Bridget Kissinger works out six days a week, either running three miles or taking exercise classes at her gym. But when her workouts became routine, she jumped at the chance to challenge herself. One recent Sunday morning, she used ropes to complete three sets of push-ups at Orangetheory, a trendy boutique gym that uses group interval training to keep the heart rate in a target zone.
"I thought it was going to be easy," says Kissinger, a 24-year-old special-education teacher from Commack who had never used the TRX suspension ropes before. "But when I finished, my arms were tired."
ABOUT THE GYM
Founded two years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by an exercise physiologist, Orangetheory has more than 20 studios in four states. Its first New York gym is opening this week in East Northport.
The goal: Get people exercising in the "orange zone" at 85 percent of their maximum heart rate -- with several one-minute intervals in the "red zone" (92 percent or higher), says Chan Gannaway, the company's national fitness director. Such a workout, Gannaway explains, causes the body to continue burning calories 24 to 36 hours after the hourlong session due to a scientific theory called post-exercise oxygen consumption. Think 600-800 calories for women and 700-1,000 calories for men.
The group setting is integral to the program's success. "You feed off each other's energy," says Gannaway. "Over time, people depend on each other. Friendships form. If you don't show up, you're going to get a call or a text message."
A DIFFERENT WORKOUT
At a recent hourlong preview class in East Northport, club music blared in the background and orange overhead lights made everyone appear to have an instant tan. Twenty people strapped on heart monitors and prepared to complete the workout circuit. The group alternated between doing intervals on the treadmill and using rowing machines, free weights, medicine balls, Bosu balance trainers and the challenging ropes.
"My motto is: Are you training or are you just moving your body?" says Steve Modzelewski, the instructor leading the class, who walked around the room checking form and offering encouragement.
Afterward, class members checked their stats on an overhead computer monitor. Thomas Mohr of East Northport was surprised to discover he spent 21 minutes in the orange zone and a whopping 13 minutes in the red zone. "It's a little harder workout than I'm used to, cardiowise," says Mohr, 50. "But I liked the structure. You're constantly doing something different and working different parts of your body."
"It was fantastic," says Danielle Lippiello, 37, of East Northport, who had her second child nine months ago and entered the company's six-week weight-loss challenge in an effort to shed 20 pounds. "I feel like I definitely pushed my body to do more."
"I liked the level of intensity," agrees Ronnie Rubin, 63, a retired physical-education teacher from Smithtown. "I'm not someone who usually breaks a sweat, but when I walked out of there, I was drenched."
INFO 631-499-4500, orangetheoryfitness.com
COST $59 for four one-hour sessions a month ($159/month unlimited)\
Coming soon: SoulCycle
WHERE 250 S. Service Rd., Roslyn
INFO 516-833-1300, soul-cycle.com
COST $32 per class
Brooke Shields and Kelly Ripa do it. So do Kevin Bacon, Anderson Cooper and Jeff Probst. SoulCycle, the uber-trendy fitness destination where A-listers come to sweat and be seen, is slated to open a studio in Roslyn March 30, its third L.I. location (the other two are in the Hamptons). In the new candlelit studio, you can cycle your way through a 45-minute cardio workout designed to release stress, burn fat, improve aerobic endurance and gain energy. Using one- to three-pound hand weights helps tone your upper body. Pay close attention to your seatmates. Katie Lee might just be on the next bike!