I realize that a fitness New Year’s resolution is a bit of a cliche’, but in my case, it’s a choice I need to make for my health. After losing 25 lbs last year with a change to my eating habits (and no exercise), I’ve been needing to add a workout routine of some kind back in. And while I’ve tried a lot of things over the years, from Barre workouts to exercise apps, and pretty much everything in between, I wanted something new and different. And that’s where Orange Theory Fitness came in.

I didn’t really know too much about it before I took my first class a few weeks ago. Mostly, I know that my friends who love it REALLY LOVE IT (all caps required), and can’t stop talking about how great of a workout it is for them.

So, I decided to give it a try, and well, let’s just say that after my free trial class (which any new person gets, by the way), I signed up for 2 classes a week for 6 months. Yes, I really enjoyed it. Mostly. Here’s why I’m going to keep at it, at least until my membership runs out.

What you should know about Orange Theory Fitness | An honest review

Related: What’s the difference between Pure Barre and Barre3

5 thoughts about my first month at Orange Theory Fitness

It’s like personal training, except in a group setting. I’m a big fan of having someone just tell me what to do and when to do it, so OTF is perfect for someone like me. You don’t have to think about planning your workout or figuring out what to do next. The trainer does everything for you, with rowing, treadmill, and weight circuits all planned out. And they’re not mean, by the way. They explain everything, then encourage you along the way.

It’s still very personalized, though. Even though you’re with a big group, you get to decide how hard you want to work. I currently just power walk, and probably use weights that are a little light for me, but I’m still coming back from about 9 months of absolutely no exercise. Because it’s all about your own heart rate, you are only competing with yourself, not anyone else (though that doesn’t mean I don’t peek at my neighbor’s speed every now and then).

It’s a full body workout. I just don’t have a lot of time to spend on doing cardio days and weight days, so the fact that I’m getting both in one hour-long workout is the best use of my time. I always feel challenged, and if I’m not, I can up my weight or walk/run a little faster.

Here's how Orange Theory Fitness works | Cool Mom Picks

You can see how hard you’re working. Because you need to wear a heart rate monitor during the class, you can actually see your heart rate and how hard you’re working. Staying in the “orange zone” for at least 12 minutes of the class (or more) means you’ll get “splat” points (which sorry, you don’t get any prizes or anything – they’re just points) and you’ll reap the benefits of the after burn (up to 72 hours of calorie burn after your workout). I can easily get lazy with my workouts, so being able to see how hard I was going by color was super helpful for me.

I feel like I’ve done a lot in 60 minutes. I’m surprised at how tired I am after 60 minutes, and how much I’ve done in that amount of time. And the classes are different every single time, which for someone who gets bored easily, that’s a very good thing.

Related: Get a personal trainer, right on your phone

Bottom line

It’s working, and I like it. I currently go twice a week, which is all I can handle in my schedule, and quite frankly, afford. It’s not a cheap workout, not to mention the purchase of the heart rate monitor.

I will say knowing how much they are forces me to go because I don’t want to waste any money. The only downsides I see are that there’s barely ever any time left for a decent stretching session. If you go, you’ll want to build in time for yourself to stretch. And, if you need specific help with form, you’ll want to hit up the instructors. They really don’t correct anyone unless it appears they’re going to hurt themselves.

One thing to check: if your studio is like mine, it’s very popular, which means you need to book your classes out because they are probably going to be on a waitlist. I didn’t realize this until I tried to get in a class the week of and ended up on a bunch of waiting lists. Now I know I really have to plan my classes ahead.

Here's how Orange Theory Fitness worked for me after one month | Cool Mom Picks

Overall, I really like the way the workouts are structured, and I feel as though I’m getting a solid amount of exercise without having to do something hard core every single day. And as a mom who’s always telling everyone else what to do and planning everyone else’s days, it’s nice to have someone do almost all the work for me.

This is not a sponsored post. I purchased my own membership after receiving a free trial, which is available to anyone interested in trying out Orange Theory Fitness.