Orange Theory - High Intensity Interval Training

I started doing Orange Theory back in October and am simply looking for a place to share ideas about what works for others and what doesn’t! I’m type 1, on 670g using FIASP! I do OT twice a week and typically consume 40-60 carbs an hour before to half way thru work out! I almost always bottom out still and 50% of the time I take 2 units right after to avoid a 200+ spike. So I’m still figuring it out! Goal is to limit carb intake for workout obviously.

Could you describe Orange Theory more? Is it a method for glucose control in diabetes? Does it involve eating oranges? Is it a method to manage glucose during workouts? Do you have a link that explains things in more detail?

@Terry4 It’s a fitness program/gym.

Terry - Orangetheory Fitness is a privately owned fitness franchise based in Boca Raton, Florida.

It’s similar to other franchises (Good Life), but distinguishes Itself with group personal training workouts based on high intensity interval training that blend cardiovascular and strength training.

We have them throughout Canada as well

Perhaps a slight title modification as:
“Orange Theory - High Intensity Interval Training”

My assumption is the discussion is likely more around the training aspect then which particular program? (And how to manage BG while doing such.)

EDIT: I modified the title. Hopefully the OP does not mind.


Thanks for the clarification, @lumi73, @Jim_in_Calgary and @Tim35. I knew I could just google the term but I thought the original poster might like the opportunity to more fully describe his/her topic. This is the first time I have seen reference to this program.

One of my friends loves Orange Theory Fitness, it’s definitely high intensity and motivational for many people. Everyone wears a heart monitor during workouts and everyone’s heart rate is displayed on a large screens in the gym for all to see.

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@jmorgandeal @lumi73 @Tim35 @Terry4 I have several friends who’ve gone to OT gyms for the past 4 or 5 years. A couple have claimed they’re burning 900-975 calories per session (based on heart rates)

Tell me the workout zone structure, as far as when you hit zones 3, 4, and 5. Is zone 5 always at the end? Or is it mixed in during the hour?

What you need to do as far as carbs and insulin depends on when you are hitting the different cardio zones. Spiking from zone 5 is normal and expected, just from your body’s cortisol response. And having your BG drop from the zone 3 workout is also expected.

So the timing of when you are doing the different components should dictate what you do as far as insulin and carb intake.

I bet the Instagram generation would love that! (ie, posting images of what they had for lunch)

Eddie, awesome questions!

I usually start on the treadmill portion and hit and stay in zones 3-4 (80-90%) for the majority of this.

I then usually finish the second part of class with weights/rower.

I’ve found that this usually works best for me from a bg perspective ( treadmill first).

There is a bit of variability with what zone will cause a spike. As your fitness improves, you can get into longer periods of higher heart rate zones without a spike. And also it will vary depending on your cumulative fatigue, how long it has been since your last hard workout.

Is that 80-90% of your theoretical age-defined maximum heart rate (220 minus age in years)? Or 80-90% of a threshold pace on the treadmill?

Another way of asking is are they giving you a pace with a heart rate as a target? Or are you using a treadmill pace as a target?

Since there is some variability based on your own fitness, it’s important to find what heart rate zone will spike you, and how long it takes.

For example, if you run at an HR of 150 beats per minute for 1 minute, does that cause a spike? Or would it take longer? Finding that area where your body starts to respond to the exercise stress with cortisol - which will cause a BG spike - is extremely important.

Are you on a pump? If so, it is helpful to turn off basal before the exercise, and apply small carb amounts to cover the BG drops that you might get at the lower zones, and then also to take small boluses right before the higher zones to counteract the spikes.

Ideally, if you can exercise with no IOB (have your meal no closer than about 4 hours before the exercise, or have no meal), that will help reduce the drops. Then cut your basal before starting, and take a small carb treatment at the beginning if needed.

Right before the higher zones begin, check your BG with a fingerstick, because CGM will not be as close during the BG changes when exercising at this level. Take a small bolus before you get to the higher zones.

If you can find out ahead of time what the plan is, that lets you be more pro-active. The surprise workouts are much harder to plan for.

The last thing is the spike at the end, which is most likely a combination of the carbs and cortisol. I would suggest a large bolus right at the end (like 15 minutes before finishing). That lets the insulin start to become active. And then as soon as you finish, have carbs and protein to restore your muscle glycogen and to hep your muscle tissues repair for the next workout.

After every intense workout, have insulin, carbs, protein, and hydration. If your BG spikes after you are done, the carbs can’t be used, so make sure you take sufficient insulin to allow them to be used.

Taking sufficient carbs after you finish will help reduce the middle-of-the-night BG drops that you likely see after these types of workouts.

Yea it’s based off age defined measurement. And yes their goal is heart rate targeted.

I’m a 670g user and I use FIASP. I have been experimenting with temporary targets in auto mode and reducing basal in manual mode up to 2 hours in advance of the workout.

I also check my bg 1/2 thru session to see exactly where I’m out.

I also usually end up bolusing 1.5-2 units immediately after workout to counter any post highs.

It’s been an interesting trial and error!

I almost always drink a Gatorade (13g) during treadmill session and eat a 15-20g granola bar 30-45 minutes before workout.

Also, an important thing is the direction and slope of your rise or drop.

If you start at 110 and are at 100 halfway through, that is much different than starting at 160 and being 100 halfway through. Even though the BG number is the same (100), those are two totally different scenarios. So keep that in mind.

I try to always aim for being totally flat and having no IOB before starting, and then just turning off basal right before I start and sometimes taking a small amount of carbs right when I begin (depending on the type of workout, intensity, and duration).

How much do you adjust basal?

I don’t think auto mode can ever do as well as what you could do manually, as long as you are being proactive with it.

So far when I lower my basal I have been reducing by 75% which has been significantly more effective that using temp target in Automode.

Yep, that sounds better. And a few carbs right before you start is very helpful to prevent the drop.

And then enough insulin afterwards to allow you to replenish carbs and also to replace the basal that has been missing for a length of time.

Trial and error. My ultimate goal is to eat a 15g snack before and then drink the low sugar Gatorade during the treadmill portion. Going thru 40-60g of carbs is not efficient! Thanks for your input!

Interesting results yesterday. Blood sugar was 153 a half hour before start of class. I suspended delivery for 45 mintues).I ate a 20g snack (Lara bar basically).

I decided to start the session on treadmill and to power walk (I normally run a base pace of 9 min/mile).

After the treadmill session my sensor glocuse was 201, which I prefer over 100 obviously 1/2 thru a workout.

When I finished, my blood glucose was 156 and I bolused 1.8 units to cover the post work high.

45 minutes later and 2 hours later I was between 250-280.

I also was pumping on Novolog, I normally use FIASP in my 670g pump

Anyhow, trial and error.

I normally do my Orange Theory sessions on Tuesday/Thursday at 6 or 7 pm. This Saturday I did the 11 am class. I had 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast at 9 and a GU gel at 10:30. Blood sugar was 185 at start of exercise.

45 minutes into workout I felt some serious fatigue so I slowed it down. Blood sugar on CHM at 110 with one down arrow.

5 minus later I knew something was wrong, sensor glucose was 108 with one arrow but I grabbed a Gatorade anyways and chugged it…about halfway thru I fainted. I was fine, came to with trainer asking me if I was okay etc. Checked blood sugar 108, threw up water 3-4 times, sat down for 5 minutes and was fine.

Moral of the story…eat a bigger breakfast :slight_smile:

Just for clarity, was it an unreported low bg (carbs / insulin imbalance) or did your body simply run out of breakfast fuel ?