Fitness & Health

Fitness Guinea Pig: Bootcamp

Photos: Courtesy of Barry's Bootcamp

Based on the military-derived "no pain, no gain" philosophy, bootcamp workouts are not for the lazy among us. Intense cardio bursts coupled with serious strength training intervals are the drill for most programs, and the average calorie burn for a 60-minute class can be in the high 800s—that is, if you can stick it out to the end. That said, for brides that are looking to trim and tone within a limited timeframe, we've heard these results-driven programs deliver. Different bootcamp-style workouts are offered around the country, but we decided to test out the Kim Kardashian-approved Barry's Bootcamp program in New York to find out if this is a realistic pre-wedding regimen that non-celeb brides can survive.

The Lowdown

Established in 1998, Barry's Bootcamp touts itself as "The Best Workout in the World." All classes include 25 to 30 minutes of calorie-torching treadmill intervals, followed by 25 to 30 minutes of non-nonsense strength training with free weights, bands, and bars. The idea is to "shock" your body into shape by raising your metabolic rate for significantly longer than steady aerobic exercise would. It's no joke—two minutes into the workout, and I was already sweating. But the vibe at Barry's Bootcamp differs substantially from other bootcamp programs, swapping out the whistle-blowing drill sergeants for a high-energy party vibe. The fitness range of clients varies from the superfit to determined beginners.

Body Benefits

A complete hour-long workout burns serious calories, and results in fat loss, improved cardiovascular fitness, and increased muscular strength. Classes are frequently packed, meaning less attention is paid to teaching correct form to newbies, though trainers are happy to assist one-on-one after class. Trainers are encouraging and dedicated, with a contagious energy that keeps clients hooked.

Best Candidates

The bootcamp workout is for determined brides who are looking to seriously transform their body—no matter what it takes. While interval intensity can be decreased (or increased) to accommodate varying fitness levels, take note that these classes are designed to be a challenge, especially for newcomers.

Where to Go

Barry's Bootcamp classes are currently offered in California and New York. For a complete listing of locations, click here. Or, you can take the workout home with the Barry's Bootcamp DVD, available for purchase at Not in these regions? Research bootcamp classes in your area—many local gyms offer their own accredited versions. (Just make sure the instructor is certified).

NEXT: Fitness Guinea Pig: Zumba

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