Fashion / Beauty

The Hardest Workout in the World?

Trying Out a Celeb-Loved Bootcamp Gym — Red Lights, Electronic Music and Friendly Surprises

BY // 12.26.17
photography Bruno

Celeb loved gym Barry’s Bootcamp just opened its first Texas location in Dallas’ West Village. The high-intensity program, a favorite among stars like Victoria Beckham and Carrie Underwood, combines cardio and weight training for a workout that burns fat and builds lean muscle.

We stopped by the brand new Dallas studio to chat with Barry’s Bootcamp CEO Joey Gonzalez and try the raved-about workout for ourselves.

Upon entering the West Village storefront, you’ll find the company’s signature Fuel Bar – where you can replenish your body with various protein shakes, juices and elixirs – and a small selection of workout gear for sale. On-trend sports bras, leggings and tops are all branded with “BARRY’S DALLAS,” and are surprisingly cute.

Beyond the Fuel Bar, a huge Dallas-themed mural by local artist Michael McPheeters runs along the wall and leads to the gym’s luxe locker rooms, where you’ll find pristine marble counters stocked with Oribe products.  

Between the cushy locker rooms and the chic bootcamp gear, there’s a long, narrow room. Treadmills are flush against one of the mirrored walls, and little benches are spaced out on the other side of the room. It’s dim, glowing with red light. This is where Barry’s gets down to business.

Once class is in session, the room fills with hyped-up electronic music and the voice of a very energetic trainer.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)

Intimidated? You’re not wrong to be scared of Barry’s Bootcamp – it will, indeed, kick your ass. There’s a reason it claims to be “The Hardest Workout in the World.” But don’t let beginner’s nerves scare you away from trying it out.

“A lot of people have the impression that they need to get in shape to take a Barry’s Bootcamp class, but that’s not the case. A lot of people’s fitness journeys actually begin here,” Gonzalez says.

The class alternates between time on the treadmill and strength training on the floor. The instructors provide modifications for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels, but it’s okay to go at your own pace – even if that’s lower than beginner (that was my case).

“You’re picking your own weights too. You’re in control of your journey here,” Gonzalez says.

The signature red lights make for a party-ready atmosphere.

While the workout itself is brutal, the atmosphere is actually super friendly and encouraging. Even the red lights started to grow on me after a while.

“[The lights] serve two purposes. One, it just makes it feel like a party,” Gonzalez says. “The music is really loud, the energy is really high and you feel like you’re in a club. The second thing, which I think actually helps with the intimidation factor, is you can still have that anonymity. You can totally disappear – you are picking your spot, you don’t have to be front and center.”

I didn’t believe that it would feel like a party – and it was much more exhausting than most parties I’ve been to – but it actually did have a really nice sense of community. And despite getting my butt kicked (literally, it was glutes and legs day), I felt like I kicked butt, and it was fun.

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