Barry’s Bootcamp has opened its third London studio, so we went down to see if ‘The Best Workout in the World’ lives up to it’s name
Venue: Barry’s West
Class: Full-body workout
Location: Queensway, W2 4QJ
Budget or blowout: £20 for 60 minutes, other packages and membership available
Barry’s Bootcamp has garnered a cult following around the world. It’s the go-to class for celebrities to tone-up before a red carpet appearance, for holiday goers getting beach-ready and for brides-to-be on the countdown to their big day.
When I started my fitness journey a mere 6 months ago, a trainer said to me: “Save Barry’s towards the end of the year!” and at Balance Festival I got a sneak peek into the infamous red room with its blaring music and super-speedy treadmill sprints.
I’m not going to lie, as a newbie to the fitness world, it was all quite intimidating. What exactly goes on in that red room? Will I be able to keep up? Will the instructors shout at me? Will I throw up? All very valid questions, and ones which I’m going to answer for you now…
Barry’s Bootcamp is an international fitness phenomenon which kicked off in LA in 1998 and was brought over to London in 2013 by two die hard Barry’s clients who wanted Hollywood’s hottest workout to be available this side of the pond. Fast forward to 2017 and there’s now three London studios: Central, East and West.
A typical Barry’s workout mixes intense cardio alternated with strength and resistance training, so the body is continually shocked over the 60 minute session. This breaks down to 15 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes on the floor, repeated twice. I’m told this is the most effective and efficient way to train the body by improving the cardiovascular system, burning fat and building muscle, and 40,000 bootcampers across the world can’t be wrong.
Each day of the week focusses on a different muscle group so in theory you could go to Barry’s every day and still get an effective workout. You can also choose to do a ‘double floor’ workout if you’re suffering from an injury and can’t tackle sprints.
Entering the red room for the first time my tummy was in knots, worrying if I could handle what was about to happen. Before I knew it, Anya was directing us over the booming soundtrack what levels to set our treadmills to. Barry’s prides itself on it’s state-of-the-art Woodways – the smooth, slatted design means they’re much quieter than your average gym treadmill and they’re the closest you can get to running outside.
Thankfully you don’t actually have to run for 15 minutes solid. Instead you do 3 minute drills where the instructor gives beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of speed and incline. There’s a short rest in between each burst and as a marathon runner, used to slow and steady training over several hours, I found sprinting to be a huge challenge – this is heart-pumping, sweat-dripping stuff. I was well out of my comfort zone and towards the end, concentrating on getting one foot in front of the other and not face-planting the treadmill was all I could do!
Then it’s on to the floor where we grabbed two 4kg weights – the minimum weight Anya would allow. Here we did a mixture of HIIT exercises to work the upper body and core mixed with squats and lunges. While the floor section gives your racing heart a break, before long you’re feeling the burn in your biceps, triceps – and all the other ‘ceps’ too.
By the time you switch for round two, you know you’re at the halfway mark and you get stuck in to sprinting all over again. That lazy voice in my head tells me to turn the speed down a level, but Anya’s there behind me shouting “GIVE ME MORE!” so there’s no chance of secretly slacking off. The energy in the room is palpable and everyone is putting their heart and soul into their workout.
By the end of the class, I was high on endorphins and drenched in sweat, every inch of my body had been worked to the max. Conveniently, Barry’s Fuel bar had my freshly-prepared protein shake ready to go, so all that was left was to jump in the shower and make use of the Malin+Goetz products, Dyson hairdryers and GHDs.
I didn’t throw up – result! – and I managed to get through the sprints and floor exercises as best I could. The class was pretty loud and overwhelming at times, so I think after a few more classes I’d know exactly what I’m doing and start seeing an improvement.
Yes, the instructors shout but mainly because there’s so much going on and the music is up loud to power you through the workout. Each of the instructors have their own unique style, so from positive vibes through to tough love, you’ll find one who gets the best out of you.
The trainers at Barry’s are walking billboards for the results of this type of high-intensity training. Anya’s lean physique was my #fitspo throughout. So if you’re after arm definition, a strong core and a peachy derriere – I’m pretty sure the Barry’s gang will get you there.
Stand Up To Cancer charity event: Saturday 1st July
For the second year running, Barry’s Bootcamp is taking fitness to new heights with an exclusive takeover of the Coca-Cola London Eye to raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer. Tickets are released at barrysbootcamp.com at midday every Friday in the run up to the event and cost £60 each including a 45-minute workout with breathtaking views across the capital, plus breakfast!
Like the sound of Barry’s West? Book your class now at barrysbootcamp.com and keep an eye out for the ultimate Barry’s challenge – Hell Week – which is 7 classes in 7 consecutive days.
Or read about Animal Flow – another American fitness trend that’s taking the UK by storm