High intensity meets high reward at Barry’s

Stepping inside the fitness studio at Barry’s Bootcamp in Scarsdale is like walking into a mini nightclub.

Sexy, soft red lighting surrounds guests, while dance music pulses through overhead speakers. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflect motifs of black and red that are carried from the décor to the exercise equipment.

I’d never been to a Barry’s before, but I quickly learned that its sleek design isn’t without purpose.

The studio’s classes, which offer one hour of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), are held in an upbeat environment to motivate guests through challenging exercises. Each class, which boasts 700 to 1,300 calories burned, guides small groups through a series of high- and low-energy exercises using a combination of cardio and floor work. 

Classes vary in terms of time spent on the treadmill and weight or resistance training. Some days may consist of 30-minute intervals, while others may include intervals of 10 minutes or less. Guests know which part of the body they’re exercising on any given day, but they don’t necessarily know what to expect.

“That variation is great for getting you into shape, because your body is very clever about what your workout is,” says Rhonda Hunt, community brand manager, studio manager and certified fitness trainer.

But regardless of the intensity, Barry’s maintains a noncompetitive environment, where guests of all ages, physiques and athleticism are encouraged to work at their own pace.

I visited Barry’s on a bitter Monday evening for its 5:30 p.m. arms and abs class with Hunt. My first impression of the approximately 3,000-square-foot studio — which opened its doors in December, following 29 other worldwide locations — was a sense of coolness. A soothing candle sits on the front desk across from a selection of Barry’s trademark fitness merchandise. To the left, a wall features a backdrop of the Barry’s logo, where, Hunt says, guests take “sweaty selfies” to share on social media. 

 “My mission here is for people to not be afraid of Barry’s,” Hunt says with a smile. “You work at your own pace and move up from there. I want people to not be afraid to try, because they’re a lot stronger than they think.”

Hunt’s passion energized the class, as I anticipated, along with the dance music. She guided the group through a series of three, 8-minute cardio and three, 8-minute floor workouts. I was admittedly weary about the running component, which comprised a good portion of the class. However, I didn’t feel pressured to keep up with the group and adjusted the treadmill according to my abilities.

My favorite part of the class was the floor workouts. Hunt guided the group through arm exercises using weights and resistance bands — which were chosen according to skill and body weight. The most difficult exercise for me was the plank, a variation on the push-up, but I willingly attempted it.

The class flew by, feeling like far less than an hour. I left the studio feeling different, in a good way — refreshed and reenergized, rather than sluggish and tired. 

But, most important, I felt great about myself, overall. And isn’t that the best part? 

For more, visit barrysbootcamp.com/scarsdale.

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