In the crowded world of 24-hour fitness and 45 minute HIIT classes, it takes a special breed to reach the top of the fitness food chain. And Barry’s, the US-born bootcamp has been waiting, patiently, for the perfect moment to unleash on the Australian scene. That moment is now.
Sitting in the brand-spanking new Martin Place Studio (the biggest in the world by the way) I’ve just finished a Barry’s class, the high-intensity treadmill and weight-based workout that landed on Aussie shores earlier this year. And I’ve have the wind knocked out of me. Both from the workout and the experience.
To fully understand the hype surrounding Barry’s, we need to rewind 60 minutes. Every visitor is greeted by the impossibly white smiles and cannonball biceps of the staff, and you’re immediately made to feel as if you were their one and only client. Their enthusiasm upon my arrival is the perfect compliment to their trademark Yankee hospitality, and oft-missing aspect in the Australian fitness industry. It’s an already unique fitness experience, and the enthusiasm is infectious. I cannot wait to get into the studio and hit the treadmills.
There’s a little wait between check-in and workout, a prime opportunity to take advantage of the ‘Stretch Zone’, complete with vibrating rollers… not as kinky as they sound, and incredibly good for the mobility apparently.
Beyond the Stretch Zone, Barry’s has already met my criteria for a top gym; a dry-cleaned towel service. Brilliant for an over-sweater like myself. My early arrival also affords me the opportunity to check out the famed bathrooms, complete with a full suite of grooming amenities, and selfie lighting of course.
But the real clincher? Every Barry’s facility comes complete with a bar (a Fuel bar that is). Place your smoothie order before your class, and boom, your drink of choice is waiting for you immediately after. Heck, the set up is so lush, I already mentally book in meetings to come in here and use Barry’s as a local café. Oh wait.. we’re here to workout…
As the class before ours finishes, my comfort quickly gives way to nerves. A wave of sweaty bodies streaming out, all worked to within an inch of their consciousness. It’s a weird sight; they’re visibly shattered, but still smiling. It seems, at least on first impression, that the 1000-calorie burning reputation of a Barry’s session might hold true after all.
The classes take place in their trademark ‘Red Room’, and upon entry you’re immediately confronted by a row of treadmills lining the wall in what seems like a nightclub gym hybrid. And that’s kind of exactly what a Barry’s workout is. Neatly placed globo-gym style steps are impeccably littered around the room, and a dark red glow immediately engulfs us. Wait, wasn’t there a class in here before us? It seems the Barry’s Team have managed to do a thorough clean in the 10 minutes between classes… they’ll need it when I’m done.
While unusual, the red lighting creates a sense of anonymity and removes individuality, meaning there are no stand-out performers. It’s you vs. the man in the mirror.
To kick off my full body workout, I’m positioned on the treadmill, however I’m immediately confronted with my own reflection in a full sized mirror. It’s another well-designed psychological quirk of the studio. When you’re running in a class, hurtling directly at your own image, you’re given no other option other than to ‘face yourself’. And as corny as that sounds, the psychology is effective. An hour of glaring into your own eyes forces me to really contemplate my own existence, my reason for being here, or at the very least, my fitness.
6 minutes on the treadmill is an extremely digestible amount of time, especially when speed variations are included. I’m sprinting for 30 seconds, before walking for a minute. Perfect for stoking that metabolic fire.
When my initial trot on the treadmill is over, I’m welcomed to the floor by our enthusiastic Instructor slash DJ. After catching my breath I grab a pair of ‘medium’ dumbbells and hit the floor.
We’re immediately thrust into a series of goblet squats, lunges and man-makers in this first round, forming one of the longest 6 minutes of in world history, and leaving me begging for a return of the treadmill.
We repeat this back-and-forth between treadmill based sprints and weighted cardio another 3 times, mixing in much needed back, chest, ab and arm movements. Beach pump city! The entire session rounds out at a solid 55 minutes of conditioning, hitting every major muscle group in the process. Or as I like to refer to it, ‘a 55 minute wait for a smoothie’.
It becomes immediately obvious why Barry’s counts every fitfluencer under the sun as regular clients. There’s much more to Barry’s than the post-workout selfie you’ve seen on the ‘Gram.
So who is Barry’s for? Well… you, me, everyone. The scalable treadmill and weight efforts means there’s a place for every level, and the anonymity of working out in the ‘Red Room’ means that any intimidation for entry level athletes is removed. On the other hand, Barry’s definitely holds a place for the seasoned athlete, perhaps not as the entirety of their training program, but as a great supplement to their regular programming. After all, Becks is a regular.
As for the claim of 1000 calories burnt (I burnt 3,858 KJ… aka 922 calories) with every workout… well I came pretty darn close, and I’m happy with that!