With popular fitness chains like Barry’s Bootcamp and Soul revolutionizing the concept of making working out enjoyable, Palo Alto community members are moving from training at traditional gyms to two new fitness locations that recently came to the city.
SoulCycle, which opened at the Stanford Shopping Mall one year ago, and Barry’s Bootcamp, which opened this past June, have become popular attractions among Paly students.
Junior Leslie Aboytes, who often takes classes at SoulCycle, believes that SoulCycle brightens the experience of working out.
“I really enjoy going to SoulCycle classes because not only is it a different way of working out, but it’s also more fun than traditional workouts that can be done at the gym,” Aboytes said.
While SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp are both relatively new to the fitness scene, they have developed different approaches to exercise for their customers.
According to their website, Barry’s Bootcamp uses techniques of both running and strength training in its classes. Half of the class pushes attendees to run at different speeds and inclines on the treadmill, while the other half consists of strengthening the upper body or core.
Additionally, each weekday class focuses on strengthening a different part of the body — arms and abdomen on Monday, a full-body workout on Tuesday, chest, back and abs on Wednesday, abs on Thursday, total body on Friday, full body upper focus on Saturday and total body on Sunday. Barry’s Bootcamp classes cost $35 per session.
With this wide range of practices each day, attendees can choose a day that works best for their preferences.
Barry’s Bootcamp Instructor and Bay Area native Katie Wong said she has always had a passion for working out.
“I fell in love with group fitness when I started teaching at Pure Barre,” Wong said.
“After going through some difficult times in my personal life, I went to Barry’s class one evening and fell in love. It was more than just an intense workout. It truly became a mental escape for me, and I crave the endorphins and strength it provided me during those darker days.”
Though Wong said she often found working to be a form of mental escape, teaching her favorite classes has been even more motivating and inspiring.
“You really get to know the people that come in regularly, you learn about their life and you look forward to seeing them week after week,” Wong said.
“It’s inspiring to see the people in the room motivating each other to run faster, (and) lift heavier, so with that in mind, my 5:30 Monday ‘Arms & Abs’ in Palo Alto is probably my favorite time slot.”
While people often find working out to be an obstacle, Wong said Barry’s accessibility makes it easy for customers to stop by.
“When you’re working out purely for aesthetics, it’s easy to lose motivation or hit walls,” Wong said. “When you work out because you look forward to the music your favorite instructor plays, or because you have to release some anxiety you’re holding onto, or you want to see your friend who always runs on the tread next to you, it creates a whole new level of accountability and keeps you coming back for more even when you don’t feel like it.”
In addition to Barry’s Bootcamp’s wide range of workout classes, they also have a “Fuel Bar,” which has over 20 different smoothies with flavors ranging from vanilla to green kale.
In contrast, SoulCycle consists of one activity — cycling. In a dimly lit room of about 30 bikes, it is more than just a workout class. Pushing towards the finish line and moving with the rhythm of the music, SoulCycle offers an intense workout in its 45-minute class.
According to the SoulCycle website, it “is a space to come as you are and celebrate who you are; to emerge feeling stronger and inspired. Because moving your body and working your mind changes your Soul.”
Controlling the speed and tempo enables everyone from different athletic backgrounds to push themselves at which they are comfortable with.
The new concept of Soul Cycle and Barry’s Bootcamp has become popular to many students at Paly.
While SoulCycle is a full body workout, Aboytes said this allows for her to work off her stress while having an enjoyable time doing it.
“When I go to Soul Cycle, I’m able to relieve stress and have fun,” Aboytes said. “It feels like I’m not even working out because the loud music and the energy of the room distracts me from the exercises.”