Orange Theory vs. Shred 415

I have somewhat of another review/comparison of 2 fitness studios – Orange Theory Fitness and Shred 415.

OTF vs. Shred 415

Earlier in the summer/fall, I was doing Orange Theory when I lived back at my parents’ house.  My cousin Joe & his wife Kathleen were big Orange Theory fans, so I decided to give it a try.  Now, living in the city, there is an Orange Theory nearby but I was boycotting it.  I had applied for a part-time position to just make some side income and work early mornings and weekends and met with the studio manager.  She gave me an offer letter which I signed, returned, and followed up a few times, but she completely ghosted and never answered me.  Soooo if that’s how you’re going to treat potential employees, that’s just poor business and I don’t want to give you my business now either.


Joe and I displaying our obviously huge muscles from Orange Theory.

I knew there is also a Shred 415 right near my new condo.  Shred is in essence the same thing as Orange Theory, but without the rowers and without the heart-rate monitors.

Orange Theory Fitness (OTF): 1 hour class rotating between treadmills, rowers, and floor; heart-rate based training

Shred 415: 1 hour class rotating between treadmills and floor

There are other differences in the style of the classes that have led me to prefer Orange Theory.

Floor @ Shred 415: Instructors lead you through fast-paced, short intervals of multiple exercises.  Instructors do not correct you if you are doing something wrong.  Actually, 1 time I got correct probably because I was doing it so terribly wrong, but I’m under the impression that this was a special occasion.  Most of the exercises were more like plyometrics, not weight exercises, and last only 30 seconds.  I have literally no flexibility or coordination so I feel like I just can’t do the exercises in the way I’m supposed to and end up not getting a work out from them.  Or rather, not getting the workout I hope to get.  I get in like 2 push-ups, then it’s time to transition to some other move that I probably don’t have the balance to do correctly.

Floor @ Orange Theory: The instructors quickly demonstrate a set of a few exercises that will be performed in a circuit.  There is also a TV monitor and/or a white board detailing the order of exercises.  The rowing machine is also usually included with the floor weight exercises.  The exercises are more “heavy-weight” exercises as opposed to body-weight (although there is no shortage of burpees, planks, etc.) and you do a set number of reps until completion and then move onto the next exercise as opposed to doing 1 exercise for a certain time limit.

Treadmills @ Shred 415: I don’t really even know how to describe this…you are on the treadmill for either 5, 10, or 15 minutes at a time depending on the structure of that particular class.  What I don’t like is that I never know what to expect…how much faster am I going to have to go?  If it’s going to keep building, I need to save some speed for later, I can’t just shoot up to a high speed to start with.  But whenever the instructor tells you to increase speed, he/she says to increase .1 – .5 each time or more if you can.  Well, I mean I probably can this time, but how many more times am I going to have to do this? Or are you going to make me crank up the incline too?  The other factor I don’t like is the amount of recovery.  This is probably because I’m a runner by trade and I could probably just make it harder by continuing to jog when we go into “recovery” phase, but it seems like there’s a minute of walking recovery time for every minute of running.

Treadmills @ Orange Theory: There are 3 paces – Base, Push, and All Out.  Base Pace should be your steady state run that you can hold for about 30 minutes.  Push Pace is 1.0 – 2.0 faster than Base Pace and All Out is your absolute sprint pace.  The instructors clearly lay out for you what the workout will be before you start so you know what to expect as far as speeds to use.  I almost always used the same paces – 7.0 for Base, 8.5 for Push, and 10.0 for all out, but if I knew what the workout was going to be ahead of time, I could adjust and adapt pretty easily.  I guess I just like that structure.  And they make clear that no matter what, the All Out Pace will never be longer than 1 minute and you will always get a walking recovery afterwards.  But other than that, you are constantly in Base or Push pace, so I could get in a solid 3-4 miles straight if it’s a 30 (continuous) minute treadmill day.

All in all, the difference between the two can best be summed up as: Orange Theory is extremely structured whereas Shred 415 is more “organized chaos.”

Another thing is that the Shred 415 studio is soooo dark.  Not sure about their other locations, but the Shred 415 I go to does not have windows and they keep the lights super low.  It’s not always a bad thing, but I think I’d like some windows.

Music selection is fairly similar (and high quality) at each, because that’s always another important way to judge a fitness class.

I still have 2 weeks of the 30 day membership I signed up for at Shred 415, so I’m obviously going to keep going to that as few more times to get my money out of it.  But then I may look into the Orange Theory membership at the studio near me, as much as it pains me to go to a place with poor business practices.

Have you ever done an Orange Theory or Shred 415 class?  What did you think?

What makes you like or dislike a workout class?

6 Thoughts on “Orange Theory vs. Shred 415

  1. Sorry to hear about your Orangetheory employment experience. I worked in pre-sales for a month then they let me go. The studio manager was very flaking and never had a straight answer. I don’t plan to join once they open because I didn’t care for the class (I went to Salt Lake to try it out) because I didn’t like not knowin for sure how long to run. I can’t go all out all of the time.

  2. I’ve never been to Orange Theory, but I did go to Shred415 once when I did ClassPass (well over a year ago now). I LOVED it. I really liked the workout structure compared to other classes I had taken, and getting to run on a Woodway treadmill is a real treat. But everyone has their own thing! Have you ever been to Trainology in River North? A fair number of their classes have a similar run + floorwork combo. I like it there a lot, too.

  3. Aimee on March 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm said:

    Another one to try out is Sweat on State. Shred415, Trainology and Sweat on State are my 3 favs

  4. I found this post in a google search and am so glad that I did! I have both a Shred and an Orange Theory near me and wasn’t sure which one I’d try. I have friends that rave about Shred, but OT sounds like it’s more my style (agree with you…if I’m going to be sprinting, I want to know for how long!). Quick question – did you finish the 30 day pass at Shred and did it get any better? Or would you still recommend Orange Theory?

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