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Barry’s Bootcamp started us on a ‘jog’ that is as fast as I would normally run, working up to a run that is faster than I have ever considered

Nigella Lawson once advanced the idea of using prunes to replace butter in a cake, saying it seemed unlikely, but that’s what they do in California, “where they make it their business to know that sort of thing”. This is what kept coming back to me in Barry’s Bootcamp, an extremely high-voltage exercise class whose composition was created by the original Barry, a gym instructor in Los Angeles. Does it have to be so hard? Yes. It’s from the city of the beautiful people. The principle is that you can fanny around all you like with yoga and aqua aerobics and body conditioning; but the only things that will really make a difference to your fitness – AKA how much of a Love Island body you have – are running and weights. Time-poor and in search of a six-pack? Stick to these.

I did an abs class, in which you move from a bench on the floor with a 5kg weight, doing endless crunches and variations thereof (side crunches, bicycle moves), to the treadmill, in roughly 10-minute intervals. On the treadmill, you are taken through a series of speed intervals, told what pace and incline to set on the machine in short bursts. It’s not as hectoring as you’d expect: perhaps ur-Barry was wont to yell at people about pain and gain, but Sandy, who started the UK branches with his brother and sister-in-law, is quite a reasonable man, saving his motivational blasts for the people who go all the time and really could run 10 miles an hour if they put their minds to it.

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