When Barry's Bootcamp reached out to me a few weeks ago about trying one of the fitness studio's "Broadway Bootcamp" classes, I was all over it.
I edit the Fitness section of Dance Spirit, and I'm always looking to try trendy new workouts (so I can share them with you, of course). Barry's Bootcamp has been around for a while now and it's especially popular in L.A. The NYC location opened last summer and was an instant hot spot.
But you knew that already, right? Because, like me, you keep up with those Kardashians.
The slogan at Barry's is "The Best Workout in the World."
So was it?
I put on my finest Lululemon in order to find out.
When I walked into the studio, I was warmly greeted by Craig Ramsay, my instructor (though a more accurate title might be Butt Kicker).
Craig's first words were, "My God, you're fit!"
I was flattered—but skeptical. I'm a runner, not a Broadway star, and I wasn't sure my high-mileage skills would translate to this class.
Craig—who is a Broadway performer and celebrity trainer—gave me a tour of the studio and let me peek into one of the ongoing classes. I saw a room packed with sweaty people, sprinting faster than I thought possible on a row of treadmills.
Craig explained to me that his class is basically a twist on the traditional Barry's class. Most classes revolve around drills on a treadmill—burst of sprints, hill climbs and shuffling sideways—as well as floor exercises, which include a focus on arms, abs, legs or, my favorite, butts, depending on which class you've signed up for. But Craig's class is made super-safe for dancers, which I loved. He told me that we wouldn't be "sprinting that fast," and that he'd be incorporating tips throughout the class on how to stay safe and how to utilize each exercise in your dance life. Again, loved it.
Not only did Craig seem to have a ton of knowledge, but he has the credentials to back it up: He trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and then went on to land Broadway roles in Mamma Mia!, Fiddler on the Roof, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cats and more. Dancers, singers and actors love training with him (I know because the girls in the locker room after class told me so) and he's a celebrity trainer on Bravo's show Thintervention.
OK, but how was the class?
It was so fun! And it was a killer workout.
The class lasted an hour and it flew by because we were constantly moving. We started on the treadmills and did intervals on an incline and a flat sprint. I was sweaty within minutes. I'm a big fan of sweat.
After 15–20 minutes (I wasn't counting) on the treadmills, we moved to the floor. Today's class focus was on arms, so we used dumbbells to do bicep curls, tricep kick-backs and other slow, controlled arm movements. Craig was always reminding us to breathe and keep our cores tight. Total body workout? Totally.
When the first floor set was complete, we hopped back on the treadmills, and then went back to the floor again for a medicine ball section. My abs were feeling the burn. After one last treadmill round, it was time for stretching and a cool-down—the best part!
Overall, I had a great time at Barry's Bootcamp today. I loved that the class was packed with dancers and Broadway stars (um, seriously—I got a kick out of people watching during the stretching portion at the end) and Craig's energy made me want to work really hard. He was really aware of anyone with injuries or special needs, and he was the kind of motivator you want to take class from and then hang out with afterward.
Which I did, by the way. We hung out and I picked his brain and he has all sorts of cool dancey things planned for the very near future. Stay tuned. I'll tell you more about them.
So Barry's, thanks for the butt-kicking sweat session this morning. I'll be back! Let Kim Kardashian know that I'm ready for a squat competition.