High-intensity | Intervals | Full body | Strength | Uses weights
Class - Full Body
Instructor - Samantha Stone
Suitable for - Running enthusiasts who want to combine intervals with strength and conditioning. Not suitable for weight training beginners
Fitness/Workout level – Intermediate/Advanced
Length - 60 minutes
Equipment - All provided
Perks - Killer calorie burner. Great facilities. Amazing playlists
Drawbacks - No free trials. Classes are often packed
Cost - £20
Location - 2 Worship Street, London EC2A 2AH (Barry’s East)
Website - https://www.barrysbootcamp.com/
Dear Barry. I’m not sure who you are, but I can’t fault your ability to create a savage workout.
If you’re after results fast and aren’t afraid of a challenge then look no further; this could be the one for you. An avid runner, I scored this class a whopping 9.5/10 - the best rating to date.
Disclaimer: if you dislike running then you will not enjoy this class. You have been warned.
Barry’s is marketed as a Bootcamp-style workout, though I’m not convinced that invokes the most accurate connotations. There’s no mud, no freezing cold outdoors nor a yelling military coach in sight. Instead you’ll be pounding a treadmill and pumping iron to a banging playlist in a high-end, swanky fitness studio that resembles more of a nightclub.
Sound a bit more inviting? I agree, but all that comes with a £20 price tag. While the concept of the class seems simplistic and easily re-createable on your own in a gym, its effectiveness is not to be underestimated. The chances of achieving a mentally-stimulating workout of this intensity alone (and actually enjoying it) are virtually non-existent. I put my money where my mouth is and opted for the full body weekend class at Barry’s East with instructor, Samantha Stone.
The format of the workout is interval training on the treadmill; from jogging to running to sprinting at various inclines, mixed with weight training on floor to work all the main muscle groups. The treadmill speed and incline will be dictated by the instructor and there are always three options; beginner, intermediate and advanced. Beginner speeds start from 5mph for jog pace, from 7mph for run pace and from 10mph for sprints. If you’re lucky, they might even throw in some dynamic mode sprints  for good measure.
 Dynamic mode sprints are when you run on the treadmill after disengaging the speed motor, making the user the only source of power for moving the belt.
The class is split into two groups; the first of which start on the treads and the second on the floor. You then swap over until you’ve completed three sets of work on each. That’s a lot of running, you’re thinking, and rightly so. There’s also no rest, other than the walk from your treadmill to your floor spot. This is cardiovascular training on steroids.
With two Barry’s experiences under my belt, I felt ready to attack some higher speeds. Mid-way through round two, the fire in my legs well and truly ablaze, confidence was slowly falling and the incline was rapidly rising. A far cry from ideal, though team energy, a killer playlist and Samantha’s infectious positivity kept me hustling to the end.
As far as the floor-based exercises go, you can expect anything from dumbbell thrusters to overhead lunges, hammer curls to tricep kickbacks, burpees to squat jumps. The final floor set was all about the abs, which was music to my ears as I peeled myself off the treadmill for the final time barely managing to remain upright. Thrilled at the prospect of a lie-down and a rest, Samantha had a slightly different idea of what an abs finisher should look like, sealing our fate with a 4-minute round of non-stop bicycle crunches at varied pace – super slow, medium and fast – to mirror the speeds of the opposite group battling the treadmills for one final time.
Workout complete and heat emanating from every surface, the studio had seemingly transformed itself from red-lit club into smelly, darkened steam room. A quick cool down remained before I was off like a shot in search of a cold shower and a protein shake the size of my head. I went for the infamous peanut butter and jelly upon recommendation, which tasted delicious and probably counted for more than a quarter of my day’s calorie intake.
Conclusion: I LOVE this class. It effectively combines cardiovascular and strength training in a fun, high energy workout. Why choose it over other cardio classes, such as spinning? It moves you away from steady-state cardio into HIIT which gives you maximum results; that is, a higher calorie burn during the workout, a higher fat burn after the workout and an improved cardiovascular system in the long-term. Combine this with strength-based exercises and you reap the benefits of metabolic conditioning whilst keeping your heart rate high and getting your sweat on – the things that most people crave from group exercise. Barry’s use Woodway treadmills, which are shock absorbing and easier on the knee and hip joints. I really rate Samantha as an instructor; she achieves the perfect balance of encouragement and motivation without being shouty.
The drawbacks? Although Barry’s advise that it’s suitable for your average Joe, I disagree. If you’re not used to lifting weights or high-intensity exercise, it might not only put you off for life but can also be dangerous. The class is all go from the offset with little time for introductions and technique pointers. What’s more, the classes are often packed out, the studio is dark and it’s easy to get swept up by the studio buzz. If you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t see the instructor, you’ll likely injure yourself. A group class environment is really not the place to learn how to strength train. My final criticism, which is specific to Barry’s East, is that you must use the arrow keys on the treadmill to change speed as opposed to punching in the number. Safe to say this caused a few slightly hairy moments when I was running eyeball out at 12mph and couldn’t slow down quick enough.
Details: Barry’s Bootcamp started up in California in 1998 and now has a cult-like following in 18 global locations, including the Beckham’s and Kim Kardashian. They offer five different class variations with a focus on different muscle groups depending on the day of the week. Each class holds 40 people maximum (20 floor spots and 20 treadmills; alternating) with the option to choose a double floor or double treadmill workout if you feel that way inclined. Classes are priced at £20, with a nominal saving if you bulk buy. They have four locations in London; Central, West, East and most recently, SW1.
To find out more about Barry’s and book your class, visit the website here.
Picture Credits: Barry’s Bootcamp & Kate I’Anson