“Chase your goals.” The phrase that defines my Barry’s Bootcamp experience. Well, give or take a few expletives. Reaching the climactic sprints of the class, breathing hard, cranking up that treadmill speed and running faster than I ever imagined my legs could carry me, the mantra “chase them,” chanted in my mind. When my body screamed ‘stop,’ my mind broke down those barriers and pushed me to do the impossible. After that moment, I felt I could do anything.
It’s not often that you emerge from a dim red-lit basement feeling like you’ve just conquered the world, but perhaps that’s why Barry’s classes are so legendary. Penned as ‘the best workout in the world,’ Barry’s Bootcamp is a 60 minute high intensity session involving a split between cardiovascular focused interval sprints on a treadmill and strength-building floor circuits using free-weights, a combination designed to shock your body into exerting maximum effort and to push you well beyond your physical and mental capacity. This one-hour sweat extravanganza has been the talk of London’s fitness scene for over three years and, having felt the wrath of their world class trainers myself during what can only be described as the toughest sessions of my life, it’s not difficult to see why. With the lights low and the music loud, Barry’s offers more than a workout. It truly gives you an experience.
If you’ve heard anything about the bootcamps, you’ll know they aren’t for the faint-hearted. Descending into the underground Euston location, bootcampers are faced by a grand poster of Barry’s infamous instructors looking trim, toned and intimidating. It’s clear they have no mercy. On one side of the studio, a row of monstrous custom designed treadmills line up beside a wall of mirrors and, on the other, benches and weights ready to get your muscles burning. Half the class hit the treads first, while the other half take to the floor and, on the command of the class instructor, insanity ensues.
Each class is different, focusing on various body parts and structured according to each trainer’s preference. My torture of choice was the legs and booty class, a brave if not crazy move for a first endeavor. Kicking off the workout with a 15 minute sequence of treadmill sprints, there was no delay in getting the heart pounding and body sweating. Each of us out of breath and a little nauseous, our instructor, the ever-fierce (and perhaps slightly sadistic) Jemma, ordered us to switch with the floor group who looked equally as destroyed by their portion of the workout. As a girl who knows a thing or two about a dumbell, the next 15 minutes felt more in my territory. We squatted, lunged and pulsed until we could hardly stand, with some dirty looks and silent curses definitely projected towards Jemma as she shouted “hold it low for sixty seconds” on the last set. Then it was back to the treadmill to do it all again.
The second round saw the intensity rise up a notch, but having made it this far, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it our all. Each sprint saw us run faster and faster, and when Jemma shouted “chase your fucking goals,” over the deep bass of the motivational music, each member of the class was overcome with determination, hitting that last 60 seconds with everything in the tank. I pushed for 12.5mph, the fastest speed on Barry’s treadmills, and with my head high and legs strong, the final lap saw me smash every ounce of weakness in my mind. The concluding floor session that followed from that had nothing on me!
With the infamous PB&J shake in hand, I certainly left Barry’s a different person, not only assured of my physical strength but also of my willpower and tenacity. Whatever the day ahead had in store, I knew I could tackle it and achieve anything I set my mind to. Quite a spectacular outcome from just 60 minutes of madness.
There aren’t many workouts that can transform a person so thoroughly in the space of one class, but then Barry’s isn’t known for its conventionality. Make no mistake, it’s brutal and it’s tough, but if you can take this bootcamp on, I doubt there’s anything you can’t do.
If you can’t make it to Barry’s for a class, then fear not as I’ve got an exclusive recipe for you to bring the Barry’s experience right to your own home. This PB&J shake is a classic from their fuel bar menu and, in my opinion, one of the most delicious shakes I’ve ever had. Though the combination of ingredients is simple, it’s powerful – embodying Barry’s ‘no-frills’ character. Go whip this up after your next work out. You’ve earned it!
- 1 cup (250ml) almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Blend it all up and enjoy!