Orange is the new black. {Orangetheory Fitness!}

Hello. My name is Lauren and I’m addicted to OTF.


Based on the response I received on Instagram and to a post I wrote last week, I’ve realized that I am in very good company. The other weekend I attended my first class at the brand new Hunt Valley, Maryland Orangetheory studio and I think it only took me about 5 minutes to get completely hooked. Orange has always been one of my favorite colors.

A little about it for people that may not be familiar although I do think I’m a little late to the game. Blogger friends in the DC area (I first heard about it from Sue I believe) have been enjoying OTF for quite some time and I had been hoping they would open a studio in Baltimore. (Then they did even better and opened one bike riding distance from my house!) This information is direct to you from their website because I’m not even going to pretend like I’m a scientist and while I understand it I could not explain it without it turning into a rambling trainwreck. So here you go:

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.

When I walked into the studio I had little idea of what to expect outside of blog posts I’d read. I knew there would be treadmills and rowing and then maybe some weights involved. My first impression was a very good one; the Orangetheory of Hunt Valley is clean and well maintained and there were two very friendly young women working behind the desk. I filled out a short questionnaire and was outfitted with my heart rate monitor, then just before class was to begin I was given a little tour and met the instructor, a high energy woman named Sonrisa. I got a very good vibe from her and liked her immediately. A couple of big screens were mounted at the front of the room and they displayed the names of everyone who would be taking the class with me. Seeing myself up there kickstarted my competitive nature. I think I come off as a touchy-feely, emotional-type person, but deep down I’m very analytical and I love numbers, data, and stuff just like what was up on the wall. Just as long as no one is making me do any of the actual math myself.

My first stop was on a treadmill (YAY I love this already!) where I was introduced to the concept of “Base Pace”, “Push Pace”, and “All Out”. A little card was attached to each treadmill to describe what all these things meant, but basically you would fall into one of three buckets: Power Walker, Jogger, and Runner. As a runner, my Base Pace would be 5.5 MPH or more on the treadmill with the incline set to 1. My Push Pace was 1-2 MPH over that and my All Out was exactly how it sounded…I jacked that speed up as much as I was comfortable doing. We began with some intervals this way and then I was instructed to hop on a water rower, which is a machine completely new to me and not just because I’m not used to water rowers. More like I have never rowed in my life.

Luckily, Sonrisa is awesome and gave me a quick tutorial on proper form. It felt easy at first, but by the end of the class I would be cursing that rower as soon as I got on it; it was an incredible workout! From there we were doing various exercises on the floor involving weights, medicine balls, and TRX straps. Then back on the treadmills for more intervals, including kicking up the incline to 8…and cue my heart monitor freaking out and going up to like 120% in the red zone. I think it was just a temporary malfunction because I was laughing through it and obviously not dead, but getting back down into the green zone after that was definitely a challenge.

The music was blasting and I was feeling super pumped. We were constantly in motion and 54 minutes soared by so fast that I was shocked when she told us our time was up. I obviously knew I had been working hard, but according to the screen I had burned around 585 calories! We all gathered together to go over our results that were displayed in bar graph form. That 84% or higher that was mentioned in the OTF description is the ORANGE ZONE and the even more scary sounding RED ZONE where it’s okay to be as long as you are breathing, alive, and in control of yourself. I spent a little more time than I would have liked in those zones, but that gave me something to work toward for the next time.


I actually did have much better luck with it the next time I went. Also it was partner night and my friend and I burned almost 1600 calories between the two of us and subsequently went out for pizza and a big greasy cheesesteak. 


Sweaty and happy!

If you are fortunate enough to have an Orangetheory near you and haven’t tried it out yet, GO. I promise you that you will love it. Better yet…come with ME! I think my friend even enjoyed himself and he always tells me how much he hates running. I’m excited to attend another class this week and sign up for a package.

Have you tried Orangetheory yet? What do you think of it? 




A Belated Weekly Workout Roundup

Happy Monday and happy last four days at my job!

Because my time in this hellhole office is winding down, I had a personal day to use or lose and there was no way I was going to lose it. I took off on Friday and enjoyed a lovely three day weekend that included my very first Body Pump class, a drizzly day at the state fair where I was able to win Betty one of those unnecessarily large stuffed animals for the second year in a row by throwing darts at balloons, and a trip back in time to the Renaissance era where I enjoyed wine in the woods with the cutest little fairy strapped to my back.


Ren Fest is so much more fun when you dress up. I also went out for tacos twice, watched my Ravens beat up on the Washington Redskins, and cried my eyes out at the True Blood finale.

Usually I recap my workouts for the week on Fridays, but Friday I wasn’t online. So here’s my training roundup a couple days late because I know everyone is way interested in what I’ve been up to.

  • Saturday, August 16: I wanted to take it easy on this day in preparation for my 10K so a long run was not in the cards. Instead I decided to invent my own cardio/strength circuit at the gym. It looked like this:workout
    This was so enjoyable and I was sweating like a pig when I was done. Plus I love finding new ways to make the treadmill more interesting and this fit the bill.
  • Sunday, August 17: Too Hot to Trot 10K! Then because I apparently hadn’t had enough, I rounded out the day with a stroller jog to and from the playground with Betty.
  • Monday, August 18: You know what’s sad? When you have to look at the Garmin Connect website to remind yourself what you did last Monday. Turns out…it wasn’t interesting. I just got on the bike for 45 minutes for a slow ride.
  • Tuesday, August 19: Speed work day and man oh man did I do speed work. It was the day I toured my new gym and while I was there I figured I would hop on the treadmill for a bit. I felt so inspired that I ended up running 6x400s. Then later on that evening I joined up with the running group for my first track night and ran partner Yasso 800’s. Somehow I could still walk the next day.
  • Wednesday, August 20: I went to Yoga for Athletes class bright and early at 6am and then ran a very slow 5 on the treadmill at lunch. Then went out for Mr. Salt’s birthday and Carrabbas could not keep enough bread on our table for my liking. Also Joe Flacco (Ravens QB) was at Carrabbas with his family and I tried to convince Betty that she needed to use the bathroom so we could accidentally walk by their table and she could become BFFs with and later marry Joe’s son who is the same age. She didn’t have to pee though so my plan failed. Maybe next time.
  • Thursday, August 21: 5 super sweaty miles on the trail.
  • Friday, August 22: My first Body Pump class! Recap tomorrow. Spoiler alert: OW MY ARMS.
  • Saturday, August 23: Long run. I didn’t have a plan on how long it would be when I first set out, but I had a route for either 6, 8, or 10 miles. That’s one thing that I love about my neighborhood…it’s easy to plan multiple distances and just run whatever based on how you’re feeling. I ended up feeling 10, but finished with a slightly sore knee. Then I walked around the fair with Betty on my back which probably burns more calories than running.
  • Yesterday, August 24: A short little shakeout on the elliptical and then I sat in my gym’s awesome hot tub for a good long time. It was glorious. Then lots of hiking around with a Betty backpack at Ren Fest.

Last week? I ran just about 39 miles. THIRTY NINE. I haven’t run that many miles in a week since marathon training. I’m on track for my first 100 mile month in awhile, which I think is amazing all things considered.

Today I have spin class at lunch; my first in almost three years! Unless you count the virtual spin class I took back in February. Which I don’t.

What did you do this weekend? Any good runs to share? Have you ever been to a Ren Fest? Did you watch the True Blood finale? Are you as excited about football season as I am!?



Tickets to the gun show. {Arm workout}

Yesterday I made a very sobering realization. Despite the slow, but not-terribly-painful 5 miles on the treadmill I got in on Monday, I need to stop kidding myself. I AM injured. My leg does hurt. Not like “I need to down half a bottle of Advil” hurt or “I can’t put any weight on it at all” hurt, but it is sore. I’m about 92% sure I know what the problem is too, but more on that later once I have confirmation. I have an appointment with the foot & ankle doc on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve made the very difficult – but I’m sure also very wise – decision to not run. This will mean a lot of cross training through yoga, riding the bike, and strength training my core and upper body.

I thought today I might post up one of my favorite upper body workouts. I don’t know if I would necessarily refer to myself as “ripped” or anything, but I am toned enough that I’ve been asked by quite a few people how I made my arms happen. I am not a heavy lifting gym rat and prefer to do most of my strength using hand weights and my body weight at home after my daughter goes to bed. This has worked out really well for me so far. Not only does it fit effortlessly into my schedule, but – coupled with my cardio workouts and the fact that I’m often carrying around a 30lb 2 year old – it has gotten me some pretty decent muscle definition.


Flex time. These are my arms. My mom HAAAATES them. I think she thinks I look like a dude. I am a little vascular which kind of makes me self-conscious, but it is what it is. I know in gym culture veins are considered cool. Otherwise, I think they are pretty awesome.

And this is a workout that I’ve cooked up. As with every other post I’ve made about fitness, please remember this: I am not a professional. This is just a mish-mash of my favorite arm exercises that I like to do in the comfort and convenience of my living room while watching Ghost Hunters. The only thing you will need is hand weights and if you don’t have any, cans of Spaghetti O’s work too. Or canned vegetables. Bottles filled with water or sand. Two tall boys of Bud Light. The possibilities are endless. Push ups and dips don’t require any weights at all.


The best part about this is that you can make this as easy or difficult as you want it to be. I have a variety of weights that I use ranging from 3 to 8 pounds. Sometimes I will run through this workout once with my 8’s if I’m short on time or a few times with my lighter weights. It’s all about what you are comfortable with. Just take your time and do each exercise slowly. If you have questions as to what any of these exercises looks like, feel free to ask and I’ll point you in the right direction! Happy lifting!

Do you strength train? What is your favorite way to work your arms?

~ Salt

PS. My SPIbelt giveaway is going strong! Have you entered yet? There’s still lots of time! Click HERE for details!