How to lose weight with Orangetheory Fitness (OTF)

Orangetheory fitness

Today we’ll be covering how to lose weight with Orangetheory fitness along with the most common mistakes people make.

Can you lose weight with Orangetheory Fitness? 

It depends.

Weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories than your body needs. Or use more calories than your body needs over a period of time. This is known as creating a calorie or energy deficit. 

Weight loss will not happen if you don’t do these things. An Orangetheory class will contribute to the calorie deficit needed for weight loss by using calories for energy.

You can create a consistent calorie deficit over time in a number of ways.

Every approach helps you lose weight by doing the same thing. It either creates a consistent calorie deficit over time or it doesn’t. 

How diets work

To learn more about some of these ideas start my free 5-day body transformation course.

That doesn’t mean creating a calorie deficit is the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss.

If you follow enough fitness “influencers” you will most certainly come across them talking about creating a calorie deficit for weight/fat loss.⁣

And yes, while this has to be done in order to lose weight it’s an oversimplification of the process.⁣

If someone is struggling they most likely don’t need to be told to eat in a calorie deficit over and over again. They probably don’t need a meal plan and they most likely don’t need to “try harder.”⁣

Calories matter

Instead, it’s a better investment to spend time and energy working on building habits and skills that support those goals.⁣

  • Creating an environment that makes it easier to do what you want to do more of and harder to do what you want to do less of.
  • Learning how to practice empathy and self-compassion toward yourself ⁣
  • Learning how to be with uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and emotions⁣
  • Establishing a regular stress management routine⁣
  • Going the f*ck to sleep⁣
  • Setting realistic expectations and goals for yourself⁣
  • Developing a healthy body image

And a whole lotta other health systems and routines that lead to the outcomes you want to achieve.⁣So yes. A calorie deficit matters. But it’s not the only thing that matters⁣

Is Orangetheory good for weight loss?

I know it’s annoying to hear but it depends.

Tonal, Peloton, Pilates, Yoga, F45, weight lifting, running, walking, and all other exercise programs may contribute to weight loss if you’re consistent with them and create a calorie deficit over time.

workout weight loss chart

But Orangetheory workouts are not designed for weight loss. The workouts are designed to help you move your body more in an enjoyable way

To use Orangetheory for weight loss, you’ll want to make sure you’re creating a consistent calorie deficit through a combination of nutrition and exercise.

But forget how many calories you’re burning when you exercise for a second.

There’s a psychological advantage to exercising and moving more. You may notice that you’ll want to make healthier choices the more you exercise. You might start eating better or going to bed earlier so you can get your workout in. Hell, you may even notice it helps you reduce stress. All of which can help you create a calorie deficit.

  • Going to bed earlier equals less likely to overeat at night. It also means less fatigue which could lead to fewer cravings for energy and calorie-dense sugary and fatty foods.
  • Less stress could mean less emotional eating
  • Less fatigue could lead to more energy for cooking and prepping meals

Working out at Orangetheory, or exercising in general, becomes a keystone habit by making other habits easier to develop.

How long does it take to lose weight with Orangetheory Fitness?

Generally speaking, reasonable and safe rates of weight loss per week according to experts, research, and governing bodies suggest the following.

Extreme (per week):

  • 1-1.5% of body weight
  • Men: 2-3 lbs
  • Women: 1.65-2.5 lbs

Reasonable (per week):

  • .5-1% of body weight
  • Men: 1-2 lbs
  • Women: .8-1.65 lbs

Comfortable (per week):

  • .5% of body weight
  • Men: <1 lbs
  • Women: <.8 lbs

You may not lose weight at the rates described above and that is ok. People like to freak out when they’re not losing weight as fast as their friend, brother, sister, significant other, or random person on the Internet that is talking about their hashtag fitness journey.

Why does my weight fluctuate?

Weight loss fluctuations
                          ✅ Notice the spikes up and down but the downward trend over time


Weight loss depends on a number of factors.

  • are you in a consistent calorie deficit?
  • does the approach you’re taking make sense for your goals
  • are you enjoying the process (or at least not hating it)
  • your current starting point (a lot of weight to lose or a little)
  • adherence to the plan

Natural weight fluctuations are normal. Weight loss doesn’t typically happen in a linear line. Expect daily and weekly fluctuations to do the following.

  • Increased carb intake
  • Increased sodium intake
  • Water retention
  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • When did you last eat?
  • When did you last work out?
  • When were your last bowel movements?
  • Did you weigh in at a different time?
  • Where are you in your menstrual cycle?
  • What we’re looking for is a trend over time.

I shot a 24-hour account of my weight fluctuations. If you have some time you might find it helpful.

If you’re frustrated with the scale

Remember the scale doesn’t tell the entire tale. Checking in on other metrics to get a sense of the bigger picture can be helpful too

  • Photos/measurements
  • Energy/mood / stress/sleep
  • Performance in workouts
  • How your clothes fit
  • Everyday tasks are getting easier
  • Endurance is improving
  • Blood work and health markers are improving
  • You feel stronger (mentally, emotionally, and physically)
  • Cravings are reduced
  • You’re more resilient
  • Digestion is improving
  • Your skin is glowing
No weight loss but body comp changes
                                                   ✅ 143 lbs on the left. 140 lbs on the right.

How often should I go to Orangetheory Fitness for weight loss

In general, 2 to 4 workouts per week.

But your frequency should depend on your goals, fitness level, and other activities and workouts. Not on how fast you want to lose weight.

If your current situation dictates that you can only do one workout a week, do that one. If it means you can’t make it to class and have to do workouts at home, do that workout at home. Can’t do a workout at home, go on a walk.

Why am I not losing weight doing Orangetheory Fitness

work week dieting

Could it be your hormones? Maybe. Get some blood work done to rule out thyroid and other issues.

Insulin? Probably not.

Carbs? Most likely no.

Do you need to detox? Zero chance.

If you’re not losing weight the odds are you’re not in a consistent calorie deficit over a long enough period of time, even if you think you are. This could be for a number of reasons but the most common I see with clients are below.

  • You’re eating more than you think
  • Not burning as many calories as you think
  • You’re eating back the calories you think you’re burning
  • Moving less during the day (fewer steps)

A few other reasons you may not be losing weight even if you think you should be:

  • Workweek dieting. Creating a calorie deficit during the week and eating more than you think over the weekends. Thus, balancing out your caloric intake.
  • Not accurately weighing and measuring foods if you are tracking calories
  • Underestimating portion sizes and calories if you are not tracking.
  • Dining out often. Meals out tend to be higher in calories and include larger portions than we would make at home.
  • Assuming “clean eating” or “healthy eating” alone will lead to weight loss.

I dive deeper into 7 reasons you may not be losing weight in this video.

How can I be burning X amount of calories and not be losing weight

You’re not really burning that many calories or you’re eating them back without realizing it.

In a study conducted at Stanford University, different fitness trackers were assessed to check their accuracy for calories burned. The results showed that the most accurate device was still off by 27%. While the least accurate was off by 93%

These overestimations can lead to overeating. You now believe you’re burning X number of calories and have room to eat Y number of calories.

If you are using a smart device to track your calories burned try this instead.

  • Treat these estimations as generalizations for how hard you may be working
  • Use them as a way to push yourself from time to time. Try and beat your calories burned.
  • Use them as a fun metric to keep track of.

But don’t use them to determine how many calories you can eat. If you’re using food as a reward for exercise spend some time this week to see if there are other ways you can celebrate your exercise sessions.

  • New workout clothes
  • Watching your favorite show
  • Gaming
  • Staycation
  • Spa day

Instead of measuring your workouts by calories burned ask yourself if you’re enjoying them, are you getting stronger, to you leave the gym feeling good.

How Orangetheory Fitness can help you 

Let’s be honest with each other. Exercise isn’t always the most enjoyable experience. If you’ve had a difficult time building the exercise habit, Orangetheory Fitness may be a good option for you if you enjoy:

  • Working out in a community setting
  • Turning workouts into a game.
  • A lot of variety 
  • The ability to work at your own pace and effort
  • Like tracking your progress in unique ways
  • Enjoy a more cardio-based training routine over a strength-based routine

Limitations of Orangetheory

Orangetheory does have its limitations when it comes to training. It may not be the best fit for you if you have specific performance goals, want to build muscle, and get stronger, or need a lot of personal attention.

Switching up your workouts so often isn’t ideal for building muscle and strength. You need to give your body time to adapt and if you’re constantly changing your workout that will never happen. This also makes it difficult to apply progressive overload. Without this, it’s virtually impossible to get stronger and build muscle. 

Don’t use Orangetheory Fitness for weight loss

In my opinion, exercise should almost never be best used as a means for helping you lose weight. Instead, it should be a method to help you:

  • Move your body more in a way you enjoy
  • Improve your strength 
  • Help you build or maintain muscle 
  • Connect with friends or meet new people
  • Improve your cardiovascular health

But if you enjoy Orangetheory and want to make it a part of your weight loss journey try this:

  • Use Orangetheory as your cardio
  • Resistance train 2-3 days per week using a full body routine
  • Eat in a calorie deficit
  • Make sure to get about .7g of protein per pound of body weight

Good luck. If you have any questions about this article please do not hesitate to contact me.


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