My roomie and I are total fitness nerds and for Christmas we decided to buy ourselves Gilt vouchers for three classes at the newly opened Barry’s Bootcamp in Downtown Crossing.
Barry’s Bootcamp is a group fitness studio that claims to have “The best workout in the world”. With a tagline like that I just had to try it. They also have classes 365 days a year, so you have no excuse to get in a pre or post holiday workout. They aren’t kidding either. During some of the biggest Boston snowstorms this winter Barry’s was open.
Our first class was a Friday evening, and the class was completely full. It’s always nice to see so many people ready to break a sweat before hitting up happy hour. We even ran into our trainer Heidi from when we had done Workout Warrior through Healthworks!
The classes are broken into two parts; running, and strength training. There are about 25 treadmills and 25 floor spots, for a total of 50 people per class. If the class is full you have to make a quick decision to start with running or strength. There are two rounds of each. Being neurotic, I would rather start with strength so that I can overhear what the instructor is making the runners do, and mentally prepare myself for that round!!
One thing you realize quickly is that this workout will be no joke. They advertise 1000 calories burned per workout. If I didn’t loose that many, it sure felt like I did. Each section of running and strength is about 12-15 minutes. The strength training has a lot of familiar moves, like rows, a variety of crunches, lunges, squats, etc. Sometimes it’s a combo of three moves that ladder up or down. Occasionally it’s burpees. Not my fav. Each day at Barry’s is dedicated to a different body part, like arms, legs or core, so if you go every day of the week you can get full body coverage. The treadmill section has a variety of time intervals with a mixture of levels and intensity. One class we turned the incline up to 15 (!) and sprinted (or more accurately, walked while panting).
The studio has a club/military atmosphere, with loud music, dark lighting, and an instructor coming in even louder over the microphone. My fitness weakness is running and I was probably going the suggested speed and incline about 40% of the time. But everyone was very nice, and while they may stand behind you and suggest you push yourself harder, it’s never a requirement, and no one ever yelled at me, and I never cried, so I consider it a success. And I really did push myself harder than I would when I’m on the treadmill at the gym watching the Daily Show, and that’s really what I need to improve.
I never got a picture, but this is a visual approximation of what I looked like at the end of each class.
Luckily, Barry’s has an awesome locker room facility, with great Malin + Goetz shower products, towels, and everything else you need to look presentable again. And the lockers have programmable locks, so there is no need to bring your own. If you really need a recharge they have a FUEL BAR serving up every smoothie imaginable. They were a little too expensive for my blood, but Aki splurged one day and said it was delicious.
Overall Barry’s was a great experience. I’m always nervous about trying new bootcamp classes, but everyone was very friendly, helpful and motivating, and I would definitely take more class to push myself to improve my running. The only concern I had was that during the strength training the instructor is split between watching two groups of up to 25 each, and it could be easy to injure yourself if you aren’t really focusing on your form. If you are new to Barry’s and strength training in general, just be sure to go at a safe pace and raise your hand and ask questions if you are unsure of a movement. The heavier weights and increased reps will come. If you follow that idea you may find yourself as ripped as the eye candy on the website in no time. (I mean really, check these folks out).
Studio: Barry’s Bootcamp
Location: 30 Chauncy St, Boston (Downtown Crossing)
Times: During the week they offer 9 classes from 6 am to 7:40 pm. On the weekends they have 5 classes a day starting at 8:30 am Saturday and 9:45 Sunday.
Intensity (1-10): 10. One of the most intense classes I’ve ever taken. By the end of strength you are begging for the cardio, and by the end of cardio you are praying for a break with strength. Repeat for 60 minutes. I certainly got a good night sleep after all three of my classes. The mix of cardio and strength really gives you a full body workout that you will remember the next day!
Cost: Single drop in classes – $28. See their website for package rates of 5, 10, 20, 30 & 50 classes.