Ever since it opened in my neighborhood last fall, I’d been intrigued by Barry’s Bootcamp — the boutique-fitness chain known for its sprints, squats, and teaching of celebrity fans like Jessica Alba — but couldn’t justify the pricey $34 classes.
But then, last month, Barry’s and the beauty brand Clarins launched a series of free workout videos on YouTube, which promised to firm, tone, and eliminate cellulite, so long as I bought Clarins’s new Body Lift Cellulite Control cream. The program is called Four Weeks to Sleek, and it specifically targets your butt and thighs.
For one month, you complete a series of exercises custom-created by Barry’s co-owner Joey Gonzalez, which take about five minutes a day and incorporate their $9 Booty Band (it's not required, but it helps). After your post-workout shower, you slather yourself in Body Lift, using the proper, massagelike application technique (who knew there was such a thing?) that's also illustrated in the videos. Your pores, opened up by the exercise, will slurp up ingredients like celosia-flower extract and sunflower seed oil, which trap fatty tissue, stimulate circulation, and flush out the excess water that appears in fat cells as, yup, cellulite. Add in Gonzalez’s slenderizing blend of cardio and strength training, and your cottage-cheese zone is supposedly toast. Even as someone whose main problem area is further north (see: love handles), the regime seemed worth a shot. What did I have to lose?
Get the Tools
Week 1: I set the glossy red tube of lotion on my bathroom counter and perched my laptop on an ottoman, shifting all other furniture out of arm’s reach. I Velcro the resistance-boosting Barry’s Bootcamp Booty Band to my ankles, which promises to accelerate results, and pull up the first of four tutorials. “Let’s get that heart pumping with a good old-fashioned set of jumping jacks,” Gonzales tells me, a blonde Lululemonite-type demonstrating at his side. In truth, my heart is already pumping with trepidation — it’s been a while since I’ve tested my glutes beyond the 5.0 incline of the treadmill — but I remind myself this won’t take long; the interval routines are designed to burn fat in just a few minutes’ time. Soon, I’m squatting, knee-to-elbow lifting (60 seconds on each side), and done before I know it, just as I’d hoped.
After my post-workout shower, I then carefully follow the product-application instructions given to me by Melissa, who is the Clarins specialist on the YouTube video (and not to be confused with her doppelgänger, the other blonde in the workout segment). I warm it in my hand and gently knead it upward, from ankles to saddlebags, using big, sweeping motions. As it turns out, the lotion has a slight Vapor Rub sensation, but that's nothing compared to the burning my muscles will endure week two.
Week 2: I’ve worked my way up to 90 seconds of elbow-to-knee squats on either side, and tacked them on to my twenty-minute treadmill routine, which typically involves a lot of morning television and little more physical exertion than a Charlie Rose interview. So I move on with the ritual. The second video centers on more alternating cardio and resistance; this time, there are flying lunges. Don’t be fooled by Gonzalez’s lighthearted nickname for these “flunges”: I can barely manage five in a row without losing my balance/will to live. I’m still panting asthmatically when he introduces a set of knee-raises. Trying to make it up stairs the next day(s), I could've been lapped by Betty White.
Week 3: Thankfully the muscle soreness wasn’t all in vain, as it seems to have created real muscle mass. Melissa from the YouTube video reassures me, I’m “only two weeks away from a firmer silhouette,” but already my wide-leg jeans are tighter in the butt and looser in the hips. The next set of exercises calls for "burpees": jump in the air, squat down into a pushup position (and if you’re brave, do an actual pushup), and repeat. “Not easy,” as Gonzalez notes, but then you go straight into bent-knee raises on the floor, where you can collapse a minute later.
Week 4: I’ve decided to finish up the program in an à la carte fashion, incorporating favorite moves from all four sessions, including burpees, basic squats, and (now) even flunges, as well as one-legged hops (a new addition in the videos that I swear has done wonders for my calves). I end in a side-plank position, hips off the floor, scissor-lifting my top leg. My abs, shoulders, hamstrings — pretty much every muscle in my body — quiver, but I do feel strong.
I also feel the firming effects of the cream, although the caffeine, menthol, and other skin-tightening ingredients seem to wear off after a few hours. What persists, however, is the decreased dimpling in back of my thighs (luckily I didn’t have too much to begin with) and the (almost) baby-soft texture of my skin, including on days I go lotion-less.
I now apply it to my upper half, too, where I notice similar results — even at the love handles.
Most Viewed Stories
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Reportedly Broke Up
Donald Trump Spent the Morning After the Debate Fat-Shaming Miss Universe, Again
It’s Finally Possible to Understand What Happened to Amanda Knox
Hillary Clinton’s Sickest Debate Burns
Ask a Boss: My Co-worker Wants Everyone to Call Her Boyfriend Her ‘Master’!
2009 Called — It Wants Its Vogue-Versus-Bloggers Fight Back.
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Former Miss Universe Becomes U.S. Citizen So She Can Vote Against Trump
Area Woman Interrupted by Man 25 Times in 26 Minutes
Our Scowling Hero Breaks a Smile
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesKim Kardashian Says She Developed Thick Skin for the Haters Thanks to Kanye West
She says she used to cry when mean things were said about her.Chelsea Clinton Says She Didn’t Initially Know Her Mom Had Pneumonia Because She Was Trying to Power Through It
She says she found out when her mom showed up at her apartment on September 11.Men Who Protested Ryan Lochte’s Presence on Dancing With the Stars Are Charged With Misdemeanors
Two men were charged with two counts of misdemeanors on Monday.Serena Williams Refuses to ‘Stay Silent’ About Racial Inequality
“It’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.”Young Girl Calls for End to Police Brutality in Heartbreaking Speech
It’s a devastating plea.The Y Has Returned in a Big Way to YSL
This is what Saint Laurent looks like post-Hedi.The Most Dramatic Backstage Photos You’ll See All Fashion Month
Preview the book Landon Nordeman: Out of Fashion.Even 100 Years Ago, People Were Worried About Technology Ruining Relationships
An old cartoon echoes some very modern anxieties.This Lipstick Was Designed by a Woman Who Can See 100 Million Colors
Maureen Seberg can see so many more colors than you.Brad Pitt Skipping Premiere to Focus on ‘Family Situation’
The actor may be gearing up to tell his side of the story in the tabloids this week.
He will be cold without it.The President of NARAL on What Abortion Means in This Election
It signals how the candidates feel about women.YogaToes Cured My Lifelong Fear of Bunions
The stretch feels like a backbend—but for your feet.Amy Schumer Just Broke a Major Milestone for Women in Comedy
She’s the first woman to land on Forbes’s list of the highest-paid comedians.The Very Uncomfortable Experience of Rewatching Election in 2016
An ambitious woman and the angry men who want to stop her.Ivanka Trump Is Great for Women, Says Man Married to Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump is the perfect person to handle “women’s issues,” according to her husband.World’s First 3-Parent Baby Is a Healthy Boy
He was born in Mexico to Jordanian parents.Nation Recovers From Post-Debate Hangover With Mary J. Blige and Hillary Clinton Memes
“What will you do to fix the national epidemic of hateration in this dancerie?”The Hottest Party of the Year Is This 6-Year-Old’s Drake-Themed Birthday Party
It has everything: an OVO cake, Drake balloons, fake money.See Haute Couture’s Most Romantic Looks
Intricate pieces, out for a stroll around Paris.