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12 Jun

Falling in Love with Fitness

This year, I’ve only got room for one man in my life; and his name is Barry. 

Since ending my love affair with Ben and Jerry (sorry boys), after a particularly indulgent festive period, I took the plunge and joined my first ever Barry’s Bootcamp class. It fast became one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

I’ve never been the sporty type (apart from when dressing up as the Spice Girls circa 1997) and would shudder at the thought of any activity that required a ball, swimming pool or running track, for my whole school career. I wasn’t particularly good at anything in PE, except that I had a strange talent for badminton and also longed to play netball, simply for the outfit. 

I first dipped my foot into the frenzied fitness pool during University. After joining my campus gym, I was a regular at classes such as ‘Fitball’, Zumba, Yoga and Pilates. However, it was only after joining a gym back home and hiring a personal trainer that I really fell in love with fitness. 

After over a year of completing personal training sessions, my PT broke the sad news to me that her boyfriend had got a job abroad, so she would be moving away. Now here comes the massive panic from me regarding my baby biceps and (kind of) emerging abs; Who knew a breakup with a PT could be almost as heart-breaking as an actual break up? Although I tried to continue training alone, buying countless guides from every fitness influencer on Instagram you could think of, it just wasn’t working out (excuse the pun). 

That’s when I tried Barry’s Bootcamp. With a cult following around the world and loved by celebs including Harry Styles and the Beckhams, the workout claims to burn up to 1,000 calories per session – an attractive promise to a girl who eats her bodyweight in cookies on a daily basis. Split into three rounds, the high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes combine 25 minutes of weights with 25 minutes of cardio, accompanied by a playlist fit for a Saturday night and a dimly lit, red-hued room. 

I would like to add here that I am NOT a runner. So, the thought of spending at least eight minutes at a time running on a treadmill (sometimes uphill) was daunting to say the least. This was partly helped by the 6ft, carved by the Gods trainer shouting words of encouragement, whilst perched on the back of my machine – each trainer’s sculpted body is a walking advertisement for the brand. 

I can’t lie, there were times during those first few classes where I thought I was quite literally going to DROP DEAD. But the feeling of completing a quite frankly, horrific class after a long day at work is euphoric. Now, I class myself as a full Barry’s convert. After almost eight weeks, those uphill sprints are getting a little bit easier and my weights are even getting heavier (I still haven’t reached my goal of being able to do a push up yet, but baby steps). 

Of course, Barry’s Bootcamp isn’t the only fitness class around. Workouts like CrossFit, F45, Kor and SoulCycle are making millennials fall in love with fitness all over again, not to mention all those classes at your local gym. A quick Google search will tell you what’s available near you, and many have taster sessions so you can ‘try before you buy’. So, grab a friend and sign up. You might have to try a few before you find the right one for you but, take it from someone who knows, when you finally find your bag, you’ll be hooked. If the least sporty girl in the world can learn to love running, so can you. 

Here are my top tips for grabbing the sometimes-scary world of fitness by the (exercise) balls: 

Bring a friend: Trying something new is always less daunting with your just as clueless bestie by your side. 

All the gear, no idea: Treat yourself to a pretty new sports bra, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll still be wearing the neon orange Adidas number you bought when you were 18. Oh, and WEAR COMFY TRAINERS. 

Prepare to make sacrifices: New fitness hobbies can be expensive, so you may have to curb your online shopping habits a little. But come on, do you really need that black bodysuit that is an exact replica of the other four in your wardrobe? 

Eat and drink plenty: Not that I need an excuse to, but make sure you eat a decent meal a couple of hours before and bring a very large bottle to class – you’re going to need it. 

Sophie Charlesworth
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