“Get a treadmill before they go,” whispers a regular. I’ve bumped into an old university acquaintance and she’s kindly given me some insider knowledge into the Barry’s Bootcamp training system: always get the sprints over with first. Three minutes later, I understand why.
Wide-eyed reluctance. These are American treadmills we’re talking about. 12mph is uncomfortably fast.
“Hit that f$!@ing button. You can run 12!”
Unsure, ruby-faced obedience.
This is my first exchange with Anya – the petite, stunning and toned-to-the-tee instructor with a booming voice that could be described as intimidating, but I’m going to call it encouraging. That’s because I knew exactly what I was getting into. You don’t come to Barry’s for a comfortable workout and gentle reassurance. You come to push your physical limits to the extreme and lose a kilo in sweat click this link here now.
The class is divided in two: the ‘treaders’ and the weights team. I consider myself a pretty capable sprinter, never shying away from a tough interval workout, but Anya’s intervals are longer and more extreme than anything I’ve ever done. If you even consider slipping into your comfort zone, she’s quickly on your ass to pump up the tempo until your lungs hit a fearsome burning point. By the time the 10-second countdown to the ‘rest period’ comes ’round my legs have no more control than last night’s chocolate mousse. No 60 second jog is going to fix that, so the four three-minute sprints to follow feel progressively worse.
Finally us treaders get to move to the floor – a treat I naively anticipate will be a welcome a break. Think big weights (the smallest dumbbells available are 4kg, and I intuit that Anya will shower me in expletives if I so much as look at those), tough compound moves and quick successive exercises to dig deeper into already-exhausted muscle groups.
Though it’s no break, I’d take another set of floor work before getting back onto the treadmill. Unfortunately there’s a second split so my wish isn’t granted. This time the sprinting sessions are four minutes long, but separated by longer runs to give your lungs if not your legs a chance to catch up. It still hurts, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and in my anaerobic delusion I’m beginning to believe I’m some kind of superwoman.
Floor work round two mostly leaves the legs alone. There are even some lying exercises. OK so I have to skullcrush a 10kg dumbbell, but at least I’ve got some solid contact with the floor should I feel the desire to pass out. I manage to stay conscious to the end, and am in fact extra alert as Anya announces it’s time to cool down. I think I’m responsible for at least half the condensation on the surrounding mirrors, as my now fully soaked top is certainly failing to absorb any more sweat. Despite my heavy limbs my mind feels sharp, my cheeks are flushed and one icy shower later I’m left only with pride for my morning’s accomplishment.
A saying I’ve recently encountered springs to mind: ‘You have to sweat like a pig to look like a fox.’ I shake Anya’s hand on the way out the door and see the evidence in flesh. Barry’s workout is beautiful on multiple levels. On the surface, his instructors and ambassadors are the embodiment of healthy modern-day role models. On a deeper and more significant level, the gratification with which you leave serves to reinforce the beauty of exceeding even your own expectations. And what could be more beautiful than confidence?
To learn more about Barry’s Bootcamp or book in for your first class, visit barrysbootcamp.com.