Barry’s Bootcamp is my workout of choice – with studios all over the world, I’ve sweated with Barry in New York and Boston, and primarily in London. A new studio has just opened in east London (between Moorgate and Old Street – thank the lord, since the Euston branch was getting so difficult to book into), so I thought it was time to ask, ‘Why do I love it so?’ Let me count the ways…
1. They don’t call it “the best workout in the world” for nothing. Expect to burn up to 1000 calories as you alternate between the ‘treads‘ (expensive top-of-the-range Woodway treadmills) and ‘floor‘ (a bench and floor space for resistance training), set to a club-style soundtrack, all under flattering red lights (that hide a multitude of sweaty, red-faced sins…)
On the floor, you’ll be pumping some serious iron with dumbbells (or perhaps a medicine ball or resistance band, or even your own body weight), working muscles to the point of exhaustion – the best way to tone and build. Calisthenics, plyometrics and dynamic stretching combine to make you sweat.
Then you switch to the treadmills – prepare to run harder than you’ve ever done before, with speed and incline intervals, hustles and sprint finishes that leave you panting and tugging the emergency kill cord to bring the treadmill to a halt.
Then it’s back to the floor. Then the treads. Then the floor. And treads. As many rounds as your trainer can fit info an hour, to totally exhaust you. This dream combination of cardio and resistance training kickstarts the ‘after burn effect‘, causing your body to keep burning the calories for hours after class is over.
You’ll finish up with a cool down stretch, before your trainer sends you out into the world with a high five and a reminder that “it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger” – it’s all very motivational, unlike the stereotypical bootcamps where shouting and swearing are the order of the day.
2. The trainers at Barry’s are second to none – I’ve worked out at a huge number of studios around London, and the Barry’s crew are the best, hands down. Sure, different trainers bring a different playlist, energy and coaching style to the table (I love Tana, Anya and Shane), but one thing’s for sure: They all know exactly how to push you right to your limit – so you get really uncomfortable but don’t quite give up. And that’s what gets results – and smashes PBs.
Friday to Sunday features Full Body classes, or you can visit Monday to Thursday for classes that target specific muscle groups. Beginners shouldn’t be put off either, as you can push yourself as hard as you like – beginner, intermediate and advanced options are given for each move and speed.
3. After class, there’s nothing better than the beaut changing rooms and luxurious facilities. MALIN+GOETZ candles burn, and showers are stocked with heavenly-scented hair and body products. Hairdryers, straighteners and powerful rainfall showers complete the experience.
4. Barry’s is addictive. You may think that something so brutal-sounding couldn’t possibly be, but the feeling of achievement, endorphin high and status all do a mighty fine job of convincing you to go back again. And again. Against the protests of your bank account (classes cost from £17). I’d recommend signing up for a handful of classes per month, as you’ll still see and feel the benefits, and can apply your learnings when working out alone. It’s a group workout, yes, but it feels like personal training – which totally justifies the price tag.
5. The Fuel Bar serves the tastiest post-workout shakes around. Pre-order one before you go into class and it’ll be waiting for you when you’re done, all wobbly legged, dehydrated and in need of protein!!
6. You might bump into Ellie Goulding or Florence Welch. Or the Kardashians or Beckhams. They’re all fans.
2 Worship St, London, EC2A 2BH (entrance on City Road)
All other locations