– My Fitness Journey, Part Two –

You want me to do what?Missed Part One? You can read it here.

As I started my new fitness regimen at Orange Theory Fitness, I found it to be a little intimidating and also completely foreign. You want me to do what? I really didn’t have a clue.

I’ve never been a runner (seriously, never even run a mile – unless laps around the gym in 7th grade count), I’ve never ever lifted weights, and I had no idea rowing was a thing or that there was a machine for it (who thinks of these things anyway?). Luckily my OTF was a brand new studio, so I wasn’t the only one who had absolutely no idea what they were doing those first few days (insert sigh of relief here).

My first class was a lot of awesome and a little bit of hell. I’m sorry, but it was. Who knew running at incline was so freaking hard? Everything burned. The coach kept reminding us to breathe, but there was no chance. My lungs were ON FIRE. I was absolutely certain my final breaths would be on the treadmill at OTF that day (to be fair, I should let you know that I still feel that way now when I take class LOL).

And to say that I had low muscle tone would be a ginormous understatement. On the very first exercise, I found myself over at the special weight rack – you know the one, the one in the corner that has the really heavy weights? Well, it also has the 5-pounders. Um yeah, I was there for the 5-pounders. Good grief, Kristine.

After class was over and it was all said and done, I felt like I had burned off a weeks’ worth of calories and cheated death at least 7 times, but guess what, I didn’t get a single splat point that day. You’ve got to be kidding me! That class was hard with a capital H. I am 100% for sure never coming back here EVER; that was just stupid, I told myself as I walked out the door drenched in sweat.

I went back the very next day.

It just occurred to me that I should probably interrupt and explain a little bit about Orange Theory Fitness and how the classes work. If you already know this, scroll on!

OTF is basically trainer-led group high-intensity interval training (HIIT). So you’re doing high-intensity intervals of cardio and strength as a small group.

Everything at Orange Theory Fitness is based on your heart rate zone. Yes, you will wear a heart monitor; either on your chest, your wrist, or your arm. You earn ‘points’ based on how many minutes you spend in each zone. The goal is to have 25+ minutes in the green zone and 12+ minutes in the orange zone (these are called splat points). Getting those 12 splat points in the orange zone ensures you have a good after-burn, meaning your body will continue to burn calories long after your workout is over.

Each class is broken up into ‘blocks’. You start either on the treadmill (the best way, in my opinion LOL) or on the rower (the harder way, in my opinion LOL) for your 5 minute warmup. The treadmill folks keep on keeping on while the rowers move into the weight room for their strength blocks and then halfway through you switch. The classes always end with stretching and some nutrition information. There’s more to the structure of the blocks on the treadmill (base, push, all-out, incline, etc.), but I’m just giving you some basics. If you’re curious, try a class – the first one is free.

After my first full week of classes, I was super sore, and completely exhausted, but I was having a blast. My motivation was high and I was working on getting more and more splat points each class; some days were more of a challenge than others, but I worked for it every day.

It was like the soreness I felt in my muscles was a reminder that I had done something really hard (for me), and survived (okay, that may be a little bit of a stretch there). But it did make me feel like I could push myself to do even more during the next class and I really loved that feeling. …I felt like I might actually be able to do strength training. I was, as they say, ‘pumped!’

As I started to attend the same classes week after week, I slowly let the chatty me out of the bag. I started talking to more people everyone and as it turns there are some really incredible people at OTF. And we all have similar goals. It is awesome.

This is exactly what I’d been searching for.

After a couple of months at OTF, I was really excited because I was starting to see some real progress. I was consistently getting my 12 (or more) minutes in the orange zone and I could button my all of my jeans again! It was official, I was completely hooked; not only on OTF, but on fitness in general. In Jay’s words I was ‘hooked on the high’ (the exercise high, you guys, c’mon what’d you think I meant? Haha!).

I didn’t look much different yet, but I felt different, stronger even, and I had developed more confidence in myself and my ability to perform the exercises in class. I didn’t feel on the edge of disaster every time I headed to the weight room anymore. I graduated myself up to the 10 (and sometimes the 12) pound weights and I was asking questions about form, muscle connection, and reps. Who was this person?

I was finally getting this fitness thing; I was working hard and doing great!

But then I woke up one morning and just couldn’t.

To be continued…

Read Part Three here!

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