I am not a morning person. On weekdays, after only one snooze, I somehow get out of bed by 6:40 am. I pee, put in my contacts and smooth out my bed’s wrinkles before anally arranging my throw pillows. Then I put on the most forgiving workout pants I can, knowing that in only one hour, I’ll be lined up in the narrow hallway outside of my Orange Theory (OT) workout class. It is here in this class, where I’ve learned what it feels like to be a resident of Hell. I thought I used to work out really hard by running five miles regularly on some really big hills, and even running two half marathons. Personal trainers thought they were kicking my ass…but they weren’t. I know the color red is associated with Hell, but, trust me, it’s orange.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of OT: A coach calls out instructions to people on treadmills, rowers and the exercise floor, and they do what he says. If they’re not thanking some kind of deity when the class is over, then they haven’t pushed hard enough. I’ve glanced over at enough people’s treadmill consoles to know that some are simply “sweatin’ to the oldies.” If I got my lazy, 50-year-old ass out of bed this early, Richard Simmons is not going to be my benchmark. And, this thought process is exactly how I met–and now know–Satan.
Besides the final group fist pump and chant, my favorite part is in that hallway before class. This is where I’ve made my beloved OT friends. Remember those in-class-friends from school, who you didn’t necessarily socialize with outside of class? You shared a camaraderie with them, talking about the teacher’s fat ass or a brown-nosing classmate. Well, my OT trio is pretty much the same. We will talk about the previous day’s brutal treadmill inclines and complain about studio-mates who invade personal space or swipe our weights without asking. We even know about each others’ sick dogs, ungrateful kids and disrespectful in-laws. Period cramps, hot flashes and hangovers round out our conversations. I’ll never forget the day one of them said to me, “I have so much tequila in my body, I may take a shit on the treadmill today.” Yes, I had found my hellmates.
I was happy to see them when I returned from my summer away. I admitted I had only gone to OT a few times at the Shore. I chose to enjoy the outdoors, running and walking on the boardwalk and riding bikes instead. It was like I was away on furlough from the self-imposed torture that I secretly love—“Fifty Shades of Orange” without the nipple clamps. So, there I was again, grunting with every tug of the rower handlebars and clamping my butt cheeks together with every hip thruster—and all without wearing one piece of studded leather. I hate it and love it all at once. I am obsessed yet repulsed. Satan has me in his grip, and it hurts oh so good.
This blog is dedicated to my favorite OT coach, who will most likely never read this. He is a sexy, twenty-something, who challenges us to go hard and “empty our tanks” and is truly inspiring. Just when we think class is over, he sticks us with bonus rounds of burpees with a full pushup. He cranks Drake and other hip hop artists I can’t name at ridiculously loud volumes. He always high-fives us on the way in and on the way out. I definitely like the one on the way out best.
p.s. Orange Theory studios are everywhere. Check it out, I dare you.
*All names have been changed.
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