High-intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, was a huge workout trend in 2018. It seems like boutique studios offering HIIT classes have popped up all over the city—or maybe I only recently started paying attention. Either way, Barry’s Bootcamp is pretty famous for these types of workouts. Per their website, they offer “weight training with cardio and alternate bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with recovery periods to keep the heart-rate elevated throughout the workout,” boasting you can burn 1,000 calories or more per workout. Barry’s even calls itself “the best workout in the world”, which is a pretty big flex. So what’s it really like? Is it truly the best workout in the entire world? Will you die after a class? I tried Barry’s Bootcamp, and I’m here to answer all your questions. Read on for my honest Barry’s Bootcamp experience.
It is 11am and I’m hungover as hell in a dimly lit red room. It’s what I imagine Christian Grey’s sex dungeon looks like. I’m yawning and looking around at the people who are going to be sweating near me for the next 60 minutes. I see this lady who is built like Madonna during the VMAs kiss era, and a guy with gelled spikey hair and really short shorts who missed the memo that the early 2000s are over. Then again, we are in West Hollywood, the land of short shorts and peek-a-boo bulges. These two look well-rested, lucky f*cks.
The instructor walks in and immediately tells half the class to get on their assigned treadmills and the other half to take their assigned places on the floor next to an aerobic step bench (very Jane Fonda, how tbt). I go to my treadmill and press “on”. Other people on the treadmills are stretching, some are walking. Fake Madonna is already voluntarily jogging. I come to learn, very quickly, that the instructor will shout three sets of numbers at us. These are mph speeds that range from beginner (hi), intermediate, and advanced. Sometimes they’ll throw a curve ball and yell out percentages, which is the incline.
0:7:52 – I’m supposed to be running at a 7 speed on a 2%. I’m at a 6 on no incline, sweating out all my sins.
0:7:03 – F*ck this, I’m walking.
0:7:45 – I enjoy a leisurely stroll. People on the treadmills next to me are sprinting like they’re running towards alcohol and drugs. I imagine this is what I look like walking to happy hour.
0:7:58 – I get yelled at for not sprinting.
0:7:59 – I’m sprinting at 9mph and briefly wonder if I’ll be flying the f*ck off this machine.
0:8:15 – The sprint ends. I suspect I have gone into cardiac arrest.
0:10:00 – The treadmill and floor sections switch. 50 more minutes to go.
The floor sections aren’t any easier, they’re just a whole different kind of pain. Turns out it’s nothing like Jane Fonda’s workout videos. I went on Tuesday (a legs and butt day in Barry’s Bootcamp world), and on my 390,294th squat I wonder if I will ever be able to walk again. The combinations of squats, lunges, step-ups, dead lifts and a bunch of other sh*t will have your arms hurting too, because you will no longer feel your legs. At this point, you’re just doing what the instructor tells you to do. It’s Nike’s slogan manifested.
However, despite all the pain, I found myself enjoying it at some point. Maybe I do belong in Christian Grey’s sex dungeon after all? IDK. I don’t remember at what point the workout became addictive and empowering, but it did.
By the time the hour ends and I survive another two rounds EACH on the tread and the floor, I am exhausted and need a shower and a nap. I grab a “Skinny B*tch” smoothie (no, literally) from their smoothie bar and almost fall down the stairs walking to my car. The next day my legs and butt feel so satisfyingly sore. At one point I catch a reflection of myself in a store window. I’m limping down Hollywood Blvd with a really pert ass. Love it. Even though I legit died, my ghost went back to Barry’s two days later, and even live to write about it. I am everything I hate in this world.