Barry's Boot Camp - South Beach
So last night I went for dinner at NaiYaRa, a new Asian restaurant in Sunset Harbour. I’d gone fully intending to drink lightly, then head home to be up for my 9:30 workout Tuesday. Then me and my friend got bold and asked Chef Bee to “make something like the Thai people eat.” HE happily obliged and served us peppers made, from my termination, from the blood of Satan. To help wash down the hellfire that was exploding my head, Chef Bee also brought us out two house cocktails and another glass of wine. Which meant I A) wasn’t driving home and B) wasn’t going to feel very well in the morning.
But, if drinking too much then getting up for an extremely expensive, trendy workout in the morning doesn’t say Miami, then nothing does.
I woke up at 8am with a stomach full of a pleasant combination of stale bar mat and battery acid. I took an Uber to Barry’s Boot Camp in Sunset Harbour, conveniently located in the same building as NaiYaRa so my car would be waiting for me when I got done.
As one who went through boot camp, I’m always entertained by anything that describes itself as a “So-and-so boot camp.” Like “Reading Boot Camp.” Really? Was there a red faced, bug-eyed lunatic spitting on you while he screamed “GET TO THE END OF MY COMPLETE WORKS OF BRONTE BY THE TIME I GET TO ZERO, OR I’M GONNA RUN YOU UNTIL YOUR LUNGS BLEED YOU NASTY PIECE OF TRASH!” No. No there was not. So let’s dispense with the military analogies, shall we?
That said, I kept an open mind to Barry’s, as every high maintenance South Beach girl I know swears by the place. Even the ones without coke habits. So I figured Legs and Butt day would be the best one for a women’s fitness experience. (I’ve never even met a gay man who said “You know, my legs and butt really need work.)
I was introduced to Derek who looked like a smaller Aaron Rogers or a larger Jake Gyllenhaal, take your pick. He had a good high and tight cut, but way too much facial hair to be a drill instructor. Though the gaggles of women who seemed to be there for his class didn’t seem to mind this small inaccuracy.
We entered the training room where a line of treadmills lined the wall, and some Reebok steps were on the floor in front of it. Half the group started on the treadmills, half on the steps. I was on the treadmill.
Derek did not fuck around.
Within two minutes I was running 8 miles an hour up a 6 percent grade for a minute at a time. Within five minutes I felt Chef Bee’s Satan Peppers working their way up from my stomach. But I knew being the biggest dude in the room and yacking in the first ten minutes would be, well, almost as emasculating as having your girlfriend change your tire. So I sucked it up.
Derek continued to not fuck around. He yelled out speeds for the treadmills like “OK, 9 for beginners, 10 for intermediate, 11 for advanced.” I seriously started to think Derek was Canadian. Because there's no way those speeds were in in miles.
Oh, but they were. And the high maintenance South Beach girls on the other treadmills seemed to have no problems with it.
“Skinny bitches should try that at 215,” I thought to myself. And realized I’d all of a sudden gone from big dude to fat chick.
Mercifully the 15 minutes of uphill sprints stopped (I didn’t slow down, though. The girl on the treadmill next to me kept looking over at me, and whether she was checking me out or seeing if I she was running faster than me, I still had to look impressive). And we moved to the floor.
Here we did a series of squats with heavy weights, lunges with lights weights, and all kinds of combinations of the above designed to burn out your legs and glutes. I had to support my upper body during most of the isometric holds, and during the last ones I did my half-assed knee bend that passes as a squat. But is totally obviously not when you’re towerin a foot over everyone else.
Back on the treadmills after 15 minutes of that, and the sprints were a little easier. Derek screamed at us to push it, that we needed to surprise ourselves and make the workout as hard as we could. As we ran I noticed the girl on the treadmill next to me looking over repeatedly. So I made a mental note to not look tired.
This failed as soon as we got to the floor and started doing exercises with leg bands, going from a plank position and doing leg raises with the band around our feet for resistance. Two minutes in and I was literally streaming sweat onto the ground and spraying it every time I exhaled. That last time I sweat that hard was in…oh right…..actual boot camp. Well played, Derek. Well played.
Needless to say as soon as a began flooding the floor in sweat the girl next to me stopped looking over. No matter, Derek put the theme from “Closer” on for post-workout stretching music. Anmd if you told me I’d here the theme from one of my Top 3 favorite movies in an exercise class, Rocky probably had better odds.
I ended by hitting the juice bar for a “Just Barry’d” shake. I don’t recall there being a juice bar at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. But it’s been a few years and, well, New Corps and whatnot. I sounded off “Smoothie, Recruit!” at the guy behind the counter. He looked very confused. So I ordered like a civilian, got my smoothie, then paid $20 to get my car out of the garage.