For week two of her Running for Beginners couch-to-5K diary Olivia Hartland-Robbins visited Barry’s Bootcamp and stole their trainer’s tips for running for weight loss
I have decided once and for all, it’s time I became a runner.
So often when I’m out walking my dogs, I see people running along effortlessly with their headphones and their lean physiques. I’m so incredibly jealous of those people who say, ‘just popping our for a run’ or ‘I’m going for a run on my lunch-break’.
How can they make it look so easy? How can they go for a run during their lunch-break and barely look like they’ve been for a walk, let alone a run?
‘Not a natural runner’ is how I myself and others would probably describe me. My family aren’t the sporty type, so unless I was forced to run at school, or if and when I attempt to mount the treadmill at the gym, running is not something I would choose to do – but it is something I SO wish I could do.
Whenever I do manage a slight run or jog, I feel great after, feeling like I’ve worked hard and done something to increase my dwindling fitness levels.
I needed a goal to strive towards though. I sat down and Googled ‘charity races in London’. I came across ‘Run Regents Park’ for Macmillan Cancer Support, that was just over five weeks away.
Then it came to me, I’ll train for the next 5 weeks and run a 5K race, 5 weeks to 5K – preferably without stopping. And as I’m a writer for Healthista, I can regale you with the journey every week.
Find out how I got on in week one: Running for beginners – 7 steps to getting started
So – I know how to train safely thanks to celebrity trainer Georgie O’kell and her injury prevention advice. I also have the swanky and professional running shoes thanks to Runner’s Need, but now I need to learn how to actually run and train like the pros.
I had myself booked in for not one but three Barry’s Bootcamp classes in one week – talk about throwing myself in at the deep end, what was I thinking?
From the start I wasn’t too bothered with timings or beating a ‘personal best’, I just wanted to be able to run a significant distance – not easily but not painfully either. I also hoped for some weight loss – I hope for this everyday of course but now it seemed a far more likely achievement with all the running I had ahead of me. Here’s how I got on…
What is Barry’s Bootcamp?
All over the world Barry’s Bootcamp has assembled quite the following, the intense classes are increasingly popular with red carpet conscious celebrities and Instagram famous fitness stars.
For those of you who aren’t sure, Barry’s Bootcamp is a high-intensity (extremely high) workout that can burn up to 1,000 calories in just one class – yes that’s correct, 1,000 calories.
A one hour class will have you running for your life on the treadmill and dripping with sweat (and possibly tears) during the resistance floor workout.
A classic 60 minute workout session at Barry’s includes 30 minutes of intense cardio on the treadmills and a vigorous strength and resistance floor workout for another 30 minutes. This is broken down into 15 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes doing strength training on the floor and then repeated.
Sounds amazing, right? Before I got going though I needed some professional tips. I know I have to learn to run the distance but like I said before I also want to lose some weight, so how can I use running to lose weight?
Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer Tana Von Zitzewitz aka ‘Tee’ reveals her tips on running for weight loss.
Running for weight loss tip #1: Mix running with strength training
‘Running can definitely be used as an aid for fat loss,’ says Tee. ‘Interval running mixed with a solid strength training plan, which is what we do at Barry’s London, can really help with fat loss’.
Try not to stick to just the running part. Some people love to run (I’m still working on being one of these people) and because they love to run they forget that they should probably be throwing some strength training in there too.
The magic combination of both cardio and strength training can tone muscle, maximize fat loss and increase your metabolism so you continue to burn calories throughout your day.
This combination of exercise along with little to no rest periods between the two, ensures your heart rate stays high throughout the class – this helps to burn some serious fat.
Tee explains that Barry’s is no normal workout but ‘a high-intensity workout that mixes 25 minutes of cardiovascular with 25 minutes of strength training. ‘It’s the perfect combination of running and weights to help you torch the calories whilst also getting strong and toned,’ says Tee.
So instead of just going out for a run, try and add some body weight exercises into the mix even if it’s only for ten minutes, such as squats, push ups, lunges and crunches. This will ensure you are getting the magic mixture of both cardio and strength training to maximize weight loss.
Running for weight loss tip #2: Take this natural de-stressing pill
‘Barry’s is also a great way to get rid of your stresses and strains of the day,’ says Tee. We’ve all heard about the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. In fact, excess fat around the middle can be caused by an imbalance of cortisol.
when too much of this stress hormone is released it breaks down tissue and protein and converts this protein into glucose
Cortisol is a steroid/stress hormone that gets released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is released as part of the fight or flight reflex, fighting the immediate physical threat and breaking down tissue to provide us with the energy we need to fight that threat. Nowadays with our busy and hectic jobs, stress may be less physical but is constant and more psychological.
The good news about cortisol is that it provides us with energy to help us from injury, infections or illness. However, the bad news is when too much of this stress hormone is released it breaks down tissue and protein and converts this protein into glucose, leading to an increase in abdominal fat.
Although exercise such as running and interval training puts a brief stress on the body, it also helps to relieve tension and stress. By reducing our stress through exercise we are therefore lowering our levels of cortisol that could be turned into glucose and abdominal fat.
Read more about cortisol and stress: Do you have stress belly?
By ridding yourself of stress and strain with some intense interval training such as running and sprinting, ‘there is less of the stress hormone cortisol running through your body post-class,’ explains Tee.
Tee warns however that you should ‘make sure you pay attention to your recovery and rest after your workout though, otherwise it could have the opposite effect.’
Running for weight loss tip #3: Workout in the AM
Look at the person sitting at the desk next to you, if they didn’t do a workout this morning but you did, even though your both just sat down resting, you’ll be burning way more calories than they are. The reason for that is after-burn.
Although it can be hard to find the time in the mornings, if you’re looking to lose weight it’s definitely the best time to workout. By working out in the AM, this after burn ensures that you burn calories all day, even you’re resting.
This after-burn is called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). It refers to the amount of oxygen that needed to restore your body back to its normal and resting level of metabolic function (homeostasis).
That basically means that once your workout is over and you’re back to your everyday routine, your body’s metabolism will continue to burn calories all day. Think of a car engine, after a long car journey you turn off the car but can still hear the engine cooling down. That’s what is happening to your body, it’s still warm and working on cooling down.
By elevating your heart rate and body temperature during your workout, the EPOC effect will help you to lose weight, by eating up calories even after you’ve exercised.
And the best way to get that heart rate up and therefore lose weight faster, is interval training, or high intensity interval training (HIIT). Adding strength strength training to your running routine will also help boost you EPOC levels.
Running for weight loss tip #4: Add sprints to your programme
As mentioned before, ‘if you are choosing to run then try adding intervals to your running plan,’ says Tee. ‘Interval training is for all levels, from beginner to elite athletes and can improve both your speed and fitness, while also accelerating weight loss results.’
By adding interval training such as sprints to your usual running plan you are challenging your body to do something new. Keeping your body and fitness levels guessing will improve both your fitness and your metabolism, therefore resulting in weight loss.
If you’re looking to lose some weight, make sure you’re changing things up a bit. Do some hill sprints, try and beat your personal best or add ten minutes onto your usual run, try and do anything to challenge yourself and your fitness levels.
If you’re going to try adding sprints to your running, start off by sprinting for 20 seconds, and then walking or resting for 40 seconds (20:40). Try and incorporate this into your run ten to 15 times. If you’re a more advanced runner and want something slightly more challenging, try sprinting or running as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then give yourself 90 seconds rest and repeat.
Variety is helpful too. ‘Vary your intervals and rest periods to either increase or decrease the intensity of your workouts,’ suggests Tee. ‘Keeping your body challenged will ensure you see some weight loss.’
So the next time you’re out for a run in the park or on that trusty treadmill, add some interval sprints into the mix, try to raise your heart rate in order to burn that fat and lose more weight.
Running for weight loss tip #5: Remember to rest
‘Rest days, please don’t overlook them,’ pleads Tee. ‘On your rest days incorporate LISS (low-intensity steady state) exercise into your day, this will ensure you are still getting the exercise but without putting extra strain on your body. Your body needs this day to recover from previous strain in the week’.
Examples of active recovery include walking, swimming, hiking, yoga or dancing.
Generally an active recovery workout should be less intense and have less volume than what would be your usual workout but go for longer, say 35 minutes or more. Active recovery is also known as LISS (low-intensity steady state).
‘Rest days are just as important as your workouts,’ says Tee. ‘You need them if you want to keep up the intensity in your workouts.’ If you aren’t utilising those important rest days, you’ll soon burn out and won’t be able to put all your effort into the workouts that really need it.
So if you don’t want to take part in passive recovery (complete rest from exercise) try active recovery. But remember, don’t over do it or you’ll end up losing steam towards your goals.
Time to tackle Barry’s Bootcamp
I visited the London West studio in Queensway, just two tube stops away from where I work which was pretty handy. At Barry’s, each day of the week focuses on training different muscle groups. The three classes I chose to do at 8:20am were: ‘butt and legs’ on the Tuesday, ‘chest, back and abs’ on the Wednesday and a ‘full body’ workout on the Friday.
On entering the London West studio for my first day, I was greeted by bright red lights and had to double check I hadn’t accidentally walked into a nightclub – it looked far too fun a place for intense grueling workouts…
I’ll admit I was nervous waiting outside that infamous ‘red room’, thinking will I be able to keep up? Am I going to embarrass myself? Are the instructors going to shout at me? Will everyone look like sculpted models?
Well yes, everyone looked amazingly fit and beautiful but before you know it, you’re up on that treadmill and getting it done without thinking twice about anyone else. Barry’s trainer Tee gave us beginner or advanced options for our level of speed and explained that for 15 minutes we would be doing some interval sprints at different inclines. Intervals and inclines – surely I’ll look like a model after this.
After only a short while my heart rate was UP. All I was thinking about was that after-burn, ‘if I do this now i’ll be burning calories all day,’ I thought.
The music, the red lights, the motivational voice of our instructor and seeing everyone else in the mirror running as though their lives depended on it, I was determined to try my best and challenge myself as much as I could.
Then it was on to the strength training, the second part of the magic combination for ultimate weight loss. For the floor workout, Tee told us to grab two ldumbbells of nothing less than 5kg and one heavier dumbbell of around 8-10kg.
On ‘butt and legs’ day, we went on to do goblet squats, split squats, lunges, booty band crab walks and some box jumps. While feeling the burn, I was able to get my breath back. Floor work done, now it was back to the treadmill.
I actually found the sprinting easier this time thanks to the first load of sprinting
My legs were now feeling heavy – for this next 15 minutes we would be doing some sprints on a very slight incline to keep our heart rate up, and then walking on a very steep incline to work our leg muscles.
I thought, ‘Ah walking, thank goodness’ but boy was I wrong. I actually found the sprinting easier this time thanks to the first load of sprinting, but the speed walking at an incline was just beyond me, I was convinced I would fall off the treadmill with my little legs.
Back to the floor, we again went through 15 minutes of lunges, squats and butt raises. Before I knew it, the 15 minutes were over and it was time to stretch – bliss.
My heart rate felt the highest it had ever been, I was seriously sweaty and completely out of breath. Turns out Tee was right, interval training really does increase your heart rate, I couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of calories and fat I had just burned and go on to burn for the rest of the day thanks to the EPOC effect.
After stretching I hobbled out to make my sweaty way to the changing rooms. Which by the way were the nicest changing rooms ever. White marble showers, Dyson hairdryers, GHD hair straighteners, moisturiser, make up remover, deodorant and other essentials were provided – I didn’t want to leave to be honest.
So what did I get out of Barry’s Bootcamp?
I hadn’t thrown up, I hadn’t fallen off the treadmill and I had sort of managed to keep up with the others. Most importantly, when walking back to the tube station I felt amazing, high on endorphins and a huge sense of achievement – and it was only 10am.
I wont lie, I did find Barry’s Bootcamp hard work, but then again like I said before I’m not a runner, and Barry’s involved quite a lot of running. Like everything, you only get better with practice, if I were to stay at Barry’s for a few weeks I know it would have felt a lot easier and I would have been walking on those inclines with attitude.
Barry’s Bootcamp pushed me past the point where I would normally stop, make excuses and shout ‘I’m not a natural runner, I can’t do it’
Barry’s was a tough workout because it’s supposed to be tough. Barry’s will be the ‘best workout of your life’ (they say) and your body will (eventually) thank you for it.
It pushes you far beyond your limits and fills you with a huge sense of achievement.
Barry’s helped me out big time, as far as its usefulness for my 5k training. After getting some well needed rest over the weekend, with some active recovery walking my dogs (remember rest is just as important as the workout), I felt my fitness levels had improved and my legs felt stronger.
With my improved fitness and stronger legs, I decided I had some confidence to go to the gym for a run. I was able to run for a whole 10 minutes, which for me is a big deal. I also hadn’t experienced any shin splints ALL week, but I tried not to think about that as I didn’t want to jinx it!
Barry’s Bootcamp pushed me past the point where I would normally stop, make excuses and shout, ‘I’m not a natural runner, I can’t do it’. I was able to look past the breathlessness and focus on not giving up until I saw that 10 minute mark on that treadmill at the gym. I also felt leaner and lighter and my clothes even fit a little better, after only three classes. Result.
Barry’s Bootcamp is an international fitness phenomenon which pioneered the boutique fitness sector in the UK since launching in 2013, and has recently opened its fourth London studio, Barry’s SW1, at Eccleston Yards in January.
Think you might like to give Barry’s Bootcamp a try? To reserve your class, visit barrysbootcamp.com.