In March of this year, I took a short weekend trip to Mexico with my parents and after returning to Los Angeles on Sunday, March 15, every fitness studio, restaurant and retail shop closed down — overnight. With COVID-19 rearing its ugly head, routines were flipped and fitness fans had to find a new fitness forum.
On Monday, April 13, Barry’s, the brand ubiquitous with dance party-vibes meets-sweat-sessions, Barry’s launched “At Home” classes in three regions (East, Central and West), a 35-minute iteration of the iconic workout that boasts a handful of classes including; weights-only, bands-only, bodyweight-only, a spin-centered option, a new “Run” class where you’ll perform tempo runs based on instructor cues outdoors or on a treadmill, and the traditional Treadmill + Weights class, all available via Zoom led by world-class instructors.
Just like any other Red Room booking, you can simply choose from a menu of available time slots and instructors for Barry’s At Home, and once booked, you receive a Zoom link to join just before class begins where a Barry’s moderator will check you in, just like the traditional front desk would. The moderator actually celebrates milestones, birthdays and more…which felt so personalized and special! Here’s my take.
After trying the weights, bands and bodyweight-only workouts, my Apple Watch didn’t lie…the classes were challenging. In fact, during some of the weights classes, I burned 415 calories in 35 minutes (!!!) and in my experience, some of the sessions were even more challenging than the brand’s Double Floor (i.e. just floor sessions, no treadmill running) classes at Barry’s in Venice, a nearby studio about a mile from my home in Los Angeles.
Logistically, Barry’s At Home is a natural extension of their signature HIIT cardio and strength-training combination, but allows you to a) pick nearly anytime you want to take class — there are nearly 100 classes per day across three time zones, so you can workout literally anytime you want, b) allows you to try new instructors from new cities you’ve never frequented, and c) for those who have weights, bands or no equipment at all, these sessions require little to no equipment for city dwellers.
At 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday evening, I grabbed my weights alongside 55+ other classmates for a Butt & Legs “Weights Only” class. Erik Steffens, a 10-year teaching veteran of Barry’s was leading the charge, and his offline class matches his IRL intensity. We started with a 3-minute warm-up session, followed by a (brutal) lunge session and since the classes are only 35 minutes, it was non-stop moving from the minute the music started. Erik advised that my deadlifts weren’t quite right, coaching me to soften the bend in my knees (all of this done via Zoom!!) and elongate my neck to better protect my form. With these Zoom classes, I felt like I had more 1:1 attention than a normal Barry’s session…it was surprising, and a great surprise.
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If you ever made a wish for life to slow down. It’s been granted. It’s not how you wanted it, but it’s how you got it. Now use whatever you have at your disposal (often more than you think). And make your life better today than yesterday. That’s it. Improve today! #motivation #fitness #inspiration #empowerment #strength #perspective
Later that week, on the third or fourth song of Taryn Brooks’ Abs & Ass Thursday “Bands Only” class, I was breathing — hard. I have always had a set of bands lying around at home, and finally using them in Taryn’s class, I have a new appreciation for using bands effectively — we did an incredible rows move by doubling the band around your feet, using one hand to pull both handles in a row-type movement, feeling the squeeze in between my shoulder blades and left me with a feel-so-good fatigue Friday morning in my upper back.
All in all, I liked the Barry’s At Home workouts. The Zoom sessions were engaging, carefully-crafted, thoughtful and were a fun change of pace from working out alone at home, allowing you to engage and socialize (and commiserate!) with your classmates.