As 2021 slips into the shadows and 2022 dawns eager and promising, two words have the ability to either get Orangetheory Fitness members giddy with anticipation — or strike anticipatory fear in their hearts:
This annual event, in which members sign up and pledge to attend three classes every week for six out of eight weeks, may sound intimidating. But we instead encourage you to view it for what it truly is: a wonderful kick-start to a fitter and healthier 2022.
This challenge, which begins January 17, isn’t about numbers. It’s not about weight. It’s not about seeing if you can be in better shape than the person next to you on the treadmill.
Instead, says Scott Brown, director of fitness for Orangetheory, “Transformation is transforming yourself, your behaviors and, ultimately, aspects of physical fitness.”
That’s true no matter where you are in your fitness or your Orangetheory journey, says Rachel Vaziralli, senior manager of fitness design.
“If you’re a newcomer, attending classes three times per week will accelerate your ability to achieve your fitness goals as well as help you make a change in your behavior when it comes to consistency, which is key,” she says. “If you’re concerned with needing more recovery time between workouts, you can go on nonconsecutive days. You can also always dial down your intensity.”
If you are already an avid and consistent participant, she says, “This is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to establish new and specific goals, and then use these eight weeks to hyperfocus on them.”
Or maybe you fall somewhere in between, Scott says, and are seeking a way to stick with your exercise behavior.
“Members may be in any sort of physical fitness shape,” he says, “and are thinking, ‘This is the year I get excited about exercise.’”
Either way, the entry fee of $35 includes an InBody scan at the beginning of the challenge, which will set a baseline for each member. At the end of the challenge eight weeks later, a follow-up scan will determine which person in each studio had the highest percentage of body fat loss. But really and truly, everyone's a winner.
“Those members who like and find motivation in competing with others dive right in,” Scott says. “The challenge is that we’re trying to flip that, meaning it really is all about you competing with yourself. It’s showing yourself you can commit to something and do it, and be gritty that way.”
The Orangetheory community, he stresses, “is all there to support it. Like when you’re going through the discomfort of training together, it’s not you vs. me. It’s you and me together, doing something for ourselves. We’re helping people have fun and find joy in their fitness — making it less like a check-the-box moment.”
Echoing Scott’s words, you are not in this alone; it’s not up to you and only you to ascertain the best way to tackle or embrace (or both!) Transformation Challenge. Ask fellow members how they’ve done it in the past. Ask your coach. Ask Scott and Rachel, which we did for you.
And thus, here you go: 10 ways to plunge right into this challenge — which, we can all but promise, will help you with all sorts of challenges long past the eight weeks of this one.
1. Sign up. Do it now and you’ll have leaped over the first hurdle.
2. Pre-book your classes. The earlier you can zero in on times and coaches, the better, Scott says. “The main point is to schedule the time and space in your personal calendar so that now time exists. That’s the key to success. Time exists; make it exist for you.
“Pack your bag ahead of time, know where you’re going. You just get to the studio and we take care of the rest. We have it figured out for you, and it works.”
3. Be realistic. “If you have never been able to wake up before 9 a.m.,” Rachel cautions, “do not think you will magically make it to 5 a.m. classes three times a week.”
4. Find an accountability buddy. This could be a fellow member with whom you commit to the challenge together, Scott says. Or, suggests Rachel, “a friend who will ask you how your journey is going and who will keep you motivated.”
“A lot of times,” Scott says, “we find that extra layers of accountability can drive motivation when motivation is waning. Maybe you decide to go every Friday together and grab coffee afterward.”
5. Anticipate roadblocks. Taking three classes a week is tough, no question. Accepting that no plan will ever go perfectly can be your key to success, Rachel says.
“Change your mindset from ‘I’m too sore to make my last class this week’ to ‘Wow, I am sore! In my class today, I’ll pull back on my intensity and lift lighter weights.’”
6. Shift your mindset. “Put your focus on aspects of the workout you don’t ordinarily like,” Scott says. “If you don’t like rowing, maybe it’s because you haven’t done a lot of it. Try to get better during the challenge.”
Which leads to another tip, an Orangetheory concept which is simple in its complexity…
7. So what, now what? “So what, you had a bump in the road? What can you do about it?” Scott asks. “Mistakes are a slippery slope for some people. We don’t want you to derail. We’re not worried about a single crazy meal or one night out. Habits that you sustain consistently are what makes a difference.”
8. Hydrate, eat healthily, rest. Enough said!
9. Check in with your WHY. “Remember your purpose for doing this,” Scott says. “Write yourself a note, then take a picture of it and use it as a screensaver on your phone. It can be personal and deep or superficial and funny. It kick-starts you; it reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
10. Be proud of yourself. “Our goal is for members to complete the challenge feeling proud of their incredible accomplishment,” Rachel says. “Even if your body composition or weight don’t change drastically, you now know you have the ability and willpower to stay consistent and continue your fitness journey.”
Which of course, translates into any journey, any obstacle you face.