Hot on the heels of being invited to the ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’ class, I also got the call to check out the newest London workout, straight from the United States – Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s a regime that’s tried and tested by the famous & glamorous, such as Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Katie Holmes, not to mention personal trainer Jillian Michaels who’s been bringing all her ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants to Barry’s for years. What could all the fuss be about?
Based in north-west London on the Euston Road, the entrance to this bootcamp-themed space (think dog-tags, camouflage wallpaper, metal military details etc.) is guarded by a friendly receptionist, and flanked by a FUEL BAR that serves up some very tasty protein shakes indeed! The studio itself, which caters for c.40 people is seductively lit in red and blue, and is equipped with 20 Woodway treadmills, who’s treads are more like the caterpillar tracks on a Howitzer tank than the belt on your average gym treadmill! They’re made from rubber T-slats, which give extra cushioning whilst maintaining the natural bio-mechanics of your stride, and are a pleasure to run on (relatively speaking!).
Though there are about 10 ‘drill sergeants’ in Barry’s London ‘platoon’, my class is lead by the beautiful Icelandic personal trainer Heidi (pictured above) – a former IFBB figure-fitness champion! I expected this class to be tough; Heidi did not disappoint. The Barry’s workout combines strength and interval cardiovascular training, leaving minimum recovery time and maximum exertion. I’d say half the time, the class was on a treadmill (c.10 minutes at a time) and the rest of the time was spent on the floor, tackling strength training. It is remarkably demanding, and you take it to your own level, but the atmosphere (lighting, group, equipment, motivating trainer, military theme) spurs you on to the next level up.
1) WHY INTERVAL TRAINING?
As discussed in my previous post HIIT ME AGAIN interval training is the optimal cardiovascular training to achieve fat burn goals. By not sticking to the same pace for the entire cardio session (whereby the body would otherwise go into a steady state and tries to conserve energy) HIIT shocks the body by introducing different intensities, maximising time and transforming it into a fat toasting 10minutes!!
2) WHY STRENGTH TRAINING?
I’m told that Barry’s always include strength training in the class. Today was a full body workout class, taking each exercise to failure with good form. There’s very little rest after each exercise, it is either followed by another exercise or some element of additional cardio, e.g. step ups. This keeps the heart rate elevated, gives the body hardly any time to think/get bored, or indeed to object. The additional bonus of not having much rest is that you burn even more calories – perfect for unwanted fat! And muscles burn c. 15 times as many calories as fat (even at rest) which increases your metabolism yet further!
Ultimately, the class is exceptionally high-energy, utterly exhausting, satisfyingly endorphine-releasing, and doesn’t allow you time to think, moan or get bored. The equipment is incredibly well-invested (really superb treadmills) and the grouped format brings out a competitive nature, encouraging you to push through those sickeningly tough sprints! Try it out!
Click here for some photos & explanations of what my Barry’s Bootcamp session involved.
Here’s the session:
A) INTERVAL CARDIO (as below)
The class began with a quick five minute warm up on the Woodway treadmills. After that the actual workout began, and was a game of constant speed / incline changes, followed by lower-intensity ‘recovery’ exertion. The treadmill workout took c. 10 minutes and during the entire 60 minutes we jumped on the treadmills three times. A typical treadmill routine looked as follows:
– 2 minutes on a high incline of – a steep uphill walk, this was then followed by
– 2 minutes on the same incline – uphill jog, followed by
– 1 minute ‘recovery’ -brisk walk. (no incline)
– 1 minute maximum effort – fast sprint (no incline)
– 1 minute recovery
– 1 minutes high incline jog
– 1 minutes walk on an incline
– 1 minute recovery
B) PUSH UPS & ONE-ARM ROW (as below)
This exercise almost trains the entire upper-body and core waist muscles, engaging them all to stabilise your position. The exertion is similar to that experienced during ‘plank’ exercises, but with added complexity for the muscles.
C) CHEST PRESS WITH ALTERNATING ARMS (as below)
The dumbbell chest press is a great chest exercise, by using various angles it will develop every part of the chest muscle.
D) ALTERNATE-STEPPING SQUATS (as below)
With the addition of a dumbbell for additional exertion, this highly dynamic, energetic exercise engages the core, the glutes, and most of the legs, to ensure a very significant calorie burn!
E) TRICEP DIPS (FEET ON A BENCH) – as below
This is an effective exercise to target the triceps brachii and pectorals. It can be done on any surface, kick your legs up to add further resistance!
F) TRICEP ONE ARM EXTENSION (as below)
This exercise works the triceps brachii. Keep your core engaged – avoid slouching or arching. It’s a wonderful way to define you upper arms more.
G) SIT UP – LEG RAISES (as below)
This was just one of a host of ab-engaging exercises in the session.
H) STEPPING SHOULDER PRESS (as below)
To get well-defined shoulders (deltoids), this twisting dumbbell press works all the shoulder muscles simultaneously, whilst engaging the core as well, through the leg-twist and balance. Great exercise for legs (quadriceps & hamstrings) and gluteus maximus. Go as fast as you can for added cardio!
I) STRETCHING & COOL-DOWN (as below)