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Barry's Bootcamp London

STOP THE PRESS - I went to an exercise class.

Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic, but I'm being completely honest when I say my idea of exercise is walking to the pub for a pint and a packet of pork scratchings.

So I finally dragged my lazy self to Barry's Bootcamp, along with the boy after being told time and time again *just* how amazing the workout the sessions that are on offer are, for a Friday evening, 7:50pm to be exact, 'Full Body' hour session.

Just to give a quick overview, Barry's originated in the US in 1998 and is known as a 'revolutionary' way of working out - high intensity interval training. Barry's is open seven days a week and each day focuses on a different muscle group finishing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with 'full body' sessions.

Our sold out Friday night full body class consisted of four 15 minute rounds alternating between the military treadmills and floor work. At the beginning, our instructor Faisal Abdalla showed us (the newbies, of which there were four of us) how the class would work, how to use the treadmills and what to expect in the impending hour, then the rest of the class poured in and everyone either took a spot on a treadmill or a box on the floor.
I have to say, I was really nervous - in fact I don't think I said one word in the 10 minutes running up to the beginning of the class, but Faisal put us at ease by being incredibly motivational throughout the entirety of the class, as well as being a great laugh too!

I definitely maintain however, that I had reason to be terrified. At one point I was running at 8mph... and because I was running so fast, probably faster than these little legs have ever gone before, I felt like I was going to fall off the back of the treadmill. I turned round to the boy with a face of pure terror and screamed 'I CAN'T PHYSICALLY RUN THIS FAST' to which he burst out laughing and told me to turn the speed down... Faisal shortly came over to tell me not to worry and to go at my own pace if need be which was encouraging and relieving all at the same time.

The class was intense, like the most intense thing I've ever done. There were points when I really felt like pushing myself and points when I just wanted to go slower and at my own my pace - during the second treadmill section, I put my finger on the button to lower the speed but before I knew it Faisal was shouting down the microphone 'Hold it there Ala, you can do it' which spurred me on when I had felt like giving up. And I guess that's only really something you can get from being led in a fitness class environment. Had I been on my own in the gym; 1. I wouldn't have been pushing myself that hard anyway and 2. I wouldn't have had the motivation to keep going.

I loved the personal nature of the class, everyone was extremely friendly (although the lights were down low in there so no one is really bothered about what a hot and sweaty mess you are) and Faisal seemed to know all of the names of everyone in the class, ensuring he was encouraging everyone over his mic.

When I walked out of the class after getting a high-five from Faisal and some positive encouragement on my performance, I hit the showers. I was so impressed - not only were they clean, we were provided with towels (as well as towels for the class) and the showers were stocked with shampoo, conditioner and bodywash, which totally makes life alot easier. And the best bit, when I went to blow-dry my hair it was to my great surprise that there were GHD hair straighteners and dryers provided. A bit of pampering after a hard workout doesn't go a miss.

We then sat at the shake bar and indulged in a protein shake - they have an unreal amount of flavours, all prepared fresh and to order (you can choose when you want your shake made and waiting for you as well). 

As I said, I was absolutely terrified going to this class, having never even been to any kind of exercise class before - I simply didn't know what to expect. And although at points I wanted to collapse on the floor because it felt like my arms and legs were going to drop off, all I can think about now is when I can book in for my next Friday session... because I enjoyed the Friday evening session *that* much. I don't know who I've become!

I'm officially an exercise convert, the Barry's way.