So these fitness challenges are starting to become a thing and I couldn’t be more excited about that. I love changing up my routine and trying something new. Enter Barry’s Bootcamp

As I mentioned in my last challenge, I’ve recently been trying to up my cardio workouts. I’ve been a weight trainer for so long, and while I loved the strength, the bulk began to feel uncomfortable. I wanted to trim up again, and find a better balance with the old me who could do 2-3 10km runs in a week, but at the same time, I didn’t want to have to give up strength training.

I’d heard about Barry’s Bootcamp through the grapevine a while back and it’s remained on my list as one to check out. A friend of mine from Stockholm was also a huge fan and couldn’t have recommended it more (he’s also now a trainer for the Stockholm studio).

About Barry’s Bootcamp

Barry’s Bootcamp was founded in 1998 by a guy named Barry, funnily enough. Barry Jay to be precise - an LA-based celebrity trainer who wanted to create a one-stop cardio and strength workout. Opening in West Hollywood, it becomes a huge success. Fast-forward to 2017 and Barry’s Bootcamp is well and truly a global brand, with studios across America, in London, UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Dubai and Italy. Over 40 thousand of Barry’s FitFam including many notable celebrities such as David Bekcham, now take classes every week.

The Barry’s Bootcamp experience


So a workout at Barry’s Bootcamp is a totally unique experience. You’re split between stations, you either start on a treadmill or on the floor. and you swap back and forth per round - usually two or three times in the hour sessions. The classes can burn up to 1,000 calories or more and are designed to tone muscle and boost your resting metabolism so you keep burning calories after class (winning!).

Each day at Barry’s focuses on a different muscle group. The programming carefully pairs opposing muscle groups to ensure your body has the perfect balanced workout, and proper time for recovery. It’s the quickest and safest way to transform your body.

The Barry’s Bootcamp Magic

So what is it about Barry’s that makes it so great? I caught up with the Co-Owner of Barry’s UK, Sandy Macaskill, to find out more…

Why are concept studios like Barry’s Bootcamp becoming so popular? What do they offer you that a regular gym or Personal Trainers don’t?

Where to begin?! If I had to single out one thing, it’s results. Barry’s provides an environment that’s inclusive, supportive, and motivating. Old school training was a very insular experience. At Barry’s, you’re part of something special. The Barry’s community gets you in the door, helps you to stay on your grind while you’re with us, and then makes it easier to come back - and that leads to results. The more you commit, the better the returns. Looking beyond results, I feel strongly that authenticity is a major reason Barry’s is so popular. We’ve been specialising in weights and running classes since 1998. That experience can’t just be created overnight.

Is Barry’s just for weight loss or can I use it as part of a muscling building program too? What goals can be achieved?

The first time I ever took class personally, Barry himself told me that you can use Barry’s to achieve any goal. You want to gain muscle, use heavier weights, aim for lower reps and take more breaks. Maybe do double floor. You want to run a marathon, Barry’s can help your speed work. Then he gave me a set of 15kg dumbbells and told me to get bicep curling. That first class changed my life, literally.

Can you train in a regular gym as well as Barry’s Bootcamp?  

Of course, although the Barry’s programme was designed specifically so you can come five times a week! The separate muscle group breakdown is there so you can recover effectively. Even the treadmills were chosen with this in mind – Woodway Treadmills are super cushioned so they’re very kind on your joints. But if you’re struggling with running every class, then there’s always the option to do Double Floor. 

What type of food should you be eating if you’re training at Barry’s regularly? 

You need to eat, that’s the first thing. I often hear people say they’re cutting down carbs and not eating enough when they’re training. You’re working hard at Barry’s and your body needs fuel. Balance is key though, just because you’re coming to Barry’s doesn’t mean you can binge on burgers every day. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a nice balance of protein, carbs and good fats.

I’m not a runner, is Barry’s Bootcamp for me?

Barry’s is for everyone who is open minded about training. Come and jog the class, just do the best you can. Our instructors are the best in the business for many reasons, but one of them is that they are specialists in this workout and can help non-runners become runners. Can’t bring yourself to hit the treads? Fine, just do double floor and skip the running entirely.

I’ve been getting a lot of leg aches from running (in my quad muscles and what feels like hip joints), what can I do to help condition myself for class?

You should try and make sure that you’re doing some dynamic stretching before class - turn up a couple of minutes early and prepare properly to work out. Then stay for the cool down after class - even those few minutes lengthening your muscles is crucial. If you’re still having problems, don’t go all out every class. One day, go extra hard on the floor part of the workout and treat yourself to a more chilled session on the tread.

I’m training three days a week and I can’t seem to ever imagine myself getting strong enough to make it five. What can I do to take myself to the next level?

The more I take class myself and watch clients improve, the more I realise it’s more important to come regularly and less important to go 100 every time. The most effective way to train at Barry’s is by coming 4-5 times a week and gradually increasing your speed and weights as you get stronger week on week. This is far better than pushing yourself so hard that you can’t come back for a week.

My first time

So I’m a three months into Barry’s right now and LOVING it. I started at three classes a week but had to drop to two due to an old injury flaring up. But I’m working my way back. The first class was one hell of wake-up call to how much my overall fitness had dropped! I sat waiting for class super nervous, dry mouth and wondering if I’d make it out alive. But not only are the trainers super motivating, everyone in the class was, too.

People knew it was my first time as I went in early to get an induction, but throughout the classes those around me were encouraging me, asking me if I was enjoying it and telling me I was doing great (which I think they were just being polite about, I looked like I was dying). But it made such a difference to my experience and it’s that ‘all-in-this-together’ feeling that keeps me coming back. To put it bluntly, people at Barry’s don’t f**k around. You’re there for a reason, you don’t pay that much money to come to class and not give it absolutely everything you’ve got.


The Challenge

My aim is to build up my stamina and overall fitness to be able to achieve five classes as week for three months. So having now said that out loud, you guys have to keep me to it!

I can’t wait to see where this fitness journey takes me. I also want to know your thought’s on Barry’s Bootcamp! Have you been? What did you think? If you’re a Londoner, maybe I will see you there! If you’re thinking of trying Barry’s for the first time I could not encourage it more! There’s loads of usual info on the Barry’s site about what to expect from your first time too.

Come back soon to follow how I’m getting on. See you in the red room, guys!


Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.