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The Barry Principle
Drew Limsky | Photo: Nick Garcia | April 3, 2014
Hardcore fitness, easy camaraderie and plenty of sex appeal have made Barry’s Bootcamp Miami’s new exercise obsession.
When Derek DeGrazio was a college athlete in upstate New York, he never imagined he’d go on to become a fitness entrepreneur—in Miami Beach, no less. It was 2007, and DeGrazio was visiting his brother in L.A. when he took his first Barry’s Bootcamp class in West Hollywood. “I’ve been an athlete pretty much my entire life, but taking Barry’s class totally changed everything,” he says. Even for such a seasoned sportsman, those 60 minutes were a sweat-soaked challenge.
Still, DeGrazio fell in love with Barry’s fast-paced interval system (uphill treadmill work coupled with weight training) immediately, he recalls, his hazel eyes widening. “So I started training, got on the schedule and began teaching. Back then there were only two studios in L.A., a mom-and-pop shop situation,” he adds. Cut to seven years later, and there are outposts in New York, the Hamptons, even Norway—plus the franchise that DeGrazio and partners James Provencher and Whitney Kroenke recently opened in Sunset Harbour.
As in any upscale gym, the trainers here are much of the draw. After all, sinewy professional bodies aren’t in short supply in Miami. “They found me,” says DeGrazio. “We did a big window campaign and put out huge pictures of all our rock-star trainers from the other studios.” Immediately, he received inquiries from 50 professional hard-bodies and eventually whittled the pool down to eight.
One would be remiss for failing to mention the impressive physical attributes of the trainers. DeGrazio, commanding the space with an easy, polished manner and his model looks, presides over a stable that runs the gamut from action-figure impressive to soap-star handsome. We’re talking guys like Ethan Marine, his torso sculpted like Roman armor, who also serves as head trainer at the Fontainebleau; and lean, smooth and darkly handsome Ivan Chorney, who also works as a model and realtor, and quickly became a passionate Barry’s convert. When he took the job, Chorney wanted just one or two classes a week; now he has eight to 10 classes and a dedicated following. “He became captivated by it,” says DeGrazio. “When you’re on the microphone teaching that class and people are yelling ‘Woooo!’ and they’re giving you these sweaty hugs afterwards, thanking you, it’s a really cool feeling.”
DeGrazio has created a more social atmosphere than that of his first Barry’s Bootcamp on the West Coast. In fact, at the Miami Beach facility, he’s encouraged a kind of community. DeGrazio’s lab-and-collie mix hangs out behind the desk. Members put in their protein shake orders before classes begin, and afterward, they tend to linger by the juice bar socializing.
And, apropos of those aforementioned sweaty hugs, Barry’s enjoys a palpable sexual vibe as well, which DeGrazio does nothing to play down. “Any time you work out, there’s that sexual aspect, with the dim red lights and half the class taking their shirts off—guys bare-chested, women in sports bras,” he says. In other words, a perfect fit for Miami. “I’ve already been approached to open a second location, and we’ve only been open a few weeks.” 1835 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 786.888.1699