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Barry's Bootcamp Founder Talks Fitness Competition in Noho

Photo: David Joseph Photography
Photo: David Joseph Photography

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Welcome to Workout Wednesday: every hump-day, we'll be rounding up some of the city's hottest fitness trends and studios.

These days, Barry's Bootcamp is all about making dreams come true. Just after debuting treadmill reservations comes the cult fitness brand's third New York City studio at 419 Lafayette Street, a location that Barry himself told Racked was something that clients were begging for.

"All I've been hearing is, 'Wow, that's near me!" or 'Wow, I love that neighborhood,'" co-founder and partner Barry Jay said of the new location, citing the difficulty that some have traveling to the West side studios in Chelsea and Tribeca. "They couldn't wait for this one to open."

The bright orange signage hanging on the scaffolding that currently shrouds their entrance is a jolt of energy on a long, sleepy block that runs uninterrupted between Astor Place and West 4th Street—but for New Yorkers who are nuts about fitness, Noho is nothing new.

There's no doubting Barry's Bootcamp's marquee status in the boutique fitness scene, but it's in a field that's rapidly being crowded with new and notable names. Soulcycle anchors the corner of Lafayette and East 4th Streets, and Blink Fitness sits right on top of it. Crunch just moved over to the Bowery, while a "group treadmill training facility" is heading to a former gardening store. David Barton Gym is a highlight of Astor Place, and it now contains the independent cycling studio Cyc. Just a few blocks north is a bevy of Union Square gyms (Revolve, Tone House, Pure Barre)—and let's not even get started on Flatiron's facilities.

So did Jay make a poor business decision by entering such a crowded market? Hardly, he claims. "I'm a big believer in fitness communities," he said, adding that while clients from other neighborhood studios may be drawn to Barry's, those who are coming to the area specifically for bootcamp could branch out to barre or cycling a couple times a week. "I think it helps build up each other—I've never really been the competitive friend type."

"These wonderful pockets of New York—these neighborhoods like Hell's Kitchen, Upper West, Upper East—You could pop up in all these places and build fitness communities because New York is such a huge city, population wise," Jay continued.

But don't expect Barry's Bootcamps to just start springing out of the ground—they scrutinize their locations much more than other fitness brands. Barry's Bootcamp partner (and hottest trainer nominee) Joey Gonzalez told Racked that they had been searching for an East side location for more than a year, and you'll never find them in a space that isn't based on the ground level. "We don't want you to have to sign into a building with someone going to their job," he said, referring to studios in office suites.

Sure, that means their rents will be higher—and, in turn, the price per class. But you don't just come to Barry's Bootcamp to get sweaty—you come for an experience. At Noho, clients are greeted by branded fitness gear and the Fuel Bar (so passersby can pick up a chocolate-peanut butter protein shake without taking a class), while the check-in desk is
along the back wall. The studio itself accommodates 50 students—just like Chelsea, but in a larger space. "We'll give people a bit more elbow room," Jay said.

The construction crew retained the bones of the space—large columns, original brick—but gave it a Barry's twist: concrete flooring, camouflage accents, and artsy portraits of trainers on that brick (the building's landlord had originally intended for the space to be used as a restaurant; "Do you want people to get fit, or do you want them to get fat?" Gonzalez had countered).

Be on the lookout for more locations in the future, Jay said "We're shooting for a lot of areas, and sometimes it's about finding the right space at the right time." Gonzalez specified that there's a huge demand for an Upper East Side studio, but Brooklyn's on the back burner at the moment—"We want to maximize the island first."

· Barry's Bootcamp Noho Is Now (Almost) Open [Racked NY]
· Prayers, Answered: Barry's Bootcamp Debuts Treadmill Reservations [Racked NY]
· Workout Wednesday [Racked NY]

Barry's Bootcamp

419 Lafayette Street New York, NY