Home » Orangetheory » Your First Orangetheory Class: What to Expect

Your First Orangetheory Class: What to Expect

Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) offers a free class for anyone wanting to try it for the first time. Here we’ll cover what to expect before, during, and after your first Orangetheory class.

Reminder – What Is Orangetheory?

Orangetheory is a coach-led group fitness class based on heart rate interval training.  The class consists of treadmills, water rowing machines, and a variety of other strength and core training equipment (such as dumbbells, benches, TRX suspension trainers, medicine balls, and BOSU trainers).

Before Your First Orangetheory Class

Here are some things you should expect or do before class.

Booking Your Class

The first thing you’ll need to do is book your first class. A few options exist:

  1. Call your local studio
  2. Walk into your local studio
  3. Book online with your local studio

To get you started, you can find your local studio at orangetheory.com/en-us, and you’ll be able to go from there.

Preparing for Class

For class itself, you should wear comfortable work-out clothes and either cross-training or running shoes. Whatever you wear to the gym or to go running in should work.

Please also keep your clothes on – shirts or tanks are required.

Related: What to Wear (& What to Avoid) to Orangetheory?

Hydration is also important. But don’t overdo it.

Here are some insights from the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM):

WhenHow Much to Drink
Before Exercise14-22 oz of fluid 2 hours before exercise
During Exercise6-12 oz of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes of exercise
After Exercise16-24 oz of water or sports drink for every point of body mass lost during exercise

For food, you should also stick with whatever works for you when you go to the gym or running already. In general, avoid eating too much or immediately prior to the class as it might not sit well with you.

Arriving to Class

You’ll need to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of your first class to complete some paperwork.

Some of this might be able to be completed online – especially in the quarantine / post-quarantine world but check with your studio.

Orangetheory studios offer lockers to place your personal items, but studios don’t have a dedicated locker room.

However, the studios do have bathrooms and shower rooms (these might be out-of-use due to quarantine, so check with your studio if you need a place to change beforehand).

Not all of the studios have locks on the lockers, so verify with your studio ahead of time if you’d prefer to lock your items.

Related: (7+ Pictures) Does Orangetheory Have Showers and Lockers?

When you do arrive, an Orangetheory Membership Specialist will have you complete the paperwork as well as show you where you can put your things.

If not done in advance of your arrival, the Membership Specialist might also ask you for a credit card to keep on file. You’ll also want to bring your ID.

The Membership Specialist will also ask you about:

  • Your prior fitness experience
  • What goals and objectives you’d like to achieve
  • Any existing or prior injuries and/or restrictions

This information will then be relayed to the Coach in the next step right before class begins.

Finally, you’ll be given an Orangetheory Heart Rate monitor to borrow during the class. This will allow you to view your stats on the screens in the workout.

Coach Introduction & Class Overview

Once you’ve completed the paperwork and are ready for the workout, the Membership Specialist will introduce you to the Coach who will be leading your class.

The Membership Specialist will speak with you and the Coach for a moment and will inform you that they’ll also meet with you after class.

Exercise Options

If you informed the Membership Specialist and/or Coach that you have any restrictions, the Coach will be able to provide you with options on specific exercises.

One common example is if you have any orthopedic restrictions, the Coach will recommend to not utilize incline on the treadmill and utilizing speed instead.

Class Overview

The Coach will then spend five or so minutes with you going over the high-level format of the class. This will include:

  • The type of workout theme (Endurance, Strength, Power, or some combination)
  • Where you’ll be starting the class (which should be on the Water Rower for your very first class)
  • An overview of the Orangetheory 5 Heart Rate Zones
  • A glimpse of the strength room floor exercises on the demo screen

You’ll make a quick trip around the room with the Coach to cover each of the three stations (assuming rowing is in the template for that class on that day).


Although you’ll start your first class on the rower, the Coach will first cover the treadmill parameters and functionality, which will include an overview of the Orangetheory Base, Push, and All Out paces/efforts.


You’ll then cover the strength room floor. Here the Coach will flip through the different exercises on the screen that you’ll be able to refer to later during class.

The Coach will also demo and explain each exercise during class, as well as offer options and weight range suggestions.


Finally, the Coach will cover the rower.  While there is a good amount of information the Coach will share with you, remember:

  • Drive first with your legs, then lean back with your core, and finish with your arms
  • On the way back forward, fully extend your arms first, then lean forward slightly with your core, and only then move your legs

This is the “Legs, Core, Arms” and “Arms, Core, Legs” tagline that you’ll hear the Coach refer to in every class.

Once you and the Coach are done on the Rower, this usually will wrap up right before the class starts, but sometimes you might have a few minutes to wait.

During Your First Orangetheory Class

A lot happens during the first five or six minutes of an Orangetheory class. That said, don’t expect to master all of the lingo and buzz words in your first class.

Try to focus on a few of the key things that the Coach covered with you during the pre-class introduction.

Here is what to expect in the first several minutes.

Starting Place & Warm-up

You’ll typically start your first class during warm-up for about 3 minutes on the rower. Remember:

  • Stroke (driving backward) – LegsCoreArms
  • Recovery (moving forward for the next stroke )- ArmsCoreLegs

During the warm-up, you’re getting loose and moving. After about 90 seconds, the Coach will then mention the Green or Zone 3. You’ll want to try to get to this zone during your warm-up.

After about three minutes, the Coach will usually either ask the Rowers to head to the strength room floor for a demo (if it’s a 2G class) or to hang out at Base Pace on the rower for a couple of more minutes (it’s a 3G class).

The Coach will then come back to explain to the rowing group what they’ll be doing.

Your First Block

Orangetheory utilizes the term block.

A block is a set of time to complete a certain number of exercises and/or efforts that can vary in duration within the respective block.

For example, you might have a rowing block that is a total of 14 minutes. Within that time frame, you’ll have different rowing distances and/or sub-sets of time rowing to complete within the 14 minutes.

This can vary depending on the day and workout type, but your Coach will explain what you’re doing prior to starting the block. One one day you might have a 14-minute block and on another 3 five-minute blocks. It varies.

Your Other Blocks

After completing your first or subsequent blocks at your first station, the Coach will tell you when and where to rotate. This might be to the treadmills or strength floor where the Coach will provide you with other instructions.

On the treadmill blocks, the Coach usually leads you through specific time intervals and various intensities. Again, this can all vary depending on the day and workout theme.

For further details on the different class formats, check out: Orangetheory 2G vs. 3G: What’s the Difference?

On the strength floor blocks, as mentioned, the Coach will demo and explain the exercises before each block. You’ll also be able to refer to the screen with examples of how to execute the exercise.

After Your First Orangetheory Class

After the last official block ends, you’ll spend a couple of minutes doing a flexibility block (though this is technically still part of the class).

The Coach will go through the stretches with the group, as well as say a few announcements and reminders.

You’ll hear about:

  • The goal of getting 12 Splat Points in Zone 4 (Orange) or Zone 5 (Red) combined to get the full afterburn or EPOC effect
  •  Upcoming benchmarks and signatures workouts
  • Other studio news

Finally, your Coach will likely give you a shout-out on the microphone and ask everyone to give you a round of applause for your first Orangetheory class. You made it!

Immediately After Class

The Orangetheory heart rate or stats board/screen will then move to completed status and the clock will stop running, which will end the class.

Members are then able to see their final stats; however, you’re still able to view them in real-time throughout the class.

You’ll also get an email after each class with your results; you can always also access via the Orangetheory app.

Recap with Your Coach

Your coach will spend a couple of minutes with you going over your results on the screen after class. This will include your:

  • Calories burned
  • Splat Points earned
  • Minutes spent in the 5 zones
  • Max and Average Heart Zones and percentages

After going through your results with you, the Coach will provide a recommendation on the number of times you should come to class based on your personal goals.

The Coach will ask you what you thought about class and offer to answer any additional questions/thoughts that you might have on the workout and Orangetheory.

Sales Pitch and Closing

A member from the front desk, who will likely be the same Membership Specialist you worked with before class, will then walk you out to the lobby to go over a few other things.

What to Expect the Next Day or a Few Days Later

Not all of these will be applicable, but you might experience the following.


Depending on your current workout routine and conditioning level, you might be sore after your first Orangetheory class.

Ensure you get some rest time, stretch, and rehydrate.

Booking Your Next Class(es)

If you decide to join as a monthly member or purchase a block of classes after your first class, you’ll have the ability to book your next classes via the Orangetheory app.

If you’re at the studio or call, the front desk might also be able to assist in getting you booked into your next class; however, the usual and easiest way to do so is via the app.

Note: You’re able to book your classes up to 29 days from today’s date. The studios don’t publish their schedules beyond that.

However, they’re also not rolling dates, so you’ll generally see the next month out open up for booking a couple of weeks before the next period.

Expect a Follow-up

If for some reason you didn’t sign up after your first class, you’ll likely receive a follow-up from one of the Membership Specialists.

Most OTF Coaches get paid on the number of participants in a given class based on different tiers (i.e., 1-10, 11-20, etc).  The Membership Specialists get paid hourly but also receive a commission for closing a sale.

Overall, the more members, the more revenue the studio makes; they obviously want you to join, but you should definitely not experience any high-pressure sales tactics.

To Sum Up

Your first Orangetheory class is meant to provide you a small taste of what OTF is all about. That said, don’t expect to comprehend the entire workout and various components after only a single workout.

Considering there are various versions of class structures, new exercises, and ever-changing workout designs, you’ll continuously find something new.

That’s one of the things that makes Orangetheory so fun and effective – the daily changes in workouts and other components keep challenging your mind and body.

Overall, your first class is free and, hopefully, it will be the first of many classes at Orangetheory.

Get More Info:

Written by

Jennifer Lewis

3 thoughts on “Your First Orangetheory Class: What to Expect”

  1. Anyone have any success stories with counting cals (not like 1200 a day but more acchrate to my weight) and orange theory 4-5 times a week??

    • Yes. Started in January 2022. Go 5 to 6 days per week, mix in some lift classes when available. Participate in the various challenges and 90 min classes. Use 12 / 8 intermittent fasting 5 days a week or so. Drink more water and cut out soda. Work on healthier diet choices and portion control but don’t track religiously.
      Down 30 lbs in 8 months but I have also gained a lot of muscle so significant body changes. Probably lost 3 to 4 inches on my waist. I try not to focus on weight loss as much as body changes like waistline.
      I’ve found consistency is key, and to not get discouraged if you have an off day, or plateau for a few weeks. Also I try not to feel guilty taking a green day when needed. Showing up and doing something is still progress.
      Have nothing but good things to say about otf, and would recommend to anyone and everyone.

    • You will definitely have success…but be PATIENT! The weight will not magically disappear…you will see the scale bounce all over the place, especially as your body reacts to its new lifestyle.
      I would do a weigh in; take pics & measurements and embrace the non-scale victories that will show up faster than the dropping of weight.
      Be sure to get at least 50g of good protein in at each meal.
      Good luck and enjoy OTF


Leave a Comment