Have you ever considered taking a "boot-camp class" but were afraid you'd be intimidated?
While some programs do utilize military-style drills, gruff shouts and piercing whistles, there's one program that prides itself on doing just the opposite.
Celeb-adored Barry's Bootcamp - which counts Kim Kardashian and Jake Gyllenhaal among its fans - has a tried-and-true fitness recipe that's been around for 13 years. The California-based staple, co-founded by L.A.-based trainer Barry Jay, opened its first East Coast outpost this month, so we checked it out on a recent Saturday.
The space: Housed in a 3,500-square-foot studio, the beautifully designed modern space has locker rooms featuring luxe Malin+Goetz beauty products, as well as a busy Fuel Bar serving made-to-order protein shakes.
The workout: Each hour-long class can accommodate up to 40 people (split into two groups) and is a mashup of cardiovascular work and strength training, but it's always different: Some days you'll run for 30 minutes on joint-friendly Woodway treadmills before you switch to free weights; other days you'll alternate back and forth every five minutes. It has a nightclub feel - with dim lights and Top 40 songs pulsing through your body, you can't help but break a serious sweat quickly.
The fact that it's called a "boot camp" might sound intimidating, but co-president and trainer Joey Gonzalez insists that they have no intention of pushing anyone beyond their limit.
"We're aware that people are doing the best they can, and the last thing we want to do is discourage someone from coming back," he said.
We found this to be true. We felt comfortable with the instructors and at ease enough to dip the treadmill incline when we felt fatigued. Barry's evokes a boot-camp feel because of the intense intervals, not the screaming drill sergeants.
"We accommodate everybody. There's a misconception that this is only a super-athletic place. It's also a place where you can come to lose 50 pounds," Gonzales said.
Check out some other nontraditional boot camps sure to get your rear in gear:
Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp: This tough 60-minute class will get you squatting, lunging and sprinting along the landmark bridge, all while enjoying inspiring views of the East River. ($15, brooklynbridgeboot camp.com)
360Fit Boot Camp: Tone your butt, sculpt your legs and challenge your cardiovascular system at this hour-long session held in Central Park. ($25, 360fit.biz)
Exhale Core Fusion Boot Camp: By incorporating moves from its bread-and-butter Core classes, Exhale's comprehensive workout will help you sheds pounds and tone your midsection with 15 minutes of solid ab work. ($35, exhalespa.com)
Shen-Ergy Boot Camp: This progressive Pilates studio uses your body weight and a combo of marital arts to rev up your system. The class closes out with light meditation. ($35, gramer cypilatesfitness.com)