My Orange Theory review has been one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written. Since writing that, I’ve canceled my membership, so I wanted to explain my decision (oh and hi! I’m still alive, guys).
I have pretty bad scoliosis, which I’ve been aware of since I was young. It’s surprisingly never given me a problem. After months of pain in my hip/lower back, my physician sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spines. It had been almost 15 years since I’d had my spine X-rayed, so I was somewhat expecting it to be much worse than when I was younger. The good news is the curve in my spine has decreased. Believe it or not, this photo is not as bad as it looked when I was a teenager…
It turns out my right leg is about half an inch longer than the left. That doesn’t sound like much, but the doctor explained that when I run, I use my long leg as a pole vault to launch the shorter one. This is obviously Not Good. It puts a lot of stress on my right hip, lower back, and butt. Which explains why once I started running at OTF, I felt 100 years old for days after I’d go. It was as frustrating as it was painful to be hobbling around like a geriatric.
The doctor recommended I stop any high impact exercise, like running. So I tried going a few more times to OTF and using the bike instead of the treadmill, but it just wasn’t the same. Plus, my back and hip pain was still persistent. After waiting it out for a few months, I canceled the membership.
A downside to Orange Theory is that if you’re a beginner, you’re pretty much on your own to figure out the weight work outs. Sure, the trainers will occasionally come over and help/correct you, but for the most part you don’t get individualized attention. It just isn’t possible in a fast-paced class with more than 20 people. In retrospect, I think I had bad form that may have contributed to my back/hip issues. For this reason, I don’t think it is truly suited for beginners, although they insist otherwise.
I have since joined a boutique gym that only does small group circuit training classes. It is similar to the OTF work outs in that it is fast paced and different every time you go, and I love it so far. I get a ton of attention from the trainer since the classes are small, which has allowed me to work on my form.
That being said, I still recommend trying Orange Theory. I would probably still be going if I hadn’t developed my hip/back issues.
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