This Fitness Gym Promises To Help You Burn Up To 1000 Calories In An Hour: FUEL


Bored by your usual fitness routine? Or are you starting out on your #fitspo lifestyle? If you’re keen on trying new things and shaking your fitness regime up a little, follow us on our fitness series FUEL as we try out various fitness offerings popping up around Singapore. 

Workout for an hour and continue burning calories up to 36 hours after the training session? You might be thinking, ‘Another marketing gimmick. This can’t be true.’

Well, it is! The unique selling point of Orangetheory Fitness, achieving “the afterburn,” otherwise known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is backed up with some science.

The goal is to spend at least 12 minutes in the orange heart rate zone so as to attain the afterburner effect where your metabolism spikes and your energy increases.

Orange Heart Rate Zone? What’s That?

orange heart rate zone
Pushing yourself hard enough to enter the Orange Heart Rate Zone is key.

As the above graphic describes, there are 5 different heart rate zones, and your task is to go hard enough that you enter Zone 4 aka the orange zone where the most calorie-burning happens.

Your heart rate is measured by a heart rate monitor that you don upon your body throughout the hour-long session, and your stats are displayed on a huge monitor in the gym above the treadmills.

Splat points, orange theory fitness, heart rate monitor
Are you pushing yourself hard enough? Your stats will tell.

So how did my first session go?

As a first-timer, I arrived half an hour earlier to be briefed on the science behind Orangetheory. I was welcomed by two exuberant souls who wasted no time in setting me up with a heart rate monitor.

They then introduced me to the three stations that participants rotate through during class: indoor rowing machine, treadmill and weight-room floor.

After spending some time to learn how to operate the machines, I was ushered out of the studio and back into the waiting area where about a dozen of regulars had gathered.

Is it so surprising that the equipment are orange?

Soon, it was “go” time. The instructor, Wany, stood at the entrance of the studio high-fiving each participant with a big grin upon her face. The studio glowed a dim orange (what else?) and invigorating music played through the speakers.

Prior to the class, I was given a flashcard which stated “Rows, 4” and so it was to the fourth rowing machine that I headed straight for, along with half the participants. The other half proceeded to the treadmills.

People were tapping their feet, bouncing their heads to the rhythm. I felt energised just being in their midst. Strapping my feet in, I glanced at the monitor, finding my name quickly.

It was in a grey box like everyone else’s. This made sense, as we had just walked into the studio and heart rates were low. Then, Wany hollered out concise instructions, “Treads, begin your warm ups at base pace! Rows, start your machines!”


base, push, all-out at orange theory
What’s base pace, push pace, and all-out? This placard is found on every treadmill for your easy reference.

Getting Started

I found myself moving from the rowing machine, to the weights floor, to the treadmill, and back to the rows again briskly. I strode with purpose despite getting increasingly breathless with every set I accomplished.

The constant stream of encouragement provided by the instructor (“Fantastic, Zhen Ying! Racking up those splat points!” “Well done, Cheryl, keep going!”) as well as the overall vibe within the studio kept me motivated in pushing beyond whatever limits I thought I had.

The Orangetheory system is such that you move at a pace you believe you are able to cope with. They offer three options – between a power walker, jogger, or runner – and allow modifications at the strength-training portion.

This allows people of all fitness levels, beginners even, to enjoy the advantages Orangetheory’s regime provides. Are you new to fitness, and walking with the treadmill at a high incline is exertion enough for you? No shame in that!

But know that there is no mercy at Orangetheory either. You are expected to go hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Anyway, with your stats showing up clearly on the monitor, there really is no way you can get away with slacking off! The instructor can easily spot those who are not pushing themselves into the orange heart rate zone adequately, and provide encouragement and pointers to help elevate that heart rate.

At one point, my heart rate fell into the blue (level 2) zone. The instructor walked over, and with her speaker off, asked whether I felt like I could push harder, and suggested lifting heavier weights.

I took up her suggestion gratefully. What I had even more appreciation for was the fact that she made sure not to broadcast my lagging status over the loudspeaker.

Orangetheory’s instructors are insanely energetic and will make sure you give it your all.

On the last set, with Wany’s rallying cries in our ears (“I see someone with 12 on the treadmill! Someone with 15 on the treadmill! Keep pushing!!!”) we revved up the incline and the speed and gave it our all.

It was with big smiles that we stepped off the weight floor or hopped off our respective machines, knowing it was a productive, satisfying hour of exertion we had just gone through as a group.

I walked out the studio drenched, but already looking forward to my next class. To say I liked it would be an understatement – I loved it. And that says a lot, seeing as I’ve tried numerous fitness programmes and gyms around Singapore.

My fondness for Orangetheory likely stems from my very practical nature – I like that by the time I walk out of the gym, a very handy email is already waiting in my inbox, detailing how many calories I burned and the number of splat points (calculated by summing up the number of minutes one spends in the orange and red zones) I earned.

I would say Orangetheory is perfect for the efficiency-minded exerciser.

orange theory
Orangetheory says that members can burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories within 60 minutes!

For others, it remains a great form of exercise that pushes your limits, challenging you from start to finish. You might think that with such a results-driven class and a Big Brother-esque monitor reflecting every member’s stats, Orangetheory breeds a hyper-competitive environment, but not once was I made to feel intimidated at all.

In fact, it was an encouraging, friendly space, with high-fives and grins exchanged all round upon the session’s end.

All in all: do I recommend Orangetheory? Hell yes.