Why work­ing up a sweat in a redlit room is set to be the hottest fit­ness trend of the sum­mer

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

What do David Beck­ham, Michelle Obama and Isla Fisher have in com­mon? Be­sides their A-list sta­tus, they’re all devo­tees of the fit­ness phe­nom­e­non known sim­ply as Barry’s Boot­camp.

Founded in West Hol­ly­wood in 1998 by trainer Barry Jay, the high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing work­out has be­come syn­ony­mous with the A-list se­cret to lean limbs, six-packs and fast re­sults. Mean­while, Barry’s sig­na­ture red-lit gyms with their high-en­ergy, night­club-like at­mos­phere have added to its wide ap­peal. And from Septem­ber 8, Syd­neysiders will be able to try it, with the first gym open­ing in Surry Hills, and more to fol­low in other cities next year.

The work­out has been sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to torch up to 4000kJ in 50 min­utes, so it’s no sur­prise it’s been able to with­stand the test of time. But why has it taken so long for it to launch Down Un­der?

“Aus­tralia was al­ways on our list, but we like to grow the Barry’s brand or­gan­i­cally and some­times that takes time,” Jay says.

To find out if this 20-yearold con­cept can suc­ceed here, we flew to LA for an ex­clu­sive pre­view.


A fu­sion of car­dio and re­sis­tance train­ing, each class con­tains 25 min­utes of tread­mill in­ter­vals and 25 min­utes of floor work – a de­ci­sion Jay made af­ter feel­ing dis­sat­is­fied with his own work­outs. “When I’d go to the gym and lift weights, I’d miss the at­mos­phere of a group class, but when I’d go to a class I’d miss the feel of a real gym ses­sion, so I com­bined them,” he says.

Ac­cord­ing to Blake Bridges, co-owner of the soon-to-open Aussie branch, this com­bi­na­tion is what delivers the time-ef­fi­cient, fat-blast­ing ben­e­fits that Barry’s is famed for.

“Mixing car­dio with weight train­ing spikes your heart rate up and down and that’s what gets re­sults,” Bridges ex­plains. “On the tread­mill, the sprints, in­clines and re­cov­er­ies help boost your en­ergy burn, and on the floor it’s all about ton­ing and build­ing lean mus­cle mass, which is what keeps your me­tab­o­lism go­ing for up to 48 hours later.”

The gains don’t end there. As ev­ery work­out is ded­i­cated to a spe­cific body part, your risk of over-train­ing is re­duced and you’re able to sculpt your mus­cles with laser-sharp pre­ci­sion. Throw in the op­tion of swap­ping your tread­mill runs for more time on the floor for added tone and mus­cle build­ing, and Barry’s re­ally is a one-stop shop.

It’s promises like these that make Barry’s sound al­most too good to be true, but just 10 min­utes into my first class and I’m a be­liever. Inside the ‘Red Room’, half the class has bro­ken into a light jog on the tread­mills and the rest of us are pump­ing iron un­der the crim­son lights.

Bridges is to­day’s trainer and he splits his attention be­tween both groups, en­cour­ag­ing the run­ners to crank up their speed while si­mul­ta­ne­ously cor­rect­ing peo­ple’s form on the floor. While it’s a lot to take in, it’s also a lot of fun.

By the end of the class my glutes are on fire and I look like I’ve been for a swim! Be­tween the sprints, tri­cep dips and bi­cy­cle crunches, I barely had time to breathe, so when I check the stats on my fit­ness tracker I’m not sur­prised to see I’ve torched more than 4000kJ. And since I pre-or­dered my smoothie from the Barry’s Fuel Bar be­fore class, I waste no time re­plen­ish­ing my strength.


Thanks to its long list of celebrity clien­tele, it’s easy to clas­sify Barry’s as just an­other hang­out of the rich and fa­mous, but as Bridges’ busi­ness part­ner He­ston Rus­sell ex­plains, it’s so much more: “You don’t need to be a celebrity or model to come to Barry’s. It’s a safe space and it’s made for peo­ple of all ages and fit­ness lev­els.”

Its ethos is about do­ing your best, hav­ing fun and be­ing part of the fam­ily – and it’s this sense of com­mu­nity that Rus­sell and Bridges hope to bring to stu­dios here.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to pro­vid­ing clients with an amaz­ing work­out in an amaz­ing en­vi­ron­ment with amaz­ing train­ers,” Rus­sell says. “It will be worth the wait!”

For more info and to sign up for Barry’s Boot­camp, visit bar­rys­boot­camp.

Founder Barry Jay with b+s’ Jaymie Hooper

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