Tag Archives: Barry’s Bootcamp

Day 6: The importance of a work out buddy

Workout buddies – there to share the pain of your hill run, high five you after a new deadlift PB, compete with you on squat reps and most importantly…save you from your hangover.

Sometimes some tough love is needed

Sometimes some tough love is needed

Yes, the inevitable happened. After the excesses of Day 5’s night out at Zeitgeist I woke up with a hangover. I felt cheated! Surely that’s not supposed to happen when you only drink vodka soda(s x 3 large ones). As soon as I woke up and felt my head pounding I groaned into my pillow. Today was Barry’s Bootcamp day – the first one after the holidays and guaranteed to be horrendous even for normal-headed folks.

After lying there for a while, trying to assess the damage, I sent a message to Mags, my workout buddy, who had also been out with me the night before.

‘There’s a small family of leprechauns having an actual Ceili in my actual head. I don’t think I can do Barry’s today.’

Confident in the knowledge Mags would also be in the throes like me, I dragged myself down to my fave Noe Valley diner Toast for some consolatory eggs and smoked salmon. (Healthy.) Just as I was about to tuck in, a smug little smile on my face, squirming in my seat with happiness, Mags replied.

‘None of your guff, girly – I’m feeling amazing. Friends don’t let other friends skip Barry’s Bootcamp.’

(FYI – Mags is also Irish, hence the excessive Irish-ness of our conversation).

Goddammit, I thought. Fine, fine FINE! I’ll go. I’d never live it down if I skipped out. (How she managed to escape the damage of those three vodka sodas is beyond me. I’m convinced she’s a genetically superior human being).

So, we went to Barry’s, we ran, we lifted, we squatted, we crunched. I would lie if I said it was enjoyable at the time. It was disgusting. And I felt like puking. But the victory was in participating as far as I’m concerned. And as we walked out, with our skinny peanut butter protein shakes in hand, I had to admit- my workout buddy done good. Without her I would have certainly gone back to bed after Toast, followed by a day of unhealthiness and self-loathing.

Thanks Mags!

Trying to take a selfie at the Bay Bridge. 8 pictures, no bridge.

Trying to take a selfie at the Bay Bridge after the class. 8 pictures, no bridge. Well maybe a corner of a bridge

Comment on healthy living

On account of the hangover the day was probs not as healthy as it could have been. BUT I didn’t go mad. The unhealthy things were an English muffin and then sushi and more alcohol later on when I went out for Karaoke. Could have been worse though.

Food and exercise:

  • Breakfast: Lox scrambler from Toast, with an English muffin and fresh fruit
  • Exercise: 1 hour Barry’s Bootcamp
  • Snack: Skinny protein shake (unsweetened almond milk, no sugar peanut butter and vanilla protein powder)
  • Lunch: Sweet potato with a handful of pistachios (random I know)
  • Dinner: Split with Lysbet – edamame, miso soup, poki salad, 2 sushi rolls, sake
  • Drinks: 2 x glass of wine
  • Entertainment: Karaoke at Encore, a go of a friend’s massage chair and Super Mario (also random.)

Photo Collage Maker_V7SCSc


Day 26: The cult of Soul Cycle

I’m on a bit of a roll as regards trying out the trendy San Francisco exercise classes. It was Barry’s Bootcamp on Day 24 and now Soul Cycle on Day 26.


(I’m also trying to purge myself of my granola sins by killing myself with exercise. Healthy, right?)

I’ve been hearing a lot about Soul Cycle since moving to the US. People are obsessed with it! It really has become something of a cult. I’ve watched the soul-cyclists from afar for a while now, fascinated by them. (Is soul-cyclists the correct noun? Soulers, maybe?). The one and only San Francisco studio is in the Marina and every time I happen to pass I see crowds of ecstatic looking people at the entrance (in their LuLu Lemon of course), shouting to the heavens about how amazing the class was and how they swore they found Jesus, Mary and Joseph during that last hill climb.

In addition to the regular folks, all the celebs seem to be hopping on the Soul Cycle bandwagon as well. A friend in work said she frequently saw A-listers (Katie Holmes no less) sweating it out in the New York studio she used to go to. God, I love New York.

Needless to say my interest was definitely piqued before my friend Mags suggested we try out the Palo Alto one. Sold!

(Mags, by the way is my new training bud so she’s going to come up a lot in this blog. She’s now been upgraded from ‘my friend Mags’ to just ‘Mags.’ The same goes for ‘my roommate Lysbet’ and ‘my roommate Venessa’ FYI.)

Soul Cycle is an expensive class to take, just like Barry’s Bootcamp – $30 per go. But they do try to make it a little bit posh for you – free use of towels, free use of spin shoes, free hair ties, free deodorant and body lotion in the restrooms, free chewing gum and, this was a new one for me, free ear plugs! Can any hard core fans out there tell me what these are for? Surely the point of the thumping music is hear it and get your groove on? If it’s loud to the point where people need earplugs, why don’t they just turn it down? Actually, maybe they glow in the dark and it just looks cool to see hundreds of ear plugs rocking up and down in time to the music. God knows. I didn’t partake anyway. I’m slightly scared of ear plugs.

The set up inside the Soul Cycle studio is very much like Barry’s Bootcamp. The night-club themed exercise class is so en-vogue now. The quirk with Soul Cycle is that they use candles! The instructor sits on a raised platform, surrounded by lots and lots of flickering candles. There’s a definite altar feeling to whole to the whole thing (soul / alter, get it?). It’s all very atmospheric and lovely.

At least it was until I dropped my water bottle in the middle of the class and couldn’t find it again because it was so dark.

The staff were very helpful in getting the bikes set up correctly, which is so important. If you do a spin class and you’re not sitting properly on your bike, you can kill your back. Not fun!

The class itself was a mixture of spinning (obvs), crunches, weight work and dancing – all on the bike! I think it probably takes a while to get the coordination right. In addition, you don’t have any gauge for what the resistance levels are. The instructor just tells you to turn to the right or left, and you can be very liberal with your turn or very reserved. I think I was quite reserved – my resistance was definitely not up high enough. My thighs didn’t burn as much as they usually do in a spin class. I’m going to have to work on it.

The ‘soulful’ part of the class came at the end, with some yoga-class-esque affirmations telling you to embrace your failures, let go of the past and simply live in the moment. Considering I had another granola slip up today I was comforted by this and finished up the class feeling at one with my myself.

All in all, a positive experience, and I think I’ll try it again. I’m determined to get the spin/dance/crunch combo right. I was so out of sync with the other soul-cyclists (?!?) it was embarrassing.

Also, while I didn’t see any Hollywood celebs in the class, I’m thinking there could have been some secret tech celebs in attendance. I just wouldn’t know what they look like! In which case I should probably make more of an effort with my outfit the next time.

Food and Exercise:

No joke. It has.

No joke. It has.

Photo Collage Maker_Dc7U15

There’s Mags’ foot!

  • Snack: Apple and 8 almonds, coffee with milk before a very early morning meeting
  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with steamed kale
  • Lunch: Salad with quinoa and grilled chicken and loads of veg
  • Snack: Granola (I KNOW)
  • Dinner: Chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pico de gallo (new fave thing, introduced to me by Mags- so fresh, with a nice kick. Great for making plain chicken or fish a bit more lively).
  • Dessert: Strawberries

Day 24: Barry’s Bootcamp

I love trying new exercise classes- I’m a bit of a junkie in fact.


There's a party on my feet

Lucky for me, there are so many on offer in San Francisco!

I’ve tried TRX, crossfit, spinning, barre, boxercise, boot camp, reformer pilates, hip hop (which is deserving of its own blog post- watch this space) and a whole load of other classes designed to sculpt, tone, pump, pummel and basically kick your ass into shape.

I used to go to the gym by myself or go on a solo jog, but I stopped for three reasons:

1. I was way more likely to back out of doing exercise because there was nobody else to let down, only myself.

2. I would do the same routine every time, so I would quickly get bored and stop progressing.

3. The cross trainer was featuring way too frequently in my gym sessions. Accompanied by a magazine and maybe an episode of TOWIE. In other words, I might as well have been taking a nap.

So I switched to group exercise classes and never looked back. I love the variation, the energy, the music, the accountability, the high fives.

(Note, I would only ever high five in an American exercise class. Most Irish people are suspicious of high fives. Plus the execution of the high five is difficult for us to master and causes a lot of embarrassment. I had to practice to get it right).

One of the hottest, trendiest exercise class in the city right now is Barry’s Bootcamp. When I heard that it was the class of choice for the Victoria Secret Angels, I knew I had to sign up. So my friend Mags and I decided to head along on Day 24 to try it out.

Barry’s Bootcamp is definitely styling itself to appeal to young, hot, fit club-going, 20- 30ish working professionals. Think low lights, and loud music. Think smoothie bar and branded tanks. Think beautiful people lazing outside the building on benches, wearing LuLu Lemon, executing near perfect high-fives and sipping on protein shakes.

As soon as I rolled up in my non-designer threads (I don’t own anything by LuLu Lemon) I was ready to be intimidated. But, nice surprise,  the owner (James, not Barry) greeted us warmly when we signed in, the instructor walked us through how to use the equipment and shouted words of encouragement as we went through the workout and it definitely got our sweat on, which is the most important thing!

There were a few posers with their tops off, but I quickly forgave them. And nearly fell off the treadmill in doing so.

The Barry’s Bootcamp workout is a combination of treadmill intervals and weights work on the floor. You can take it at your own speed and you have a clear idea of what progression looks like.

I am definitely sore now, writing this the day after, which is what I want.

It’s an expensive class, but Mags and I will definitely be doing it again. It’s a great way to set yourself up on a Saturday.

And the exertion totally meant I had license to eat the below, right? Not a perfect day, but I tried to healthify where possible.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled and bacon. Coffee with milk.
Snack: Banana with 8 almonds
Lunch: A little of the following- Meat board (I am eating way too much cured meats, fact), slice of bread, arugala salad with Parmesan and fennel, Brussels sprouts, capaonata, glass of red wine. We had all of this in Beretta in the mission. Really tasty food, and a lively atmosphere. Dog friendly as well!
Dinner: Jamie Oliver’s meat loaf (minus the crackers, so paleo friendly), with green salad. 2x glasses of red wine.
Dessert: Red grapes and square of dark chocolate.


*Not the actual portion size of the meat loaf


Dinner guest