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Photography provided by Barry’s

I don’t know about you, but the year of quarantine put me out of shape. I’m talking mentally, emotionally and, most of all, physically. One thing I’ve learned along my fitness journey is that instructed group classes are a top motivating factor for getting me into the gym. So when it was announced that Barry’s was opening a Minneapolis studio, I jumped at the chance to try out one of the hottest workouts on the market. Here’s everything you need to know about Barry’s and what a first-timer’s experience is actually like.

The Basics

Barry’s is the O.G. high-intensity interval workout with the genius selling point of participants burning 1,000+ calories during a single 50-minute session. Each instructor-led class includes a combo of cardio and strength training, making it a true total-body workout. The fitness craze is also known for its atmospheric Red Room that’s enthusiastically commanded by an instructor and filled with pulsing pop music.

The Experience

Barry’s total-body workout is equal parts treadmill training and floor strength work. Each class is split up into rotating sections of rounds that push you to your max physical limit. I started on the treadmill with a series of rounds that included jogging, acceleration and sprinting. Sound intense? It very much is. But let me assure you that with Britney Spears’Toxic” blasting at full volume, you can honestly do anything you set your mind to. (#FreeBritney)

After the cardio series, I transitioned to the floor for some interval strength training. With my chosen dumbbells in hand, I quickly began to understand why the class is marketed as a total-body workout as I was pushed to focus on both my upper and lower body by engaging in a wide range of movements. This part of the workout was all about creating a sustainable pace while still finding the power within to push myself.

Once that phase was complete, I was under the impression the class was finished. Guess what? I was wrong. I was summoned back to the treadmill for more cardio followed by another strength training series. As advertised, the most intense part of the workout came during the final minutes of class — it was my last opportunity to push myself even further.

The Takeaway

I survived Barry’s, and I can’t wait to go back. My first experience was truly exhilarating, and my instructor, Nick, created an atmosphere that was packed with high energy and good vibes. Did I find myself sore as hell the next day (and the few after)? Absolutely. Have I signed myself up for more classes? Absolutely. And I can’t wait to get back into the Red Room.

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