If you’ve never taken a class with Kelly Whittaker or Brian Weller at Barry’s Bootcamp in Boston you should – like today. There’s a reason why these trainers have an almost cult-like following in the Boston fitness community – they both have an infectious energy that pushes you to be your best. Brian, co-owner and full-time trainer at Barry's Bootcamp in Boston (3 locations) and full-time trainer Kelly challenge you to work harder and prove that it can be done because they put the work in themselves, all the while having a damn good time doing it. They make it hard not to smile while you’re sweating your ass off and what more do you want from a workout?!
We asked Kelly & Brian to interview each other so we could learn more about these hardworking hustlers. They talk about quick fixes (there aren’t any), what they do to reset, and what they’re into these days in this week’s Lovers & Fighters blog post…
Brian: All right here we go. Where did your passion for fitness originate? Give me your superhero background story.
Kelly: I was an athlete growing up. I played pretty much every sport but I don't have very much coordination so I stuck with running, I've always been a runner. I did not play a sport in college but after graduating college and working behind a desk for a couple of years I realized that was not my passion in life. I took a class at Barry’s and the rest is history. Took a couple of classes, mostly Brian's, and realized that this was something that was going to be huge in Boston. I wanted to do this full time so I started managing and teaching, and the more I taught, the more I loved it.
Brian: But you're like an insane runner. How did that come about? How many marathons have you run?
Kelly: I’ve run 22 and I'm training for my 23rd.
Brian: Where does that passion come from? What makes you want to get up and run 400 miles every day to train -- where does that drive come from?
Kelly: To be honest, some days are easier than others. I have always been someone that is very goal motivated, so I've always loved running marathons and then recently I've really decided to focus more on the PR (personal record) aspect of it. And now that I have more time in my day to train for myself, it's just something that, and this sounds cheesy, but it's a good balance. I get to push people as my full-time job and then I get to use that as inspiration to push myself outside. And I think it helps as a trainer to have that kind of balance.
Brian: I totally agree. People think that there are all these quick fixes or that motivation is what matters. I believe the only thing that works is showing up every day. Yes, some days suck. Let's be honest, some days the last thing I want to do is pick up a weight and put it over my head or jump on the treadmill. But what I find to be important is the hustle, showing up every day. What we do at Barry’s is help you get that motivation, but motivation is only going to get you so far. A third-party motivator is only going to take you as far as you'll let them. You really have to have the internal drive. Those days that suck, the days that your best game is a C, but you still show up, that's what is important. I think a little bit of what we're seeing today in the fitness world is a lot of short-term fixes and I just don't agree with that. Just from a core principle, people say, "Can I take 2 or 3 classes and be ripped?" It's the analogy of walking into the woods. How long did it take you to walk into the woods to get yourself “out of shape”? It's going to take at least that long if not longer to turn around and walk that same path out.
Kelly: I think especially in a world where social media is so prevalent, it's easy to put on this front that you're cranking out workouts on your own every day. But really you're just posting the highlights of what you're doing every day. I think to really resonate with clients you have to be in the trenches with them. I think that’s why clients love to see trainers working out with them.
Brian: Yeah totally, social media is a good and bad thing. I think that the information dissemination part of social media is fantastic. But the whole get skinny tease and get super fit really quick is really not what social media is about. I appreciate there's a ton of good stuff out there, but being in the trenches with clients and understanding what they're going through because you've gone through it as well, that is a huge point.
Kelly: What's one of the most personally rewarding things you've ever done?
Brian: I have kids--that’s personally rewarding. I’m also very proud of the community we've built at Barry’s. I go to bed pretty happy at night knowing that we have 100-150 people relying on us to pay their rent, to pay their car payment, and to give them a purpose. I'm pretty proud of the community we've built for our staff at Barry’s, but also the community we have built in Boston.
Kelly: Thanks for building this community, so I get to be here.
Brian: You’re welcome. What is a perfect day for you Kelly? What's your tip-top Day?
Kelly: I'd say to wake up, go for a little run. It would have to be on a Tuesday because I would be teaching and that would definitely be included in my perfect day. It would be butt and legs day because that’s my favorite day, and now I get to take Brian's class in Chestnut Hill on Tuesday. I'll run, take Brian's class, teach classes, and then I'm a huge beach person so the rest of the day I would just have a couple of beers at the beach.
Brian: So you're okay to veg because you did everything you could do, just to sit on the beach forever?
Brian: See I'm the exact opposite.
Kelly: Yes, those 5 am's, they catch up to me.
Brian: Just give me 20 minutes on the beach and I get itchy and I say, hey let's go let's go for a walk, let's do this, let's build something! Which is why it's great to have young kids.
Kelly: What's your perfect day?
Brian: My perfect day is similar to yours. I would wake up, eat a huge breakfast -- I love to eat -- get a good workout in, teach a fun class and then spend time with my goons. I've got two boys and they’re gremlins, they are 3 and 5. I am a homebody now -- I'm 36 and have two kids. I like being 36 and having two kids, it's a very fun time in my life.
Brian: So how would you make a bad day better? Is there is there something that you do to bring you back to equilibrium?
Kelly: I think the really cool thing now about being a full-time fitness trainer is having the time to reset for myself --that serves as equilibrium on its own. For the first time I'm only teaching at Barry’s and that is something that I've been waiting to do for a very long time. It doesn't give me time to be bored and it gives me more time for myself. I get the chance to really put in the effort to make the next class or to make the rest of my day really great. I have time to teach, then take a class, go home and kind of reset and have more time to just focus on one thing. Whereas before I kind of felt like I was running in another direction. It's hard to reset if you don't have time for yourself.
Brian: I find that paying it forward makes a day better. Doing something for someone else, even if I'm in a bad mood, makes me feel better. Those positive vibes pay dividends the next day, and the next day, and the next day. That's how I would make a bad day better.
Kelly: Also in this industry, I don't think there is much room to be in a bad mood for very long because the last thing you want to do is to walk into Barry's and bring in your negative vibes. People are counting on you to motivate them when they’re having a bad day, so I just think it's the nature of the biz that if you're in a bad mood, you better snap out of it pretty quick.
Brian: Yeah, I agree. Is there a book podcast, video, or movie that you've read, seen or heard lately that inspired you?
Kelly: I actually really need to start reading again. I've heard such good things about the book: "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k."
Brian: I've heard really good things about that book, too. I'm a podcast junkie. Now that I have to drive to Chestnut Hill, I love them. Some of my favorites are Aubrey Marcus, the model health show, and I also love Malcolm Gladwell revisionist history. Those are really inspiring.
Brian: Do you have a quote that really resonates with your life?
Kelly: Cheesy I know, but this is one of my favorite quotes: "If it doesn't challenge you, it's not going to change you."
Brian: I like that one.
Kelly: I mean it's corny, but so many people, in every aspect of their life, just get too comfortable.
Brian: No personal growth ever happens in that safe bubble.
Kelly: Comfort zone is such a dangerous thing.
Brian: Mine is a family saying that has resonated with me my whole life. It's simple: "Always tell them". It's just something that has provided me more dividends than not. Yes, I’ve definitely had some awkward conversations and some uncomfortable moments, but I find those are just minor inconveniences. It's not always bad, it's also good and I think both sides of the coin need to happen. I try to apply that with my kids, with my wife, with Barry’s and everything else.
Kelly: Just playing on that, just to toot your horn for a second. You've been my boss and a very good friend for a long time now and I've always found that is one of your best qualities. I know there is no B.S. with you. I just think that makes you such an awesome person to work with, but also to work for because I know there's no smoke and mirrors. You're just going to tell me straight up how things are and I think that's a really cool quality to have.
Brian: Thank you! So what is it about YORK Athletics that resonates with you, besides the awesome shoes?
Kelly: I think it's really cool how they've created such an awesome community here in Boston. I remember when YORK only had one or two different styles and I had just started coming into Barry’s. Ever since then the company has grown by leaps and bounds. But at the same time, they've managed to keep such a small, cool, family vibe. YORK includes us in the coolest stuff. I love that they've made such a family here.
Brian: Product aside, Mark (YORK cofounder & CEO) and Elizabeth (Mark's wife and YORK creative director) are just the dopest people. They’re people that I respect on a personal level as well as on a business level. Their vision for the brand is to create something that you can hang your hat on, and it makes me proud to be a part of a brand like this. I think that’s what resonates with me. I feel like it’s a family, which is how I also try to run my business even though we're growing. YORK has been able to maintain that family-esque vibe and I appreciate that. I think it echoes through their product, and how they market it, and how they try to be in a space that is very, very populated.
To learn more about Barry's Bootcamp, Brian Weller, or Kelly Whittaker, check out these links: