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I WATCHED the row of people running full sprint on the treadmills and grew concerned. I texted my friend, Tess, who was on her way to join me at the Capitol Hill Orangetheory fitness studio.

“This looks crazy intense,” I typed. (I won’t subject you to the six exclamation points I tacked on.)

There was no turning back.

Like many popular workouts, Orangetheory offers group classes with interval training, mixing treadmill work with indoor rowing and weights, including dumbbells or using TRX straps. Orangetheory, a franchise with locations in multiple states, differentiates itself with heart-rate monitors. You wear a monitor and can look at a screen while running full-tilt on a treadmill to see if you’re in your fat-burning green zone, have pushed yourself into orange or are at your max in red.

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I put on the monitor and hopped on a treadmill. Here we go.

Trainer Rachel handed me a card that described how to pace myself. We would never go full-out for more than a minute at a time, she said.

We started off at a slow jog to warm up, then picked up the pace.

Over 25 minutes or so, we varied between a slow jog and two or three minutes in a “push pace,” or roughly our orange zone. Twice, we went full out. I hit orange frequently, my red zone only once.

I can’t say running on a treadmill is my idea of a fun workout, but it helped to have a friend next to me, Rachel behind us shouting out intervals and a screen above to check heart-rate zones. The longer “push pace” runs were slightly tedious. I liked the two full-out sprints best.

For the second half of class, we moved to rowing, alternating with weighted squats, lunges, dead lifts and jumping squats.

I thought rowing would be a break after nearly 30 minutes on the treadmill. Rachel noted it was a leg-heavy workout. No kidding. I worked through the first round of lunges and jumped on the rower for my 300 meters, thinking it would be easier than the treadmill. I was wrong.

My legs burned while rowing. I also could see the monitors better, so I kept a close eye on what was happening. I figured out that if I went hard on the rower, by about 250 meters I would hit the red zone and stay there through weights. Once I came back to the rower, my heart rate went down to green, and I would work hard to push it back up.

I am motivated by numbers — when timed, I’ll go faster. At Orangetheory, I wanted to see my heart rate zone in red. Just because.

Rachel said we should be spending the most time in green, the fat-burning zone, with about the same or slightly less in orange, and less in red. Calories burned — based on zones, height and weight — are recorded. I didn’t need to see my scores to know I worked hard.

The studio also emails results. I was most excited to see my average heart rate of 162. I could tell my cardio endurance, which I’ve focused on this year, has improved.

I would never choose a treadmill/row/weight workout on my own or I’d bail before I was done. But I went harder with a trainer, a friend to cheer me on and the heart-rate monitor for accountability. When motivation is handed to you, I say run with it.

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at Email: Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW magazine staff photographer.