1 Jun 2013

Testing Testing: Barry's Bootcamp

Have you lot heard of Barry's Bootcamp? It's one of those celebrity workouts you hear about, also branded as the 1000 Calorie Workout. Situated on Euston road in a basement it has one of those hip and slightly industrial vibes (a bit like BOOM! Cycle) which I, admittedly, am a bit of a sucker for.

I booked myself in for a 7.30am class, as I've got things planned for later today, hence dragging myself up out of bed at 6am on a day off....my one thought when siting half asleep on the Hammersmith & City line, with my coffee cup in a firm hold, was 'this better be good'! It was easy to find the gym and the receptionist that met me was lovely and helpful, giving me a little tour and a quick explanation of what was going to happen. The changing rooms weren't massive (3 showers) but the showers were verrrry nice and had Malin & Goetz toiletries and lockers that you locked with a code of your own choice (no padlocks or keycards, yay!).

As I sat waiting outside the studio instructor Sandy came and explained the concept later, taking care to learn your name (and use it for the whole of the class, which is not only a nice personal touch but it also makes you work harder as the directions are pointed right at you), and explaining how the treadmills worked. Now, those treadmills made a runners heart sing with joy! The make is Woodway and for someone that's used to using Fitness First's ratty old treadmills they were just heaven to run on. There were also work/strength stations that were already set up so we only complemented with an elastic band and a mat to lie on.

The class was divided into cardio and strength blocks, 10 minutes each. We kicked off with a 10 minute running session with an interval format and Sandy gave us three options for pace - beginner, intermediate and advanced. The treadmills were set to miles, which confused a person brought up in a rigid metric system - but it also made me run quicker than I thought I could! When I did some of the sprints I found myself running at 10miles an hour, which is roughly 16k an hour - normally when I run my (longish) sprints I do them at 15k an hour!

After the first running session the pulse was up and the strength session begun - triceps! We worked in 60 second blocks and started with tricep pushups at our designated station. Triceps pushups are my nemesis and I had to do some of them on my knees (rather than carry on win a shitty technique) and for the triceps dips I tries to work to fail before shaking my arms and carry on. After five minutes we swapped to biceps, standing on our steps and using the elastic bands we'd fastened on our steps to do curls, uppercuts and so on....after that my arms felt like jelly!
Then we were back on the treadmills for a hill interval block (and I love hill intervals!). It was tough, as we increased both incline and speed at 60 second intervals and finished off the ten minutes with a decent sprint uphill - awesome!
Next we worked our core, doing side planks, both static and dynamic. During the lengthy planks my shoulders got really tired but I did as Sandy told us and worked until fail then stopped and waved my arm around a little before getting at it again. Getting back on the treadmill for the third and final time was a little bit of a struggle but the last block was slightly shorter. It was speed work for 5/6 minutes and we finished off with going flat out for 60 seconds.
Last but not least worked legs with our elastic bands doing kickbacks, leg raises and other devilish things until our legs buuuuuurned. For someone who prides herself on having pretty strong legs (I can easily squat repeatedly at body pump with 37.5kg for six minutes) it hurt pretty badly! The whole session was finished off with a bit of a relaxation/stretch thingymanjiggy and although it wasn't perfect it was longer and more thorough that for instance the cool down at a Body Pump class. I left the studio dripping win sweat but with a big grin of my face - that session was right up my alley. Tough, challenging and with lots of encouragement. 
Do I think this work??! Hell yeah, it a full body session crammed into 60 effective minutes and although you won't build big muscles you'll get toned and strong. There are different sessions to chose from, full body, arms + core etc but they all have the cardio element (with the kind of High Intensity Interval Training I love!). For overall fitness I definitely recommend it and I will definitely go back - I've already almost decided I go for the academy option in August (a session a day at a set time, Monday - Friday for a month). I thought the instructor was great, explaining what we were doing in a calm and thorough way, but he didn't waste any time and kept us working hard (no slacking, brilliant).The one minus I can think of is that the studio was quite warm and for someone who already sweats like the monsoon season it made it a very wet session....

Now I'm sitting at a cafe and having a distinct problem lifting my arms - I don't want to think about how I'll feel tomorrow haha! Barry's Bootcamp: truly recommended!

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