Founded a decade ago, Barry's Bootcamp has become the godfather of high-intensity, strength, and cardio group fitness classes. If you've never been to a Barry's class, you can expect a sexy ambience with red light, great beats, and an inspiring group of instructors to lead you through the hour-long class. You'll alternate between weights — also known as the floor — and running on the treadmill, with every day focusing on a different muscle group. The program is designed to hep you burn fat, tone up, and have fun while doing it.
POPSUGAR spoke to New York City instructor Sarah Otey, who said, "I really do believe Barry's Bootcamp is the most efficient group fitness class in the world." She spilled a lot of facts privy to the Barry's staff, like how they really feel about you requesting double floor. Here are seven things you probably didn't know about Barry's — straight from an instructor.
1. There's something for everyone.
"I love having a community of people with all different body types, levels of experience, and fitness goals in the room. There are options for everyone. If you don't want to run for any kind of reason, there's a double floor option that is awesome. Whether you're trying to put on muscle mass, you're injured, or pregnant, you can stay on the floor and select appropriate weights — superlight for the injured or strength endurance individual, or if you're trying to put on muscle mass, go heavier on the weight and do fewer reps."
2. They won't get mad if you choose a lighter/heavier weight (seriously).
"As bootcamp instructors, a lot of us will yell at you to go heavy, but ultimately we really do want you to get the most out of YOUR workout and not get injured. We don't always have the time to specifically coach you through it in the moment, but we're happy to help if you ask after class or slide into our DMs on Instagram."
3. Abs are a part of every class for an important reason.
"I've become a faster runner and figured out that the only way to get faster is by having a strong core. And that's why we have abs every day at Barry's. Body alignment and form is the key to sprinting fast, injury-free.
4. Your instructor is also getting a workout when they teach.
"The muscles that have gotten the strongest since I started working at Barry's are my abs and my diaphragm. Just like a singer or a Broadway performer, I had to ramp up to being able to teach 16-20 classes per week, and part of that was learning diaphragmatic breathing and voice control."
5. Creating playlists is an art.
"The playlist takes the most time to create, and I do keep my playlists under wraps. I will share a song or two, but at this point my music library is built from years of fitness instruction, and it took me that long to collect it all. I have joked about becoming a DJ, and I'm ashamed to say I've gotten superupset when clients try to take a picture of my computer screen without asking."
6. Your energy really does affect the class.
"I used to get really frustrated when I first started teaching at off-peak times when there were only 10 people in a room, but after teaching thousands of classes, I realized I have a great power to shift the energy in the room — but the audience has to be receptive. It's an incredibly difficult class to teach, and I think sometimes clients really want you to be able to change their mood, but if they aren't receptive to it or aren't bringing their energy up, the class can suffer. It takes a leader, but it also takes a room full of people who want to level up and bring it. And that's the biggest reason I've been teaching at Barry's so long. I love teaching myself and other people how to get themselves unstuck. We can give you all the tools, but if you don't listen, you don't respond, you don't bring your own energy — everyone around you suffers, and that's the part that spills over into all other aspects of your life."
7. A hot body is nice, but there's more to it.
"It's not just about the hot body; it's about being able to bring out the parts of you that motivate and inspire the person next to you, and sometimes it's just being unapologetically you."