My Thoughts on Orangetheory Fitness [Fitness Friday]


I mentioned in last week’s Fitness Friday post that I recently attended an Orangetheory Fitness class. It’s actually the second time I’ve taken an Orangetheory class. I took one last year at a different location but both times I’ve enjoyed it. Both times they were complimentary classes but neither time was I paid or required to write about it.

So, what is Orangetheory? Well, I could tell you what it says on their website or I could tell you what I told my running club:

If you like HIIT training and get bored of just doing weight lifting for 45 minutes straight then Orangetheory is great. Typically it switches between weights, treadmill and either the rowing machine or a stationary bike. It’s a great way to get in cardio and weights at the same time without getting bored or not knowing what to do. They also let you set your own pace on the treadmill so it doesn’t matter if you’re super speedy or not. You can also “speedwalk” during the treadmill portions if running isn’t in your repertoire right now.

Both times I’ve gone I was a bad blogger who didn’t take any photos. So, I’ll give you this one that I took after my own Wednesday night HIIT session on the treadmill in my apartment gym.


Anyway, back to Orangetheory. Both times I went the instructor helpfully had all the first timers gather around while they went over the workout. As mentioned above, Orangetheory is a mixture of rowing, strength training with dumbbells, bodyweight, and TRX straps, and treadmill intervals.

You typically get to pick where you start. So, if you want to get your running in first then you start on the treadmills. If you want to do strength first while you’re feeling fresh, go for it.

Both times I’ve gone I’ve started on the rowing (or “erg”) machine. It’s the exercise I’m least familiar with so I wanted to do it first while I was fresh. And both times the instructor did a good job explaining correct form and how to read the machine’s computer. The whole workout is basically 15 minutes at each station and the 15 minutes of rowing was broken up into a several different sets. When I went last week, after a warm-up, the first set was to row 200 meters as fast as possible…because then you had to hold a body weight air squat for the same amount of time it took you to do that 200. Repeat with 400 meters and 600 meters.  Next it was to row at least a certain distance in a certain amount of time. And then it was some steady state rowing to finish out the time.

Meanwhile, a group was on the treadmills doing their thing and a group was doing strength. You’d think it would get confusing but you get so focused on where you’re at that you don’t even notice the other groups!

And here’s the cool thing: If you love data you will LOVE Orangetheory. Everyone gets to wear a heart rate monitor (included in the class fee) and you can see what “zone” you’re in on a screen during class. You’d think this would make some people self conscious but most people are just concerned with where they are personally.


The instructor will tell you what color zone you should be in so you know if you’re working too hard or not hard enough. Of course, it’s all up to you if you want to follow their advice.

For example, during the steady state rowing the instructor told us to be in the green zone. She also gave us guidance on where our wattage and strokes-per-minute should be. Very helpful.

Next it was on to the strength portion of the evening. I’d already lifted that day so I was planning to take it easy. But the instructor could tell I was strong and encouraged me to work a little harder. No slacking off here! We did a variety of exercises that hit biceps, hamstrings, glutes, and back. The entire time the exercises we were supposed to be doing and how many reps of each were on a video monitor in case we forgot.  To be honest, the strength portion is always my least favorite because I already do so much of this on my own. I’m really just there for the high intensity interval cardio.

Which you definitely get when you hit the treadmill. You pick your “base pace” which is basically what I would call your 3-5 mile training pace. And if that means walking that’s fine too! They even have a whole regime just for walkers. Can’t run or walk? Use the stationary bike instead! Once you’ve set your base pace the instructor will yell out how many MPH you need to increase from there for certain intervals.

The treadmill part always kicks my butt because they combine speed with incline. My heart rate is always in the orange or red. Which, by the way, for every number of minutes you spend in the orange and red zones you earn “splat points”. If I recall correctly the goal is to earn at least 12 splat points which will give you another 24-36 hours of metabolic efficiency. Or, colloquially, an “after burn effect”.

And then, after your workout, you get an email with all your results!

orangetheoryresults1 orangetheoryresults2

I could totally see how Orangetheory would be a great addition for someone who needs the structure of  a class to get in their strength and interval training. It would be a good addition to just running all the time, too.

But, personally, I’m doing okay on my own right now and like the flexibility of being able to workout when I want instead of needing to sign up for a class.

However, if you like classes where you can push yourself as hard as you want, love data but also aren’t in it for the camaraderie (seriously, there is no time to talk until afterward if you brought a friend) then I would suggest checking out an Orangetheory class. I think the first one might even be free!


This week’s workouts:

Monday – Legs

Tuesday – workout with my personal trainer

Wednesday – Back & Biceps + 20 minute HIIT on the treadmill

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Legs + 20 minute HIIT on the stationary bike (planned)

Saturday – 9 mile run (planned)

Sunday – Rest


Let’s pretend it’s almost spring


I don’t religiously follow the runway trends and I’ve never been to a Fashion Week event of any kind, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally want to incorporate something new into my wardrobe! Except, as you know, I’m trying not to buy clothes right now. So, how can I incorporate at least one hot spring fashion trend, such as lingerie, vintage or off-the-shoulder looks using items I already have?

Well, I certainly don’t plan to show up to work in my bra and underwear, but how about a lace top with a blazer as a nod to the lingerie trend? Add in a silk scarf and you’ve got two lingerie-esque fabrics in one outfit!


Looking at lists of what the upcoming spring trends are going to be, they tend to call them by different names. At least one has said the 90s are coming back, especially slip dresses. So, does that count as vintage, lingerie or just the 90s? Either way, I might not have any more slip dresses but I do have some flannel and leather which were staples of the 90s grunge scene. Or maybe I’ll just pair my faux leather moto jacket with a dress and ankle boots.


Totally should have kept this slip dress from 1994!

As for the whole off-the-shoulder or cold-shoulder trend, I don’ think I own much of anything that fits this trend. Which is why I love Le Tote! Remember the top I wore for my girl’s night out look? Yep, that one fits the bill with its ability to unzip the shoulders. All the trendiness, none of the regret of buying something you’ll only wear once or twice.


So, what do you think? Do you see yourself trying to incorporate any of the upcoming spring trends in your wardrobe? Do you already have items that will work?


Five Small Goals [February]

About Me

Back in January, Bri introduced that she was going to focus on five small goals each month. I thought, ‘What a great idea!’ and then never did anything else.

Well, that changes today! Bri posted her update on January and her five February goals this week and I’m not going to procrastinate any more! Here are my five small goals for February.


  1. Do our taxes – Normally we’d have these done by now but we’re still waiting on a few things. Jason had three jobs in 2015 so that is going to make it interesting. Yay for TurboTax!
  2. Buy my personal training certification study materials – We got our bonus and raise information at work this week and I know where some of that is going! I’ve decided to go with NSCA because that’s what my current gym trainer has and I love him. He’s also already said he’d be a resource for me if I need help with anything.
  3. Read at least one book – I’m flying to Florida in two weeks and I love to read on the plane. I just need to find a good book. Any recommendations?
  4. Try a new restaurant – Is it cheating to put this on the list when we already have reservations at RPM Steak for Jason’s birthday on Friday?
  5. Schedule at least one happy hour with friends – I’m really bad about reaching out and scheduling things with people so if I put this as a goal hopefully I will hold myself accountable.

One other slightly more obvious goal for February? Run the Gasparilla Half Marathon (the reason I’m flying to Florida).

There are so many things I want to accomplish this year but I’m pretty bad at goal setting. Hopefully having a little list each month will help!

Linking up with Writes Like a Girl





I wish that I could be like the cool kids

Casual Clothes

Don’t forget to vote. It’s what all the cool kids are doing. 

My husband was out of town all day Saturday so I had this grand vision: I would take my laptop to the coolest coffee shop in what is arguably the coolest neighborhood in Chicago. I would get an Instagramable coffee and doughnut and set up my laptop and work.

Hahaha, yeah. I am not that cool.


Hat – boutique in Sausalito, CA (similar) |  Jacket – Zara (similar) | Shirt – J. Crew Factory (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Boots – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same

The coffee shop was crazy busy. They were out of doughnuts. So, I got my coffee to go and instead went and bought running shoes and came home and worked on my couch.

On Sunday I wanted a re-do. I convinced Jason to walk to the coffee shop with me to get a doughnut AND bring the camera so we could take pictures by the awesome street art outside the place where all the cool kids hang out.


Of course, Jason went to take the picture only to find out we’d left the camera battery at home. iPhone to the rescue!

And, sadly, they were out of doughnuts. Again.

So we went across the street to Bombobar.

But, seriously, you guys. I feel like I’m the nerdiest, least cool fashion blogger in Chicago. And, in the interest of full disclosure, sometimes I’m okay with that and other times I’m not.

And sometimes I just want a doughnut and a cup of coffee and a cool picture so I can pretend I’m cooler than I really am.


P.S. While we’re being honest, I suppose I should say I wore this outfit two days in a row and hadn’t washed my hair when we took these photos.  Yay for weekends!