Embrace the intensity. Welcome to the UAE’s toughest workout.
Whenever I tell my friends that I’m visiting Barry’s gym for the first time, they give me the same look. It’s a cross between impressed and fear. The Los Angeles born gym has got a reputation for high-intensity training sessions, which have inspired copycats around the world. Now, I’m going to try the OG workout and put my best foot forward.
Barry’s was founded in 1998 by Barry Jay and John and Rachel Mumford. Barry’s has notched up celebrity fans including the Kardashians, the Beckhams, Harry Styles and Justin Bieber. Fun fact: on Saturday Night Live, Jennifer Lopez auditioned to become a Barry’s instructor.
Since then, Barry’s has been flexing its muscles across the world from Spain to Singapore, and has gyms in more than 14 countries. The brand first opened in the UAE in 2017, and can be found in Abu Dhabi’s The Galleria Al Maryah Island. Plus, there is the FACT Award Winning DIFC and the Dubai Marina branch.
Barry’s bills itself as “the best workout in the world”. The creators have spent more than twenty-five years finessing the fitness regime. Each day focuses on a different body part: arms and abs; chest, back and abs; and so forth. By working out different body parts on different days, it helps avoid injury.
When I signed up for Barry’s Dubai Marina, I was used to raising wine glasses rather than weights. Located in Trident Grand Mall, there are two studios: the Red Room for high-intensity workouts and LIFT for strength training. The gym includes state-of-the-art equipment, motivational slogans and mirrored walls.
On my first visit, my nerves are swept away. The smiling staff talk me through the facilities and equipment, and even have a dummy version of the treadmill buttons. The instructor says the magic words: “Go at your own pace”. No faceplanting here.
The Red Room is hard work. The session combines treadmill with strength training. If you’re not up to the cardio, choose double floor – nobody is judging. Don’t worry about looking or sounding stupid, as the lights are low and the volume is up. What follows is a pumping soundtrack of R&B and hip-hop, and one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever completed. So much so, I feel like I am going to throw up at the end. Note: I do not.
Going to the gym can be intimidating. Strength training classes are often filled with six packs, but in Barry’s Dubai Marina’s LIFT classes, women outnumber men. The more I work out, the easier it gets – physically and mentally. I now wear my DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) with pride.
After several sessions, I’ve come to enjoy early morning classes with Charlotte Dugmore and Kyle Tinson. In busy gyms, it can feel like you are forgotten, but these instructors make sure my form is on point. Plus, their oh-so positive vibes are always welcome.
Plus, Barry’s Dubai Marina boasts fantastic facilities. The Fuel Bar offers healthy-inspired shakes and snacks, so you can refuel with drinks like an Acai Berry, Chocolate PB and a Green Latifah.
The showers include high-quality shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and everything from deodorant to Q-tips. The store sells the brand’s clothing collection including T-shirts, shorts and hats.
Go on, embrace the intensity.
GO: Visit www.barrys.com for more information.