RSWLiving - - Staying In Shape - Dayna Harp­ster is a writer living in South­west Florida.

I ar­rived and filled out a form: name, age, height, weight, any med­i­ca­tion? Sign. Trainer Mike Hu­ber, a 21-year vet­eran of the Army who now sports a long blond pony­tail, took me and an­other first­timer into the stu­dio, which was bathed in or­ange light, and showed us how the equip­ment worked.

Colors are used at Orangeth­e­ory to il­lus­trate heart rate zones, in­clud­ing gray (about 50 per­cent of your max­i­mum) to blue ( 60 per­cent) to green (70 per­cent) to or­ange (85 per­cent, and where you should be for at least 12 min­utes of a 60-minute work­out, they say) and then red ( 100 per­cent: Take it easy, An­i­mal!). Your heart rate is mea­sured with a “pod” that at­taches to an elas­tic band you wear un­der your shirt.

The per­cent­age at which you’re ex­er­cis­ing is pro­jected un­der your name onto a screen dur­ing class so you and the trainer, and any­one else in the class who cares, can mon­i­tor it. When class started I didn’t just mon­i­tor mine, I ob­sessed. Ap­par­ently my eye lock on the screen was ob­vi­ous be­cause Hu­ber leaned over the “tread” I was on and said gen­tly, “Don’t try to com­pete with

th­ese peo­ple,” who by the way were all women and one man rang­ing in age from 20s to 70.

I was just try­ing to get to or­ange, be­cause if you spend 12 min­utes or more in the or­ange zone, you ap­par­ently reach EPOC, or ex­cess post-ex­er­cise oxy­gen con­sump­tion, which is the idea on which Orangeth­e­ory hinges. EPOC means you con­tinue to burn calo­ries at a higher rate than nor­mal for up to 36 hours af­ter ex­er­cise, Hu­ber ex­plained. Woo-hoo! But­tered pop­corn, white choco­late, pis­ta­chio ice cream …

He had split the class into two groups: Half of us started on the tread­mills at a self-determined pace: walk­ing, jog­ging or run­ning. Like other as­pects of an Orangeth­e­ory class, it’s up to you to pick your level. But what­ever you choose, when the time comes to “push” or “all out,” you will work it, in­creas­ing the tread­mill’s in­cline level or speed, ac­cord­ing to a chart on the wall.

With clas­sic rock play­ing loudly and Hu­ber on a wire­less head­set in­struct­ing both groups, it was of­ten chal­leng­ing to de­ci­pher which in­struc­tions were meant for my group. Hu­ber com­peted with Guns N’ Roses and Ma­roon 5 and all I could think was that I def­i­nitely did not have the moves like Jag­ger. No swag­ger, just sweat. I’m all about the ba­sics, no trou­ble.

For 26 min­utes I hated hear­ing Hu­ber oc­ca­sion­ally an­nounce an “all out” as much as I hate do­ing my taxes and sit­ting for an em­ploy­ment re­view.

The other group be­gan with row­ing and pro­gressed to in­ter­vals of strength train­ing with free weights, mats and ropes. Screens around the room showed car­toon peo­ple demon­strat­ing how to do squats, lunges and dumb­bell lifts.

The groups switched half­way through class. The row­ing group took over the tread­mills, and vice versa. Com­bined it’s a full-on, whole-body work­out.

And it was hard. The hard­est—for most of us, it seemed— were the sec­ond-half plank po­si­tion holds on fore­arms and toes for what felt like two weeks—or longer. How­ever, I left the stu­dio feel­ing great. That night and all the next day, I thought about what Catherine Bliss told me be­fore class, that af­ter her first visit her thighs were so sore she needed help get­ting up from a seated po­si­tion. So did I. But geron­tol­o­gist Sue Maxwell, who’s a very youth­ful look­ing 70, had told me that in six months of Orangeth­e­ory work­outs she had lost about five inches from her waist, and I re­mem­bered that, too.

Maxwell’s progress is just one in­di­ca­tion that some­thing mag­i­cal is hap­pen­ing at that store­front on the way to the beach.

Among 500 na­tional Orangeth­e­ory clients who en­tered a re­cent six-week weight-loss chal­lenge were first-place win­ner David Beers and third-place win­ner Lea Burkey. David lost 60 pounds and Lea 36. For their vic­to­ries they won $10,000 and $4,000 re­spec­tively. Both work out at the Fort My­ers stu­dio.

From top: Par­tic­i­pants work the up­per body in an Orangeth­e­ory class, where the goal is to reach the or­ange zone for max­i­mum calo­rie-burning ben­e­fit, fol­lowed by time on the tread­mill.

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