So I am going wayyyyy outside my comfort zone with this post and it is much longer than my usual blog posts- but I think it is important to share. And like the Barry’s Bootcamp motto states “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”
Why I love Barry’s Bootcamp:
I’m not sure if you can tell from some of my recent posts, but I have definitely become more confident; in my life as well as in my fashion choices (see here and here). This confidence is definitely something new for me. I’m not going to lie, becoming a fashion blogger was a huge risk- you are really putting yourself out there for the world to judge you. There were some days when I measured my self-worth based on my page views, Instagram likes or Facebook post reach. I would compare myself to other bloggers, to Emily, and of course, celebrities. I would think to myself ,”I will never be like them,” “they are so skinny,” or “I could never pull that outfit off.” You name it, I thought it.
It took a lot of time, and a lot of help, to get over this. There were so many nights I would cry to Joe or my friends about how I looked in my photos, that my page views were horrible. But then I remembered why I was doing this, I wanted to keep it real. I have always prided myself on being the most authentic version of myself. That being said, I have been through a lot of changes and challenges in the past year. But I found my saving grace in the most unexpected place: Barry’s Bootcamp.
For those of you unfamiliar with Barry’s Bootcamp, it is a boot camp style workout that is said to be “the best workout in the world.” Research shows that you can burn up to 1,000 calories in a single session. The class is a mix of running on a treadmill, and using weights on the floor. You switch back and forth from the tread to the bench throughout the hour class. For example: six minutes on tread, six minutes on floor, twelve minutes on tread, twelve minutes on floor and then six minutes on tread and six minutes on floor. Each class ends with a very thorough stretching session. I’m not going to lie, the classes are very intense, but the feeling you get afterward is unlike any other. I started going to Barry’s last summer when they opened their brand new studio right across the street from AT&T park. My friend Raeanna encouraged me to go for the first time, and now it is our favorite activity to do together. The owner, Adam Shane, is the kindest and most genuine person. He has truly created a family-like atmostphere at Barry’s Bootcamp. He has done so well that they are opening up a second location (Lombard St.) later in the Fall. At first I used ClassPass and just bought single classes so I was only going a few times a month. The studio is far away from my house- it takes me 45 minutes to get there and park. This used to seem like a trek and I would make excuses to not go as often. It was too far, too expensive, traffic was too bad. Blah, blah, blah.
After moving in with Joe, my eating habits started to change. I went from living with a vegan yogi to living with a dude who can eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked every single night. When you’re in love you become less conscious of what you’re eating- constantly going out for meals, ordering pizza and watching Netflix, going out for ice cream etc. Joe can do all of this and not gain a pound; let’s just say my metabolism is not what it used to be. Lauren Conrad adorably refers to this as the “boyfriend layer.” A few months ago, I realized that I needed to make a change. And that’s where Alvin comes in.
Alvin Holden is not only my trainer, but he is also my friend. He is known in the area as “the booty master” and his classes are said to be the hardest. All of the teachers at Barry’s are amazing, but there is no one else like him. I started taking his classes 3-4 times a week. And now I am a full blown addict. As a teacher myself, I know how hard it is to engage and inspire a room full of 40+ people. But he does it. every. single. time. Alvin makes my workouts seem like a party, the lights are off and the rap music is blasting. It is honestly so much fun and always the best hour of my day. The workout is grueling, and sometimes painful. I have never been a great runner and recently have been suffering from pretty bad shin splints. But whenever I am just about ready to give up, Alvin’s words of encouragement come through the speakers. “No one quits,” “Finish strong,” and my favorite of his mantras, “We don’t walk across the finish line, we sprint!” There have been countless times where I was having a bad day -whether it was a fight with Joe, a bad day at work, missing my family or anything else that came up- but when I left Barry’s I felt like a brand new person. It is the best way to get out your aggression and is wayyyy better (and cheaper!) than therapy. When Alvin says to leave it all out there, I really do. There have been a few instances where I have even cried on the treadmill, but luckily I am sweating so much no one can tell that there are tears on my face.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday at Barry’s with my very best friends. My amazing former student, and now dear friend, Becka, decorated a sign for me, made me a free birthday shake and arranged for Alvin to teach a special birthday class in my honor. He added special birthday themed songs to the playlist, forced everyone to sing to me, and gave me a solid ass whooping (figuratively and literally). He truly is the best. As often as my friends and I joke around about how much we love him, or that we are the presidents of his fan club, in all seriousness, he really is one of the most important people in my life. I feel incredibly lucky to have someone to not only inspire and motivate me every day, but someone who believes in me when I don’t believe in myself and is always making me a better and stronger person. Thanks Alvin, love you- mean it.
I promise I am done with all the mushy stuff now. In the midst of my fitness kick, I also bought a Fitbit. I chose the one with the heart rate monitor so I can track how many calories I am burning at each Barry’s session. I also do a daily challenge with my friend Rachael to make sure we get our 10,000 steps in each day. This has been beyond helpful at work. For me it is so easy to just sit down at my desk while the kids are working on their assignments and work on the blog, answer emails, type lesson plans etc. Since I now know exactly how many steps I have taken, the Fitbit encourages me to be a more active teacher and human. If you don’t have a Fitbit, I encourage you to get one immediately- it has made me so much more aware. I refuse to weigh myself so I don’t know exactly how much weight I have lost, and what day I would even consider as my start date. But I am buying smaller clothes, and noticing a lot of changes in my body. Throughout this whole process I have learned that being physically strong also makes you mentally strong and so moving forward I will continue to focus on becoming a stronger person both inside and outside of the Barry’s studio.
So what does this have to do with fashion or this blog? The clientele at Barry’s is obviously very good looking. The trainers are some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. I have found that it’s more fun and motivating if you are in a cute outfit. That may sound silly, but just because you’re at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t look hot and express your sense of style. Shop my favorite active looks below!
So what are you waiting for? Stop whatever you are doing and book a class at your nearest Barry’s Bootcamp studio! And if you are lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, sign up for one of Alvin’s classes immediately. I promise you won’t regret it. **Outfit details are below.**
Shop this post:
Top: sold out, similar here.
Fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge HR.
Water bottle: ILY Couture.
YES!!! Love the totally honesty in this post Ashley! Body image/self confidence is such a weird and confusing topic to chat with people about but it's something that everyone struggles with..even if they don't want to admit it. There will always be someone who is smaller, taller, skinnier, blonder, prettier, richer..whatever it may be and it is really difficult to look past those things sometimes. I really loved this post and feel that I know exactly where you are coming from. I adore that you are willing to step up and talk about these things and that your confidence is radiating just through these pics! Blogging and vlogging and putting yourself on the internet is quite possibly one of the most challenging things I have ever done, personally. Anyone that has done it can probably agree with that. You do you girl and keep kicking serious ass. I love reading your guys' posts!!! Its nice to see two straight up REAL women who are willing to put them selves out there for everyone to see. THAT takes confidence and I think you are really slaying. **slay girl slay** I haven't tried a Barry's Bootcamp yet but now, I really want to try! You have inspired me to go out and kick some butt.
Thanks for the daily motivation. xx
Thanks so much love! And you are so right… it is so hard to write about. And amen to us for taking risks! You should definitely try Barry's they have multiple LA locations! You are the best. XOX
Such a beautiful and honest post. Just as you compare yourself to others out there know that people may be comparing themselves to you. You are stunning, intelligent and fierce!! I seriously envy your style and poise. Love the blog and always look forward to the new posts (mostly so I can live vicariously through you lovely ladies) ��
Thank you Chelsea. You are too kind! Thanks for all the love and support. We really appreciate it. XO
Loving everything about this post! It's not always easy to put yourself out there muchless to let others know what we need to do to get there….or to admit that have "let ourselves go." It's always easy to compare ourselves to the skinnier, prettier or so we think in our head right??! But it's also amazing to tell the truth about what we as woman go through on a daily basis!!!! You are inspiring many girl, keep it up! And on that note I need to try one of these classes @ Barry's!
Thank you so much Sarah! And yes, I promise you will love it 🙂
I love this post! You are such a beautiful person and that makes me sad that you were judging your worth on things like page views. You are inspiring and I definitely envy your style and strength to write such an open and honest post! Keep up the hard work girl!
Thanks so much Jessica! Just checked out your blog, and love it!