OrangeTheory versus F45 – Which Workout is More Effective?
If you're going to move past the realm of excuse making and make a commitment to the gym -- we'll be frank with you, it's going to cost some money.
For many people, fitness can be a drag. I knew this one person who signed up for a six-month membership at a trendy new gym. She was always real chatty about how awesome it was. The chattiness seemed to slow down over the next couple of weeks. In fact, this person’s enthusiasm for her new gym died out substantially. As it turned out, she rarely went back to the gym for the remaining five and a half months of the contract terms. This person may have been me, but who’s really keeping track.
So I may be exaggerating a bit, but my point is we’re all human. Many people have little control over scheduling and everybody’s always crunched for time. Consistent exercise requires a high level of organization and dedication, but human beings come with several built-in excuses. Some of the more popular excuses include:
- Not enough time
- Not enough money (for costly gym memberships)
- Not enough energy
- Not enough motivation
- Better things to do (not really an excuse)
We all have legit reasons for making excuses. But if you’re going to move past the realm of excuse making and make a commitment to the gym, I’ll be frank with you, it’s going to cost some money. In fact, the more trendier the gym, the greater the cost. However, budgeting for a gym membership can be an extremely motivating factor. Nobody likes to waste money — except for me in the first paragraph — and you can view it as an investment in yourself.
Now that you’re ready to invest, you’ll need to find the right gym. Several franchises — like F45 and OrangeTheory — only offer group workouts because competition also a motivating factor. Working out in a group setting is beneficial because nobody wants to be a chump — for lack of a better term. If group workouts aren’t your thing, try to find a gym buddy, or two — or three because there’s obviously strength in numbers.
In an effort to save some time, I recently signed up for a week trial at F45. This particular franchise originated Down Under (in Australia) and now has locations all over the world. F45’s workout classes are uniquely named — Hollywood, Romans, and Miami Nights, for example — they’re fast-paced, and they’re only 45 minutes long — hence the name (F45, or Functional 45). This is good for me because it’s easier to commit to 45 minutes instead of an hour — as a working mom and all. If I commit to a new gym, I always do so on a month-to-month basis (to start). This way I can get a feel for things before committing long-term. It costs a bit more to go month-to-month, but I can get out within a reasonable time frame, which keeps my flexibility an freedom intact.
At any gym, the staff and trainers play an important role because you might actually want to like the people you pay to motivate you. The staff at F45 is friendly and the trainers are buff. Nobody is pushy when in comes to memberships and no-one forces you to perform above your fitness level. This works for me because I don’t want to feel the pressure of competing with people 5, 10, or even 15 years younger than me. I still need energy for other things, like work and childcare.
The F45 workout is a mix of cardio with weights and resistance training. Some of the exercises include burpees, high knees, deadlifts, and fast feet. Each exercise is performed for 45 seconds (hence the name, again) before switching and most exercises are repeated at least a couple of times. Everything flows according to a timer, which can be seen on screens at the front of the gym. After 45 minutes, there’s typically sweat everywhere so if you haven’t worked out in awhile, you’re going to feel it the next morning.
- 45 minute workouts
- One-week free-trial period
- Creative workouts in a group setting
- Friendly staff
- Buff trainers
- Price — it’s much cheaper to join Planet Fitness, but how long can you stay motivated on your own?
After my trial week came to an end, I committed another month of F45. Over the course of the month, I didn’t get bored and I found myself wanting to improve my overall level of fitness. Furthermore, I’m actually thinking about signing up long-term to knock down the cost. As a woman in my thirties, I rely on exercise for physical and mental health benefits and I encourage my patients and readers to do the same. That being said, if you’re looking for a new workout plan, you should definitely consider F45. If everything goes right, your body will thank you — eventually.
Since its opening it’s doors in 2012, Florida based OrangeTheory Fitness has grown into one of the most successful workout franchises the world has ever seen. If you scale their website, you’ll find locations in 49 of the 50 states, plus Washington D.C., plus 23 more countries (including Australia, Canada, and Mexico along with several countries in Europe and Asia). In observing OrangeTheory’s growth style, you’ll notice several strip mall-style locations in smaller cities throughout the United States, along with optimally located storefronts in larger cities. However, there’s probably an OrangeTheory within walking or driving distance of wherever you live — at least in the United States. You’re excuses to stay sedentary are dwindling.
OrangeTheory offers a science and technology based workout that combines running, rowing, light weights, and floor exercises. The key to the workout is their branded heart-rate monitor — available for purchase, which reads output levels. The goal of a workout is to earn 12 or more “splat points,” which equates to minutes spent in the elevated heart rate zone of 84 – 100+ percent. If 12+ splat points are achieved, you can expect a post-workout calorie “burn” that lasts for up to 36 hours.
OrangeTheory workouts typically last about an hour and change every day. Half the workout is spent on the treadmill with the other half spent between the workout floor and/or the rower. Over the course of the hour, you can expect to run on the treadmill at base, push, and all-out speeds. This is accomplished in well-planned increments so just before you perish from exhaustion, you reach the time limit and slow back down. The floor workout varies, but usually includes light weightlifting, TRX exercises, resistance band exercises, and body weight exercises like burpees, push-ups, abdominal work, etc. Pacing yourself throughout the workout is definitely recommended, unless you don’t mind crashing face-first into the proverbial brick wall.
- Locations literally everywhere
- Splat point motivation
- Post-workout “burn”
- Only one trial class offered
- Need to purchase an expensive heart-rate monitor
- Jello legs on a daily basis
To be upfront about my OrangeTheory experience, I held a membership there for over six months before I switched to F45. It was very convenient for me because I travel a lot so I could get a workout in on the road. The staff and coaches are always positive and cordial. However, things were a bit different when it came to purchasing a membership. Instead of the one-week trial offered by F45, OrangeTheory only offers one free-trial class, which isn’t enough time to really figure out how it can fit into your schedule. Several other issues factor into my purchasing ability such as commute time and location. In other words, I have to try a new gym for at least a week before I figure out how it fits my lifestyle.
Fortunately for me, I knew this going in and signed up anyway because it did fit my needs and the workout is totally beneficial. Once again, you can get a slightly better price for signing up for six months, but six months is a very long time in workout days so you might be on the hook for something you might not be able to see all the way through. Oh, and you’ll have to purchase a heart-rate monitor as well, which can run you nearly a hundred bucks.
Dr. Maria Pribis is the founder of OcularPrime. She’s held several memberships at fitness facilities all across the New York City area. Currently, she believes F45 is the right workout for her. This is after her membership at OrangeTheory ran its course. Her husband — Tom, was also a guinea pig for this article.