Sweat SF: Everything You Need to Know About Barry’s Bootcamp

Sweat SF: Everything You Need to Know About Barry’s Bootcamp


"It's okay to be uncomfortable, being uncomfortable means you are working," Barry's Bootcamp instructor Tommy yelled over the thumping '90s-themed music as I reunited with my arch nemesis: the treadmill. This was pretty much in line with the quote tattooed above the doorway leading into the red-lit room: “If it’s not challenging, you’re not changing.” Well folks, consider me a new woman.

Lauded as “The Best Workout in the World,” Barry's Bootcamp has been challenging patrons since 1998; the latest of their 18 studios just opened on King Street this past June. The high intensity, hour-long workouts are designed to shock your body, and pairs 25-30 minutes of interval cardiovascular treadmill routines with 25-30 minutes of strength training. The HIIT workouts boast the potential to burn 1,000 calories per class, and while this may sound like a crazy, made-up number, when you stumble out of the studio, every inch drenched, it certainly feels like you left a thousand calories on the floor.

While we high-fived our neighbors and were encouraged to yell out in support, the classes incubate personal challenge and growth. The dim lighting helps you focus on your own efforts, and gives you peace of mind that no one can see your measly 7.5 sprint compared to the obvious 12.0 being legged out two treadmills down (who IS that guy?!). The loud music may seem deafening for the first few minutes, but carefully chosen songs help motivate you for the next 60. Unlike many group exercise classes I’ve been to, Barry’s Bootcamp features a significant male clientele. I wasn’t the least bit surprised when my fiancé bought a package following Chris’s chest, back, and abs class Wednesday…after which he kept announcing that he was “smoked.” His words, not mine. He then eyed the in-house “FuelBar,” and I knew he was hooked.

“This year, make your weaknesses your strengths,” Chris encouraged as he could see some of us awkwardly side-shuffling up an incline. The instructors are your quarterbacks, complete with Tom Brady-esque armbands. They simultaneously rattle off exercises to the people on the weights and a set of speeds and inclines to those on the Woodway treadmills, counting down reps and prepping you for the next set. The constant talking is a welcomed distraction, you don’t have enough time to really think about how much longer you will be sprinting up a hill or holding a plank before it’s on to the next challenge.

Weekday classes target specific muscle groups while Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays feature the “Full Body” workout, with no lack of creativity. Did you know you can “army crawl” on a treadmill using your own weight and core strength to move the belt? Nor did my friend Jenny and I, as we did our best G.I. Jane impersonations on Sunday. But if doing so means you could eventually achieve the physique of Erica Stenz, Barry’s Bootcamp trainer and reigning Hottest Trainer of 2014, all I can say is thank you sir, may I please have another?

Barry's Bootcamp is located at 236 King Street. First Visit passes are $24 and discounted series passes, weekly and monthly memberships are available for frequest visitors. 


  • WATER - either bring your own or purchase some H20 at the studio, towels are provided (and very necessary).
  • Running shoes are a must. Expect to do some floor work that could involve slight inversions, so tighter clothing is ideal.  Although Chris did remind us you could take off your shirt (but not your pants).
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