Bou­tique your fit­ness

IT MAY SOUND RIDICU­LOUS BUT SPEND­ING CLOSE TO $40 A SES­SION JUST BE­CAME MORE COST-EF­FEC­TIVE THAN A MONTH’S MEM­BER­SHIP FOR THE SAME PRICE.

GQ (Australia) - - GQ FIT -

When it comes to fit­ness, B is for Bou­tique. And dou­ble B? In­tro­duc­ing Barry’s Boot­camp. While any­where en­cour­ag­ing sweat­ing, grunt­ing and self-sat­is­fied high-fives is hardly what we’d call bou­tique, the world of fit­ness is a rapidly chang­ing one. What was once about break­ing a sweat is now bet­ter de­scribed as a lifestyle, with gyms evolv­ing into lux­ury con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ences that come with the added ben­e­fit of get­ting you in shape. In other words, gyms that do a great job of hid­ing the fact they’re gyms. It was in the early ’00s when this idea re­ally took off. In Amer­ica the likes of Crossfit, Soulcy­cle and Orangeth­e­ory ar­rived, all claim­ing to of­fer a per­son­alised fit­ness ex­pe­ri­ence within pre­mium fa­cil­i­ties. And the OG in the game? Barry’s Boot­camp, hav­ing been graft­ing bou­tique bod­ies since ’98. But, do away with your pre­con­cep­tions of ‘boot­camps’ im­me­di­ately. This isn’t your early-satur­day-morn­ing-down-the-lo­cal-park af­fair. With cool merch, luxe fa­cil­i­ties and highly trained coaches, Barry’s and other bou­tique gym ex­pe­ri­ences are con­vinc­ing us that fit­ness can also mean lux­ury. As Barry’s pre­pares to open its first Aus­tralian lo­ca­tion, the era of cheap and cheer­ful fit­ness may well be over. And we’re here to tell you, that’s a good thing. The first les­son to learn about bou­tique fit­ness: it’s not al­ways about the fit­ness. Ac­cord­ing to fit­ness his­to­rian Natalia Petrzela, bou­tique gyms like Barry’s sit in the “realm of con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion that our cul­ture still ac­cepts and even cel­e­brates”. Just like de­signer la­bels, we now wear our gyms with pride. So, where you find bou­tique gyms you’ll find an aw­ful lot of ameni­ties and branded mer­chan­dise, en­abling mem­bers to broad­cast their cho­sen gym even – or per­haps es­pe­cially – when not ex­er­cis­ing. And this isn’t con­fined to just cloth­ing. While Barry’s has part­nered with Nike and Lu­l­ule­mon to cre­ate be­spoke ath­leisure wear you’d ac­tu­ally want to own, it’s in the finer de­tails they im­press most. Af­ter leav­ing each Barry’s class, all sweaty and eu­phoric with those lovely post-ex­er­cise en­dor­phins, you’re handed a nu­tri­tious pro­tein-rich smoothie from their Fuel Bar. For­get­ting the fact you may have just dropped close to $40 for the ses­sion – the smoothie feels like a free­bie, help­ing to build the idea of a per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­ence. Barry’s CEO, Joey Gon­za­lez, ex­plains how el­e­ments like this were cru­cial in build­ing the brand into the bou­tique be­he­moth it is to­day. “That was when the new Barry’s 2.0 was born.” OK, so we may be look­ing and feel­ing great when not work­ing out – what about dur­ing the sweat-fest? For this, Barry’s has cre­ated its stu­dio con­cept, the ‘Red Room’. Sub­dued

red light­ing cre­ates an In­sta­gram­able at­mos­phere that Gon­za­lez de­scribes as de­lib­er­ately “aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing”. Be­yond that, it’s all sleek and min­i­mal­ist, a de­sign straight out of the mil­len­nial play­book. Be­cause, who wants a gym selfie with un­flat­ter­ing light­ing and an ugly in­te­rior? Ex­actly – no one. This isn’t the only way bou­tique gyms are dis­tanc­ing them­selves from the main­stream ones of old. Rather than op­er­at­ing on a trans­ac­tional ba­sis, they aim to fos­ter a com­mu­nity feel­ing – blur­ring the line be­tween tra­di­tional gym and mem­ber’s club. All about go­ing the ex­tra mile, Barry’s wants to em­bed it­self within the com­mu­nity, cel­e­brat­ing fes­tive dates and in­ter­act­ing with lo­cals. And, hav­ing opened 42 lo­ca­tions world­wide since it first started over 20 years ago – with not a sin­gle one clos­ing – clearly it’s do­ing some­thing right. Barry’s Boot­camp will open in Surry Hills on Septem­ber 8, Martin Place on Oc­to­ber 6 and both Potts Point and Mel­bourne in early 2019; bar­rys­boot­camp.com

Head of cur­ricu­lum, Blake Bridges, puts a class through their paces in the orig­i­nal Barry’s stu­dio in West Hol­ly­wood.

LA TRAINER BARRY JAY GREW TIRED OF HAV­ING TO SUP­PLE­MENT HIS AER­O­BICS CLASSES WITH SEPARATE WEIGHT TRAIN­ING: “I THOUGHT WHY NOT HAVE REAL SIZE­ABLE WEIGHTS AND BRING THEM TO A CLASS AT­MOS­PHERE?” PIC­TURED ABOVE WITH HE­STON RUS­SELL (L), BARRY’S AUS­TRALIA HEAD OF OP­ER­A­TIONS, AND BLAKE BRIDGES (R), BARRY’S AUS­TRALIA HEAD OF CUR­RICU­LUM .

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