an open letter: orange theory, you saved me.

For the last 3 years I have not worn shorts. None. Not to the gym, not in the summer, not even when I’m home ALONE. For the last 3 years I have avoided pools, vacations, lake houses, and competitive games of flip cup-slip and slide. For the last 3 years I have gone out with friends and volunteered to be the one to take the group photo. For the last 3 years I have bought stretch mark cream for my thighs. For the last three years, I have worn black jeans to SUMMER concerts, covered my legs in maxi dresses, and worn cover ups that look like they belong to an Amish teen. For the last 3 years, a part of me has been defeated. Orange Theory, you have changed that.

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I joined gyms, but it was overwhelming. I circled around the machines, arching my neck to read the instructions, no luck. I went to the weight room, but would immediately walk out, overwhelmed by the grunting, the dropping of the weights, the STARES. I would leave feeling… embarrassed.

I tried yoga. Someone let (what I can assume) was their birth control timer go off ever so quietly the entire class. “DOES NO ONE HEAR THAT? TURN IT OFF, DUMB GIRL. WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT HEARS THAT? WHEN WILL IT STOP?” Turns out, quiet time doesn’t suit me well.

Back in October my friend Katy told me about a new gym that was opening in Green Hills-Orange Theory. It was backed my science, guaranteed results, was group personal training, it was also… expensive. But feeling desperate for a saving grace, I joined. That day changed my life.

The class style varies, but the most classic style focuses on (about) 26 minutes of cardio and 26 minutes of rowing & weights. The entire session is directed by a coach in a “group personal training” setting.

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You’re hooked up to a heart rate monitor and your calories burned, “splat points”, and heart rate are color coded on a giant screen. Every workout provides you with a demo (so you know what you’re doing) and difficulty options (if you need it to be easier or more challenging). The trainer tells you when to go faster, slower, more of an incline, how many reps, how many meters-they literally tell you everything.

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My favorite trainer stands at about 5’3”, with purple hair, and is a Roller Derby champion. With my bright blonde hair, lipstick stain from my workday, and pastel workout tops, it’s clear that we are very different. I remember my first class with Fury- I was MORTIFIED. She watched me struggle to do ONE push up… on my knees. I did not know the proper way to squat, I had never used TRX bands, I could not pike on an Ab Dolly, I had never used a rower, and was terrified of doing a burpee. The entire class I began to sweat more and more. I could feel her watching me (and I assumed) judging me. I honestly wanted to curl up in the corner. As the class came to an end she approached me and said, “Good work, we will get there.”

Over the next few months I booked majority of my classes with Fury. Her attitude, encouragement, patience, and compliments changed my entire outlook on fitness. I felt comfortable asking questions, asking for adjustments, and asking for help. Fury was there every step of the way.

Class by class I was squatting deeper, lifting heavier, jogging longer and rowing faster. Class by class I was getting my confidence back. For the first time in years, I felt strong and empowered.

During my challenge I spent A LOT of time in Fury’s class and felt so lucky to have such an influential fitness angel. She built me up when I needed praise, told me to rest when I needed a break, and send me a super detailed email about how to fix my AdvoCare/starvation situation. (Thanks, girl!)

The challenge winners are announced tomorrow afternoon at the celebration party. While winning would be great, I can’t help but think just how THANKFUL I am for this gym, this community that is constantly encouraging and motivating me.

You have changed my opinion on fitness, but most importantly changed my opinion of myself. Thank you for constantly pushing me to go “All out”. Because of Orange Theory, I have been changed for good.

Cheers,
S.L

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3 thoughts on “an open letter: orange theory, you saved me.”

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