Thursday, 26 February 2015

Health | Barry's Bootcamp

Are you ready for this? The truth is as I enter the achingly cool underground club-style workout space that forms Barry's Bootcamp near Euston, London, I'm not sure I am. I've slept badly the night before through worry that the hardcore regime will simply break me and I'll run out crying or be laughed out the gym. But the enthusiastic receptionist greet me friendly, give me a towel and point me in the direction of the changing room in a very encouraging 'You can do this!' sort of way. 

I've come to Barry's Bootcamp to try the latest workout craze to hit London from America, a high intensity rave style workout session combing cardio and free weights in a session that boasts to burn up to 1000 calories in an hour. Entering the downstairs gym feels slightly like I've turned up for an underground rave but in a sense I have. Positioned in the corner of the room is a DJ who helps rev up the atmosphere with a seamless weaving of beats and accompanying atmospheric lighting. This is essentially a type of circuit training with two main bases: the treadmill and free weights.  

So first up I'm on the treadmill - the machines are clever and the use of carefully positioned mirrors all round the room helps motivate further. The girls on either side of me smile in a similarly scared yet encouraging way and I'm feeling pretty excited by the time we get going. Through a series of interval style session we do everything from sprints to inclines and as I scrape myself off the machine after 15 minutes to the free weights I'm already exhausted but exhilarated. On the floor a careful combination of dynamic weight training gets me grimacing and laughing at myself at the same time. Then suddenly it's time to jump back on the treadmill for what feels like a more intensive session. One more session on the floor and it's all over. It's been a full on an incredibly pumped up hours session helped massively by the enthusiastic and flawlessly performed class leader who perfectly works over the top of the DJ to encourage and motivate us.

At the end I get ready for work in the achingly cool changing room with luxury products flown in from New York, real showers (none of the usual gym rubbish where you have to continually press the button for a predetermined temperature trickle to come out) and hairdryers and straighteners. I leave and order a banana nut protein shake which is glorious and ensures I don't have to deal with sore muscles the next day.

I leave a convert - I feel strong and radiant. This isn't a workout - it's a way of life.