Back in the spring of this year, when the first of The District at Midtown's shops began to open, I heard rumor of a yet-to-be-named “orange” group exercise facility possibly becoming one the newest tenants in the development. So, when I bumped into Orangetheory® Hattiesburg's owner Scott Russell in the grocery store parking lot, identifiable by his orange-wrapped truck, I immediately requested a chance to check it out.
Tucked in the heart of midtown on 31st Avenue, you can spot the orange Splat from Hardy Street. The spotless facility fits keenly into the landscape of other new businesses and comes complete with complimentary lockers, showers and even a DryBar (one of only two studios in the country to offer one) for guests to take advantage of post-session. However, my first stop was a heart rate monitor fitting at the front desk, which patrons can purchase or rent per session. Orangetheory® differs from typical bootcamps and other HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts as it utilizes Orangetheory®’s own body monitoring technology to maximize EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (hence the “theory” in the name). Without getting too technical (we'll let the post-class stat emails give you the fine details), the idea behind a targeted heart rate session such as these is that if challenged at the right intensity, following the workout, the body has to work harder to recover the oxygen that was lost during training. In doing so, your metabolism gets a huge boost, resulting in a longer residual calorie burn.
Soft orange light emanated from the studio, which was rimmed with treadmills and rowers for cardio portions and stations with all the necessary equipment for the strength portion of the workout. With workouts varying every day, the goal is still the same: move through five stages of intensity, focusing on Zones 3 (challenging but doable), 4 (uncomfortable), and 5 (all out effort) to collect 12 Splat points – a point for every minute my heart rate was in the top two zones.
For us newbies, our Orange Trainer, Morgan, along with her assistant, Ashley, explained proper rowing form and the three levels of intensity we'd be cycling through on the treadmill portion of the workout: base pace, push pace and ALL OUT pace (which is exactly what you think it is). As a first-timer, I began the class on the strength portion, completing three rounds of timed strength training exercises (each demonstrated by our trainer and complete with a recommendation for weights and modifications) intermingled with rowing sessions to get my heart rate elevating. Screens displayed my stats, with my digital box turning different colors as I moved through the different zones. And while the class itself is non-competitive, my own drive for Splat points was leaving me disappointed when the strength portion of the class was complete and I had a meager 4 points!
My disappointment wouldn't last long: enter the cardio portion of class. With the choice to be a power walker, jogger or runner (each with its own guidelines on how to set your base/push/and all out paces), I chose the jogging route. After the first All Out sprint, I realized my mistake: I am here to testify that I am indeed a Power Walker. Even after switching to inclined walking, I realized that it was this portion of the class where I could rack up Splat points – and I ended my first 60 minute session with 24 and some raw palms from all the high-fives.
Several class times are offered each day, with memberships starting from just $99. For more information about joining the FitFam at Orangetheory® Fitness, visit hattiesburg.orangetheoryfitness.com or call the studio at 601.651.3100.
The First Step:
Talk to your Orange Trainer about any injuries or restrictions and allow them to recommend a starting point before your first workout (which is free!) For a lower impact workout, utilize the glider instead of the treadmill for the cardio portion of class.
When Whitney isn’t racking up Splat Points at Orangetheory (which provided promotional consideration for this month’s Modern Fit), she’s spreading the word about Signature’s sister publication, The PineBeltNEWS.