At the Gym, Abs and Stats

On the heels of Soul Cycle comes Orangetheory, with no mysticism but with monitors that broadcast your performance to the whole class.

Comments: 168

  1. At my gym, the thing was working out every day. Our leader had over 1200 days in a row.

    I got into it for a while, and got close to 800 days before spraining a knee and having to knock off for a few days. Since then, I take the occasional day off, once or twice a month.

  2. Imagine a class where every person gave their full 100% effort every week and they all fulfilled their maximum athletic potential. Some people would still outperform others, and those differences would still be interpreted as differences in effort and decision making outside of the gym. There will be problems out of this gym philosophy; worse than anything cross-fit's had.

  3. I've been going to Orangetheory for nearly four years. The "competition" suggested in this article is overblown; I've never heard or seen people comparing times after a class. At least in my experience, the instructors are encouraging and more worried about proper form than the amount of reps or weight you're pushing - as it should be.

    That's just one person's experience; your mileage may vary, but it's kept me in shape.

  4. I went to Orange Theory Fitness for a year (and would have continued if I had the time). I agree with the other posters here who have attended more than one class before writing a review. Participants compete against themselves; the monitors help you push harder or back off if you are doing too much. The coaches in my gym were well trained, asked about injuries before class and individually modified evercises if needed. Those obsessed with competing against others are free to do so but group camaraderie is what was encouraged. If I had a concern at my gym when it was brand new, it was that some first-time members would push way too hard, spending way too much time in the red zone. As cardiac nurse, watching monitors comes naturally and when I mentioned my concerns to the manager, I noticed the coaches started watching first-tmers more carefully. Since it is a franchise I suppose there can be some differences in attitude in different locations but was impressed with their response and with my marked increase in cardiovascular health.

  5. Why do they post individual stats on a screen for all to see? Marketing ploy? They could just issue individual LEDs to motivate each individual.

  6. Sorry for the poor person with the blue numbers in the photo. So sad

  7. Don't that make you feel good in comparison though?? Ever think he/she is doing a "Cool down"??

  8. It could well be that the person in blue is so fit that they have to work extra, extra hard to get into green, orange, or red. This article is terribly misleading. Unfit people go into orange and red faster and take longer to recover back into green, let alone blue. I was "pushing" on the treadmill at 3.8 MPH while an extremely fit woman next to me was running pretty briskly with long beautiful strides. I was in orange, she was in blue to green. Fortunately, she wasn't out of breath and could share some tips about form. Was my workout "better" than hers?

  9. Such idiocy!

  10. I'm from Fort Lauderdale and yep, everyone who posts on Facebook about going to, being at, or just finished a workout at OrangeTheory are all high achievers! They do love their competition. But it seems like they have fun and stick with it too

  11. Why does everything in New York end up being something from the Bonfire of the Vanities? Can't we just work out because it feels good? Do you really need to have a better heart rate than the dude next to you and while we're at it rub his nose in that?

    This is fundamentally the continuation of those measurement games you may have played in second grade if you were a guy.

    The only difference is that now you are broadcasting it all over your gym, and I'm sure, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else as well. And it's all being captured and stored on some NSA machine deep underground. You're heart rate recording will survive you...

    Jeez. This is yucky AND stoopid.

  12. Having lived in New York all my life, there is much business opportunity to sell to the pretentious, insecure, narcissistic individuals that think "they are ALL THAT", and have thoughts like "I am so beautiful, or Buff", "Look at me". They need that continual gratification. It is a drug, well a hormone more accurately, They are getting far more endorphins than from that of the workout. This gives them the opportunity to parade.

    I am a 54 y/o Doctor. I exercise 3x a week mainly for cardio. Eat, Drink and I am well balanced, single, (after 24 years of marriage), self sufficient, and a truly happy person. My home equipment has all the gizmo's I need. I am not "buff", but I am not out of shape, and that is 3 hours a week alone.
    Metabolisms vary, but if you think this is all about "Exercise" and "Staying fit", the writing is sooo NOT! Yes, it is a New Yorker thing, but not exclusively. I would rather my patients be overweight, although not obese, and be emotionally sufficient in the ways I mentioned than being fit and suffering from one or more of the aforementioned emotional problems.

  13. So based on one NYT article "everything in New York" is Bonfire of the Vanities? Perhaps you could get out more.

  14. To answer the question "Can't we just work out because it feels good?"

    No, we can't. Some people can, many, if not most people, can't.

    I am self-driven, been devising my own workouts and targets for decades, was certified as a trainer, and have taken almost no classes, except for ballet one semester, but I acknowledge that many people require some social aspect to their routines, either a friend, a trainer, or a class. Even more so, we all have different sets of goals. For some, getting healthy is fine, but some are competitive, some are athletic, some like novelty, while others like routine.

    People are different.

  15. It should be clarified that there is no ranking on the orangetheory board so deciding who is in "last place" is determined only in your own mind. The numbers are specific to your weight, age, and effort, so comparing to other people's numbers is not the point and not the right way to do it. You're reading your own level of exertion, seeing how your recovery from exertion improves over time, and keeping your heart rate in specific zones. A 250 pound, 45 year old guy is going to do that a lot differently than a 90 pound, 25 year old woman and how a vastly different calorie burn. I find this article misleading in the implication that it's competitive. If you're a competitive person, then you'll be competitive here. If, like me, you are not, then you may like having data that really shows what you're doing. There's no terror unless you create it for yourself.

  16. Agreed, but then why the scoreboard?

  17. So you have a convenient place to track your own progress, where the numbers are easy to read quickly.

  18. D Jacob, If Orangetheoru is not interested in encouraging interpersonal competition, why the board showing each participant's effort? If each person is supposed to monitor his/her own effort relative to past efforts, why doesn't Orangetheory provide each person with a personal monitor during an exercise session ("lesson") and a printed report at the end of each session (or the end of the month or the like) so that the individual and monitor personal development over time?

    I await the first law suit when someone dies and the family sues. (I understand Strava changed the manner in which it provided information about individual efforts vs. the general population as a result of such a law suit.)

  19. Wow- this article takes a negative spin on a weight loss/ fitness program that is based on science. I've been an Orange Theory member for 2 years. Bottom line is if you are spending the class staring at the screen- you aren't working hard enough.

  20. What was negative about it? It only highlighted the competitive aspect of it as a way differentiate it from other exercise programs.

  21. Disagree with the sign off: "More likely, though, is a logic in which the regimen gains fans because, above all, and perhaps especially now, New Yorkers always want to know where they rank." I was a member of the Chelsea location for a couple months. It's a good work out - more cardio based and lower impact than Cross Fit. Also there was a lot of variety in the classes which keeps from being boring which I imagine sets it apart from other work outs/studios. Ultimately I think all of these work outs/studios (cross fit, soul cycle, barre, yoga, etc.) all have their own merits and really it's up to the individual's fitness goals and personal style/taste as to which one they choose. As for the heart rate monitors...I never felt like I was competing against others in the class. I always felt like I was utilizing the technology & science (High Intensity Interval Training) to focus my pace into the zones that Orangetheory prescribes for maximum result. If anything, I felt like I was competing against myself.

  22. How different you city people are!
    $32/class? Do you have so much money to waste? I run 7 miles with my dog
    every day. She counts on me and I count on her.

  23. $34.

  24. They're going to spend their $$$ on something.
    Might as well be fitness.
    I'm all for it.
    It is always better to buy experiences than material goods.

  25. It's all relative, when you consider what most of them are paying for rent $32 per session is not that bad. Some people need social situations with peer pressure and gimmicks for motivation. Whatever works.

  26. Good training is done with a plan like the one the NYT offers for training for a race. Even if you are not running a race and regardless of your machine of choice, a mix of short and long, steady, interval, tempo, speed and "hills" is important to develop fat burning cellular mitochondria, joint protective muscle and cardio-vascular capacity. The recovery days are even more important.

    In other words, you should be following your own plan with your own HR targets rather than chasing others in a class, unless everyone is on the same plan (the picture of the monitor suggests otherwise).

    Going all out every day and plodding away at the same pace every day are both equally bad and will likely cause problems like over-training and injury.

    Some use personal trainers or classes for this purpose but its not hard to do on your own, as long as you own a heart rate monitor.

  27. You ARE following your own HR target. That's the whole point. It's x% of MY heart rate target, which may be a completely different one from the guy next to me. It may take him running at 8 mph to get to his target heart rate, and I might get there running at 5 mph. It doesn't matter. I'm not competing to keep up with him.

  28. What you suggest is exactly what Orangetheory classes are. Mixed intensity intervals. The workouts are way too demanding to focus on any numbers except one's own. Then you consult with the trainers to identify how to adjust your workouts based on the numbers, knowing that the numbers are just estimates for one's age and weight.

  29. If you want a group challenge, see how long it takes you to run 1.5 miles or row 2000 meters on a rowing machine. You can compare your times to thousands of others in your age and gender category on the internet and even calculate an estimated VO2 max for yourself.

  30. Here is today's rowing WOD:

    5000m with rate changes every 1000m: 26-24-22-24-26

    Row for a total of 5000 meters at a sustainable intensity, varying your stroke rate as follows: row 1000 meters @ 26 spm, 1000 meters @ 24 spm, 1000 meters @ 22 spm, 1000 meters @ 24 spm, and 1000 meters @ 26 spm.

    6 x 3 min / 3 min easy

    Row six 3 minute pieces. Row for three minutes at light pressure between each piece.

    6 x 2000m rate increase 20-26 / 2 min easy

    Row six 2000 meter pieces. In each piece the first 1000m @ 20 spm. Then 500m @ 22 spm, 250m @ 24 and 250m @ 26. Row for two minutes at light pressure during the rest period.

  31. Mark, an interesting idea.
    I simply put the concept II at maximal resistance, add a minute of rowing about every 5 days. For variety I give 10 big ones (as fast and hard as possible) About every 4 minutes. I'm up to 21 minutes with a goal of 30 minutes or 6000 meters, whichever comes first.

  32. You can almost always tell a former rower by style. Everyone else just looks like they are risking their backs, intense but incompetent. Although I have monitored my erg performance for decades, comparing it to others, it also comes with a grain of salt, that much of my performance is attributable to genes, e.g., aerobic capacity, strength, and height, and although there is much hard work, the big improvements would take more time per week than I can afford.

  33. Over 20 YAG, I got turned off by the crowds and pushy people at a work out gym. So I found a place to buy a club model spin machine that is micro processor controlled, has a whole series of different work outs and has a heart rate and blood pressure measuring attachment.

    It now graces my dining room and wow is it a great way to get a work out in - all one must do is mount up and do it - still working on that.

  34. I am a 'Spinning Addict' and take classes both at a 'regular' gym and have taken them at the $30+/class places where your results are displayed for all to see.
    After several depressing sessions at the high-end place where I was way down at the bottom of the list, I noticed that only about half the participants had their scores posted.
    Conclusion: Only those who knew they would be at the top of the list (and be able to nurture their egos and brag to their friends) elected to have their results displayed!
    So much for truth!

  35. Save your money and instead control what goes down your throat. Perhaps after your workout you feel you've earned a scone or bagel with cream cheese, which will negate your entire caloric workout count. If you balance your caloric food intake like your financial checkbook, you'll "look marvelous".

  36. I believe that some studies have found it is healthier to be highly fit and somewhat overweight, rather than the other way around.

  37. @Bill Woodson:
    If we have to consciously count calories like balancing a checkbook, then something is already wrong with the nutritional quality of the food, our hunger/satiety signals, or both.

  38. Looking "marvelous" doesn't mean you are physically fit. Being mindful of what we are eating is a huge part--but physical activity, in whatever way that occurs, is necessary.

  39. Next up, Green, blue, and Pink!

    Whatever color you assign to your therapy, exercising is still the key.

  40. Hmmm, nary a mention of Vic Tanny, Jack LaLanne or Arnold who started the Pumping Iron craze in the late 70s. Back in the days of titans like Steve Reeves men worked out primarily with weights. Now a "Gym" like Planet Fitness is proud of the fact that the only weights they have in their facilities are the weight of their contracts which are so difficult to break.

  41. & here in the Bay Area, Norman Marks, friend and protege of Lalanne, who brought strength-training to Oakland and ran a gym for decades with the emphasis on health, pristine equipment (some of which he designed), self-reliance, and affability.

  42. or Bernarr McFadden, 1898-1955, and others.

  43. "Burning calories" is the least important effect of exercise, and they are kidding themselves if they think the monitors are measuring it with meaningful accuracy.

  44. Yeah! Well, with so many people in our country who do nothing and are overweight to the point of obesity, it is good to know that some are bucking that trend, no matter whether under orange lights, running in the park or cycling with scented candles.

    Keep it up. Much of the rest of the US needs to see and heed your example. Unfortunately, they seem to be too busy raiding their refrigerators to notice.

  45. I often joke at my gym that we are the real 1%. We are 1% of the population, and have 90% of the physical fitness.

    It may not be as good as having 90% of the money, but on the other hand, the government can't take 50% of our fitness and redistribute it to the fatties.

  46. As some commenters have pointed out, heart rate and calories burned are not the best measurements of work output. Watts per kilogram of body weight is a better measurement and perhaps the
    average over the duration of the workout, rather than the peak. It never ceases to amaze the size of the market for fitness gimmicks, gadgets and gizmos, from expensive classes to Vibram five fingers, energy "beans", camel belts and so on.

  47. I have owned a gym for 11 years and as we head into year 12, there are basic tenets that always apply: don't set yourself up for failure by coming 5 days a week when first starting to exercise; don't overdue it when you do come in to exercise; hire a trainer to get your started on a safe regimen; and modify your eating habits. These gimmicky studios are fine if folks need the group competitive vibe but ultimately it comes down to self motivation and the desire to be healthy. Period.

  48. Runners, bikers, and swimmers are among those who compete to improve performance. For us, working out with others is a great motivator. And part of that is competitive. And when your will power wanes, the desire not to let down others can override the lack of self motivation. Your pass fail gym is fine for those who view working out as something to do. For those of us who view it as something to get better at, competition is much more than a gimmicky vibe, Also, shared knowledge is free unlike a trainer, and taking it slow and overemphasizing safety is a way for gyms to get more membership money without making you faster or stronger and without getting your heart rate going.

  49. For those of us who are competitive, competition makes us work harder and helps us get better at whatever workouts we choose. But you have to know your limitations. Maximum effort before your body is used to it is one of the leading causes of injury. Any competitive regimen creates the incentive to push it to the limit. That is great for performance but should come with a caution that too much too soon is too risky.

  50. I spent a year working in NYC - and while I did occasionally go to fitness clubs, nothing quite measured up to the inspirational feeling of a run around the reservoir in Central Park - with the reflections of the lights from the tall buildings glittering on the water's surface.

    There is something "fun" about the outdoors that no fitness club can quite capture. The element of "fun" is not as easy to measure - but, it provides a lightness to one's step.

  51. the technical, architectural, digital media, mass transport and mass marketing infrastructure has evolved human into a species of lemming.

  52. My gym uses these types of screens that broadcast metrics to the participants in some of the cycling classes offered. There's a leader board that displays the "winner" of every "game" and the overall male and female leaders throughout the class. Even when you "opt out," your efforts are still being tracked and recorded for comparison with past performance. Sorry, but I'm not interested in any of this nonsense. I work out regularly to be healthy, relieve stress, and because I like moving. I don't want to track yet another metric or worry about more privacy issues. Maybe it's time for me to consider an old school, simple gym that passes on all of these bells, whistles, and fad. At the end of the day, I just want to work up a good sweat, get in some resistance training, and have fun doing it.

  53. Get a dog. Really, it will force you to go for a 30-45 minute walk outside every day. You specify the time and your dog will hound you (pun intended) to go. I'm lucky because I have some trails with flat land, low and steep hills, so I like the workout I get. I let my body be my guide. If it hurts, I slow down or pull back. At 74 I have had some physical problems that slowed me down. But I just keep at it, modifying to accommodate an injury until its healed.

    Sometimes, in the hot summer, I walk my dogs in town. Many people love to meet them. And yes, during those hot months I do go to the Y to alternate between the treadmill, elliptical and bicycle. But surly my dogs have been a prime motivator.

    For strength and core training I do go to a YMCA class. No one cares who does what. You work out to your best ability. And jokes are encouraged. Indeed, the are contagious. The Y membership costs $90/month for 2 family members.

    I can't imagine spending a lot of money for a class that makes me feel I need to compete with others, just to stay in shape. If it has to be a class let it be one where I can laugh, and for cardio, the dogs do the trick.

  54. The article is mainly about NYC. Some people can't have dogs. Some people SHOULDN'T have dogs. These places mostly cater to younger working people who are cramming in an hour of exercise, not retirees who have loads of leisure time. BTW, I'm in the latter group.

  55. You really are too busy to compete with anyone; you only have enough focus to pay attention to your own numbers. What it actually costs is $90 to $160 per month... which is only for one person, but you get the input and leadership of the trainer. Also, laughing is permitted in Orangetheory classes.

  56. I've been a member of Orangetheory for the past 6 months and in my home studio, I can tell you it is a community not based on competition--in fact, one of the trainers has even begun to have us focus not on our pyramids anymore (the final results), but more on building on and surpassing things like our push paces or our all out paces or choosing a higher weight on the strength floor. I used to constantly watch the screen to make sure I got all my "minutes" in the right zone. After time in OTF, you can listen to your body and know where you are. I love it and I'm in the best shape of my life (42 years old!) and have discovered muscles I never knew I had (hello abs!). It's not for everyone, as I tell my friends. Yes, it's pricey. But if someone told me, here, this works--you just have to do it, I'm in!

  57. I feel sorry for New Yorkers having to deal with this insanity. At 57 years of age, I still participate in triathlons. I have a spinning bike at home and have a trainer send me workouts. I swim in a local pool. Run outside. All without some sweaty crazy east coast person screaming and sweating all over me.

  58. Nobody can fit exercise equipment into their tiny Manhattan apartment. Also, running in NYC means running through throngs of tourists. By comparison, gyms are spacious and depopulated.

  59. ?Central Park? I run there every time I go to NYC

  60. What insanity? So many people just assume everyone should be like them.

    When I lived in the suburbs, yes, I could use the roadways for running, bike for miles unobstructed through farmland, run trail in the park, had a room dedicated to fitness (stereo, bike on a mag trainer, rowing machine, free weights), could hit a number of college gyms, as well as walk-in to a number cheap local gyms.

    Well, efficiency and limited space (Manhattan, 812 sq ft, albeit overlooking a small park, with doormen and staff) means that I belong to one of those pricey gyms, since they are the only ones that maintain their rowing machines, plus have treadmills, spin bikes, ellipticals, and classes. Plus, if I really wanted to, I could go run and cycle in the park.

  61. There is even a way to get the Darwinian element of Orangetheory at home. Peloton bicycles permit cyclists to compete in exercise classes remotely by sharing their respective statistics on-line.

  62. If there were a "wellness" program in which people competed based on who ate less, with proper marketing, it would take off!

  63. I have never seen a generation so intent on being publicly ranked and rated at every turn and completely not understanding how wrong it is. Hopefully, one day they will.

  64. I'm 46. I attended private school with kids who cried over a B+ because they were being pushed to get into Exeter or Andover and then Harvard or Yale.

  65. I hope the stats are immediately posted to clients' Twitter feeds, Facebook profiles, and orange-filltered photo documentation to their Instagram accounts. That way they can further measure their success by how many 'likes' they receive.

  66. Orangetheory, CrossFit...they all share a basic element of competition that's inherent in all human beings. Why bog it down with all this nonsensical garbage? "Orange Zone", "Calories Burned", all the absurd names they give CrossFit workouts...What will it take for us to return to that most basic and defining human activities -- long distance running? Are we so addicted to that easily achieved sense of success through blinking lights, leaderboards, and shouting trainers that we've forgotten that true fulfillment only comes from long-term diligent training and suffering?

  67. Try crossfit if you want a real workout.

  68. Intake and output, simple stuff, next it will be the Color Purple.

  69. Let vanity be one of your guides to better health. If you look good, you feel good no matter what exercise you indulge in. Aerobics, weight training and some social interaction at you gym is part of the adventure. My AM workout either justifies what I ate and drank the night before or what I am planning on for that day. Remember, as with most things, somebody is making a buck on something that you could be doing on your own. My Dad walked every single day, rain or shine, and lived to be 97. Genetics provides a benefit also.

  70. Look at Me! Look at Me! Look at Me! I'm Exercising!!
    Why don't you just take selfies while you're at it

  71. Bellafante is clearly missing the point of OT; attending one or two classes as her research methodology and writing a personal account of her personal health biases misrepresents to the public an excellent workout community. I attend the Santa Monica Orange Theory, which is a community of like-minded professionals who squeeze in an hour to burn amidst our busy schedules. We are not competing with each other; rather, we are encouraged to do our personal best, which can vary from day to day. As for the Splat Points, there are myriad factors that go into the heart monitor readings—age, weight, sleep, caffeine, and alcohol intake. Hands down, this is the best workout for the busy professional without time to spare.

  72. Fad, and an expensive one at that...get outside, in nature to get the full package of benefits. Spending and competing with video games will get old fast...

  73. Mmmmm.... Generally speaking, more exercise is better than less. But if you actually understand how the body works you would know that fat is burned at lower intensity levels where one has an abundance of oxygen available. Additionally, continually working out at high intensity lebels is a recipe for injury. A combination of tempo, interval, and "long slow" workouts will get you where you want to go and properly placed days of recovery are as important as the workouts! It's all about heart rate zone (they got that part right) but you should only compare yourself to yourself...

  74. Regardless of the comments below- I'll keep my thoughts to myself on the inaccurate statements, narcissistic rants, and complete fitness bullying I am reading in the comments portion and say- what is wrong with each his own. I have been an OTF member for over 8 months- been to more than 20 studios but regular at Chelsea and Massapequa, and I mean religiously 5 times a week. All it's done for me- was change my life- down 70 pounds, off all meds, in better shape than I've been in since my 20's, complete confidence in life and have made the best friends anyone can have- Perhaps I should go back to smoking, over eating and sitting on the couch..

  75. Congrats to you! To heck with the naysayers.

  76. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!

  77. Latham said: “How could I get fat blowing off my Pilates clients?”
    Does that mean what it means in current American slang or does it pertain to the arcana of Pilates?

  78. I was wondering the same thing. The sentence makes no sense.

  79. why the snarky, dismissive, somewhat ridiculing attitude of the author?

  80. Because this is yet another in their series of deliberate excesses-of-the-rich 'hate read' pieces, hoping to be reblogged on The Gothamist and retweeted across the Twitterverse. The Times wants to see its stats up in lights, also.

  81. This is the dumbest thing i have heard of in physical fitness. It is probably good to get data on your workout, but why should you give a rip about anyone else's data unless you are an insecure low self esteem type trying to get some type of affirmation of your worth.

  82. The author missed the point of the performance statistics. When I do OTF, I am only competing with myself. The calorie burn (obviously an estimate) is based mostly on your pulse, your weight and your age. You really cannot and should not compete with anyone other than yourself.

    When you attend multiple classes, you will find out that your performance varies, somewhat in relation to your effort, and somewhat in relation to that day's workout. The brilliance of OTF comes from the lack of repetition. Each day the workout components change.

    Where I work out, I do not see anyone competing, rather I see great cooperation and team spirit. We have all sizes, and each person exercises according to their ability.

    The workout works to improve your conditioning - both aerobic and anaerobic. The workout variety makes great sense, and keeps the workouts from seeming stale.

    Go a few more times and ask a few questions prior to writing a review that misses the point and the atmosphere of the workouts.

  83. Ha Ha . The annual six week members getting right with God.

    80% of weight loss is diet, so remember when you finish your work out DON'T go eat a Ray's pizza

  84. Oh, one more note Jane Fonda did NOT start the "Aerobics " crazy Dr Ken Cooper did when he wrote the book named Aerobics in 1968.

  85. There is no place left to hide.. I am looking for a cave, reasonable priced, with no Internet. Hey, its a trend. Maybe I should sign up for a Peloton Cycle, where I can join under an assumed name. Yes, it would be expensive, $40 a month plus the $2000 for the cycle, but people will never know who I am. I am told I could order orange lights. Only in America, well not really as Peloton is world wide organization, very popular in Russia.

  86. The article could have been clearer about the "orange theory." Of course, folks can look it up online. They use recent science on heart rate monitoring and interval training. They use a theory/science/whatever about post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) to say that you burn more calories in the day or so after the workout. Of course, it's the latest and can be different next week...

    Most of all, it is NOT a competition with peers. You monitor your heart rate for yourself. They tell you to spend 22-28 minutes in green, a moderate workout, probably Zone 5-7 ish, if you remember the zone days. Really fit people have a hard time getting into orange. I get there in the drop of a hat. I am not more fit because a moderate pace for others is a doozy for me!!!

    I've been going regularly for a month now and plan to keep it up until nice cycling weather. I find the coaches to be very helpful on crucial issues of form and providing good options for my partially torn meniscus. They are very accurate in timing the intervals, which is crucial to pacing yourself. The rowing machines are terrific. What is best for me is that I have to plan, schedule the class, and show up at that time. Somehow that's better for me. I'm getting stronger. I'm not noticing a big difference in weight or body composition yet.

    They advertise that the program is good for beginners to athletes. If I couldn't cycle for an hour, I think I would massively struggle. As it is, it is a hard but doable workout for me.

  87. In 3 days I will be 69 years old. I have worked out all my life...tap dancing as a kid, figure skating as a teen and young adult, followed by 30 years of tennis and 35 years of aerobic dance. I gave up the tennis when my knees started talking to me but I still take three aerobic dance classes a week as well as two strength-building classes (i,e., free weights and stretches) each week.

    I presented my fitness résumé because the one thing all those activities had in common was that they were fun. They provided joy as well as fitness. These fad regimens sound like torture. This latest orange business sounds like public humiliation to me. Why not put participants in stocks in the town square while they try to keep up their exercises, and then post their results in neon letters over their heads?

    Almost thirty years ago, I had a wonderful aerobics instructor who told us not to buy any of Jane Fonda's videos because her exercises would just about guarantee injury. If I'm not mistaken, Ms Fonda has had a few joint replacements and now admits her moves were a mistake. My instructor said that fitness is a lifelong commitment. "You're in this for the long haul," was her mantra. I never forgot that. As a result of learning about fitness and my own limitations I'm still dancing at close to 70. Those who push themselves beyond reasonable limits when they're young eventually sustain serious injuries as they age or just stop working out entirely. As in all things, moderation is the key.

  88. Not taking anything away from your fun, but some of us like hard work, the rewards and the feeling of accomplishment, and that is a kind of pleasure. The most rewarding activity for me was rowing - I still use the machines several times a week - something that often has people responding that it is a hard. To be honest, I love the visceral aspects of rowing while listening to my favorite rock/metal/dance music, again, another pleasure.

  89. I am amazed to read people are willing to spend $800/month for a gym membership/exercise program. I do one of the famous DVD exercise program(~$140), have a polar bluetooth heart rate monitor(~$55), and the free polar beat app on my smartphone. My heart rate is recorded throughout the workout and at the end of workout I can see how many calories I burned and how much time I spent in each training zone. When I get bored with one program I buy another one. IMHO something like $800/month should be spent on a mortgage payment and not a gym membership. But I guess "city folk" are a different breed.

  90. Not all city folk pay for gym memberships; one of the great things about cities is the ability to accomplish most of one's required daily activities by walking instead of driving.

  91. I quit spinning when I finally looked around and realized that no one was getting any thinner.

    Used to run. Used to do major vinyasa flow yoga. Been exercising for 30 years anyway, I guess. No one needs to motivate me to do it and I certainly don't require competition to push myself. Even when I ran in local road races 5K and 10K, It was always about beating myself, some former time.

    I am very interested in different methods of exercise, though and I do spend some time now and then Googling different things. The latest thing for me is Isometric workouts. I try to do one a week. But I do love my medicine balls and kettle bells. Also, I walk various loops from my front door in the sticks. I keep a pretty good pace. These routes are filled with rolling hills. I get sweaty and usually come home breathing hard.

    I have dogs, but I walked before we had them, and now they are older, and less inclined, and I am out there walking again without them. I have lots of books. Your Body is Your Gym, and titles like that. But my bible is the Men's Health Big Book of Exercises. Love that thing. I'm a girl.

  92. At this price point, I'd expect well less body fat in the pictures.

  93. Wow everything in Gary Shteyngart's novel Super Sad True Love Story is becoming a realitiy. Shudder.

  94. They are fed and sold a nicely packaged load of gimmicks.
    This-along with their jobs-is their #1 passion.
    Starting a family have to take back seat.
    Then, they are forty years old
    Still can't meet the "perfect" guy to start a family
    Then, they are fifty
    Too late now
    Trust me, I live in a building full of them.

  95. Not all participants in OTF are women. And maybe "starting a family" isn't for everybody.

  96. Paying $32/an hour for the privilege of experiencing the same shame factor that made me dread going to gym as a chunky teenager? I'll stick to the the YMCA, thank you, along with secretaries and civil servants and other of my brethren, where an hour-long Zumba class burns tons of calories, people support one another (as opposed to trying to one-up each other) and - in case anyone is in doubt - the sweaty bodies smell exactly the same.

  97. Some 30 years at the dare of one of the trainers at my gym I took up "circuit training" which consisted of 12 different weight stations at which one did 14 reps of a weight press , at 50% max poundage as fast as possible. If necessary one ran in place between stations to keep the HR at about 75% calculated max. I did this 3 times per week for 6 weeks. The results? Loss of 5 lb but increase in girth of thighs and upper arms. Waist diameter dropped 1.5 inches. The regimen got to be very boring.
    Orangetheory sounds similar ; maybe more stimulating to other senses. However $34 will purchase a month's membership at my present gym.

  98. how do you measure your waist diameter?

  99. With a tap measure?

  100. @MVM:
    If mayatola means diameter, then measure around the waist and divide by pi to get diameter (assuming a circular waist cross section). Mayatola's drop in waist diameter of 1.5 inches would mean a reduction of a little under 0.5 inches in the waist measurement.

  101. It's winter, I swim 3,000 yards x 5 days a week. Thats my core workout. I do all sorts of other activities such as cross country skiing, downhill skiing. And come late March, I'll bike 20 miles a day and of course, swim. The swimming though, nothing comes close. It's a monster cardio-builder, muscle-builder and limbering sport. And its cheap...local middle school $2.50 a day. I love it, I'll never stop.

  102. I've been taking classes at OTF Chelsea since the studio opened in 2015. Contrary to the author's characterization as a competition to see who burned more calories, or earned more splat points, the only statistics I look at are my own -- both during class and afterward. When I started at OTF I could barely walk on the treadmill --now I jog for 30 minutes and work at increasing my base pace during each class. I used to spend 45 minutes on an elliptical machine at my local gym and not break a sweat. The Coaches push me to work on improving my personal best. That's the value.

  103. The author is completely off base. Your name is in small type - the focus is on the stats. You don't know the names of the other people in your class, and you're too busy doing the workout and checking to make sure you are in the orange zone to pay attention to PeterS07 or whatever. You are "competing" only with yourself - and only to the extent you choose to. I do power walking; everyone else in my class runs. So what? No one cares.

    The author has really done OTF a disservice by implying that it's competitive and that you are "broadcasting" and comparing your stats. Nothing could be further from the truth. OTF trainers also totally allow for modifications. I can't do burpees without getting dizzy. So I don't do them, problem solved.

    I'm extremely non competitive - "beating" someone else does nothing for me. OTF gives me lots of data - including an email summary afterwards with my heart rate and cardio stats - but it's not remotely public.

  104. Not that I doubt your comment was sincere, but there are numerous devices now to monitor and summarize your heart rate and caloric expenditure while exercising at a plain old gym for $30 monthly (OK, not in NYC). I wore a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest that sent signal to a wrist device almost 15 years ago.

  105. So what? What motivates me are things like OTF, as well as barre, CorePower Yoga and Pilates. There are a lot worse things I could spend money on.

  106. The worst reason to try a new exercise regimen is because it's popular. Exercise is all about forces acting on & within your body (as opposed to someone else's body), & if you violate the thresholds for your body there will usually be a price to pay. When fitness becomes a competition there's a tendency to sacrifice your body for the sake of the competition, & then it's no longer about fitness. It doesn't matter how much/many you do if everything you do sucks, biomechanically speaking.

  107. If it works for you, go for it. As long as you are focusing on a good diet, and getting good exercise, who cares if it's in orange light, green light, or even under a mirror ball? If people want to spend that much money, it's their choice. If they want to be nosy about what everybody else in the room is doing, and the others let them, it's no big deal. If it gets people off the sofa and into some good exercise, then have fun and blow off the critics.

  108. Charming. What will our bodies think?!?
    I wonder if the instructors have informed the participants that a body can only burn so many calories of fat before it begins burning muscle mass. Despite the trainer in the gym I attend telling me that, I find a brisk workout healthy for the sheer stamina.
    Only 908 calories an hour??? I'm 65, and can do 1000/hr fairly easily on the elliptical. I wonder what that would do for true psyche of the young 'uns?
    It has become a rat race in the gyms, with people fearing to go because they cannot keep up. 50 years ago, children got exercise doing jumping jacks in the parochial school recess area. Nobody intimidated anyone else. Now machines are used to indicate "social rank," and to bully other into insecurity. Whoever invented that "scoreboard" is already insecure: to intimidate others is the mark of a fearful psyche. When they invent a machine that improves the heart (spiritual heart) and the soul, if I'm still around, I hope they give me a ring. I might be up for that.

  109. 1000 calories per hour on an elliptical is very unlikely.

    Notice that, in the photo of Orangetheory, the red numbers were only 90's or low 100's and the orange (supposedly "maximum effort") were heart rates in the 80's!

    Anyone who thinks aerobic exertion of 85 bpm is "maximum effort" (for just about an age) is, to put it mildly, not very intelligent.

  110. I think the 85 was the percent of max heart rate (MHR), which is sometimes referred to as the anaerobic threshold (AT), with over 90% being anaerobic, and the 60 to 80% being the aerobic range. My guess, is that the numbers over 100% are errors in the settings, whereby the calculated MHR was derived by age, and that person had a higher potential heart rate.

  111. No. The numbers you are seeing are the percent of target heart rate. Not the actual rate itself.

  112. Go run a few miles. Do some pushups and situps.

    Put the $34 in your own pocket.

  113. Oh rly? I guess the $120 NB1260's with the $34 insoles, the long running leggings (in three thicknesses), the base layers in top and bottom. The Omni-heat moisture wicking shirts, ventilated running hoodies, running gloves and hats, moving comfort bras, moisture wicking boy shorts, omni-freeze cooling, moisture wicking tanks, Gym Girl running skorts, skapris bluetooth headsets, moisture wicking technical running socks and the Buff headbands we runners (note the above are things chick runners wear - I have no idea what the guys wear, but they look similar, so their prices are probably the same as a woman's) wear don't cost anything????

    Running is just as pricey as going to the gym.

  114. No, it is not as expensive, as those clothing costs are the same, in class or not. Running is typically much cheaper than cycling, as well as cheaper than the gym, since running only requires shoes, clothing, and - maybe - a fitness watch, while a membership is in addition to the attire, and cycling expense would be the clothing, but also the mechanical gear, which can get very expensive. For cheap, swimming at the Y likely wins hands down...

  115. I spent 6 months in Navy training in San Diego. I could swim 200 yards under water, run 7 miles a day and get by on four hours sleep a day. All I had to wear was a pair of Navy issued sneakers, shorts, bathing suit and a tee shirt.
    You dress like you have to impress someone with how you look, not what you can do.

  116. Here's an idea, what I call the ELF diet: Eat Less Food.

    If you want to lose weight, stop consuming so many calories. There is no other way to do it. Exercise is a very distant second to dieting in weight-loss effectiveness, so distant that it's almost meaningless. An hour in the gym will only get you a reduction of 400-700 calories. That's a lot of work to accomplish something that could also be accomplished by eating less food. A can of Coke is 140 calories, a Snickers bar is 215 calories, a plain bagel is 290 calories. Cut all that kind of stuff out of your daily diet, and you've already cut the same amount of calories.

    Think of the money you'll save by not paying for a gym membership, and not spending so much money on food. Think of the time you'll save by not spending it in the gym on these ridiculous fad regimens. Bonus!

  117. This was really rather poorly researched and it appears the writer had the story before they actually understood the concept or met any actual participants.

    Our club here in suburbia is a total mixed bag....biggest loser type folks walking as fast as they can manage to marathon runners with zero body fat and everyone in between. Ages vary too...from 20s to 70s. The genius is that everyone is going at their own pace and you are so busy with intervals you aren't looking at anyone.

    I've seen people literally shred pounds over time...I've not been consistent enough to do that but God bless those people walking those hills. They are doing more for their health than the author could possibly imagine and I hate to think you've discouraged anyone from committing in the New Year. This is so different from any gym I've ever joined. There are no meatheads walking around or women in "cute" outfits. It's efficient and it works.

    I hate to think that

  118. Aerobics. Then Jazzercise. Followed by spinning, crossfit, Zumba. Somehow I feel that the development of these fitness trends mirrors the disposable nature of some aspects of our culture. One falls out of favor while the next becomes popular. These fitness crazes takes elements of time-honored fitness methods (dance, running, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, outdoor cycling) and packages them into activities at the local mall at the same time removing any finesse and beauty of the original sport. But considering the obesity epidemic in our country, I suppose this beats being sedentary.

  119. Dear lord, just get yourself a heart rate monitor.

  120. I've never used a heart rate monitor and never will. Just listen to your body. It knows better than any machine, but you have to pay attention.

  121. Crossfit has the whiteboard. Competition while doing metabolic work is not new.

  122. It might work for those need some motivation or enjoy group exercise. I, on the contrary, find my own routine and enjoy a 5K run everyday so i can take stress off and re-focus. I eat healthy, most of the time. A few drinks during the week. I just turned 30 and i actually feel healthier than I was 20s.

    And I had given a try to all those fitness fads you can name in NYC just because my company giving free/discounted passes. Nonetheless, I think it is waste of money.

  123. This certainly gives me another insight into living in New York City. First, there is the whole rat race image that New York living projects to the rest of us. Reading about people spending time on some kind of treadmill exercise seems to confirm that all the way down to chasing some carrot dangled before you — carrots being orange and all.

    As for the science behind this, I'll have to check the definitions of "science" and "hokum" one more time. Without Max V02, anaerobic threshold, and lactate threshold testing these workout targets seem arbitrary.

    Personally, I don't even start breathing hard until I reach 90% max. That's just me. My bicycling buddies who are my same size all have different rates and output thresholds. We do vineyard and orchard training here. Sure beats sucking in somebody else's flu virus in an enclosed, poorly-lit room. You can join us any time.

  124. Wow, the rats the make the rat race a race... Meanwhile, Gym membership? Nah. I do my own chores, wash my own clothes, paint my own house, run my own grocery list. When things get slow due to work or weather, for example, I drop and do pushups, curl ups, or, reach up and do push ups, etc. as I think of it. I just feel better if I'm doing something - and I don't need a watch to tell me to get up and move around. And, then there's dancing - never gets rained out, never gets too competitive, and never gets old... Plus, it's cheap. Enjoy the well known rules of eating and drinking in moderation, sleep plenty, worry about things "tomorrow," and enjoy every day. See you in six or seven more decades!

  125. Whatever works for you. Just do it.

  126. Great approach. I don't remember people going to gyms in the 'Fifties--they didn't have as many "labor-saving devices."

    So now we push buttons, save all that labor--and then pay gyms to RESTORE the labor! Go figure.

  127. They had gyms in the 50s. Where do you think Seve Reeves came from?

  128. I joined the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South in October of last year, determined to lose the weight Autoimmune Thyroiditis and the resultant Hypothyroid put on me. It is working and I didn't wait for a New Year's resolution.

    The local YMCA offers for my $52/month access to Multiple branches in the Metro area equipped with Swimming Pools, Steam and Sauna, Whirlpool, Indoor and outdoor tracks, Modern Weights, Machines and Cardio, a Basketball Gym, Aerobics Gym, on site trainers, classes, baby sitting while you are on site and other things. Many YMCAs offer reciprocity, so you can access their facilities as you travel.

    They also discount the membership so that fixed income and low income people and families can afford membership.

    If you are serious and are not a snob, there are few options better for most than your local Y. Despite the M in YMCA, women are welcome, as are Presidents. President Taft was here when the Downtown building was dedicated and since then President Obama came by to work out when he was in town- the pictures are in the lobby.

    When you join and support your local YMCA you are not only helping yourself, you are joining an organization that serves our communities in many ways. The for profit gyms do not do that and will be gone with the next trend. The Y has been around longer than the last fad and will outlast the latest trend.

    You can find your local Y in the USA at the web address below.

    Don't wait until next year.

  129. Not all Y's are so inexpensive. Ours is $100 a month which is similar to private gyms in the area

  130. I respectfully disagree. The Y was not right for me. My membership, which was for me to workout, heavily subsidized the day care programming and community outreach. It was more expensive for me, a middle income person who did not qualify for the discounts, to go to the Y than a premium gym. I was also perpetually harangued for donations to further the Y's mission.

    Sadly, I was not the only person to leave. The Milwaukee Y system is in major trouble, having sold and/or closed a number of locations and missing their fundraising goals badly. The Y serves a good purpose, but as a place to seriously workout, there are much better options and more economical choices.

  131. The YMCAs in my area are great. Fine pools, well trained staff, clean facilities...and many after school and community programs at a fair price. If you're serious about physical health, what else do you need?

  132. I go to an OTF gym in Dublin CA. I pay $159/month which ends up being $7/class or less for me depending on how often I go. I love OTF. It is quick, challenging and fun and I am only competing against myself. I don't care about the calories. The heart rate monitors can help teach you what it feels like to be in different zones so you can get to know your body better. There are three cardio options so if you, like me, don't love running you can bike, row or use an eliptical.
    I really love it, have gotten stronger and fitter and made some new friends to work out with outside the gym.

  133. Don't need a fit bit, don't need a heart-rate monitor, don't need any wearable technology. If one desires to get in good physical shape, the mirror provides excellent real-time feedback.

  134. It seems many commenters are hostile to these people, berating class-takers' ambition, describing them with a variety negative terms. Some might see these people as narcissistic and overly competitive, but they might be driven, and either new to fitness or people looking to push their limits after finding themselves bored. The class format gives some people a way to strive without being 'jerks' to their fellow humans.

    I've been working out for 27 years, mostly on my own, was certified as a trainer over 20 years ago, and was a member of a competitive rowing club in my late 20's and early 30's. I found the rowing club atmosphere, as well as club competitions, as a way to push myself harder, without having to be directly competitive. Now, at 55, I aim for the gym four (4) times per week, and engage in either rowing machine or spin bike workouts, but there were periods where I was driven to improve and aimed for beating the curve, and group activities helped me do that.

  135. For me it's all about the music. The moves may be right but if the class leader doesn't choose the right music half the fun isn't there. Covers of rock n roll greats that sound like they were made by robots don't do it for me. The more a class is based on dance (e.g. Zumba) the more enjoyable it is.

  136. Well, that just goes to show you there's no one-size-fits-all where exercise is concerned. When I first walked into the weightlifting gym where I now work out, the first thing I noticed was: SILENCE. Well, to be precise, there were some sounds, like grunting, breathing, the clang of a barbell as it was replaced in the rack, a comment by the coach...but otherwise, nothing. No music! The sound of concentration was palpable and the relief to my stressed-out eardrums was blissful. Need motivation to do that deadlift? Look within, or go home.

  137. idlewild: Snip was talking about a group cardio class. Please reread.

  138. Bah humbug. I'm 68 years old and I go to the gym to lift very heavy things. Period. I guess I'm at the bottom of the bottom of the pack but I'd match my muscles against anyone's.

  139. Orange lights, a cool new portmanteau name, and SoulCycle and Crossfit are so yesterday.


  140. Gimmick after gimmick. I quote Dr Michael Colgan (available from internet):
    "The average person doing aerobic exercise at the gym to lose fat, may go three times a week and spend an hour on the treadmill. That’s 3 hours per week of the wrong exercise. Under the very best conditions, they will lose only about one ounce of fat per week. If they watch their diet, and work out religiously, every single week for a year, they can lose 52 ounces. That’s 3.25 lbs of fat loss in a year. Divide the 20 lbs of fat they need to lose by 3.25. It will take more than 6 YEARS of these workouts to lose 20 lbs of fat."
    Just watch most people in a gym: they retain the body same shape year after year. Why? The wrong advice from nonsense commercial theory/practice.
    Throw away the calorie idea, it is a false measure.
    Adopt "I train for strength and health, not to become skinny."Built muscle and you eliminate fat.

  141. You obviously aren't considering the pressures and concerns of women. While strength and muscle might be perfectly healthy, and socially acceptable if you are a man, for women, and in particular, smart, ambitious women, you live with a different set of concerns, which although it comprises fitness, health and strength, it also covers social expectations about beauty and appropriate behavior.

  142. as an ambitious smart professional woman I must disagree. Physical fitness gives a woman stamina, confidence, carriage and posture. For the 30+ years I have worked as a physician my physical fitness was in all ways an advantage and I dare say an inspiration

  143. Strength and muscle are healthy, not 'might be'. They keep you upright in good posture and make sure blood flows to the right places. That is true for men and women. Well, the 'pressures and concerns' of women are manifold. The purpose of my statement was to talk about human physiology, and like it or not it takes 6 years of workouts like in this article to lose 20 pounds of body fat. If you want to treat the gym as a social place, fine, but don't expect to get healthy or lose weight with the kind of workouts described in this article. Even the author called it a gimmick.

  144. My idea for a new gym is to rank everyone on how much they are willing to pay for a workout. I'll call it GBay.

  145. I go to OTF 4-5 days a week. They don't promote "competition" between the members.... The author is wrong about this.

    It's basically just doing the best for yourself to continue to see improved results.

    I like it b/c it pushes me for an hour, and I don't have to think about anything else while I'm there. It's all planned out in advance.

    I just do as I'm told and get a good sweat in....

  146. To answer the question "Can't we just work out because it feels good?"

    No, we can't. Some people can, many, if not most people, can't.

    I am self-driven, been devising my own workouts and targets for decades, was certified as a trainer, and have taken almost no classes, except for ballet one semester, but I acknowledge that many people require some social aspect to their routines, either a friend, a trainer, or a class. Even more so, we all have different sets of goals. For some, getting healthy is fine, but some are competitive, some are athletic, some like novelty, while others like routine.

    People are different.

  147. Go outside. Leave the earbuds behind and run, ride, nordic ski while enjoying the sights and sounds of the world around you. To me, going into a gym is like going into a church where you practice religion but not the spirituality that comes with your connection to the outdoor environment while pushing hard physically and psychologically.

  148. Easy to say, from Bozeman, Montana!

  149. Or just take a long, brisk walk.

  150. "The cost of running a business in New York City makes that impossible though: a 10-pack of classes in Chelsea is $320."

    My monthly YMCA membership for a beautiful, large gym in Brooklyn with a pool and lots of other amenities is $45. Memberships for perfectly adequate gyms run by the NYC Parks department can be had for even less. So, no thanks. I can get into the orange zone perfectly fine on my own.

  151. Surprised at the negativity here. While I have worked out solo for years I did spend 2.5 years as a CrossFit box member and learned a lot in my time there that informs everything I do now and has me in much better shape than I was when I was just a runner. I kept my 5 min mile but got rid of the pains associated with just running by learning how to train the rest of my body. The key to health and vitality is variety. These "fads" have value in that they can show you different ways to train, you can take what you learn and grow. If you think running and swimming is all you need and that those activities build strength you are neglecting a big portion of exercising and overall health, if that matters to you.

    In addition, no matter who you are, you will likely push yourself harder in a group environment, and you will likely have more fun. I'm a very motivated and introverted exerciser who hated the idea of group workouts but came to understand their value and enjoy them. 6-7 days week now I run, lift, swing kettlebells and do bodyweight training but I still did better and pushed myself better overall when I was a CrossFit member. It's not as important to me at the moment, but these group classes serve a valuable motivational purpose for many people that is easy to hate on until you give it a fair shake.

    I don't think we should bash anyone trying to be active / stay healthy and this is one component of that.

  152. I am very far from a member of the 1%. As a NYC public school teacher, I have to work an hour of overtime to pay for an hour class at Barry's Bootcamp (my preferred Winter workout oasis). My friends who are loyalists of SoulCycle, PureBarre, RPX (pilates), etc are corporate lawyers, nurses, graphic designers, accountants, and fellow teachers. We go to these classes for a variety reasons: to relieve stress and anxiety, to tone muscles and lose weight, to be social, but we all have something in common: we go to feel good. I value the competitive and "bootcamp" nature at Barry's because without it, I just won't push myself. When I've had a really tough day teaching a classroom of teenagers how to construct thesis statements, an hour of running to base pumping dance music and squats is the exact kind of therapy I need during these tough Winter months.

  153. Hopefully your dependence on a "competitive bootcamp nature" to meet goals doesn't extend the treatment of students in your classrooms. I sent two children through the NYC public school system and fortunately their experiences with teachers were characterized by a significantly more evolved perspective.

  154. As Kenny Powers put it, "I play real sports, I'm not trying to be the best at exercising."

  155. I play squash competitively. It's a physically demanding game (professional squash players are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world) where I can burn up to 1000 calories per hour. The best part is that it doesn't even seem like exercise just a really fun way to spend a couple off hours.

  156. Totally agree, but at a certain point (plantar fasciitis, hamstring pull), I had to incorporate cross-training into the mix, including a boot camp class that builds up muscles needed for squash. Zumba is great fun for improving balance and court movement, and Pilates helps with stretching hamstrings & strengthening the core.

  157. "Abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym" So if you want to lose weight lose your diet.

    I've used a Polar or Garmin HRM for years and they are valuable. They allow you to compare efforts from week to week. They are not good for gauging calories burned unless you're running. Otherwise they inflate values. You get the best workout below 80% effort because you don't wear yourself out then overtrain and then get hurt. If you went always did 100% then that is where you might be headed.

  158. Here in Paris, there's the Milon Body Tec! €200 for 10 twenty-minute sessions.
    I'm hooked onto electricity and it's supposed to make me muscler and then after, a 5-minute cellulite treatment. Not sure how that works, but I'm having fun with it. Some people have commented on my butt and it must work.

  159. I'm a former elite rower with an erg in my basement and an amazing park 2 miles away (playground swings as TRX, anyone?). I make up all sorts of workouts and haven't been in a gym, except to swim, in years. What worries me most about franchise workout palaces is the lack of instruction, both for the trainers and, ultimately, the clients. OTF has a video showing one of their trainers working with a guy on a rowing fact, lots of shots of rowing machines...and clients exercising with the type of form that will cause injury quite easily. I pass by a kettlebell and crossfit box daily, and cringe at the form of people trying to do things too fast and with too much weight. feel like you are working hard, but it certainly isn't working smart.

  160. The golden age of television has helped me lose weight. If I have a great series to watch, it keeps me coming back to my rowing machine at home.

  161. Racquetball has same benefits, only it's much more fun!

  162. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, the idea of posting heart rates for participants to compete against each other is disturbing. The idea that (for argument's sake) a 40 year old unconditioned person compete against a 20 year old highly fit person is unrealistic and dangerous. it's also very unmotivating. Eventually the unconditioned person is going to get discouraged and give up.

  163. No!! The heart rates are different for different people! The numbers you are seeing are the PERCENTAGE of one's personal target one is at. My HR target could be 160 and the guy next to me could be 180. They are not compared AT ALL.

  164. If it floats your boat then by all means do it. It is fun and sometimes easier to exercise with a community than alone. I have taken yoga-cycle classes in Denver and loved them (until my favorite place was sold to someone who ran the business into the ground). I'm lucky to live in a very physical-activity oriented city (sometimes to the point of obnoxiousness) in that we have loads of recreational sport teams to join, loads of 5k runs, lots of parks to walk a dog in, and a zillion trendy exercise fads. If these things get people moving and keeping them in good health then by all means go for it!

  165. New Yorkers always want to know where they rank. Hah! Perfect description, and the reason I moved back to California after 3 months in NYC.

  166. Save us from high stress extraverts who are into comparing themselves to others: "New Yorkers always want to know where they rank." How unappealing and intrusive to have one's progress broadcast to an entire gym. Whatever happened to privacy and boundaries? Pathetic.

    Doesn't the screen with the results look like some kind of stock ticker? Not surprising.