Exercise has always been a tall order for me, if I had a pound for every time I bought a gym membership in hopes of “getting fit” and never showed up, I’d be loaded.
That’s why I was a little anxious to join a fitness class at Barry’s, which opens tomorrow in central Liverpool, for one of their “high intensity” classes. Anything with the phrase “high intensity” is enough to put me off – to be honest, I’d rather just hit some Netflix and eat some chips, but I figured I might as well try.
Barry’s is described as a “boutique” fitness brand with “world famous” workouts particularly popular with celebrities. He has studios all over the world, including London and Manchester, and is now launching a studio on the top floor of the stylish new Flannels department store, which opens to the public tomorrow, June 23rd.
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Let’s talk about the gym, because this particular Liverpool studio is known as the “Red Room,” which sounds like it’s fresh out of Fifty Shades of Gray. This was enough to make me nervous, although I wouldn’t have minded if Christian Gray walked in.
The studio was very stylish – I’m talking red lights, mirrors, neon signs and even has its own protein shake. I’m used to training in my home (on rare occasions) with an Amazon exercise mat, some weights I found on Facebook Marketplace, and a dog that keeps licking my face when I sit down, so it was a real treat. I tell you.
The gym had a really intimidating presence, but it sure wasn’t a bad thing. The bright red lights combined with the booming music and loud fitness instructor really made me want to start moving and believe me, it takes a lot to get me to do it!
While I haven’t been into loads, I can honestly say I’ve never been to a gym that looks like Barry’s before. It was modern, fresh and almost motivating in a weird way. As soon as I saw a huge row of treadmills with a row of mirrors right in front of them, I wished I had put a little more effort into my hair and makeup that day.
Around the room there were steps, weights, mats, and gym equipment in the corner. The music really enhanced the vibe in the space, combined with a scary (but adorable) fitness instructor with a microphone that blew up orders in an intimidating way.
The gymnastics lesson
You might think I’m self-deprecating, but I was definitely the most unhealthy there. Why do you ask me that? Well, probably because I had to leave the room 20 minutes after the warm-up because I genuinely felt like I was about to collapse.
This, combined with the fact that I was training in a pair of cheap Asda trainers and a baggy tee, didn’t help. But aesthetics aren’t everything, and I was made to feel welcome nonetheless.
I don’t think it helped being surrounded by incredibly fit people, including the one and only Jamie Carragher, who certainly put me to shame on the treadmill. But I didn’t let that stop me, I was motivated and after my brief bout of dizziness and a few sips of water I was back on the treadmill for the rest of the warm-up.
After sprinting on the treadmill for what felt like an absolute eternity, it was time to go to the center of the room and do a series of push-ups, rock climbers, and that awful exercise nobody really likes: burpees. At least after the first round we could relax a little bit, right? Wrong. It was time to get back on the treadmill: there is no rest for the wicked.
We repeated the same process three times with a variety of different exercises as well as weight exercises, including chess presses. The sweat was really dripping all over me and, once again, I regretted choosing to wear a giant, loose-fitting shirt that seemed to trap heat in my body.
As time went by, I took more and more breaks, but luckily I wasn’t alone – a lovely lady next to me exclaimed, “Damn, I can’t do that!” – which made me feel a little better. I know I sound like I’m moaning, but the bootcamp that looked like hell on earth at the time, was great in the end.
Sure, at one point I felt like I was going to die, but in the end I really enjoyed my first ever bootcamp at Barry’s. This particular lesson was chest, back and abs for an hour, but boy, did it seem longer.
The staff were incredibly lovely, they didn’t make me feel embarrassed or inferior and made me feel good about my rather pathetic attempt during the session. So, if you want to take an exercise class that will make you sweat, Barry’s is definitely the one.
My visit felt like a rather luxurious experience considering I’m used to the good old PureGym. I’ve never been to a gym before where they make your own protein shake after a workout, but it was a nice touch.
One lesson will cost you £ 20 each, or you can choose three classes for £ 55, five for £ 89 and so on. An ‘OG’ package will give you 50 lessons for a whopping £ 540, which equates to £ 10 per class.
That said, an exercise class at Barry’s is definitely an experience, but if you go there with the right mindset it can be absolutely brilliant. Is it worth the money? I think so, but I’m not sure I’ll want to go back to my current bank account status.
Just make sure you grab a towel before entering the studio, as you will need it. I’ll definitely have pain in the morning.
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