Barry’s Bootcamp arrives in Seattle: Yes or Yes?

Photo credit: Barry's Bootcamp

So… it’s a no from me.

There has been quite the craze about Barry’s Bootcamp, founded by West Hollywood based trainer Barry Jay in L.A. in 1998, from my San Francisco friends since it arrived there in 2014. Barry’s finally opened their first Seattle location in SLU in April (across from the Westlake Whole Foods). It was a buzz-worthy opening and I was excited to see what it was all about since I’m a bit of a new workout junkie. A couple friends and I each bought the 3-class pack for $60 (regularly $30 per class).

Upon walking in, I had this moment where I felt I wasn’t cool enough to be there. A crowd of very fit-looking people, many sporting Lululemon, were milling around in the lobby waiting for class to start. There’s a Fuel Bar, where you can pre-order a shake or buy some snacks of drinks before/after class. More about this later.

Barry’s is very similar to the format of Orange Theory with half the class dedicated to running on treadmills and half doing strength training. You either start on the treadmill or on the floor and then rotate for a total of two sets on each.

Like other boutique fitness classes, it is loud. I wore ear plugs (which thankfully they supply at the front desk) because ear damage is real. What is with the noise level anyway? If you have to stock ear plugs, doesn’t that say something about how loud it is? During one of the classes, I had a question for the instructor and I was talking as loud as I could, basically yelling, and she still had trouble hearing me.

I found it hard to follow along and it’s hit or miss whether you get guidance for which weights to get (I didn’t get guidance in the first or second class, but did in the third). This resulted in me walking back and forth to the weight rack to get the ideal set of weights AND WASTING PRECIOUS WORKOUT TIME. I saw zero adjustments being made by the instructors in all three of my classes. In comparison, I just started a free trial week at F45 and they have trainers on the floor who help to ensure form is correct to prevent injuries. It makes me wonder how often people get injured in Barry’s classes, especially if people are hopping on the exercise bandwagon to try the trendy new workout class.

The music selection is great and the intensity is high throughout the class. The atmosphere inspired me to push myself more than I would if I were working out solo at the gym. I’ve never run on a treadmill faster than I did during this class. On the way out of the Red Room, they provide cold towels, which is a nice touch. On the counter the Mocha-licious shake I had pre-ordered was waiting for me. It was just OK. I tried my friend’s PB&J shake and it was also just OK. Jujubeet is a few blocks away and much better, but I’ll give them props for a great business model charing $30 for a class and then offering convenient in-studio smoothies for another $9. They just made $40 for a class.

I can see why people like Barry’s, but ultimately, it’s just not for me.