I Went To My First Workout Class Ever And Here’s What Happened (PHOTOS)
For the past few years, my workout routine has been very simple — I’ll do Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred on weekend mornings when I’m not lazy and/or busy, and I’ll “walk” in Central Park weather permitting. So yeah, it’s pretty much non-existent.
But since my 29-year-old metabolism is already catching up to me, I’ve recently decided to start being healthier and a teeny bit more active — basically so I can occasionally eat those french fries without feeling guilty. I know you get it.
So, for my own personal reasons and for the sake of journalism, I decided to take a workout class for the very first time. I reached out to Rachel, a friend of a friend who is a publicist for Barry’s Bootcamp. The celebrity-favorite exercise regimen has been deemed “the best workout in the world," and the name itself sounds intense.
When I asked more experienced fitness friends their thoughts on me, an amateur, doing Barry’s, I was told it would be very difficult, I might throw up, and there’d be lots of sprinting involved. I was not okay with any of these three things.
What do you mean, friends? “Bootcamp” won’t be anything like this scene from Spice World?!
Still, after a panic attack or two, I did the class anyway — and guess what? I’m still alive!
Here’s the before, during, and after account of my totally novice experience at Barry’s:
The week or so leading up to the big day brought on all sorts of anxiety for this gal who regularly has all sorts of anxiety anyway. I imagined what would happen if I threw up in class, or how embarrassing it would be for me if the teacher had to call 911, or what I would tell everyone I had told about this experiment about why I quit midway through.
It also involved a whole lot of Googling things like “beginner tips for barrys bootcamp,” “foods to eat before a workout,” and “how to not die at the gym.” If only that last one actually yielded a helpful result, amirite?
I even contemplated bailing on the whole thing the day prior when I shared my plans with a more experienced Wetpaint co-worker. She made a terrified expression and straight up told me I should cancel if I’ve never been to another workout class before. Thanks, girlfriend — appreciate the encouragement.
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But I am a big girl, I thought, and besides, I wanted to put my cute new Nike Flyknit sneakers to the test. At least I looked the part, right?!
The next morning, after a sugary bowl of cereal (Google advice bedamned), an hour of TV for distraction purposes, and filling up an extra-large water bottle, I hopped on the subway to make my way down to the Barry’s Bootcamp studio in Chelsea, one of four NYC locations.
Rachel was waiting for me at the entrance. After a friendly exchange, we put our stuff in the locker room as she assured me I was going to make it.
We then had a brief pre-class chat with the instructor, Rebecca K., to tell her I was a first-timer, that I was terrified, and that I would absolutely under no circumstances be sprinting or doing anything that made me feel like I was going to die.
“I’m not a drill sergeant,” she laughed. I felt better already.
Then a girl over by the juice bar spilled half of her protein shake on my brand spankin’ new compression leggings and like, barely even apologized. But I didn’t let that kill my vibe.
“I got this,” I tried to convince myself. If the Kardashians can do it, so can I!
In I went, armed with my complimentary towel, my extra-large water bottle, and my phone (for photo purposes, obvs). To my
horror surprise, there were approximately 60 (!!!) people in this class as opposed to the 15-20 I envisioned, so that majorly upped the anxiety factor.
But who even cared at that point? I was about to do BARRY’S BOOTCAMP WITH ABSOLUTELY ZERO PRIOR EXPERIENCE, GUYS! There is no time to worry about them.
Participants in a Barry’s Bootcamp class have the option of starting with the treadmill or the floor first — there’s about 30 people doing each at a time, and then you switch — and I just went with what I was assigned, which was floor.
So I followed the professionals’ lead and grabbed the necessary equipment from the wall — I don’t even remember what any of the stuff was called, honestly — as well as some 8-pound weights. I typically use 3–5 lb. weights at home, but I was told “nobody uses 5 lb. weights at Barry’s” and I didn’t want to be that girl.
I grabbed my gear and settled into my spot. Within seconds, the music started playing, the lights dimmed, and my new BFF Rebecca K. was showing us (slash shouting at us) floor folk what to do.
As a novice, I don't know the names of any of the exercises I did, but I do know one move required holding a weight in between your thighs while planking for 30 seconds. I attempted it and failed, but A for effort.
Then ensued 15 more minutes of floor exercises using weights, resistance bands, and a mat. I was surprised I could do
most some of the moves — albeit my own modified, beginner versions — and was somehow still breathing by quarter’s end. But I was sweaty. Super sweaty.
I was also worried about what came next — the treadmill — because of what I had heard about sprinting. Rebecca told us to increase our inclines and our speeds a few times throughout the 30 minutes or so on the treadmill. When the rest of the class was urged to hit an “8–12.5,” I was a solid 4.5, which is almost a brisk jog.
We returned to the floor for another 15 minutes, but this part was way harder. I tried to do an “around the world” (?) with my weight and I vaguely remember some crouching thing. This was the first time throughout the entire 60 minutes that I needed to actually stop and take a quick break. I forget what happened because at that point I was just dunzo, mentally and physically, but it was the end of the class so I wasn’t too hard on myself.
Except it wasn’t over yet — the last 6 minutes brought me back to the treadmill, where I gradually upped my incline to 2 and my speed to 5.0. I felt badass hitting my “highest” numbers yet even if just for 30 seconds, and even if those numbers were probably intended for toddlers who just learned how to walk. I did it, you guys!
Finally, it was over. I didn’t pass out, vomit, poop my pants — I barely even got a cramp.
Was it hard? Absolutely. But based on the feedback I got from more experienced bootcampers, I expected it to be impossible, and that it was not. Keep in mind, though, that I went very easy on myself to avoid the aforementioned emergency situations, but still.
By class’s end I was sweaty and gross, but felt proud and accomplished. Well, until I took this photo with Bex (can I call her that?), because OMG look at her insane bod!
Then, Rachel and I gathered our belongings from the locker room — which was stocked with super fancy and completely complimentary Malin & Goetz products, BTW — and we finished off our workout with smoothies so I could get the well-rounded Barry’s experience.
I head home and Snapchatted the below selfie to inform my inner circle I had survived my first bootcamp experience. Then I celebrated by eating an entire pint of ice cream. JK, but I did treat myself to some well earned pad thai for dinner that night.
Like the sprints, I was also warned about the muscle aches I’d feel for approximately 48 hours afterwards, but they weren’t unbearable. My arms ached when I’d reach for something, my butt would hurt depending on my position, and my abs felt sore whenever I’d laugh. Otherwise, it wasn’t too different from post-workout (loose term) soreness I’d experienced before.
To workout novices: Barry’s Bootcamp is totally doable for beginners, but only if you go at your own pace and don’t feel pressured into doing what the cool kids do.
For instance, one very large guy near me had his treadmill on a legitimate 15! How?!
Also, minus a potential medical emergency, my main concern going into the class was standing out like a sore thumb and having all the tight-bodied people make fun of me for being clueless. But literally not one person looked at me once, except the instructor, who helped a sista out when I was struggling, like, twice slash four times.
In retrospect, I probably could’ve pushed myself a little bit further, but that’ll be what my next class is for. Oh yeah, BTW, I’m totally open to doing more exercise classes now. Maybe not Barry’s — it’s definitely a bit too intense for me — but doesn’t a peaceful yoga class or some Zumba sound kinda nice?
I certainly won’t be trading in my lazy-ish lifestyle to become that 2-3-times-a-week-at-the-gym girl, but hey, at least now I’m less a Posh Spice and a tiny bit more of a Sporty...