A New ‘Theory

I want to share my latest fitness activity – Orangetheory Fitness.

I first heard about Orangetheory when I was pregnant with Anderson. One had just opened up near my parents’ house and I was offered a free class. I planned on taking them up on the offer after Anderson was born, but you know, I had a new baby. Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2014, where we visited an Orangetheory booth at the Bolt for the Heart 5k we were running. I was interested and my mom was sold immediately. Again, I kept putting it off.

Every few months I got a flyer in the mail offering three free classes. I filed it away as something I’ll do eventually but wasn’t convinced to do it considering we already belong to Lifetime Fitness. I finally decided to give it a go when we were in Indy for Thanksgiving.

My mom and I did a 3G class (three groups) at her location. It was unlike anything I’ve done. It took me a while to not mess with the heart rate monitor that was kind of annoying me. We started on rowing machines, moved to the floor, then treadmills. We completed this twice before the end of class. Throughout the class I was able to see what zone I was in. The goal is to be in the orange zone for 10-20 minutes/class. I was sweaty but felt good, until the next day when I was incredibly sore. A good kind, but really damn sore.

Once home, I started going to my local franchise once a week. Every class is different and I have no idea what to expect. Here’s the basics of how it works:

  1. Either call, use their app or website to reserve your spot in the class. There are classes offered almost hourly. You can also reserves classes months at a time. Not a bad idea if you have a limited schedule. Just be sure to cancel your booking 12 hours before the class if you’re unable to attend (there is a late cancellation fee).
  2. When you arrive you can either borrow one of their straps with the heart rate monitor or wear you’re OT Beats monitor. Your name and heart rate will show up on the monitors in the studio. A few minutes before class, you’ll be greeted by your trainer who give a brief overview of what you’ll be focusing on in class.
  3. Typically you start at one of three locations: treadmill, rowers or floor. I typically go straight to the treadmill as it’s my strength and my legs can be rather tried after floor work.
  1. From here the trainer guides you every step of the way. They give instruction as to incline and pace on the treadmills. The three paces are: base (you can maintain this for 20-30 minutes), push (at least 0.5-1 mph faster than base where you start to become uncomfortable, sprint (all-out, go as fast as you can for no more than one minute typically. This should be at least 1-2 mph faster than your base pace.). There is also an option for power walkers with higher inclines, an elliptical and stationary bike for anyone that may have limitations. Rowing is either done by distance or effort. The floor consists of free weights, kettle bells, TRX bands, Bosu, step and body weight exercises.
  2. Your heart rate is continuously monitored. On the screen you’ll see a percentage of total heart rate, your current heart rate, calories burned and splat points (minutes in the orange and red zones). It is also color coded so you know which zone you’re in. The orange zone starts when you hit 84% of your max heart rate.
  3. At the conclusion of the workout, you will see a chart of your zones throughout the workout. You also will get a post-workout email with your stats.

I have to say my favorite part of Orangetheory is the variety. I never quite know what to expect when I arrive. My body is pushed harder than it is if I were to try to duplicate a class. I’ve surprised myself by getting up to 10.5 mph during my sprints now. Having people seeing how hard I’m working, is also motivation not to give up even when I feel like I want to stop. I also really like the trainers at my location. It feels like they are almost there just for you. They are really good about pushing you a little further while making sure you’re maintaining proper form.

The drawbacks, it’s a bit pricey, there is no childcare and you can’t just drop in. At my location a membership for four visits per month is $59/month. The prices go up from there. I believe the unlimited visits membership is about $150/month. While it’s an awesome addition to my routine, it’s not going to be my only gym. I need the childcare at Lifetime, plus the ability to do long runs when the weather is crappy and swim.

I think all locations let you try at least one class free. It’s definitely worth it to see what you think.

Note: This post was not sponsored by Orangetheory Fitness.

 

 

 

Recovery Week

recovery [ri-kuhv–uh-ree]

noun:

1.an act of recovering.

2.the regaining of or possibility of regaining something lost or taken away.

3.restoration or return to health from sickness.

4.restoration or return to any former and better state or condition.

Recovery seems to mean something different for everyone. For me, it typically means doing as little as possible the week after a marathon. Usually I’m sore for days and walking like a duck up and down the stairs…very slowly. This time around, I decided to have a more active recovery.

Sunday morning I woke up pretty sore. It took me a few minutes to get down the stairs and once I was sitting, getting back up was a little rough. After breakfast with the family I packed up my gym bag and headed out for a swim. Swimming became my favorite workout to do after longer runs over the winter. i knew it would feel good to stretch my legs without any impact. i swam for about a half hour and when I got out of the pool, i felt great. Later in the day I was treated to a Mother’s Day 60 minute massage.

Monday morning I woke up feeling like a new person. My quads were a little sore but I had no problem with stairs or getting up or down. As per my usual routine, I took a full rest day. I drank (and ate) a lot while just hanging out with the kids. I swam again on Tuesday and felt good enough to ride a stationary bike on Wednesday before Anderson’s early childhood class. Today I really wanted to run, but instead I went for a swim and a short bike ride. I really think the swimming, plus massage has help immensely. I think it will be my new go-to strategy.

We were able to find a babysitter and I’m feeling so good, that I decided to run the half marathon Josh and I signed up for months ago. Obviously I’m not going to run really hard because I just don’t think my legs will carry me. I’m just going to run it for the fun of a small town half with Josh.

Giving it a Tri

A new year means something different to everyone. For me it means time to reassess goals, priorities and maybe just do something that intimidates me. While I have a list of goals/aspirations for 2015, my first opportunity to do something that I’ve never done was presented just a few days into the year.

Lifetime Fitness held a weekend full of events to get people off on the right foot. One such event was an indoor triathlon. Josh and some of my other friends have been encouraging me to do a triathlon. I swam in high school and having running down. While I know how to ride a bike, it’s not my strong suit. I figured an indoor event would be perfect, especially because I don’t even own a bike.

The very beginner friendly event was arranged by time rather than distance. 10 minute swim (10 minute transition time), 30 minute bicycle (five minute transition) and 20 minute run. I did a few brick workouts and tried to swim once a week in order to prepare myself for the ‘race.’

Come race day I was ready. I checked in and prepared for my swim.

I was none too excited that I had a nasty head cold. With the heat in front of us complete, I hopped in for a quick warm-up. I was so glad I did because the water was freezing! When the whistle blew, I swam as fast as my breathe would allow me. I had to switch from freestyle to breaststroke a few times because I needed the break to catch my breathe. I swam 450 yards.

As I changed into my biking/running gear I chatted up another woman who was a seasoned triathlete. She recommended a local women-only tri that is great for first timers. Noted, we headed to the spin studio.

One of the Lifetime employees helped me adjust my bike and off I went. They had a DJ playing music which was really nice. I was just in my own zone but could see out of the corner of my eye the woman next to me continuously checking my computer to see how far I’d ridden. My legs were starting to fatigue towards the end and I adjusted the resistance down a bit. Total distance: 9.6 miles

One more event to go and I was feeling good. I was enjoying the change of pace to hours of running. I went up the stairs, picked a treadmill and waited to get the green light to start. I wasn’t really sure what speed to go for. I started at about a 8 min/mile pace and tried to pick it up every quarter mile. The 20 minutes flew by and before I knew it, I was done. Total distance: 2.55 miles

When I was done, I went over to stretch a bit and finish my Nuuns which tasted so good. The ending was pretty unceremonious. They just said, you’re done, have a good day. Not that I was expecting much, but something more like a refreshment table or something would have been nice.

Not that they really mattered, but I was curious as to how I stacked up against the other participants. I was 46th overall of 86 and 13th in women’s open of 36.

There is another indoor tri sometime in March or April. I think I’ll participate again and hopefully see improvements. I’m stilling thinking about an outdoor triathlon this summer, but with fall marathon plans, we’ll see how training shapes up.

New Routine with a Plan

Sadly I started this post two weeks ago. I really need to figure out how to blog in a timely manner.

I always struggle after a long training cycle with continuing a routine. Without a specific race to train for, I kind of just dilly dally my way through exercising a few times a week. Some of this is obviously training fatigue and recovery after a goal race. Some of it is just not knowing how to keep myself busy without getting bored. However, since we just joined a new gym I think it’s going to be different this time around.

We joined our local Lifetime Fitness. Beautiful gym, lots of nice amenities like a salon and spa, healthy little cafe, pool and free childcare. It also costs a small fortune. The cost plus, an nice incentive from our insurance company to go at least 12 times/month for a discount on the membership, have been enough to get me there as much as possible. I’ve tried some new classes, swam and hit the salon for a new do and massage.

Over the past two weeks my routine has looked something like this:

Monday – Cardio and some form of strength or Barre class

Tuesday – Run 3-5 miles (plus weights if I have time)

Wednesday – Swim for one hour

Thursday – Run 3-5 miles

Friday – Off

Saturday – Longish (9-10 miles) run with group

Sunday – Class or other cross-training

So far I’ve tried barre, cycle/sculpt and 50/50 cardio weights classes. There a several more classes I want to try including a variety of yoga classes. The kids really like the childcare area which is a nice bonus. One day a week Ella is also doing a Preschool Adventure Camp for 3.5 hours in the morning. This makes me feel a little less guilty about taking time for myself during the day.

We have just a few more weeks until Thanksgiving and one of several turkey trots in the Indianapolis area. I’m planning on doing a bit of speed work between now and then. We’ll see if a I sneak one more PR in this year.

Twin Cities Training Part II: Cross-training

I am a runner. I love to run. I generally only run. On my non-run days I’m guilty of being lazy. Just like I have been with blogging lately. I have some many updates from Anderson at a year to moving again, etc. Anyway, back to my exercise laziness. I’ve always start my training plans with the best intentions. I tell myself that I will do some weights, swim or bike. Do something on my off days to keep my body in motion and help use my muscles in a new way. Most of the time this falls by the wayside quickly. I know I need to do it and all the benefits, but life happens.

Since joining a gym here, I’ve been determined to actually cross-train. The gym offered Spinning, HIIT and yoga classes. They were oddly scheduled but with free childcare, I had no excuse to try to get to something before the kids naps. Lately I’ve been taking at least one spin class a week and doing the HIIT class once a week. So far Spinning is my favorite. It gets my heart pumping and offers low impact, really no impact, training. When I’m really looking to wear myself out, I take the class after my long run.

The high intensity interval training is fun too, but I feel like there is little focus on making sure form is correct. Because we bounce from movement to movement so fast, I’ve found myself spending more time trying to see what the next move is when we’ve just started one, than looking at what I’m doing. A few weeks ago this resulting in a sore knee, which is a huge problem for my training. Luckily it was fine by the time I tackled 20 miles last weekend. Now that I have my kettlebells, free weights and Jillian Michaels DVDs back, i think I’ll skipping the HIIT class.

I think cross-training has been really beneficial this training cycle. I’m healthy and feel strong. Though I haven’t done as many intervals as my plan prescribes, I feel like I’m maintaining speed. I find myself having to actively monitor my pace during long runs to make sure I’m not running too fast. The last several miles of my 20 miler last weekend, we all between 8:30-8:50 pace. Some of that I attribute to extra conditioning.

My routine is off ever so slightly right now because we’ve moved to our new house and the gym in now 25 minutes away. Our membership is valid through September, so I’m going to keep trekking down to Minnetonka before we join a gym near home. The marathon is a month from tomorrow! I cannot believe it. I have only two more longer runs (16 and 22 miles) until it’s taper time. I’m getting so excited!