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.
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 .