clock menu more-arrow no yes
Jane Kratochvil

Filed under:

The Funny History Behind New York City's Best Fitness Class for Your Butt

Beebe's Buttcamp took an unconventional road from simple idea to glute-burning reality

Chances are you've heard of Beebe's Buttcamp and don't know why. Perhaps it's the catchy second-take of a name. Maybe it's their ingenious logo that looks like Jen Selter in cartoonish alphabetical form. Or, most likely, it's their sneakily smart approach of putting "00" before their name, bumping them to the top of Classpass' loads-so-slowly-it-hurts studio roster page.


Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

If you've taken the bait and the class, you're likely a regular now, walking home like a scarecrow brought to life from the newfound inability to move your sore buttocks. The origin story of the glute-burning, buns-firing class, though, isn't what you'd expect. Despite an all-female instruction staff that are dubbed "camp counselors," Beebe is not an internet fitspo celeb sporting lust-worthy leggings and a taut rump. She's actually a he (at left), and he's an ad executive who started with a humorous idea and wound up running one of the city's best new fitness classes.

As a workout buff and the head of New Antisocial, an ad agency focused on developing fun ideas, JD Beebe's name play was sort of kismet, a testament to how his mind works (by the way, it's pronounced "bee-bee"). Add a too-perfect logo, a concept that wouldn't quit, and early approval from plenty of people around him, and Beebe's Buttcamp was born — except, of course, that there was no class. So JD worked closely with Jasmine-Symone Gates to formulate the 55-minute, bun-exhausting workout with assistance from Emily Burkhardt, both of whom serve as the main camp counselors for Beebe's eight classes each week (JD substitutes whenever necessary.) Once the trio honed the class structure and held plenty of test runs, Beebe's Buttcamp officially opened this past June, and the buzz and booties have both been popping since.

To understand how something like this could happen, a tip of the cap must first be given to the ol' behind. A perfect ass, one that deserves nearly an hour's worth of attention, is now on the shortlist of things we're supposed to have, like enough matchy-matchy workout outfits to sustain a week's worth of exercise classes before laundry day. More importantly, though, is that the glutes are an imperative area for good posture and all-around athletic performance, which plenty of us need now that exercise has become the de facto social activity over splitting $25 bottles of wine.

While most fitness classes are tailored towards a mix of toned tummies and tight thighs, a 55-minute intensive solely focused on the booty is new. The simple idea of a one-region-only class puts a regular person's toning routine to shame — which, naturally, is how I wound up in a sweat pile on my mat, unsure that my ass was still attached to my body.

Beebe's Buttcamp does precisely what it says: The well-rounded workout (pun so very much intended) has four sections that focus on the tush but go for cardio stamina as well. Once you stretch and warm up, you'll do approximately a billion squats and exercises using equipment, body weight, and all of your mental prowess. There were lunges, floor work, bungees, weights, and bridges; it was brutal and endless. But despite being that the bulk of class, it never got boring.

Once your rump feels like rubber, you'll have a one-song dance party to shake it out and then jump into a "booty burnout," the class's crazy-fast, high-intensity final dash to solidify the hard work. It was great, and for being in a rented studio space, the class felt so well put-together and not makeshift at all.

It's all fully open to modification, which is glorious because if you've ever struggled in a squat series in other classes, well, this will be tough to power through. Jasmine (above) was my camp counselor and is said to be more intense than the bubbly but still challenging Emily, and good lord she does not play. Still though, I've never seen someone smile so much while squatting that low, remaining encouraging throughout class while defying knee-bent gravity.

I barely made it through the end — my ass isn't exactly one you could bounce quarters off of — but a few girls in my class appeared to be regulars, and they were just positively killing it. Returning often is clearly the key to success, something I take to heart since I ate an entire pizza after class and split the seam of my exercise pants (whoops).

If the ache alone wasn't enough to encourage me to come back, the personalized video card from Jasmine, thanking me (by name!) for attending and inviting me to ask any questions about class certainly was. It was thoughtful, interesting, and something I had never seen before. Unsurprisingly, it arrived via ThankView, another brilliant invention from the one and only JD Beebe.

Bebee's Buttcamp

37 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010, USA