themes, and this month’s theme is no exception. Love is Adventure is a fun thing to say, and it sounds good, but I personally wouldn’t describe a SINGLE THING in this box as adventurous. Tasty, yes. Maybe if they’d put that horrid curry flavored granola in this box I could see the adventure, but everything in this box is pretty darn tame.

20160717_180635I’ve been subscribed to Love with Food for more than a year now, and while I’ve enjoyed my time with them, our breakup is overdue. Sorry, Love with Food, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve just got a more sophisticated palate than you can match, what with your lollipops and fruit snacks and liquid oatmeal goop in a bag. July 2016 will be my last Love with Food box, so without further ado, I give you Love is Adventure.

20160721_061919Barney Butter Snack Pack – Vanilla + Espresso Almond Butter

I wanted to love this SO BAD. Vanilla espresso almond butter? That sounds AMAZING! Sadly, just like most of the almond butters I’ve tried, this was grainy. The vanilla espresso flavor was very, very mild. Why can’t I like almond butter?! Every time I try it I just think it’s so boring and the texture is just awful. Maybe it’s me. I’ll be sticking to my buddy peanut butter from now on.

20160721_103120Pure Growth Organic Popcorn

I joke about having a refined palate but when presented with bag after bag of air popped popcorn seasoned only with salt I find that I can’t ever tell them apart. They’re all just good air popped popcorn. It’s popcorn. Do they taste different like wine or coffee? I can’t figure it out. In my opinion, if popcorn is still crunchy and has the right amount of salt it’s good every time. This one was good, too.

20160721_062122Pur Mints Mojito Lime Mint

I’ve got a couple of these in my mouth right now, and I’ve gotta say they taste pretty darn close to a real mojito, sans the rum of course. They have a very slight medicinal quality but are tasty and refreshing.

20160721_062110Luna Protein Berry Greek Yogurt Bar

This was, by far, my least favorite item in the box. I was grumpy after eating it. It had a sour, spoiled quality to it that I did NOT love. I love Greek yogurt, but to me it should be tart and not sour. I do usually like Luna bars though, so this was an anomaly. Do not recommend.

20160718_201458Pretzel Perfection Twice-Baked Tomato Basil Pretzel Sticks

In contrast to the Luna bar, these were my absolute favorite thing in the box. THEY WERE SO CRUNCHY! Perfection is the right word when waxing poetic about these. The bag was pretty big too, I didn’t feel like I ran out of pretzel sticks too quickly. I also really enjoyed the Tomato Basil flavor,  which was strong enough to be enjoyable without crossing the line of overkill. SO YUM.

20160721_062059Chef’s Cut Original Real Steak Jerky

If I could afford to buy this jerky on a regular basis I would. It has great flavor and it’s incredibly tender and easy to chew. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s nitrite free, if you’re worried about that sort of thing. Also, for real, I legit like the logo. Maybe it’s because I’m a Taurus.

20160721_062137Trujoy Sweets Organic Bunny Shaped Lollipop

I’m not really a lollipop fan, but this was tasty. I think it was strawberry flavored? Maybe strawberry banana. The fact that it is supposed to be “bunny shaped” doesn’t sway me either way. And at closer inspection, it appears the bunny is choking on the stick. Not my idea of family friendly imagery.

20160721_061946Yumearth Naturals Sour Beans

The Hubs ate the sour beans, and he says they had a good sour kick to them at first, which then mellowed out to a sweetness. They had a more natural fruit flavor than Sour Patch Kids. His quote: “As a connoisseur of sour things, me likey.” Preach.

20160720_064900Jimmy Bar – No Bluffin’ Banana Muffin

I’ve gotten Jimmy Bars before, and I’ve got to say I really like them. I can’t find them anywhere in stores though. I like the idea that you can get these smaller snack sized ones, too. The texture is great, and while some people will be disappointed in the lack of true banana flavor, I was pleased. It was a nice, sweet, bullsh*t free bite!


I enjoyed this box quite a bit, despite the Luna bar. I will be discontinuing my subscription after this box and venturing out to try something new, but if you’re interested in giving it a try, use my code and get a discount on your first box!

Have you tried any of these snacks? Let me know in the comments!