Barry's Bootcamp instructor Chris Weise

Health & Fitness

A Beginner’s Guide: Barry’s Bootcamp

How to crush the cult favorite HIIT class.

There’s a wide variety of perfectly acceptable reasons to be intimidated by a workout class. Maybe it’s been a while since your last sweat sesh. Or your friend told you it was the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Perhaps you laid eyes on a particularly intimidating video on Instagram and now fear for your well-being. Regardless of the reason, we’re here to help.

In this series, we give you all the need-to-know info about the most popular (and daunting) workouts around town.

The first time I took a class at Barry’s Bootcamp’s in West Village, I took note of the query painted just outside the double doors to infamous red room: “Y’all ready for this?” No. My answer was no. And judging from the nervous chatter I picked up from the crowd around me, I wasn’t alone.

It’s completely fair to be intimidated by a workout class. Especially when that class bills itself as “the best workout in the world,” is a favorite of eternally toned Victoria Beckham, and features some of the most ripped local instructors at the helm. Seriously, look at all these hot, fit people!

I survived my first class, and quickly became addicted, but for anyone still looking to “face yourself” and take the Barry’s Bootcamp plunge, we reached out to instructor Chris Wiese to assuage some concerns and help you crush the HIIT class.

photo by Bruno

Keep your eye on treadmill.

When people come in, make sure to find your designated spot, especially if you’re coming in on a Saturday when there are 51 people in class. Most studios in Dallas aren’t this big. Are you starting on the treadmill or the floor? Don’t be intimidated to ask the people around you. The group setting is one of the reasons I was so excited to work at Barry’s.

Listen up. 

Try to listen as much as possible. The music is loud but we usually lower it during interval changes to give instructions. That’s when we’ll let you know what weight range you should be in and how to modify intense moves.

Everything can be modified. 

We have everyone from a college athlete to a retired financial advisor in class. That’s what’s nice about Barry’s, you can modify the classes for everyone. We give you speed options on the treadmill, and light, medium, and heavy options for weights.

The mirror (and your neighbor) is your friend.

No joke — sometimes you just have to face yourself in the mirror. Working out is so mental; it’s really you versus you. This is your individual workout. Just accept the challenge and know that you and everyone around you are going to conquer it together.

The red room doesn’t just look cool; it can actually help you get through the class. 

Leading a Barry’s workout is almost like directing a play. You’re aware of the lights dimming and how much time you have left. When the fans come on towards the end, they inspire you to push to your full potential. There’s just something about that red lighting that helps with being self conscious and striving deeper.

Non-runners can dig Barry’s too.

Our workout is 50 minutes with a five-minute stretch. People need to know that. There’s 25 minutes of cardio on the treadmill and 25 minutes of strength on the floor. But there is a double floor option — you can do strength training for a full 50 minutes if you want to.

On Mondays, we do arms and abs, so I always tell my guys they’ll want to hit those. For my girls, they love to work the butt. Tuesday is nothing but legs and butt. If you’re really into core, Thursday is all abs. Doing abs for an hour freaks people out, but if you can get through the first six minutes, it’s amazing how far your body can go.

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