By Erica Robinson
The ShowerPill Army just wrapped a 30-day workout challenge. The mission? Break a sweat 30 times in 30 days. Proud to say…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. In addition to sharing and spreading our passion for fitness and achieving personal goals (ahem, swimsuit season has officially arrived!), the highlight for me was exploring new fitness options around San Fran.
Since I already teach between 10 and 15 spin and Pilates classes a week, I kicked my challenge up a notch by committing to trying out new studios and workouts around town. A whole lot of sore muscles and buckets of sweat later, I’ve got my favorite. Drum roll, please! I’m going to have to give the crown to Barry’s Bootcamp, a true fitness experience.
So what is Barry’s Bootcamp? Well, according to Barry’s, it’s the best workout in the world. Following the HIIT model, Barry’s uses high-intensity interval training, followed by brief recovery periods to ignite the metabolism (torching calories for up to 24 hours later) and to build endurance and strength. The Barry’s Web site explains it this way: “The workout itself is designed for efficiency. The intervals and strength training combinations are proven to lean and tone your body. This isn’t a fitness trend. It’s just science. And it works.”
When you sign up, you get the choice of starting on “tread” (short for treadmill) or floor (for, um, floor). Before each class the instructor comes out to get the room pumped up and greets everyone with a high five as they walk into a red tinted room (meant to bring out your primal nature), lined with treadmills and equipment on the floor for the strength training component of the class. The instructor will queue you on weights to grab (heavy, medium or light) if you are starting on the floor and call out a number for the “treaders” to run at (usually 5, 6, or 7 to start). From there you are led through a series of sprints and hills and switch between the floor and tread between 2-3x each class. The class is 60 minutes long, which flies by…and you would be shocked by what your body can do when you don’t question it; you just make it happen. For example, it had never crossed my mind to take my treadmill to a nine incline while jogging six miles an hour, but suddenly at Barry’s, it just happens.
And that’s what I love so much about Barry’s – the fact that you cross your comfort zone and are among a pack of people who, like you, are pushing themselves to the absolute limit to get better, faster, stronger, than they were before they walked into that room. The energy is electric. The instructors toggle between motivating you, to cheering you on, to making a joke that makes you laugh, even when every ounce of your body is trying to inhale oxygen as you sprint harder and faster than you’ve ever sprinted in your life.
Maybe the Barry’s Website says it best: “This is the room where everything becomes possible. Where you push through the “I can’t’s” and “If Only’s.” Where you run faster, lift more, lean out, quiet down. This is what transformation looks like. Where you become the best version of yourself.”
As an instructor, what I love most about teaching a class is watching people dig deep to hold a pose longer in Pilates or climb a hill out of the saddle in spin, allowing the world outside to melt away. What’s left is what’s real; our drive to be better, our struggle to overcome, and ultimately, small victories, small changes that become bigger changes that lead to a new, stronger, more confident, more resilient self.
With over 30 locations in the US (and more opening every month), I recommend checking out a Barry’s class if there is one near you. And if you aren’t comfortable on the treadmill or have running injuries or bad knees, you can book a double floor class which just means you stay on the floor during each rotation. When I had a bout of shin splints, I did a double floor class and – trust me – you get the cardio and strength training staying on the floor.
While I can’t take a Barry’s class every day, my goal is to take one a week for the next few months because I love the intensity, the instructors and the incredibly welcoming and friendly community.
So what are you waiting for? Have you tried Barry’s Bootcamp? If so, what did you think?