Review: Barry’s Bootcamp
It happened at the dinner table. Someone mentioned spinning. The words started tumbling out. “Well you see it’s exactly like Barry’s. Except, it isn’t really. Barry’s is better…” and then I started listing the ways in which Barry’s was better than this person’s spinning classes. It was the third time I’d done it so far, and we hadn’t even finished our starters. That was the moment I could no longer deny that my name is Joanna, and I was addicted to Barry’s Bootcamp.
Befamed in L.A. by Kim Kardashian, you would think the attendance list across the pond in it’s London Euston based branch would be more show than glory. Arriving in a gym-kit-of-amateurs and with a stomach full of dread for my first class however, I realised this couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, I’d figured that if Kim’s internet-breaking-butt could survive the treadmill at this bootcamp, so could my thighs.
Two months into training at Barry’s Bootcamp, my greatest regret is that I didn’t start measuring and photographing my progress from the start. Not only did I never expect to find myself trading evenings out for Bootcamp, and wishing my work schedule allowed for a quick midday session, but muscle tone and definition were never even on the wish-list. Where I once would have been happy with a slim physique, I now speak in the language of ‘feel my abs’ and ‘can you see my biceps.’
Now when I tell you that this body-honing workout lasts an hour, let me also remind you that pain has no memory. I reminded myself of this as I began my first interval on the treadmill. The training room is aligned with Woodway treadmills along one length of the floor, and a row of benches across the other. The workout consists of 25-30 minutes on the treadmill and the same on the floor, but is structured in intervals, most typically with a 7 minute round before you swap over, and repeat until dead/the hour is over. There is an urban myth of a session called “The Dirty Thirty” – no swap-over. You get thirty minutes on the floor or treadmill, and then crawl onto the other for another thirty. I was surprised with my first one on New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to you too, Barry’s.
The instructor will pace the room, expertly keeping an eye on each person, guiding you through the speeds or inclines you need to run on the treadmill, and the resistance work you will do on the floor. There are speeds and weights for beginners, intermediates and advanced – and they allow you to take your own pace whilst pushing you to get the best out of your body. The mind quits long before the body needs to, and the world-class, energetic (yet super-human) trainers, double as your reckoning and your cheer-leaders, against a backdrop of pumping music (that has you wanting to take a time-out and Shazam) and low-lit spotlighting (very flattering, even on the sweatiest of looks). By the end of the workout, you could be convinced you’ve just emerged from a nightclub, but you can replace the inebriation with a huge boost of endorphins and up to a 1,000 calorie-burn to show for it. As the trainers quote: “if you still look cute after your workout – you haven’t worked hard enough.” Worst news ever, since my entire office are equally addicted to Barry’s and bumping in to that one guy as I pick up my resistance band that has gone flying, isn’t exactly what I would have wished upon myself at the coffee machine that morning.
Firstly, they are Adonides – that’s the plural of Adonis – a word I have never needed until now. But as I sat for a quick chat with Alex, I am happy to report they are also human, and incredibly humble. As I asked him who the “good cops and bad cops” were, he listed the skills and accolades of each of his fellow trainers, praising each of them but himself, despite his Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon classes being the most popular in my workplace. A firm favourite, his no-nonsense classes attracts groups of strong-minded women and men alike. With the best playlists, dedicated, varied and focussed work-out plans, whilst always personalising his attention to each member in his class, he will spearhead you to progress on Arms, Abs, Chest and Back, on Mondays and Wednesdays, followed by the full body workout on Sunday afternoons.
There’s Faisal, the pioneer of “PMA” – having a positive mental attitude – which you might not swallow from the comfort of your chair as you read this, but running on a treadmill at anything up to 12.5mph, you would gladly accept energy in the form of Faisal’s unparalleled motivation.
Anya Lahiri, the “Queen of the Treadmills” who, according to her Barry’s bio “should be arrested”, will push you to your absolute best, with her creative exercises, that, to say the least, shock and jolt the body to ultimate productivity.
There’s Oliver Lee, the trainer for whose class you will need a third hand, to clamp shut your friend’s jaw so she stops drooling. But also, whose “butt and legs” class at 9pm on a Tuesday will take your booty to new heights (although I can’t promise it will be breaking the internet, I can promise you will see the gravity-defying results.)
Then there’s Taylor (Thor’s long lost brother) who I am personally petrified of, but who, I’ve learnt, is a “beacon of knowledge” and this I believe, as after one look at me he knew exactly how to figuratively (if not literally) lift me out of my comfort zone, and give me something to prove to myself. It was my first class with him when he said “you’ve got to want it, if you want your body to change.” I sulked to myself “I do!” but I knew I wasn’t pushing myself. He turned and asked me as I watched him press the plus on the speed button with his giant thumb “what’s the worst that’ll happen?” I wheezed back: “Um. I die?” “Not at all” he said “at worst you’ll fly off the treadmill.” Suddenly my legs started running for their life. Two classes later however I was running a mile faster and finally at beginner’s speed, which may not seem as much of a feat besides my advanced runners – but two weeks in – I was excited to learn what I could achieve in another two.
It is very rare that you will find individuals so personally invested in each and every client’s development. They tell you to ‘leave it all in the gym’ – to come in with everything you have, and put it all out on the floor – and when I walk out of each class, I always feel mentally, and physically lighter. But the trainers? I am convinced they carry each client’s personality, traits, habits, performance, with them – and the very next time they see you – you can be sure that they are focused on exactly how to help you reach your personal best.
Today’s internet is riddled with every marketing tool available: from Herbalife-shaped diet solutions to waist-trainers (a corset which quite literally squishes your organs out of the way so your waist can appear smaller – or deformed – depending on your interpretation.) But along with all these Instagram-based marketing fads has come one real realisation that nothing beats good old conventional practice. The secret to Barry’s workout is that there is no secret – it is simply representative of a place where successful people gather. In order to be successful, you must work hard and eat clean. What Barry’s Bootcamp does, is help you organise that objective into a motivated, charged, and exciting space. No two work outs are the same, with each trainer bringing in their specializations and innovation to “shock” the body into the most efficient and effective ways to improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight, and build muscle.
As someone who had put herself through every dietary alternative created in the 20th to 21st centuries, and who once went without bread (bread! the mattress you put every other food on) for over a year, I was convinced my body would never respond to any ploy to get into shape. Barry’s works. It strips fat and builds a toned and slender physique without adding bulk, and more importantly (yes, more), it exhilarates you, it breaks you down and builds you into a new person – someone who achieves, someone who perseveres, and someone whose mind does not quit before it’s time. That, to me, has been the most priceless experience of all.
Sign up online at www.barrysbootcamp.com, and pop in for a chat with the world’s friendliest management, Jemma or Shannon who’ll help you get started for your first class.
Look out for the holiday discounts & sign up for packs of 10, 20, or 30 classes for extra savings!