Why working up a sweat in a redlit room is set to be the hottest fitness trend of the summer
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.
BEHIND THE WORKOUT
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.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
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. com.au
Founder Barry Jay with b+s’ Jaymie Hooper