Going to Barry’s Bootcamp for the first time (in drawings)

So while I’m learning how to ride a bike, I’m also you know, doing other things.

My office is on the same block as Barry’s Bootcamp but since I pay 1.5 million human dollars a month for Equinox, I hadn’t been. I kept hearing that Barry’s is the absolute best body-improving, calorie-depleting workout. So you know, sold. I wanted to try it.

I signed up and went right after work. I entered the studio and gave $34 to a man with a 40 pack and arms the size of Malm 6-drawer Ikea dresser.

Barry's Bootcamp Check-In Guy
Barry’s Bootcamp Check-In Guy

Then all that was left to do was wait. So wait I did in a crowded lobby with a mix of tough guys, slender men wearing Soul Cycle-branded leggings, and the usual Lululemon cult, which I say with the most loving self-deprecation since I am the cult’s cheer captain.

I went with my friend Ali who had gone to Barry’s a few times before and had a preferred strategy for the class. Basically, this is how Barry’s works: You enter a dimly lit room with mirrors on all sides. Treadmills line one wall, and steps (like risers from old school aerobics land) are on the floor, alongside weights. The class splits into two groups. Bootcampers self select doing treadmill first or floor work first. And by “self select” I mean push and run like Running of the Brides at Filene’s in Boston. [Update: Your spot in class is selected before class starts, similar to a bike at SoulCycle or Flywheel.]

Ali wanted to start with the treadmill sequence, so we did. I was a little nervous for the class because of all the hype. Michael, the instructor asked who was new (ME!). He walked over to my treadmill, pushed down the bulging neck muscles that get in the way of his speech and welcomed me in a sweet, nearly soft-spoken voice. For a second I thought he was going to caress my hand and reassure me. Usually I hate when an instructor acts like being new to their class means you are new to walking, talking and lifting weights. Physique57 had that attitude (though I love them) and I feel like it alienates new people.

This time I appreciated it. I wanted him to know so that he didn’t bully me too much.

The class was awesome. Intervals on the treadmill. Hill sprints. As a runner who talks about doing tempo runs but never does them, this was great. The floor work was good too, but I could’ve used some corrections and some lighter weights. Michael turned out not to be sweet at all. He swore like a drunken sailor and I wanted to wash out his mouth with soap. But I was also really loving it. I work (at anything) so much harder when I am doing so under duress, fear, or the watchful eye of intimidation. Put more positively, there is a vibe of intensity that I drank up.

so I definitely don’t have the rights to this. thank you in advance!

I am typing this with ice packs on my triceps because that’s what happens after your first Barry’s Bootcamp class: you are too sore for a desk job.

Has anyone else ever done Barry’s? Or have a more intense workout suggestion?


  1. jogo
    May 29, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    great ikea reference! is this sponsored content?

    • Nicole
      May 29, 2014 / 4:41 pm


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