If you've ever heard of Orangetheory Fitness, you'd know that it's anything but an average workout; however, I would consider myself an averagely fit girl. I’ve never loved or excelled at sports, but I have always included physical activity in my life. Are there countless things I would rather do than workout? Yes. But do I attempt to get a decent workout in at least 3 times a week anyways? Also yes. 

Despite my effort to stay somewhat active, I have noticed a common trend of getting anxiety when exercising in group settings. Maybe it’s irrational, but I always got extremely anxious before high school sports practices because I knew I’d often be one of the last ones to finish the activity. Although I always completed the workout, I often found myself worrying about what everyone thought of my mediocrity in the fitness world.

In reality, I’m sure almost no one noticed… or cared, but the fact of the matter is that this fear of not being fit has held me back from trying new workout routines – whether it be a group fitness class or venturing into the dreaded weight room at my school's gym, Southwest Recreation Center. 

In my overall goal of becoming a healthier, better version of myself this summer, I wanted to conquer this fear of being only averagely in shape. What better way to do this than at a workout class that displays your heart rate, calories burned, and basically how well you’re doing on a screen next to everyone else’s stats?

Terrifying, right? Maybe this isn’t gut-wrenching for everyone, but it is for me and I decided to endure this pain at Orangetheory Fitness.  The claim is that the “heart-rate monitored, high-intensity workout is scientifically designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy.” The first class is free for new members so I grabbed a friend and decided to give it a shot.

The staff was extremely welcoming and informative. I arrived 30 minutes prior to the start of the class so that they could explain what the hour class would consist of, discuss my current exercise routine, give me a tour of the studio, and set up my heart rate monitor. They even managed to put me at ease – I was still nervous but began to get more excited for the class to get started.

The Orangetheory workout always consists of three portions: treadmill, row, and strength (although, each class is vastly different). Some days are focused on endurance, some on power, and others on speed. The class I attended happened to be ESP (aka all 3).

Although the workout was very challenging as expected, it was fast paced and kept me interested and invested. My trainer made it so much easier to keep going; she was positive, upbeat and encouraging. Her thumbs up and mouthing, “You’re doing so good!” made me continue to push myself, even when I was close to dying on the treadmill.

It was oddly satisfying and motivating to glance at the screen while I was all-out-sprinting and watch my heart rate and the results of working hard in real time. There's something about watching your heart rate rise and the calorie burn go up that makes you not even think about stopping. 

What I found the most surprising during my first Orangetheory workout was my own ability to persevere. Although I definitely got my ass kicked, I survived the whole workout, which I somehow thought I wouldn’t. I even found my heart rate in the green zone and not the orange or red zone while I was pushing myself… meaning I’m in better shape than I thought I was. Maybe I’m not so average after all.

Orangetheory gave me a high feeling that I don’t often get from workouts. It made me want to go back again and work even harder and push myself even harder. Not once did I compare myself to the other people working out or feel that all too familiar feeling of being inadequately fit.

In fact, I already signed up for a membership with Orangetheory Fitness and I am eager (not anxious) to take my fitness to the next level as someone that, I now know, is anything but average.