Not your traditional gym

Orangetheory Fitness is all classes, all the time

February is here (already). Who’s stuck with their New Year’s resolutions this far? Yeah, well, I was pretty practical this year and didn’t set any hard and fast rules for myself. That generally leads to disappointment. I do want to try to get into better shape, though, and have long struggled with that dreaded thing called motivation.

I’ve noticed recently that there seem to be more gyms in town than there were a few years ago. Several of them are based on high-intensity CrossFit workouts (Google counts six in Chico!). Others, like In Motion Fitness (where I have a membership) and Chico Sports Club, are large, well-equipped, generally busy exercise meccas. Where’s the in-between? There’s Anytime Fitness, on Forest Avenue, which is open 24/7. And then there’s Orangetheory Fitness, the new kid in town. I popped in to the small studio in the New Earth Market complex last week to find out more about the “orange bikes place.” I was immediately greeted by the energetic Eryk Thomas, who explained the gym’s philosophy and how it works. It’s certainly not your traditional gym.

First of all, there are no on-your-own workouts here. Orangetheory offers one-hour classes throughout the day and members sign up for the ones they want. (I like this, as I have a hard time committing to the same time, same day, week after week.) Thomas walked me over to a set of large windows with a view of a row of treadmills and then pointed to a screen that showed the heart rates of those in the class (members wear heart monitors during workouts). There’s a science behind it that I didn’t quite understand, but the gist is that the “orange zone” is optimal and can lead to up to 36 hours of calorie-burning.

The workout room is organized by station and consists of the treadmills, water rowing machines and benches/weights, etc. The music seemed insanely loud from the other side of the glass, but everyone looked pretty pumped. A trainer with a mic walked the room.

Overall, I like the concept. And the fact that Thomas addressed most of the people who walked in by name. He invited me for a free trial workout—if I get the guts (and the motivation), I’ll check it out and provide appropriate updates in this space.

As an aside: That complex is looking nice, with the new SunPower showroom now open there as well. Unfortunately, it’s all a little overshadowed by the still-empty Hollywood Video building and the ramshackle old Scrambles.

Time to float No, I don’t mean down the Sacramento River, but rather in a float pod complete with sensory deprivation. Sounds strange, but that’s the cornerstone of a new spa headed to town: True REST Float Spa (REST stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulus Therapy). According to the website, float pods offer myriad benefits, from pain relief to stress reduction. True REST, which is expected to open in late spring, also will offer oxygen therapy. Look for it at 1357 E. Eighth St. and find updates on Facebook.