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Can an average person do seven days in a row of high-intensity workouts?

Just how hard is it to complete seven high-intensity workouts in seven days, we sent writer Eliot Hastie to Barry's Bootcamp to find out. 

When I saw on Barry's Bootcamp that they were issuing a "Hell Week" challenge, I knew I had to do it. I needed a new challenge to kickstart my summer fitness, and seven days in a row of HIIT type workouts seemed a good place to start. 

For those who don't know, Barry's Bootcamp is a high-intensity workout that utilises internals and strength training to tone your body. 

I must confess to having done Barry's prior to this week, and I knew that the classes were a challenge. 

Did I think I could do seven in a row? Nope, not for one second, but that just made me want to try more. I wanted to test just how hard I can push my body.  

In fact, it is the same reason that inspired the concept of the Barry's Bootcamp Hell Week, according to head of curriculum and trainer Blake Bridges. 

"Hell Week started back in the day just as an extra challenge for our clients, especially the die-hard clients that come all the time. 

"We are constantly challenging our bodies, day in and day out, to try to push and pursue better fitness levels. And it was just something we thought would be a fun challenge to add in for that aspect of things," he said. 

Not only was this the first Hell Week to be held in Australia (Barry's only opened in the market two months ago) but it was also Blake's first time doing it. 

"This is my first time doing Hell Week, because a lot of times my schedule is hit and miss when I worked at Barry's in the US. So, this was my first time and it is those three full body days that kick you at the end," he said. 

Barry's is structured in a way that every day is focused on different muscle groups – Monday being arms and abs, Tuesday being legs, Wednesday is chest, back and abs, Thursday is hardcore abs, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are full body. 

"We focus on different muscle groups different days of the week. So, you can, if you want to, come five or six times a week without overworking one muscle group or not. 

"We also have the double floor option, so if your legs are completely shot or you want to focus more on chest and back, then that's a good option that allows people to come more," said Blake. 

The workouts run for roughly 45 minutes, and a typical class will see you switch from the treadmill onto the floor for a weights workout a couple times. 

So, in I went for my first class, 6:45am on Monday morning at the Martin Place studio to work arms and abs. 

And honestly, I survived that training and every class afterwards. Despite a chaotic storm on Wednesday, I still made it to class, and while a work Christmas party almost took me out for Saturday, I still got there. 

If it weren't for Hell Week, then I guarantee I wouldn't have. But I'm not one to back down from a challenge, it also helps that Barry's is a lot of fun. 

Don't get me wrong, it's a workout. You will sweat, you will push your limits, but you'll also love it. My legs were jelly by the end of the week, I'd never sprinted so much. My arms could have fallen off and even typing on the keyboard was tough. But I did it, and it felt great!

Inside the Red Room (Barry's studio is infamously lit with red lights) is different to other studios. The whole vibe is created to make you work, the music is pumping, the trainer's energy is infectious, and everyone is there for the same purpose. 

The reason I keep going back is because of the trainers, indeed even Blake agrees that it is the trainers that help set Barry's apart from the competition. 

"All of our workouts are instructor-based. No one is telling me how to write the workouts, how to plan my workouts, what music I need to play. I think it comes off more believable because I'm going to plan a chest, back and abs workout that I know works, that I've done research on and I present that to the table rather than something that's been choreographed for me," he said. 

But, in the end, what were the results? 

Well, I can't confess to losing any weight, but I would certainly say I felt pretty good at the end as I had toned areas I wanted to. 

Did I get fitter? Well, the only gauge I had was the final challenge of every class for the week was an uphill sprint on the treadmill at an incline of 6 per cent. 

Every day I finished with that sprint. On Day One, I sprinted at level 9, but by Day Seven, I was sprinting at level 12. It may not seem like the biggest difference, but it's one I was happy with. 

Would I recommend it? Yes and I have to many. If you need a kickstart to your fitness, go. If you want to test your fitness in a new way, go. If you want to tone yourself, go. 

Personally, I don't see it as a one-stop fitness shop, and I don't think Barry's does either. It is a great workout, particularly if you are looking to tone up your body or increase your fitness, then this is one of the best workouts to do just that. 

It was a great way to launch into December, but I think I may need to do it again after the inevitable party season that can be Christmas. 

The author of this piece paid for his own classes to Barry's Bootcamp and views are his own. 

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