Tag Archives: fitness

I Survived Barry’s Boot Camp

19 Jun

I started “food buff” to talk about my two loves: eating, and ironically, fitness/exercise. I figured it’s about time for a fitness post or I’ll have to change my blog to “food liar”.

What better way to kick things off than with the much-anticipated, newly opened LA transplant, Barry’s Boot Camp. Holy _______ (insert favorite profanity here). I’ve tried many different workouts over the years, and I think this is the hardest yet.

Barry’s Boot Camp, which opened June 4th in Chelsea, is not what we’re used to seeing from boot camps. The studio is not covered in camouflage like a base training camp. It’s a fairly large studio, able to accommodate about 40 people, brand new Woodway treadmills, in a “club-like” atmosphere. The music is rockin’, and the dark, red lighting is figure flattering (which helps since you’re staring at yourself in the mirror all class). My instructor wasn’t yelling at us, but I’ve heard others (especially Barry) use more of a pledging approach to get you motivated.

Classes are one hour, with a combination of 25 to 30 minutes of interval training on the treadmills (a.k.a. sprinting your $ss off) and the other half focusing on strength training with free weights and other equipment. Monday through Friday the strength training focuses on different body parts each day. For example, Monday is arms and abs, Tuesday is legs and butt, etc. Full schedule is here. In theory, if you go every day, by the end of the week you would have worked all muscle groups. But if you need it all in one class, they offer full body workouts Friday through Sunday, which is what I took. The instructor had us do (four) 15 minutes segments: 15 on the treadmill, 15 on the floor with weights, 15 back on the treadmill, 15 on strength. After the first 30 minutes, I thought I was done. You can imagine my disappointment when we were told to get back on the treadmill and I realized we were only halfway through.

The idea of “shocking” the body to get the best results isn’t new. I’ve had personal trainers at Equinox and NY Sports Club, and they used the same methodology of interval training with strength. It’s a proven method and I walked out of class feeling tighter almost immediately. I was sweaty, exhausted, and could see that with consistency, this class could get me leaner, toned, and stronger.

That said, I hated every minute of running. I detest running to begin with, and was nervous about the treadmill element. The intervals were hard…high speed sprints (7-12) and high inclines (over 6). Hitting those numbers was next to impossible sometimes, and sustaining them took a whole other level of warrior. Sure there are times when you’re jogging or at a lower incline, but the peaks were brutal and even being in decent shape, I struggled. I haven’t run in over a year, so I’m sure that didn’t help. Also, there are no breaks, it’s a constant, one-hour, beat down.

The strength training portion wasn’t as brutal. They recommended 5 lb light weights and 8 lb heavy weights for women so being a little afraid of what was in store, I went with the suggestion. Perhaps I could have gone heavier now that I’ve been through it, but first class is always hard not knowing what you’re up against.

It was fun to try a new class that was challenging and totally different from anything I have in my current routine. I was completely out of my comfort zone and getting through it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I can’t say that this will become part of my routine, but I’d like to try it a couple more times to see. This is also a great workout to go with a buddy. Misery loves company, right?


  • You sweat. A lot. And probably burn a ton of calories (my heart rate monitor battery died so I couldn’t calculate my workout).
  • The 50/50 cardio/strength mix makes efficient use of an hour.
  • The instructor, and being in a class setting, pushes you beyond what you think you can do
  • My class had an even number of men and women
  • New studio in convenient location. They also have electronic lockers so you enter your own 4 digit code and that’s it. No need to bring a lock.
  • If you’re a runner, you’ll probably drool over the cardio segments.
  • They also have a juice bar which is rumored to be developed by one of the folks from Greenleaf .*
I tried this Chocolate Peanut Butter smoothie. Initially it tasted good, but after a couple sips it had a little chalky aftertaste. I like my smoothies thick!! The consistency was way too thin for my taste, almost like chocolate milk. They also use “Better’n Peanut Butter” which probably appeals to people who are focused on low-fat/low-calorie. (I can picture men who can’t put their arms down, really into these). I’m more concerned with eating whole, natural foods, and would rather they use a small amount of pure, real, organic peanut butter instead of something processed.

Chocolate "Peanut Butter" Smoothie at Barry's Boot Camp


  • As a first timer, I was shocked I didn’t receive any training on the treadmill, and no welcome, etc. When I checked in, the front desk didn’t even offer me a tour or any information on class packages. Luckily, I’d stopped in a few days prior and received one from their GM who is an absolute doll. I left class with no incentive to buy a package (i.e. discount on future package?) which was disappointing.
  • The instructor asked if anyone was new. Despite raising and waving both hands, he didn’t see me (in a class of 10 people). He seemed focused on a few “regulars”. Yes the treadmill isn’t rocket science to master, but the Woodway is a bit different, so a quick demo/tutorial would have been beneficial as there were times when I couldn’t get the stupid speed to change, and one time when it just shut off for no reason.
  • The waiver I signed before class didn’t ask if there were any injuries. In small print it says “All injuries must be reported before class.” But no one asked if there were injuries, including the instructor, so I’m not sure when this reporting should have taken place.
  • Instructor gave a couple adjustments, but guidance was minimal.
  • This is a HIGH-impact workout. In addition to running, there are lots of squats and lunges which aggravate my joints. I had surgery years ago for a torn meniscus. The day after Barry’s workout, my knee was pretty inflamed.
  • RUNNING. Did I mention, I hate it?
*I reached out to Barry’s to check details about the Juice bar. At time of posting, I had not received feedback. I’ll update the post with any other info if applicable.

Happy 30 day Veganversary to me!

1 Feb

Day 30 – What’s next?

I did it!  Vegan for 30 days. I feel great and am incredibly proud. And for the record, I did it way before Oprah. Being vegan opened my eyes to how many animal products I used to consume. I hadn’t noticed how much dairy I was eating… a couple coffees, dinner at a restaurant (prepared with butter), eggs in the pasta, eggs in the bread, yogurt for breakfast, it all adds up.

After reading different articles and books including The China Study (thank you @blakebrody for the loaner, I swear you’ll get it back), I feel bad that I always called my mom crazy when she gave me that disapproving look and said “That has _____ in it, it’s not good for you.” Fill in the blank with “high fructose corn syrup”, “aspartame”, “caramel color”, “red meat”, “red dye”, “blue dye”, “artificial X”, “preservatives”, the culprits are endless. This was usually followed by a monologue on how the ingredient causes cancer.

My mom has always been ahead of her time when it comes to health. She’s a nurse and as I’ve mentioned, an amazing cook. In fact, why isn’t she writing this blog? Between her and my crafty, farming dad, I must have been the healthiest kid in Maine. I grew up on pure, natural ingredients. Apples, grapes, strawberries, asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, sugar snap peas, watermelons, maple syrup, you name it, we made it. (My dad could grow fruit in the desert. Evidently green thumbs are not genetic because I’ve successfully killed cactus and other “invincible” plants.)

Everything was homemade from the moment I was born (breast-milk aside). My mom made her own baby food by pureeing things like spinach in the blender. Nothing jarred or canned ever touched these lips. At a very young age, I learned how amazing fresh ingredients taste, the benefits of cooking from scratch, and the dangers of artificial preservatives/ingredients. And although I never cooked as a child, it definitely made me who I am today so I’m eternally grateful for growing up with parents that emphasized the importance of what we put in our bodies. I guess it all sunk in afterall. Thanks mama & papa. Sorry I called you crazy, but I’m sure that won’t be the last time.

Why did I do this? Ah, this question came up almost every time I told someone what I was doing. My answer? FOR ME! After eating a mostly vegetarian diet, I was curious about becoming vegan. Of course I also did it because I’m an animal lover. I mean, look at this face!

simon. a.k.a. the cutest dog on the planet

Food Inc. changed me for life, but my primary concern is my health, and of course, the health of those around me. I did become more aware of my food choices and how they impact my own body, the lives of animals and the environment around us. So my reason for doing it is really 3-fold, but I technically fall into the “dietary vegan” category vs. the “ethical vegan”.

As I researched other vegan blogs/articles on Twitter, I was disheartened by some negative comments (not directed at me, but general comments) bashing people doing “vegan challenges” or “trial periods”. This really chaps my *ss. I think it’s great if ANYONE tries being vegan for ANY amount of time. If it’s a day (hello, Meatless Mondays??), a week, a meal, it’s a journey for someone working towards a common goal and should be embraced with the same compassion deserved of all walks of life.

The kindest note I received was from @VeganTweeter who said …”a ‘trial’ or ‘experiment’ is how many lifelong vegans start out”.  That really struck a chord with me. I wasn’t sure where this path would lead 30 days ago, but now I feel I’ve only touched the surface of being vegan. Since I’m a dietary vegan, I do still have some clothing made from animals so maybe some will say I’m not a “true vegan” then. And yes I do recognize the hypocrisy of not eating animals but wearing them. But isn’t it better to do something than nothing at all?

Am I going to keep the blog going? You betcha! I absolutely love blogging, but I’m thinking about changing the name. More on that later.

The big question…Am I staying vegan? YES I am! Dining out is definitely the most challenging. I’m a big foodie and love to try all the new restaurants, but even the vegetarian dishes like pasta are usually not vegan since pasta is typically made with eggs. I will try to eat as vegan as I can, but if there are times when the best I can do is vegetarian, than that’s what I’ll be if you have to label it.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised that restaurants like Little Giant can be so accommodating, and I’m optimistic that as more people turn to plant-based diets, dining out will not only become easier, but chefs will be preparing more unique and amazing vegan-friendly dishes. Tonight I celebrated at Blossom with a glass of Malbec, arugula salad & seared seitan with porcini sauce. And after that, ran across the street to Cocoa V for a cupcake. Life is sweet!

tofutti cream cheese frosted chocolate cupcake

Thanks for reading this past month. Stay tuned for more recipes, restaurants, fitness information and other vegan adventures.

What’s your story? Why did you decide to be vegan? Are you a dietary vegan or an ethical vegan? Or other? 🙂 Please share!! Thinking of going vegan? Here are some items I found essential to have on hand to help you get started. If you have other starter kit ideas you want to share, please do! Sharing is caring, people.

Vegan Starter Kit (Organic)




Dairy-free milk (almond, hemp seed, cashew, soy etc)

Baby carrots


Onions/Carrots/Celery basic essentials for soups, stir frys etc

Beans (variety of either canned or dried, whatever you like and have access to – cannelini, garbanzo, black beans)




Hot sauce

Variety of leafy green vegetables fresh and frozen (kale, collard greens, spinach) & baby spinach, romaine for salads


Variety of snacking fruits (whatever is in season that you like)

Nuts (whatever you like) tip: store nuts in the fridge so they don’t go bad

Peanut butter or almond butter

Tahini (or make your own with sesame seeds)

Peeled Snacks

Frozen shelled edamame


Liquid Amino Acids

Nutritional Yeast

Whole grains (millet, farro, quinoa, brown rice, sticky brown rice, seeded/sprouted bread, polenta, soba noodles, whole grain pasta, brown rice wraps or tortillas) tip: store rice, seeded grains/breads in the freezer so they don’t go bad

Corn to make popcorn

Earth Balance

Good olive oil, canola oil, toasted sesame oil


Fresh herbs (parsley is a good staple)


Equipment I can’t live without: Vitamix or other commercial grade blender

Lastly, below are a few of my favorite discoveries from this past month as I explored the world through vegan eyes.

New Vegan Discoveries

The Kind Diet

1,000 Vegan Recipes Cookbook

Blossom New York

Coco V

Vegan Tweeter

Happy Herbivore

Fitness Motivation

new in-studio footwear by Blake Brody

soul cycle

bar method soho

power pilates

movement studio LA

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