Dim lights. Loud music. "You are beautiful" proclamations. Kim Kardashian.
This is not your average workout.
Welcome to Barry's Bootcamp, the Hollywood exercise program that's taking hold all over the world, merging the gym and the nightclub into one massive, mind-body sweat session. Actors and actresses have relied on founder Barry Jay's combination of interval training and resistance routines for years, including Sandra Bullock, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julia Roberts and Christina Applegate.
Then came Kim.
"Kim has had the most powerful effect out of anyone we've ever had," said Barry's Bootcamp COO Joey Gonzalez. "She's just a walking advertisement. There's mass appeal now. I'm grateful to her."
The reality TV personality has been photographed leaving Barry's Bootcamp studios in Los Angeles and New York City dozens of times, most frequently in the run up to her August wedding. If her legendary backside encased in spandex isn't endorsement enough, there are her tweets:
Sept. 16: "Just had the best workout at @BarrysBootcamp! My arms are shaking! U know that feeling when u work out so hard...love that feeling!"
Sept. 14: "I am sooo happy that Barry's Bootcamp just opened in NYC! This changes everything!!!"
For the 13-year-old chain of gyms, Kardashian changed everything. Barry's Bootcamp's fifth club, its first outside of California, opened in New York City in June. Studio No. 6 landed in Bergen, Norway soon after. Gonzalez has just signed a deal that will bring Barry's to Nashville, Tenn. He plans to head to London, England next. With nearly 40,000 members in the U.S., Barry's reach extends beyond celebrities.
"I've trained people that have lost as much as 140 pounds doing this," Gonzalez said. "Most of our members are coming to be put in a position where they wouldn't otherwise find themselves. They're mostly type-A personalities. If they did the research and they knew more about fitness they could easily do this on their own, but they don't have that time or discipline."
Kardashian declined to comment for this story through her publicist. But one need only Google photos of her in her strapless Vera Wang wedding dress and honeymoon two piece to see why she evangelizes the workout. Four to eight minute long treadmill intervals followed by the same amount of resistance training repeated two to three times in one hour will whip anyone into red carpet shape, if they can get through the ordeal without face-planting on their mat.
"It's similar to a caveman workout," Gonzalez said. "We used to sneak up on prey and sprint and grab a rock and smash it. The human body never ran long distances for five miles, which most people will do -- they'll turn on the treadmill or go to the park and run at 6.5 miles per hour for an hour. That's great, but that's not what's going to make you ripped."
Beyond the workout, Barry's emphasizes atmosphere. Purple and red lights flood the NYC studio. Locker rooms are stocked with Malin + Goetz beauty products. Rihanna, Britney Spears and Beyonce cry out at levels so loud, the front desk offers earplugs. Beaming instructors bounce around the room as if fueled by IVs of espresso and sunshine. Instead of a militaristic barking of orders, they coo instructions and encouragement into their concert quality headsets: "You can do this! You rock! Just 10 more seconds! Are you feeling it? I know I am!"