Buckle Up, Seattle, it’s finally here!!! After much anticipation, Barry’s Bootcamp opened its doors in South Lake Union (across from Whole Foods) on Saturday, March 23rd. I happen to be lucky enough to know the Marketing and Community Manager so I was closely following her updates and counting down the days until the doors opened.
Although Barry’s is all over the world and well known in places like So Cal and NYC, I had never tried one of their workouts. My friend, Jen, who lives in CA raved about it after trying one of their workouts and ever since then, I’ve been curious. If you follow them on Instagram, you know that the words ‘Barry’s Bootcamp’ will conjure up images of six pack abs and the most scrumptious instructors on the planet. But if you know me, you know what I really care about is how hard is the workout?? And will it push me?
The Fit Fam and I decided to make a Sunday morning out of it and signed up for a 9:35 AM class with plans to grab brunch after. It was opening weekend so the class sold out within hours of opening up. We also happened to sign up for the class taught by, Joey Gonzalez, the CEO of Barry’s. An unexpected treat.
Barry’s sits on the corner of Westlake and Denny in SLU and if you know the area, you know parking is not easy. Even on Sunday morning, we drove around the block a few times and eventually found a spot one block over. Parking Tip - look towards the west side of the building (across the street from West Elm). When you walk into Barry’s, you definitely get the big gym feel. The space is open and HUGE. Think high (very high) spacious ceilings and a large lobby. As you step into the gym, the lockers and locker rooms are to the left, the smoothie bar is straight in front of you and the check in and retail area are to the right. I have been hearing all kinds of good things about the smoothies but have yet to try one. You can also pre-order a smoothie so that it is ready and waiting when you walk out of class (the perfect service for those of us that work out early and need breakfast on the go).
When we walked in, we were greeted by a desk full of smiling staff members. They checked us in and let us know which spots we had. OK, HEADS UP, when you sign up for class, the initials on the spots are relevant because:
T = Treadmill
F = Floor
D = Double Floor (meaning you will not use the treads at all during class)
The website does not note this when you go to reserve the class so if you do not want to do double floor, you should avoid the spots that start with a ‘D’. All three of my Fit Fam members had unintentionally reserved a double floor spot. Fortunately, they had several last minute cancellations that day and they were all able to get on a tread.
We had gotten there early so we did a quick tour of the locker room. The women’s locker room has two bathroom stalls and two showers. I’m not entirely sure if this will support the volume of people going in and out of the locker room given classes have up to 47 people but regardless, the space was clean and open. It’s jam packed with amenities (shampoo, conditioner, hair dryers, dry shampoo) and happens to carry my favorite hair care line (Oribe). I may just show up there to shower every now and then!
Once it was time for class to start, Joey opened up the studio door and greeted everyone with a fist pump and ‘Welcome Seattle!’. My first impression of Joey was that he fit the Barry’s Bootcamp bill. He’s the type of guy you would see walking down the street and immediately think personal trainer/male model/Barry’s Bootcamp instructor. His smile is kind, genuine and has a subtle hint of ‘I’m embarrassed at how beautiful I am’. His hair is perfection to another level and we won’t even talk about his teeth.
The Red Room is set up so that the treads are all against one wall and the floor is staggered with benches in two rows. There are two weight racks - one on each side of the room. Class sizes allow close to 50 people so it is tight. The first thing I noticed was how quickly the space can get congested. There is not a lot of walking room so going to get weights leads to an inevitable traffic jam. Fortunately, the Seattle Fit Fam is well versed in congested spaces and navigating tight corners.
I started on the floor that class. Joey had us warm up with a variation of squats, planks and push ups. The floor portion of the workout is similar to other bootcamp classes you may take so the movements will feel familiar - squat to bicep curl, squat to shoulder press, lunges, etc.
Because the class is 50 minutes and you go through each layer twice, you never feel like you are in one spot too long. If you have a short attention span like I do, you will love this. We wrapped up on the floor after about 10 - 12 minutes and moved onto the treads.
The treads are one touch treads which are fantastic for workouts like Barry’s where you are moving through different hills and different speeds. Rather than hitting the up and down arrows until you get to the right number, you just hit the ‘6’ for the 6 incline and ‘9’ for speed 9. I loved it but fair warning, when the treadmill increases speed, there is a split two second window where the tread speeds up super fast to get you to your right speed. Be ready for it. It took me three rounds of speed increases before I felt comfortable with it. The first three times, I almost slipped off the tread.
I LOVED The running portion of the workout because it was short and sweet. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a sprinter by nature and any sort of conditioning/longer runs are pure torture for me. Joey had us start by doing 3 sets of 3 minute runs where we increased the hill by 2% every 30 seconds. This was our hill run for the class and then we were done. We switched back to the floor for more full body workouts (Sunday is Total Body) and then went back to the treads for our final round. This round he had us do 3 sets of runs where we started at a 6 incline with a 1 minute run, 30 second jog followed by a 30 second sprint. Round 2 was done at a 4 incline and round 3 was done at a 2 incline. My kind of workout. Loved every second of it.
Joey’s energy was consistent across the entire class - he wasn’t over the top but he was motivating, encouraging and I felt as though I could go faster than I have in the past. One of my favorite Barry’s touches is the cool towels at the end of class. There’s someone waiting outside of class with a tray of cool scented towels and it is the perfect ending to a full on sweat session.
All in all, I think Barry’s is worth a visit. Prices are higher than most gyms in Seattle (Drop in Classes are $30 and a full membership is around $400/month although there are plenty of other membership packages to choose from) but it’s worth it just to experience a class. I did not think I would like the big class size -I tend to be a small group fitness type of girl, but it actually did not bother me at all. Once you are in class and focused, the extra energy is a benefit, if anything.
I rarely do this because I believe every studio is different, but I Have had so many questions about Barry’s vs. OTF vs. Bassline so I feel obligated to mention a few things.
Yes, Barry’s is similar to OTF (without the rowers) and Bassline.
If you are a regular at OTF or Bassline, you will be fine and very familiar with the flow of class.
There is no real time data or heart monitor like OTF and Bassline.
Side Note: One of my favorite Seattle Fit Fam Leaders, Ives H, teaches on Mon, Wed, Fri @ 5:15 AM and Sun @ 8:30 AM. If you only plan to take one class at Barry’s, try to get into one of hers. You will NOT be disappointed.