You Betta Werk: Barry’s Bootcamp vs. OrangeTheory Fitness

Here are some of my favorite things right now: Alyssa Edwards (!!!), grapefruits (preferably organic), Kylie Jenner in a cowgirl hat, Colonial-era saltbox houses, The Upside Down,  and HIIT workouts. While I strongly recommend you get acquainted with every item on the above list, I specifically want to chat about the last one, and how it has been toning up my body in anticipation of the gay wedding of the szn (!!!) next week.

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[Guess which gym has the best ~belfie~ lighting? Xoxo, my dad socks]

I’ve written about Barry’s Bootcamp before, and how it is probably the most effective workout for my body. I did about 35 Barry’s classes in May and June of last year and subsequently was in the best shape of my life. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive workouts in existence, with their closest-to-Unlimited package (30 classes in 30 days) costing a whopping $400. Fortunately, they have migrated back onto Classpass, so I was able to take 2 classes for free this month as a part of that program.

Since 2 classes won’t do all that much as I travel, trudge, and run the weary #RoadToYoncé, I also signed up for a $160 Unlimited OrangeTheory membership. Read on to find out how the two gyms compare:

Barry’s Bootcamp

Price: Varies but generally about $32/class or $400/month unlimited.

Studio Ambiance: Very boutique and high end for both the Midtown and Miami Beach locations. I love the Malin+Goetz products and the showers/bathrooms are huge. The staff can sometimes be a little cold depending on who is working, but I feel like that’s true for every boutique fitness studio (as much as they all try to push the FIT FAM!!! agenda).

Workout: Participants spend about half the time on treadmills and half the time on the floor with medium/heavy weights doing the most difficult exercises designed to push you to the point of failure.

Difficulty: 10/10, maybe 9/10 on a good day.  The average Barry’s student runs a 6 minute mile and can crank out sets of Russian twists with 25-lb weights. I will never be able to do either of these things, but daily devotees impress me each time.

Celebrity Clientele: Adriana Lima, Elie Goulding, random C-list models, a LatAm celebrity named Chayanne that everyone likes to take selfies with. Also saw Alicia Silverstone leaving Barry’s in Hollywood as I was walking into the ajacent SoulCycle.

Hating On… The fact that some tasks feel literally impossible (ANOTHER round of burpees? Sprinting at 12-14mph?), sometimes the studio feels cliquey/cold depending on staff, monthly membership price is insane and yet front desk will try to sell you on it aggressively.

Obsessed With…Spacious weights area and fanciest Woodway treadmills,  sexy signature lighting which kind of hides how ugly you look mid-class and makes it feel like you’re sprinting through a contemporary art installation like the one in the elevator going to Sugar, occasional ~celeb sightings~ in class, amazing bathrooms and amenities, instant results in terms of toning up your body, and they throw the best parties for their members out of any fitness studio in Miami (The Standard, STORY, Komodo, etc.)

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[I haven’t actually worked up the nerve to wear this ensemble to either studio yet…]

OrangeTheory Fitness:

Price: Varies but generally about $30/class or $160 unlimited.

Studio Ambiance: I’ve only been to the Vizcayne location where I workout, but there’s a handful in Miami with most congregated in the suburbs. The Vizcayne location is pretty small and always feels cramped. There’s only 2 bathrooms for everyone and sometimes its hard for everyone to fit in the weight room. I almost had my skull cracked open several times by fellow classmates while doing TRX things.

Workout: Participants purchase heart rate monitors, which project one’s heart rate and calories burned to the entire class on screens. The goal is to spend 12-20 minutes of class in the heart’s “orange zone”, which sends the body into after-burn mode, burning calories post workout. You know you’re approaching the orange zone, or in it, when you feel like you’re about to pass out from how hard you’re working. I am usually in the orange zone for basically the entire time I’m on the treadmill. The workout changes everyday… often it’s split evenly-ish between treadmill, rower, and weight room (using TRX, free weights and body weight exercises like jump squats, pushups, etc.) Some classes are focused on longer endurance runs and rows or “dry triathalons”.  My favorite format is the tornado class, where you work at your absolute max at each station for short bursts of time, ~3-6 minutes.

Difficulty: 8/10 to 9/10, depending on the day’s workout.  It’s always challenging, and I am motivated each time to push myself to get more “splat points” (you get 1 for every 60 seconds you spend in the orange zone) and burn more calories. It’s slightly less difficult for me than Barry’s because I find the rower a little easier than treadmill. Also, the running goals are slightly more attainable, yet still super hard. For example, yesterday’s running goal was to run a mile in under 10 minutes (mine was 9:32 which was a new record for this stumpy, 5’2″ individual with 36DD’s-perpetually-trying-to-escape-my-sports-bra) and then walk for 30 seconds and run a second mile (second mile wasn’t so hot, I think closer to 10:45).

Celebrity Clientele: None in Miami that I am aware of.

Hating On…The fact that some trainers don’t speak English perfectly which can be annoying when you’re trying to understand them over blasting EDM music while sprinting, front desk often has a major attitude, having to buy the $70 heart-rate monitor and if you forget it or it isn’t working then having to pay to rent one even if you have an unlimited membership, cramped lobby and weight room area, no fancy member parties.

Obsessed With… Coach Nimai who I find ~inspiring~ in a multitude of ways, the fair price point for unlimited plan which motivates you to go often to maximize your membership, convenient location near Whole Foods (walking distance if I leave early enough), quick results in terms of visually toning my body, and especially the ability to clearly track one’s performance and progress during class via the heart-rate monitor system.

In conclusion, either studio will give you amazing results if you attend regularly. Overall I would recommend OrangeTheory as it is scalable for everyone and far more affordable. That said, I also recommend treating yourself to a Barry’s class when you can for both an extreme fitness challenge and indulgent post-class shower.

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[Max’s favorite workout is a 6-mile walk around Brickell and Downtown Miami, followed by a hardcore snooze]

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