Barry’s burst onto the London scene when HIIT classes were just taking off. Originally hailing from Hollywood, there’s a masochistic allure surrounding a Barry’s class that makes you want to try it – the fact that you can burn up to 1000 calories a time next to celebrities like Beckham only adds to its reputation as one of the toughest workouts around.
The reality is a music-pumping room bathed in red light (side note/forewarning: chosen because it’s more flattering when you sweat) with time divided between a treadmill and the floor. Classes are done by muscle groups depending on what day it is: Monday is Arms & Abs, Tues is Butt & Legs and so on but you feel like you get a full-body workout thanks to the running element. Each hour-long session comprises fast bursts of running and floor circuits using a mix of resistance bands, medicine balls and free weights (each burst lasts 8-12 minutes before you swap over).
Beginners are made to feel welcome with a small 15 minute induction before their first class but the pace is still fast – while they say they cater for all this probably isn’t the first place you’ll want to hit on January 1st if your last workout is a dim and distant memory. That being said, the pace means you enter a sort of zoned out state thanks to mainly focussing on not falling off the treadmill and there’s a camaraderie in all classes that means you push yourself harder than you usually would. Results can be seen and felt impressively quickly if you stick to their advised 3-5 sessions a week. Plus since no single class is the same, you (and your aching muscles) are constantly shocked into working harder than you ever thought possible. Their strapline is, “The Best Workout in the World” and once you’ve survived your first few sessions, you might be inclined to agree.