Can working out really make you feel better when you’ve got PMS? This week PP took a class at the new Barry’s Bootcamp studio in West London, and gives you the sweaty verdict…

What’s the hype?

Barry’s Bootcamp is dubbed “the best workout in the world” with loyal fitness fans all over the world flocking to their studios for the one-hour, high-intensity, interval class that mixes 25-30 minutes of cardio and 25-30 minutes of strength training. It’s meant to be gruelling, but that’s the idea – rumour has it you can burn around 1000 calories in one session alone.


The PP experience:

My period was due any day and I had PMS that could only be described as through-the-roof; jangly nerves, blood-boiling rage and a foreboding sadness that I just couldn’t shift. These are classic symptoms for me but massively inconvenient nonetheless. I usually manage my pre-period emotional wobbles by going straight home after work and crawling into bed to binge watch Netflix and sleep. But this month I decided to try and blast my bad mood with an intense exercise session – the prescribed cure for feeling low.

The Barry’s West studio is slick, with a shiny reception zone and locker room. There’s a glossy shower area with products to use –including tampons, yay – and Dyson hairdryers, which is a classy touch after your killer workout. One thing that struck me as I tugged on my leggings was that everyone around me seemed very, very chiseled. Gulp. I contemplated leaving, but had a word with myself and figured that making body comparisons or having a confidence crisis was pointless. I’m not horrendously unfit but Barry’s has a clutch of die-hard fans that have been going for months, or even years – and you can definitely see the results of their hard work.

Our class was led by Barry’s master trainer Anya Lahiri, and from the get-go it was clear she'd be putting us through our paces. I padded sheepishly into the red room (of doom?) that looks like a cross between a nightclub in Amsterdam and torture chamber.

The class is made up of strength work on the floor and running on the treadmill. When you book, you choose where you’d like to start. I opted for a floor start and the session began with the music pumping loud. So far, so good.

The next ten minutes consisted of arm lifts, lunges and squats holding dumbells and by the time I switched to the running machine, I already had Bambi legs.

Anya shouts out three speeds for the treadmill according to your fitness level /ability, I firmly punched in the beginner speed and then we were off.

Only a couple of minutes in and I was already breathless and sweating and willing it to be over. Anya shouted for us to notch up our speed (I was trying to knotch mine down without her seeing), and then to introduce an incline, with short bursts of recovery inbetween. I was in shock, this was pretty hardcore.

Then it was time to switch again and we were back on the floor. After one more set of switching from floor, to treadmill, back to the floor again, it was time for the final run on the treadmill. With Anya screaming at us to push ourselves to our limits, our treadmill speeds inched up until the room was pounding at full speed for a 30 second finale sprint.

And just as I thought I might either puke or pass out (or both) I was done. It was over. I’d completed the class and it felt AH-mazing.

As I staggered back to the locker room on a massive endorphin high, I realised I’d achieved what I set out to achieve, the class had totally lifted my mood and kicked my PMS into touch (note: I could barely sit down for the following few days, but that’s not the point).

Fave moment?

Am I allowed to say the end? No? Ok, it would have to be the protein shake from the Fuel Bar – it was like heaven in a plastic cup after killing myself in that red room for an hour. You can order your Barry’s shake before the class and it’s waiting for you when you’ve finished ­– I opted for the Snickers shake and sank it like it was the elixir of life.


Worth a mention:

Barry’s classes are so in demand that peak-time sessions get booked up super-fast – often within minutes of becoming available online. So get organised and poised at your laptop if you want to book on, there is more availability in the off-peak sessions.

PP rating:

4/5 – For the pure endorphin rush

4 OUT OF 5




Barry’s Bootcamp has three London studios, Barry’s Central, Barry’s East and Barry’s West, from £20 per class

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