Barry’s Babe: Danielle Cohen

Name: Danielle Cohen

Age: 29

Height: 5’3

Weight Lost: 27 pounds and counting

OCCUPATION: Enterprise business development for a tech company in San Francisco.

Home Base: Barry’s SOMA and Barry’s Marina (San Francisco)

HOW DID YOUR BARRY’S JOURNEY BEGIN?

I’d heard great things about the studio from a friend in LA (thanks Will!), and with the announcement of the SoMa, San Francisco studio opening in June of 2014, I bought a 10-pack without truly realizing what I was signing myself up for.

Admittedly, I had never been on a treadmill before coming to Barry’s. The past few years had me thinking about pretty much everything except my health. I was caring for an ill parent, commuting an hour and half each way to work everyday and trying to conclude a toxic relationship. I’ve always prided myself on putting the needs of others first, but it suddenly hit me that I really needed to make a change — it was time to start taking care of myself.

It was more than the fact that my clothes weren’t fitting like they were before and that my weight had ballooned to a record high. I knew that I needed to find a routine that would make me healthy in both body and mind.

WHAT MADE YOU WALK THROUGH THOSE DOORS?

I remember walking up to the doors of the studio on King Street, on opening day, with my nerves at an all-time high. I kept thinking, “What if I make a fool of myself and everyone else is ultra-fit?” My fears were eased once I walked into the studio though, as I was greeted by what I now consider the management dream team: Ali, Natasha, and Tara. Their warm welcome made me feel instantly more comfortable as they guided me through the studio and what to expect. My very first class was taught by Barry’s current CEO, Joey Gonzalez, who was guest teaching for the opening weekend. I think my survival instincts helped me get through the shock of my first class and so I could come back to truly evaluate the experience for my second time with Alvin Holden (whom I personally credit with getting me hooked on Barry’s).

After a handful of classes, I realized that I’d found the outlet I’d been needing but didn’t know I was missing. The sense of community at Barry’s Bootcamp San Francisco is unquestionably a result of Adam Shane and Justin Roja, who always take the time to get to know each and every person who passes through the doors – not only as a client, but as a member of their Barry’s family. This is so much more than just a gym. For the record, I never (never!) thought I would ever make friends at the gym! Special thanks to Barry’s newest instructor, Mandy Gragg for being my first Barry’s friend and helping me get out of my own way. Now I look forward to running alongside what I’ve dubbed the Barry’s warriors and celebrating special milestones on each others’ fitness journeys.

ANY ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO HAVEN’T GOTTEN BARRY’D?

The first thing I’d say is that every single person in every class is at a completely different fitness level, so you don’t have to worry so much about yours in comparison! You’ll be in class with life-long athletes who are challenging themselves in new ways, beginners who are very early in their fitness journey and working on form, and everyone in between.

The energy at Barry’s is infectious with an atmosphere that’s always supportive and never preachy. You can expect instructors who will take the time to get to know you and learn about your fitness journey. The community vibe will help you push yourself beyond self-imposed limits; be ready to high-five your neighbors after a tough set and challenge yourself to the point of change. The San Francisco motto is, “If it isn’t challenging you it isn’t changing you!” There will be moments when you’ll want to give up, but know that your first 12.0 sprint is just around the corner (when I started, I could barely run at a 6.0!). Know that you’re never alone, and keep showing up! The reward is entirely worth it.

WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

The fact that I’ve actually seen my body change more quickly than I ever thought possible, is incredibly motivating. On top of that, each instructor is so unique and has their own style, so no two classes are ever alike. For me personally, I mix up my routine with classes taught by Alvin, who always encourages me to “Finish strong!” (even though I sometimes feel like I’m going to throw up on the treadmill with those inclines); Nichole, whose hard-core abs class is one of my favorites of the week; and Joel, whose playlists are pretty much famous on Spotify ( I actually followed them before ever taking his class). As if that wasn’t enough, he manages to put more heart and soul into every class than a person would even think possible and helped me celebrate my 100th class many months ago with the most special personalized playlist (I still listen to it) and the encouragement to keep pushing that speed button or to pick up a heavier set of weights.

Since starting Barry’s, I’ve completed two half marathons and improved my PR by a solid 16 minutes. When I was fundraising for the Nike Women’s Marathon partnership with LLS, a charity close to my heart, Barry’s was right there supporting me and helping me surpass my goals. This year I shocked all my friends by celebrating my birthday with a class at the studio taught by one of the sassiest trainers in our city, Chris Reid.

Barry’s has created such a wonderful community that I can’t help but recruit others to join because I know my life has been changed for the better because of it. I hope my story helps inspire others who might be looking at Barry’s but afraid of taking that first step. There’s a treadmill/floor spot waiting with your name on it. Don’t wait another day to check out the #bestworkoutintheworld #barrysbootcamp #barryssf #fitfam.

Follow Danielle’s continuing fitness journey on Twitter and Instagram: @Sfbrowneyedgirl