I Lost 20 Pounds By Doing Orangetheory Once A Week

After I changed my work, I wasn’t able to train at Orangetheory fitness multiple days a week. All I could squeeze in was one day. For me, once a week was better than nothing.

Is Orangetheory once a week worth it?

According to the article published in the Frontiers in Psychology Journal, going to Orangetheory Fitness is a proven way to improve your health and shred extra pounds from your love handles.

However, what happens if you’re a busy guy or gal and you have just one day per week to train?

I learned that starting a fitness regime and getting into tip-top shape takes a lot of time and dedication. For me, it was very difficult because I was wearing many hats during the day.

I was not only juggling between two jobs (I’m talking early-morning and late-night clients) but also had family responsibilities.

Needless to say, it was hard to combine that with consistent exercise. As my workload started to pile up, my weight went up.

For me, doing orange theory once a week was worth it because I still managed to improve my health, body composition, and performance.

According to an article published in Sports Medicine Journal, “doing resistance training once or twice per week delivers muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training”.

Benefits I’ve experienced doing Orangetheory Fitness once a week

Surprisingly, I noticed that my fitness was getting better, even after doing only one class per week.

Better cardio

After doing OTF once a week my aerobic fitness went up. I had the lesser effort in walking up the stairs or carrying a grocery bag on the 4th floor.

Better strength

I did get stronger in a way that my workouts seem to be less strenuous. If you’re not family with OTF, this is a combination of strength and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Each workout was a mix of running/walking, rowing, and functional resistance training using TRX and weights. Before, I was huffing and puffing, but nowadays, it gets easier to train.

Safe money

To be honest, training once a week saved me over $100. I could degrade my OTF membership from Orange Premier to Orange Basic.

Benefits of once-a-week training according to research

A study published by the Khon Kaen University in Thailand documented that moderate-intensity training once a week for 12 weeks was enough to increase aerobic fitness in sedentary young men.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doing resistance training once a week not only improves muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in older adults but also achieves similar strength gains to people who exercise 3 days per week.

Dr. Willemijn AM. van Gemert from the University Medical Centre in Utrecht documented the effects of weight loss after doing diet alone versus exercise alone.

  • The exercise group was training for 4 hours per week using a combination of resistance training and endurance.
  • The diet group did not exercise, instead, they have prescribed a caloric restriction diet of around 3500 kcal per week (which equals 500 calorie deficit per day).

In the graph below you can see the comparison between people from the exercise group versus people from the diet group.

As you can see, 16 weeks of creating a 500 kcal energy deficit per day lead to similar changes in body weight and body composition (van Gemert et al. 2015).

I wasn’t the only one who lost weight by doing OTF once a week

One of my buddies from the local OTF in Austin is a busy software developer who spends most of her days behind the desk. When she sign up for Orangetheory, she told me she only have one day per week to train.

Six months later, Frances was in the best shape of her life. (Seriously.)

In other words, going to orange theory fitness one day per week is worth it but you need to accept it will be a long road. You also need to have realistic expectations about the results you want.

How I make my once-a-week workouts more effective?

According to The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, “you should participate in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days per week or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days per week.”

Doesn’t matter how you cut it, doing Orangethery once a week won’t meet these recommendations.

With this in mind, I decided to plug in as much physical activity in my daily schedule as I possibly could.

To make orange theory workouts more effective I added some light physical activity during the week that doesn’t interfere with my schedule.

These helpful tips and lifestyle habits may help you overcome the lack of time problem.

Walk more during the day

Park further from the office to walk longer. If you live in a big metropolitan city, you may consider taking a city train instead of a car.

Use a bicycle to get to work

Ride a bicycle instead of driving a car, especially during the nice summer weather.

Take stairs

Take a brisk walk during your lunchtime, either after or before your meal. Take stairs instead of the elevator, especially if you work or live in a building with multiple floors.

Get moving in the morning

Wake up 10 minutes earlier in the morning and do a quick bodyweight exercise routine. Use resistance bands or light dumbbells to further challenge your body during your home workouts.

Stretching or walking with the dog are all viable ways to burn extra calories in the morning on top of your once-a-week workout.

Make the workout count

When coming to Orangetheory class, always try to progressively challenge yourself. This can be measured in the form of calories burned or the number of splat points you achieved.

I’ve written an in-depth article about different ways to use orange theory splat points for health and weight loss, which I recommend you read.

How much weight did I lose after doing OTF once a week?

It was a long journey but I managed to lose almost 20 lbs. The most important thing that I learned from this experience was that fat loss depends mostly on an energy deficit, not on the number of days I trained.

Changing my diet and reducing food intake to create a negative energy balance was the key, regardless if I did Orangetheory once a week, or four times a week (as they recommended).


As a whole, doing orange theory fitness once a week is enough to improve your strength, reduce excess body fat and improve exercise performance.

To make the once-a-week workout more effective without compromising on your time you can add low-hanging fruit daily activities that can increase metabolic rate, without scheduling extra time for sport or exercise.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is a personal trainer and writer at Millennial Hawk. He holds a MSc in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Central Lancashire. He is an exercise physiologist who enjoys learning about the latest trends in exercise and sports nutrition. Besides his passion for health and fitness, he loves cycling, exploring new hiking trails, and coaching youth soccer teams on weekends.

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