Orangetheory @ David Lloyd

The lovely Jess from Sweet Potato Runs went to check out the new Orangetheory class at David Lloyd Islington! Here’s her thoughts… (you should also check out her ace healthy breakfast recipes!)

OrangeTheory Fitness comes from States and has recently joined forces with David Lloyd to branch out into the UK. They have set up a very swish studio in Islington to kick start this new craze in London!

When I googled what Orange Fitness was this is what I found. “a one-of-a-kind workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, SBT suspension training™ and free weights to tone your body and gain energy throughout the day” It also promises to make you burn up to an average of 900 calories per session. It uses heart rate monitors throughout the session and the training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates your metabolism and increases energy.

When I read this my first thought was “I’m going to die” but never the less I headed up the Victoria Line to Islington to see what the fuss was about. Being a runner I have not done a lot of fitness classes in my time. I find them crowded, unclear and a little frustrating so I was intrigued to see how I would respond to this and was comforted by the fact that there was some treadmill and running work incorporated into the class. When I arrived at the studio the staff were very polite and the studio was very impressive! I

Everything was very shiny!

I was given a strap and heart rate monitor at reception and shown how to fit it. The strap and heart rate monitor had to be fitted below the breast bone underneath your t shirt. Me and technology tend not to get on so well so fitting this thing was a little trying with my patience. I had to wait for it to flash green, which it eventually did and then I was ready for action. I was introduced to Matt the class instructor who seemed great and did a quick introduction at the beginning of the class. There was just 6 of us booked in and I was the only “newbie”.

Walking into the class I saw there was a huge TV Screen that had all our names displayed on it. It showed 5 different coloured zones which would indicate how hard we were working throughout the session.

We started off with a treadmill workout which consisted of working at different speeds depending on what type of exerciser you classed yourself as. I put myself in the “runners” category. There were 3 levels we worked in

  • Base – comfortable
  • Pace – upping the speed by 1.5 and increasing the intensity
  • Sprint – running full out

A little instructions sheet was stuck to the treadmill so you could see what level of speed you should be using when running in these zones. 

About ten minutes into the treadmill workout I looked up at the screen and could see that my heartrate kept on jumping around and wasn’t sticking to one target zone. One moment I was working really hard in blue and the next I was back in the grey. Matt came over and said that it looked like my monitor wasn’t working properly. Turns out my monitor was placed to the side of my bra rather than in the middle. This wasn’t explained to me at the beginning. So I had to jump off the treadmill lifte up my top and shuffle my strap so the monitor was now in the middle. I jumped back on the treadmill and after a couple of minutes was stopped by one of the girls from reception and asked to put on another monitor. Again I jumped off the treadmill and had to fiddle around, lift up my top and get this new one on. It beeped green and seemed to be working…… only it wasn’t. I was stuck in grey looking like a lazy bum. Matt told me to ignore the screens and to focus on the workout which was good encouragement but not very helpful as the entire point of the class is to monitor how hard you are working and to make sure you are training in the most effective zone.

After the treadmill workout we had a quick water break followed by a brief stint on the rower and then moved to our stations where we carried out some dumbbell exercises and leg workouts . We had to complete as many sets as we could in a certain time. Again instructions were given about which zone we should be working in, yet again I looked to the screen in hope but all I could see was GREY. I decided to ignore it for the rest of the session and just focus on how I felt.

 The final part of the session was a combination of using the rowing machine and the “ab dollys.” For those of you who are not sure what a Ab Dolly is. Have a look at this link.

In no way did these aid my ab workout. Unfortunately I spent most of my time trying to coordinated my legs and the wheels to work in sink. It reminded me of trying to steer a trolley in the supermarket. It meant that I probably only ended up doing half the reps I should have. We finished with one final big push and then ended the session with some stretching.


  • My heart rate monitor didn’t work which meant after all my hard work I had no stats to look at. Again this class is driven by the data that the customers give so on this count I would say it 100% failed for me. As a first timer it would have been appropriate for someone to have checked my monitor before the class. I would have expected this to be a standard as they are such a vital part of the session.
  • My treadmill kept freezing which meant I was always a 10 or 20 seconds behind what I was supposed to be doing.
  • The Ab Dollys seemed to be un popular with most of the class. It’s extremely difficlut to draw any functionality from them if you haven’t used them before. It would be a good idea to let customers have a quick go on them before the workout starts so they have an idea of what to expect instead of wasting precious workout time on getting the wheels to do what you want.


  • Matt the instructor was always encouraging and ran the class with a lot of energy and took time to make sure that each of us was okay and understood the instructions.
  • It’s a great studio with great equipment (minus my treadmill) and has very welcoming staff at the front of house

I have no doubt that if my heart monitor had worked it would have been a fantastic class but because the frustrations came so early on it set a bad tone for me from the beginning. I can see why people would be attracted to the class. It’s an intense workout which makes you work really hard and puts you under pressure to give your best because the screen doesn’t lie!

David Lloyd Islington are currently offering free tasters at their Islington Studio.