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What are Orangetheory Splat Points, and How does it work?

Splat points refer to the Orangetheory language that refers to the amount of time spent between the Orange and the red zone, usually above 84% heart rate. “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, also known as the “Orange Effect” or “Afterburn”) is what Orangetheory calls “splat points.” The theory is if you get 12 splat points, you get the ‘after burn’ of higher calorie burn/increased metabolism for the next 24 hours.

Let’s break it down…

  • What are Orangetheory splat points? (Simply explained)
  • What is Afterburn/ EPOC?
  • How Does the Orangetheory Splat Point and Afterburn Work?
  • Are Splat Points Good?

This article will tell you what it’s all about Orangetheory splat points; most importantly, does it work for one’s health and fitness, and can it be that important for weight loss?

What are Orangetheory splat points?

Orangetheory is built around heart-rate-based training, and their 60-minute classes are known for mixing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with intense cardio workouts are based on five “zones” that correlate with your maximum heart rate.

During your workout, You’ll use an OTBeat heart rate monitor to track your heart rates and zones, and a digital board on the wall will tell you what zone you’re in based on your heart rate (as measured by your OTF heart rate monitor). Each zone represents a range of your maximum heart rate in percentages.

The heart rate zones are represented by colors, from grey, blue, green, and Orange to red. So, the color your name appears in signifies the push or intensity that you give your workout.

Orangetheory Heart Rate Zones

Zone 1:
Zone 2: Blue61%-70% OF MAX HRWARM-UP and cool-down exercises
Zone 3: Green71%-83% OF MAX HRAlso known as your “Base Pace” a pace you can maintain for 20-30 total minutes.
Zone 4: Orange84%-91% OF MAX HRAlso known as your Push Pace, The “Orange Effect/ Afterburn” or “EPOC” (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) occurs here. Essentially, splat points start from the orange heart rate zone in Orangetheory
Zone 5:
92-100% OF MAX HRAlso known as your ALL-OUT EFFORT!

During workouts, members can see real-time data, which can help them push harder and get to the desired orange zone. 

Essentially, splat points start from the orange heart rate zone in Orangetheory, which represents the heart rate zone range from 84% to 91%. It is the fourth out of the five OTF heart rate zones. Interestingly, this orange zone has a history behind it, and it is no wonder that the company’s name has the color as a major part. 

To put it simply, Splat points refer to the minutes spent in your Orange and/or Red heart-rate zones. For each minute you spend in the orange zone or red zone, you gain one “splat point”.1 minute orange zone or higher = 1 splat point… and your goal is to spend at least 12 minutes of an Orangetheory workout within the Orange and Red zones.

orangetheory splat points

One of the primary goals of Orangetheory is to create EPOC, which is short for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Most people commonly refer to the phenomenon as the afterburn effect or Orange Effect. EPOC starts at the orange zone when the heart rate gets to 84%, and the duration and impact rise with the increase in the heart rate.

And it does not stop at the orange zone. Instead, it becomes better as you get to the red zone, where you use 92 to 100% of your heart rate. And each minute in the orange or red zone wins a splat point in OTF.

The deal is that as you spend more time in the red and orange zones, you have better chances of burning calories long after the exercise.

According to Orangetheory,

The goal is to spend at least 12 minutes or more in this zone during a 60-minute exercise in order to maximize caloric expenditure for up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is complete.

Note: Splat points are not the core of Orangetheory, and the instructors always advise against getting obsessed with the splat point technology. This is because the heart is designed to fluctuate in heart rate. Therefore, in Orangetheory, it should fluctuate among the 5 heart rate zones for healthy and effective exercise. Rather than having more time in Orange and red, green is the most recommended due to the stability and balance it offers the body.

Related: What to Wear (& What to Avoid) to Orangetheory? – Otf Clothing

What is Afterburn/ EPOC?

Generally, afterburn is a layman’s language that refers to EPOC, that is, Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. It is referred to as an afterburn because one continues to burn calories even after the exercise, regardless of their activity status.

In most research works I have seen, afterburn is highest after a high-intensity interval exercise, which, obviously, Orangetheory uses for their excellent exercise. However, it is also found in commendable magnitudes after exercises such as interval sprint exercises and moderate continuous exercises.

How Does the Orangetheory Splat Point and Afterburn Work?

During high-intensity interval exercise, one strains their muscles so much that they will need extra oxygen for the extra boost in energy. The more you strain the muscles, the more oxygen you need to be supplied all around your muscles. Therefore, you breathe faster, and your heart beats faster to supply the oxygen as needed.

However, when your heart beats at a rate of 84% and above, there is an oxygen deficit, so your exercise turns anaerobic. You will cover the deficit after the exercise, which may take some time. This means that you continue burning calories required to get the body back to homeostasis.

Let’s break this down.

According to A Trainer from OTF in the Tampa Area, it’s a great read about the science of OTF.

A splat is a minute of orange/red zone training time. Orange and red are meant to indicate anaerobic training (not getting oxygen as quickly as your body needs it). Green, on the other hand, is meant to indicate aerobic training. The zones are calculated off your heart rate by OTF heart rate max formula and is pretty darn accurate for most of the population.

Green- AEROBIC- you’re training cardiovascular endurance…if you want to get technical, you’re increasing your bodies vascularity (vessels and pathways to deliver oxygen and nutrients). Some folks call this the fat burning zone, which it is, but not in the way you think (that’s a whole different lecture 😅, just know it’s not the zone to be in only to lose fat!)

Orange/Red- ANAEROBIC- you’re training your bodies max production and ability to produce energy! You’re increasing mitochondrial density and therefore your bodies ability to produce ATP.

Why do you want both? Because who wants to be good at one thing? Athletes can do both, and you’re an athlete! If you have better means to deliver your energy and oxygen AND are more efficient at producing energy. You’ll be all around better at running long and short distances, power walking your butt off, and even rowing and lifting!

MORE orange/red likely means you’ll burn more calories in the class, which is neat, but it doesn’t give you an increased Afterburn. The whole science of OTF is based on 12 or more minutes of orange and red (anaerobic) because that’s significant enough induce an increased metabolism for up to 36 hours following the workout. 40 splats isn’t “better” than 12.

You want to move in and out of the zones and train your body to efficiently move in and out of the top 3 zones (Green, Orange, Red). Intervals work so well for conditioning and weight loss because you’re forcing your body to flip into different energy pathways and teaching it to be efficient at it!

Green is your friend, too, and it’s important to building those pathways to deliver around all the badass energy you’re able to produce from your orange/red time! I’m not saying to back down or get lazy; certainly, work off your effort and make sure you FEEL like your efforts are peaking, actively recovering and fully recovering as intended with the block. OTF isn’t a 1-hour max effort, so treat it as it should be, like intervals! The heart rate zones will match up in time!

PS- If you feel pretty recovered in the orange zone or historically have more than 30 splat points….if you have 20+ workouts in the last 90 days, we can actually tailor your HR to YOU based off your peak class values.

Are Splat Points Good?

Yes, splat points are good because they motivate one to exercise more intensely in class, giving their all in the exercise. And according to research on EPOC between high-intensity interval exercise and moderate continuous exercise, HIIT has a higher rate of EPOC. So, you have a chance of burning more calories with more splat points than none at all.

Nonetheless, splat points should not be used to define the effectiveness of the exercise. In another scholarly on the value of EPOC on weight loss, EPOC does not contribute much too fat loss after HIIT exercises.

Actually, EPOC does not go beyond 3 hours after the exercise, which means that splat points do not get too far.

Also, rushing for sprint points robs one of the opportunities to grow and strengthen the muscles, which usually happens in the green and blue zones. Therefore, one may never have as many splat points, but their fitness impact is more pronounced than another who always wins with splat points.

Therefore, while splat points are good and motivating, they are not worth an obsession. However, failing to hit the target on splat points doesn’t mean your exercise was less effective. Besides, you also spent 60 minutes sweating yourself out, which means much more than you probably imagined.

How Many Splat Points Are Good for Orangetheory?

12 splat points are the minimum recommended splat points in Orangetheory. However, these splat points are only necessary for the afterburn.

Otherwise, you can have fewer to no splat points in a whole Orangetheory exercise and still substantially impact your fitness. While the 12-20 splat points are encouraging, Orangetheory recommends that you consider your health and how you feel in a class before taking on the splat point race.

Are More Splat Points Better at Orangetheory?

Whether you earn 12, 15, 20, 30, or more Splat Points in a class, the EPOC(Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption)/Afterburn effect is the same.

Remember that the goal is NOT to get as many Splats as possible. The goal is to try to get 12 or more. It’s also okay if you don’t get 12 or more Splats.
If you earn some Splats points, you will still receive EPOC benefits but not the total effect.

How Many Splat Points Are Too Many?

Some OTF users are so obsessed with splat points that other exercise factors have little impact on their motivation. The truth is that you can actually have too many splat points for your own good. Usually, you should not get splat points beyond 30. This means you have to spend at least half the class between the grey and the green zone, showing healthy heart rate fluctuations.

According to Orangetheory,

Your goal shouldn’t be to spend the whole time in the orange and red zones. When you do that, you are basically beating your body to the core, which puts too much physical and mental stress on your muscles and ligaments.

After all, Orangetheory is not exactly all about splat points and killing yourself with maximum activity. On the contrary, it is about building one’s fitness journey, physically, mentally, and emotionally. So naturally, you have to get the splat points in moderation, ensuring that you protect your health even as you sort for physical fitness.

Is 40 splat points too much?

Green zone= more calories burned! 12 splat points is the goal- not 40 or 50. Having an excessively high heart rate does not mean you’re burning more calories.

How Many Splat Points Do You Need to Lose Weight?

Interestingly, you don’t need any splat points to lose weight. You could lose weight as long as you are active for 60 minutes in an OTF class, especially if you frequent the classes.

However, splat points will help with faster weight loss. As mentioned above, splat points reflect high intensity in your exercise, shown by being in the orange and red zones. Therefore, it means that you are taking high-intensity cardio activity, which in turn helps burn more body fat and calories. The more body fats you burn in a cardiovascular exercise, the more weight you lose.

Even better, more splat points help you continue with active calories even after the class. Though you may only burn a maximum of 15% more than you burned in class, it is a substantial additional amount closer to your weight loss goals.

Why Are My Splat Points So Low?

It is not surprising that you may have a few splat points, despite feeling that you worked out to your potential. This has to do with the formula used to design the heart rate zones.

Usually, Orangetheory determines your heart rate zone based on your age, weight, and height. The higher your weight, the more calories you burn, and the faster you get to your splat point heart rate. However, as you become fitter and lose weight, you realize that getting to the orange zone becomes more challenging. Therefore, you have fewer splat points.

However, having low to no splat points in a whole class does not mean you work out less.

Actually, your rate may be more than before and even more effective.

How to Get More Splat Points in an Orangetheory Class

The main goal of splat point counting is to motivate the Orangetheory users. Sadly, achieving them may not be easy, especially with a fitter body. 

In this case, you will have to devise a few tricks that will help raise your chances with splat points;

  • First, ensure that you spend more time on the treadmill. The splat points are more achievable when running at high intensity, as opposed to rowing and floor exercises.
  • Then, try to engage your hands during running exercises. If possible, move your hands as you lift them upper than normal. Exercising the upper limbs, which are close to the heart, increases the heart rate faster than exercising other parts.
  • Ensure that you hit the orange zone and spend a good amount of time before targeting the red zone. This way, you will have more time to gather your splat points before getting into the most challenging heart rate zone.

Splat Points Vs. Calories Burned

While more splat points generally mean more calories burned, keep in mind the total calories burned will vary between members depending on your gender, age, and size.

It is true that more splat points increase the number of calories you burn at a time. Also, the splat points will get you the afterburn effect, which further helps increase the number of calories burned.

However, you don’t have to get splat points to burn calories. Besides, you may burn the close to same calories with multiple splat points as you do with moderate-intensity interval exercise, as long as you remain active for the same duration.

Therefore, while splat points help realize how many calories you could burn in a class, the ratio is not proportional, and neither are the splat points the key to burning calories.

Lastly, I share this video about “Splat Points”!


Orangetheory splat points work when one maintains activity in the Orange and red zones, which are the highest heart rate levels in OTF. The gym encourages one to get at least 12 splat points, which kickstarts the afterburn. Usually, the afterburn is effective in enhancing calorie burning even after the class is through. 


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32656951/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26950358/
  3. Momentum Shift Documentary

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Written by

Jennifer Lewis

3 thoughts on “What are Orangetheory Splat Points, and How does it work?”

  1. This is going to sound super stupid but it might help some ppl out!
    I can’t be the only one who deals with this…

    If you’re like me, I tend to get “stuck” around 81-83%, which is fine because I prefer green zone. But some days I’m really struggling to get splats. What ALWAYS helps me get into orange when I’m at 82-83% is to put my arms up and adjust my ponytail 😹😹😹 I’m serious! It sounds ridiculous but those few seconds of raising my arms always pushes me to 84% and usually I can maintain here if I’m doing a push or all out!

    😆😆😆 hope this helps!

    *disclaimer, only tested this strategy on tread 🏃‍♀️

    • I am the same way: I can move my hand to adjust the speed and my heart rate is up!
      Even on the floor when I do lifting with hands above the head I am in 🍊 orange zone.

    • I’m no scientist, but I think this is scientific LOL… when you raise your arms above your head, your heart has to work harder to get blood up there. When I was training to run half marathons we were trained to only allow our arms to pump at our sides, rather than pump very enthusiastically raising our arms above our heart, because that would otherwise get your heart rate up too quickly and make your heart work harder ❤️🫶🏼😅


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