One of the first things I hear from people when I tell them they should try Barry’s Bootcamp is, “I’m scared!”. Fear not my little Barry’s cherries (their name for newbs) and read on for my review of this ass-kicking workout, that I did with my girl Caity at their Marina, San Francisco location as part of our 2016 Fitness Adventures.
Overview of the workout
After I heard about Barry’s, I checked out this video of men and women working out to bumping, up-tempo music in a low-lit room lined with treadmills, weight benches, and giant mirrors. Did I mention they were absolutely dripping in sweat? As a fitness lover, this scene both excited and scared me.
Barry’s Bootcamp classes are 50-60 minutes long and are divided up into 6 to 15 minute intervals of running on the treadmill (HIIT), and weight training on the floor. The class is split into two groups who alternate between the tread and the floor, and the trainer calls out alternating commands to each group. Each day of the week is dedicated to a different body part (Arms & Abs, Back & Chest, Legs, Hardcore Abs, or Full Body) so if this was your one and only workout 5 days a week, you would hit every body part.
The Barry’s philosophy is to perform every move to failure, until one more rep seems impossible to encourage lean muscle growth. Most of us are well aware of the advantage of HIIT cardio – mix the two together, and you’ve for a recipe for super-fit success. Check out this Barry’s Bootcamp before and after pic (scroll down) – her abs!
The studio vibe
Intimidation – it’s a big reason people avoid fitness classes. Time to get over it! At Barry’s, you’ll be taken care of by their friendly staff and feed off the camaraderie among the regulars. The fitness level of folks in the class ranged from super jacked trainer types to people of other shapes and sizes. In every class there are a few Barry’s cherries (newbies), so don’t be afraid to speak up and get some first timer guidance from the trainer before you start. Barry’s trainers are carefully selected and trained; they’re super fit but have big personalities that make the class laugh when they want to give up and help keep them motivated.
The reception area is bright and welcoming, complete with a gorgeous locker room, automatic lockers, cute Barry’s gear, and a smoothie bar where you can order ahead and have your drink waiting for you after class.
Our trainer, Erica a petite, taught, bubbly blonde welcomed us with a big smile and addressed us by name throughout the class. She walked us through how to use the treadmill, and did laps through the class to check on everyone’s form and pushed us when we needed it. She was top notch!
Inside the studio, the low lights cast flattering glow over your bod as you run facing a giant mirror, and you’re encouraged to give your neighbor fist pumps and high fives often. The lights dim further and the music pulses at the perfect tempo to drive you through that last floor set or interval when you think you can’t squeeze out one more.
Non-runners rejoice, Barry’s uses Woodway treadmills with thick, shock absorbent rubber slats. It feels like you’re running on a cloud and it makes a huge difference when I’m dying halfway through a sprint! The weight benches are the light plastic type you see in a step class, but they get the job done. Other than that, you’re using 8 – 40 lb dumbbells, and occasionally a medicine ball to perform all kinds of strength moves.
My Barry’s Bootcamp review
We started on the floor, in plank position doing push-ups to rows with our barbells. Since Barry’s is all about working your muscles to fatigue, I had to saddle up for one more rep when I was feeling the burn like crazy. We moved on to other moves that combined lunges and curls, squats and rows, and leg raises to hit every body part. After about 12 minutes we moved on to the treadmill where we alternated between 6-10 mph jogs and sprints, at inclines of 1.5-3 %. Then we were back to the floor, and finally the treadmill to end the class.
At one point, I was sweating so uncontrollably that I had to slow it down – which is exactly what you’re supposed to do to take it at your own pace.
Barry’s is definitely my jam when it comes to pushing myself and the endorphin high I felt after class was so strong, I bet that’s what winning the lottery feels like. Even if you’re a dedicated fit girl like me, Barry’s is the type of class that can take you to the next level. That said, for people who aren’t familiar with basic strength moves and perfect form (or who are injured), I’d recommend doing some personal training sessions to build some stamina and learn how to check your form first. Building up some running endurance would be helpful, though you aren’t ever on the treadmill for too long in class.
If you’re a regular gym goer, I think you’d surprise yourself with how much further you can push yourself at Barry’s than you ever could on your own. I truly believe that if you attended Barry’s 6 days a week, it would be difficult not to get seriously toned – or at least the best body that your genetics allow. But there are other ways to do that as well.
Since trying this class, I’ve been doing a Barry’s full body once a week on ClassPass to compliment my regular routine. It’s perfect, because I hate pushing myself to do my weekly HIIT!
Tips for making the most of Barry’s
- Listen to the trainer – Before we went into class, we met Tommy, another instructor. His advice was to listen to the cues for “tread” and “floor” so as to not get confused. Also, don’t daydream during your recovery between intervals on the treadmill, or you’ll miss the next sprint!
- Listen to your body – You’ll want push yourself, but know your limit. It’s important to skip a few reps or modify if your form starts to suffer or you’re in pain. No one is judging!
- Go with a friend – While community is encouraged at Barry’s, it’s always more fun to go with a friend (the whole premise behind our series!). I would shoot Caity a look of desperation during a sprint, and knowing she was feeling the same way made it easier.
- Be prepared to hydrate – Slam a zero calorie post workout drink with sodium and potassium to replenish electrolytes (I love this one), or grab a delicious protein smoothie at the Barry’s Fuel Bar (we tried the chocolate peanut butter with almond milk – only 170 calories and totally delicious).
- Plan to hit the showers ASAP – Don’t go straight to brunch – you will be drenched!
- Wear quality gear – I suggest compression leggings and a serious sports bra for the ladies, as well properly fitted running shoes. Tie that hair down tight too – sweat induced frizz will ensue!
Recommended Barry’s Bootcamp reviews:
If you have any questions about the workout, let me know in the comments below or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned for more of our 2016 Fitness Adventures! Next up? Pilates, baby!
**I received a complimentary class from Barry’s, however all opinions in this post are truly my own. 🙂