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OrangeTheory Fitness During Pregnancy

I started my Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) journey in June of 2017. For those of you that are curious about OTF I will list the description below.

Orangetheory Fitness uses the science of Heart Rate Based Treadmill Interval Training, the efficiency of Indoor Rowing for increased power and the proven concept of Weight Training Blocks to create the fitness level and body you have always desired. Workout and Weight Loss plateaus are a thing of the past….really! The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. By using our heart rate straps and PODS, we can monitor your 5 zone interval training sessions that we call the Orange 60. During the 60 minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12-20 “splat points” (or 12-20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate), which translates to Zones 4/5. This program design produces EPOC, which is the workout “after-burn” effect, meaning that our interval training design produces a 200-400 calorie increase to your metabolism 24-36 hours after your workout. The Orangetheory workout will produce for you increased muscle endurance, power, stamina and tremendous weight loss, if desired. With good music, a talented group trainer and a high energy studio, you have the recipe for a workout that produces BIG and LASTING results.

I enjoyed the interval type training, which was different from my typical cardiovascular exercise sessions. I was able to reach the “orange zone” frequently and was pleased by my ability to run a 5k 3 minutes quicker than before I started OTF. In September, I found out that I was pregnant and thought my OTF journey was going to change. However, with the help of the trainers at OTF. I was able to continue until I hit about 28 weeks.

During my first trimester I had a difficult time on the rower because I was so nauseous, so I opted for the elliptical during the rower intervals. The “green zone” was my goal during my first trimester due to the nausea and fatigue. The trainers were great throughout my first trimester because they gave me safe exercises that still gave me a good workout! When the bands were introduced in OTF classes I was able to use them for hip stability.

It was almost like my body flipped a switch from 12 weeks to 13 weeks…all of a sudden was not feeling bad and had a lot of energy! I started to up my game at OTF: continued running and conquered the rower again. My goal throughout my 2nd trimester was the “blue/green” zone, this allowed me to get a good workout without worrying that I was doing harm to my body. (On a side note, HR >140 is not a reason to stop exercising). I did not feel comfortable when my HR was getting into the “orange” zone. Throughout my entire 2nd trimester the OTF trainers would give me modified options if the exercises of the day were not appropriate. This was nice because I learned exercises that I could use outside of OTF.

Below I will go through some of the top reasons I decided to continue doing OTF throughout my pregnancy:

  • It made me continue to do strength training: When I have 30 minutes to exercise on my own, I typically will do cardiovascular exercise. However, at OTF strength training is mixed with cardio work so it’s a good supplement.

  • During my 1st trimester, I had very low motivation to exercise. OTF is a great way to make yourself continue to workout. I knew during that one hour I would be doing something, even if it was just walking on the days I did not feel great. (The days I did not feel good, I would leave OTF with more energy…actually!)

  • Even though I was unable to continue at the same level prior to pregnancy…OTF offers interval training so that I was able to continue getting my heart rate up.

  • Going to the gym would have been boring… OTF workouts offer unpredictability.

Every day at OTF is different. Some days you are on the treadmill for short bouts, other days you are on it longer. This kept exercise interesting. Every trainer offers different music and their unique style to the class!

When I started struggling to get my feet into and out of the rower, and I started going to the bathroom twice during the treadmill workout…I knew it was time to freeze my account until postpartum. I have continued to exercise into my 3rd trimester, but wasn’t getting a lot out of OTF anymore (as my heart rate would stay in the “grey and blue zones.”) Currently I am going to the nearby LA Fitness to do cardiovascular work on the elliptical and treadmill (walking mostly) and continuing stability strength training and mostly body weight work.

I am looking forward to continuing my OTF journey when I return postpartum!

Check out other blog posts related to exercise during pregnancy every Monday on the Functionize Health & Physical Therapy Facebook page!

Merci Ortenzi Treaster is a pelvic health therapist at Functionize Health & Physical Therapy. She treats prenatal and postpartum clients, pelvic pain, urinary/fecal incontinence, constipation/ IBS, diastasis recti, and supportive dysfunctions. Merci received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Mercer University.

*If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start most types of exercise, but you may need to make a few changes. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits. If your health care professional gives you the OK to exercise, you can decide together on an exercise routine that fits your needs and is safe during pregnancy.

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