I tried a Barry’s fitness class at the posh new gym and I was not prepared – Emily Sleight

Exercise has always been an arduous task for me, if I had a pound for every time I’d purchased a gym membership in the hope to “get fit” and never turned up, I’d be loaded.

That’s why I was a little anxious to attend a fitness class at Barry’s, which is opening in Liverpool’s city centre tomorrow, for one of their ‘high intensity’ classes. Anything with the phrase ‘high intensity’ is enough to put me off – to be honest, I’d rather just stick on a bit of Netflix and eat some crisps but I thought I may as well give it a try.

Barry’s is described as a ’boutique’ fitness brand with ‘world-famous’ workouts that are particularly popular with celebrities. It has studios all around the world including London and Manchester, and is now launching a studio on the top floor of swanky new department store Flannels, which opens to the public tomorrow, June 23.

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The gym

Let’s talk about the gym, because this particular Liverpool studio is known as the ‘Red Room’, which sounds like it’s fresh from Fifty Shades of Grey. That was enough to unnerve me, though I wouldn’t have minded if Christian Grey walked in.

The studio was very fancy – I’m talking bright red lights, mirrors, neon signs and it even has its own protein shake bar. I’m used to exercising in my house (on rare occasions) with an exercise mat from Amazon, some weights I found on Facebook marketplace and a dog that keeps licking my face when I do a sit up, so this was a real treat let me tell you.

The gym did have a real intimidating presence to it, but that definitely wasn’t a bad thing. The bright red lights combined with the booming music and loud fitness instructor made me actually want to start moving, and trust me, it takes a lot to get me to do that!

Although I haven’t been to loads, I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a gym that looks like Barry’s before. It was modern, fresh, and almost motivating in a weird way. As soon as I saw a huge line of treadmills with a row of mirrors right in front of them, I wished I’d made a little more effort with my hair and makeup that day.

Around the room were exercise steps, weights, mats and gym equipment in the corner. The music really enhanced the atmosphere in the space, combined with a scary (but lovely) fitness instructor with a mic who blasted out orders in an intimidating fashion.

The exercise class

You may think I’m being self-deprecating, but I was definitely the most unhealthy one there. Why do you ask? Well, probably because I had to leave the room 20 minutes in after the warm up because I genuinely felt like I was going to collapse.

That, combined with the fact I was working out in a pair of cheap Asda trainers and a baggy t-shirt didn’t help. But aesthetics aren’t everything, and I was still made to feel very welcome.

I don’t think it helped that I was surrounded by incredibly fit people, including the one and only Jamie Carragher, who most certainly put me to shame on the treadmill. But I didn’t let that stop me, I remained motivated, and after my short dizzy spell and a few sips of water I was back on the treadmill for the rest of the warm up.

The workout was intense
The workout was intense

After sprinting on the treadmill for what felt like an absolute eternity, it was time to go into the centre of the room and do a series of press-ups, mountain climbers and that horrible exercise that no one actually likes – burpees. At least after the first round we could relax a bit – right? Wrong. It was time to go back on the treadmill – there’s no rest for the wicked.

We repeated the same process three times with a variety of different exercises as well as weight exercises including chess presses. The sweat was really pouring off me and, once again, I regretted choosing to wear a giant, baggy t-shirt which seemed to trap the heat in my body.

As time went on, I took more and more breaks but thankfully I wasn’t alone – a lovely lady next to me exclaimed: “I can’t bloody do this!” – which made me feel a little bit better. I know I sound like I’m moaning, but the bootcamp that felt like hell on earth at the time, actually ended up being great in the end.

The verdict

Granted, at one point I did feel like I was going to die, but I actually ended up really enjoying my first ever bootcamp at Barry’s. This particular class was chest, back and abs for an hour, but boy, did it feel like longer.

The staff were incredibly lovely, they didn’t make me feel embarrassed or inferior and made me feel good about my rather pathetic attempt during the session. So, if you want to attend an exercise class that’s going to make you sweat buckets, Barry’s is definitely the one.

My visit felt like a pretty luxury experience considering I’m used to good old PureGym. I’ve never been to a gym before where they make you your very own protein shake after a workout, but it was a lovely touch.

The class finished with a rather delicious protein shake
The class finished with a rather delicious protein shake

A class will cost you £20 each, or you can choose three classes for £55, five for £89 and so on. An ‘OG’ package will get you 50 classes for a whopping £540, which works out at £10 per class.

With that being said, an exercise class at Barry’s is most definitely an experience, but if you go at it with the right mindset it can be absolutely brilliant. Is it worth the money? I think so, but I’m not sure I’ll be itching to go back with the current state of my bank balance.

Just make sure you pick up a towel before you head into the studio, because you’re going to need it. I’m definitely going to be sore in the morning.

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