Raffles Place now has Hollywood’s most extreme workout – Barry's Bootcamp
Barry’s Bootcamp, the celeb-favourite gym from Los Angeles that pioneered the HIIT phenomenon, is finally here to put gym bunnies through their paces in their signature Red Room.
If you are the sort who enjoys combining pain and pleasure, there’s a new Red Room in Singapore to check out. No, we aren’t referring to the Christian Grey variety but the red-lit fitness studio that has become the signature of cult gym Barry’s Bootcamp.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1998, Barry’s is said to be the OG fitness studio that came up with the HIIT (high intensity interval training) regimen which has since become a global fitness phenomenon. While there are plenty of such studios these days, Barry’s remains a firm favourite among gym-goers and its A-List devotees include bold faced names such as the Beckhams, Harry Styles and Michelle Obama. Now, the fitness chain, which has 56 outlets across 11 countries, has finally launched in Singapore in Raffles Place, its first foray into Asia.
“The Singapore market has become more and more focused on the benefits of health and fitness, significantly increasing their weekly physical activity in recent years. There is a strong focus on group fitness in Singapore, which created a compelling case to open the original boutique fitness concept in the world,” said Barry’s CEO, Joey Gonzalez.
Plus, globetrotting fitness junkies from Singapore who have worked out at Barry’s other studios when they travel have “inundated” the company for requests to set up here, Gonzalez added. “We like to give the people what they want.”
“The Singapore market has become more and more focused on the benefits of health and fitness. There is a strong focus on group fitness in Singapore.” – Joey Gonzalez, Barry’s Bootcamp
The 50-minute workouts, which are programmed with a split of 25 minutes of cardio and 25 minutes of strength and conditioning are done in the Red Room. During the cardio segment, the instructor leads the class through interval runs like sprints, inclines and walks. At the bench, students are guided through a series of strength and conditioning exercises using weights, bands and other equipment to sculpt and tone the body.
The classes are themed according to different muscle groups daily – think Arms & Abs, Abs & Ass or Total Body – so participants can better plan their workout schedules. Combine that with dimmed red lights, thumping music and a motivating instructor and it is not difficult to see how the classes provide an immersive fitness experience.
As any Barry’s devotee will attest to, it is not just the intense but fun workouts that keeps them going back for more. The upscale boutique gym, which is designed with a chic minimalist industrial theme, is also outfitted with premium frills. The 4,293 sq. ft. space in Singapore includes swanky changing room and shower facilities loaded up with amenities like Dyson hair dryers, Oribe shower products and micellar make-up remover.
At the Fuel Bar, get nutritionist-approved protein and superfood smoothies (from S$12) to maximise post-workout muscle group recovery. Plus, they can be customised to dietary restrictions too. And of course, there is a retail area to pick up Barry’s branded fitness and athleisure apparel and other merchandise so you can get kitted out to fit in with the cool crew.
Packages and memberships range from S$23 to S$46 per class and come with 1-, 3- or 12-month membership options.
SURVIVING THE RED ROOM
I start my first ever Barry’s Bootcamp workout on the treadmill and am immediately distracted by the mirror. It is true that red light does make everyone (including myself) look better. Nice. But once the instructor starts with instructions to set the speed and incline for interval runs, it takes all my concentration to keep up and not fall off.
In between breathless sprints, I notice that the studio’s custom shock absorbing Woodway treadmills are a dream to run on. A word of caution to newbies: Don’t feel pressured to run at the speed settings that the instructor gives. Contrary to the popular belief, nobody will shout or shame you if you need to slow down.
By the end of our first set, I am nicely winded and ready to switch to the bench. But don’t think this is the easy part because there really isn’t an easy part until class is over. Everyone picks out weights and resistance bands that challenge our personal fitness levels – you may need to attend a few sessions to figure out what works best for you.
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As the theme of this class is Arms & Abs, we are led through a gamut of exercises targeting these areas. I sneak glances around and am gratified to notice that like me, many others are grimacing their way through the reps too. Thank goodness I’ve been going for regular TRX and studio boxing classes so I can at least keep my pace. It finally ends… but there is one more round of treadmill and bench exercises to get through.
The workout is indeed tough and requires some mental strength to get through, but anyone who has previously done circuit-style or HIIT classes would have expected this. After all, there are plenty of other excellent gyms and trainers that have their own HIIT programmes. What Barry’s does very well is to combine both cardio and strength exercises within a single 50-minute session. And since the classes have daily themes to work on different parts of the body, it is possible for the truly devoted to visit multiple times a week without burning out.
As a bonus, it seems like everybody who works here is either lean and toned or straight-up muscle-y and ripped – as are many of the other students – which makes this a great place to exercise in the company of eye candy. After all, everybody needs a little motivation.