4 big Orangetheory upgrades that will make your workout even more competitive


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With over 1,000 studios (in 17 different countries, no less) and 800,000 members, Orangetheory is one of the fastest-growing boutique fitness franchises in the country. Clearly, they’re doing something right.

A big part of that is their science-backed heart rate-driven workout: The key is to get your heart rate past its maximum threshold (an effort of 85 or above on a scale of 1 to 100) for 12 to 20 minutes during the 60-minute class to get a metabolic response, AKA to reap the benefits of an after-burn. Regular OTers know that this is referred to as the orange zone. (Oh and don’t worry, you’re still working out plenty hard the rest of the time, too.)

The brand has been busy quietly perfecting a whole slew of new tech features to give the stats even more real-world application. “The idea is to give people more information about how well they’re progressing on their journey, whether it’s for weight loss, strength, endurance, or something else,” Chief Brand Officer Kevin Keith says. “We’re just trying to make it more simple and accessible for people.”

There are four big tech upgrades being rolled out in studios everywhere, now through the end of next year. Keep reading for the scoop, straight from the brand’s exclusive, sneak peek event.

orangetheory treadmill
Photo: Getty Images/Dave Kotinsky

4 big tech upgrades Orangetheory is making right now:

1. All the machines will be outfitted with tablets, tracking your results. You’re used to looking up at the big screens in the studio to check your stats—and that’s still great to see how you’re comparing to others—but now, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on your tread (or rower) and have everything right in front of you. This new change started being incorporated into the treadmills in August and is continuing to roll out now (so if it hasn’t happened at your studio yet, it will soon). The rowing machines will all have tablets by the end of March 2019. At the end of class, your stats will be emailed to you so you have a record of how you did—and so you can see how you improve over time.

2. There’s a new heart rate monitor for sale—and it tracks what you do outside of the studio too. Since the beginning, the brand has sold its own heart rate monitor, since other fitness trackers and watches don’t have the technology to synch up with their machines. OT is launching a new arm monitor, OTBeat Burn that’s available for purchase now for $109 (to compare, the OTbeat Core, is $69). When you walk into the studio, the machines will pick up on the monitor and your name will appear on the tablet of the one closest to you. That way, you know what machine to hop on, and from there the wearable will connect to the tablet. This is the first OT wearable that tracks activity outside of the studio too, including steps, distance, and calories, all of which can connect to the OT app on your phone.

orangetheory heart rate monitor
Getty Images/Dave Kotinsky

3. A fit-tracker for all-the-time wear is also coming. Next fall, Orangetheory will be coming out with their own fitness tracker, meant to be worn a few inches above the wrist. Like OTbeat Burn, this one is meant to be worn outside of the studio, too. Called Aspire, it will retail for around $140 (the exact price is still TBD), and will enable members to earn splat points—earned for being in the orange zone—outside of the studio, like if you’re out running or doing other types of high-intensity work.

4. A leaderboard will give you the chance to compete against members across the country. The app is also getting a major facelift later this year. Although Orangetheory classes are totally different every day, everyone at each of the 1,000 studios is being taught the same workout on any given day. Soon, you’ll be able to see how your stats compare with people who took the class at any of the locations all over the country. And in 2019, you’ll even be able to see your friends’ stats—well, if they “accept” your friend request through the app. The app will also have content geared just toward your specific city, like if a nearby studio is hosting a charity class or if local members are meeting up IRL to run a 5K. Chief Technology Officer Joseph Mazzarella says the booking system will also be easier.

Keith and Mazzarella stress that they whole point of all these fancy upgrades is to make tracking your progress easier. “The number one reason people quit working out is because they plateau,” Keith says. “We want to make sure they stay with it.” And with that, time to find my orange zone.

Here’s what makes HIIT workouts so effective, plus eight moves that boost happiness along with your heart rate.

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