Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cross-Training: Review of Barry's Bootcamp

I tried Barry's Bootcamp a couple of times last year and never wrote about it. This fancy-schmancy, celeb-loved, popular, trendy LA-originated workout had opened a location in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York and was populated largely by hot gay men.

I did the workout twice before I Hurt Myself last year and couldn't run faux Marathon #1. I don't think Barry's "caused" my injury, per se, but it was just one of the examples of how I was pushing myself too hard and working out too much at the time. Just generally not listening to my body. Ended up in a boot. Yadda yadda.

Cool, so now I'm healed and I'm totes stronger and then there was a Gilt Group (Groupon-esque) offer for three Barry's classes significantly discounted at their new Tribeca location. Game on, I said.

Also, the last time I reviewed a cross-training class, I got SUPER FAMOUS with my Bar Method "Devil Wears Lululemon" post. Thought it was worth a shot to try it again. Here goes:

The Barry's Bootcamp description (from their website):

Since 1998, Barry’s Bootcamp has been delivering “The Best Workout in the World” to a legendary following, including many celebrities. Our no-nonsense, results driven reputation may intimidate some newcomers, but they quickly discover that Barry’s Bootcamp delivers an affordable, efficient and fun workout in a night club party environment that is nothing like the cliché boot camps found in every town.

To visualize, this is their homepage image:

Oh, hey everyone! You're TOTALLY NORMAL! 
Like I said, hot gay men.  The women seemed to be for show.

Let's juxtapose with me:


And again with one of them....
Hey girl. I have abs. 

Ok, so we're clear on the starting point expectations, yes? Great.

My friend Mel had written a great post about Barry's in her super great blog a few weeks back and --inspired by the booty-kicking described -- I cashed in on the Gilt Groupon.  Something to know about Mel is that she's, like, really nice. And really in shape. Her post is completely accurate...but I want to be real with y'all. this workout is fantastic but is not for everyone!

This was/is/will always be a No. Joke. Class. I literally would not recommend it unless you're already pretty in shape. I almost run marathons and I was basically on the verge of death.

Also, for the record, hardly any hot gays in the Tribeca class. Consider yourself forewarned.

Let's let the review start in the locker room. The worst locker room on the planet. It was the size of a thimble and was just full of rushed, semi-bitchy, in-shape women. When I tell you that I was probably amongst the most out of shape in the group, I am not for a moment joking. Not self-deprecating...just setting the scene.

They were all like:

And I was all like:

You go into the studio and, as the description suggested, a "party-atmosphere" indeed. Bumpin' music and these red club-esque lights. The benefits to the dim / club lighting is that you look better in the mirror. The con is that you look better because you can't see! I found it very disorientating yet oddly motivating at the same time. An enigma wrapped in a mystery tied up with a bow of knowing you are bein' so cool!

So, the premise of the class is four segments: Two treadmill and two strength training of some sort. The class I took was a "Hard Core ABS" class so it was -- indeed -- two treadmill 15 min segments and two abs 15 min segments on the floor. The class is split, so half is doing one thing, half the other, and then switch. The instructors really are amazing because they truly do manage both at once very, very well. It's almost like a choreographed dance. And as far as ensemble is concerned, the Devil -- as it were -- wears a black wife-beater.

Hey, girl.

I started on the floor to start my 15 minutes of "hard core abs". After about 3 minutes I was like, yep, that should do it for abs! But no. 15 full minutes of varied ab-work. I know I need to do this to strengthen my core and build stamina, speed, etc.....but....I just really, truly HATE doing abs.

The quarter of an hour was finnnnally up, and then we switched and I was like "Yes! Thank god! Treadmill! I am good at the running!"

But the running is harder at Barry's because at Barry's they think a 6.0 (10-min mile) is a "jog" and that you should be able to run at, like 10.0 or higher on the treadmill. Which is equivalent to the speed of sound. So basically he'll be like, "Treadmill people, you should be at 6.0, jogging pace," and then in 30 seconds he'll be like "increase be 0.5" and then a little bit later "increase incline by 2.0" and he keeps yelling out these instructions until you are flying vertically up a wall.

So then you're panting and sweating and just generally fatigued and then you do both another 15 min of abs (different exercises from before) and 15 more minutes of treadmill circuits. Whole lotta crazy.

Overall, if you are already an in-shape person and want to go for it? It will definitely get you to the next level. It's motivating, it's efficient (one hour feels like much more), it's total body, it's strength & cardio together, and it definitely works you to the point of fatigue. Great, well-trained, [hottie mchot] instructors and an innovative, interesting format. Oh and you probably lose about 3 lbs of pure sweat.

The description says it "intimidates newcomers" and they're exactly correct. I have a feeling I'd learn to love this if I went regularly, but only time (and the limit of my Groupon) will tell.


  1. Loved this review! I also love getting my butt kicked. I am a glutton for workout punishment. It's definitely intense. I think the fact that the lights over the treadmills emit heat really contributes to the sweat factor.

    1. Thanks! I love that term "workout punishment." Especially when I've paid for these "one-off" classes, I want to make sure I get my MONEY'S WORTH [read: feel like I'm going to totally barf after in a good way].

  2. nice review :o)

    i too (should one use a comma when saying "i too"? i feel like a comma should be in there somewhere) am a fan of getting my but kicked...but only on occasion. I prefer to kick my own butt during my normal workout routine (3-4 days of gym and cycling around prospect and/or central during warmer months).

    1. Agreed! I like doing mostly on my own, one group / partner run for my long run on weekends, and then maybe once a week a group class? I like having the mix not only of cardio and strength but also of group time/instructions and alone time.

      P.S. I LOVE prospect park! Such a cute / beautiful place most people never go to!

  3. Great post!
    The class sounds it could be the death of me if I tried! Wow! :O

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it was not pretty. That said, once you do feel amazing! If you took that class a few times a week for a few weeks, you would be poor ($32 a pop!) but you would also be RIPPED for sure!

  4. Hey girl,

    I hate to break it to you but those boys in your picture above are ... straight. But there are an abundance of hottie gays at Chelsea - phew!

  5. Why have I not come over to your blog earlier?! I like you Meri. I like you a lot. I was already liking you, and then you posted a Clueless reference, and that sold me. Just lured me right in.


    1. YES! So glad I finally won you over, Lindsay. Welcome to my awkward cat-filled world! I look forward to this new fabulous friendship we have just made. It's going to be epic, I can just tell.

  6. Ha. This cracked me up. I love it, I would not have fit in there at all.

    1. You never know! I wanted to die a little bit and I sweat STRAIGHT through a wicking outfit...but I got to eat a TON afterwards and am kind of looking forward to another class with a few days now behind me. Pros and Cons to be sure. :)

  7. So, are you still going to do boot camp this year? Since you enjoyed the boot camp last year, I bet you’re going to try it again. Am I right? I just recently registered for a boot camp class. And so far, I already am seeing some result! ->Kristine Remsen

    1. I bought a Gilt multi-class deal, so I have two more to go in 2013. I was waiting for a good time in my training schedule (not right before or right after a race), but I think sometime in the upcoming weeks I'll definitely head back! How often are you going?

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