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Trainer Talks: Erick Wilson, Barry’s Los Angeles’ Chief Instructor

Trainer Talks: Erick Wilson, Barry’s Los Angeles’ Chief Instructor

Erick Wilson smiling with his hands folded
Athletech’s “Trainer Talks” are interviews with the top trainers in the industry about their best practices, favorite products, and more

Barry’s is a leading boutique fitness brand that offers high-intensity interval workouts consisting of both cardio and strength training. Founded in Los Angeles in 1998, Barry’s has more than 84 studios across 14 countries. With instructors who often inspire cult followings among consumers, Barry’s values trainers who inspire, motivate, and uplift. Athletech News spoke to Erick Wilson, the Barry’s Los Angeles Chief Instructor, about why Barry’s training approach is unique, his favorite apparel brands, and more.

ATN: What’s a typical work day for you? How much do you work out on your own versus teach/train?

Erick Wilson: During the week, I wake up at 4:00 AM. I make coffee, eat breakfast and review my programming and music for the day’s classes. I start teaching at 6:00 AM Monday-Friday at either the Brentwood, West Hollywood or Studio City studios (come find me on the schedule!). Once I’m done teaching for the day, I either take a Barry’s class (I love lower body days on Tuesday’s) or workout on my own. My personal workout regimen consists of heavy weight and basic lifts — the bread and butter of fitness. I like to incorporate exercises I do in the gym into the programming of my classes, so you will always hear me telling my clients to grab heavy, challenging weights in the Red Room. 

ATN: What’s your favorite music to work out to?

Erick Wilson: Wow, where do I start?! My workout music definitely depends on how I’m feeling and the mood I’m in. Typically, I like a mix of rap (Meek Mill, Eminem, DMX, Juelz Santana, Memphis Bleek) and rock (Metallica, Led Zeppelin, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine). When I’m really feeling good, I love to throw on some 90s R&B (Anthony Hamilton, K-Ci & JoJo, Boyz II Men). I could give you my favorite artists from each genre because they all find a way onto my workout playlist – I listen to it all!

ATN: What licenses do you have? How do you stay up to date on certifications and industry standards?

Erick Wilson: I am NASM certified which is a requirement for Barry’s instructors (and a certification I renew every two years). I know quite a few trainers who like to collect certifications in many different areas. I think this is awesome for those who want to learn about different techniques and expand their specialities, but I like to focus my energy on what I’m most passionate about.

These days, everything you hear and see on social media is constantly changing – there is a lot of noise when it comes to industry standards and best fitness practices. One thing that will never go out of style is strength training and running (hello, Barrys!), so I keep my certifications simple.

ATN: What supplements do you take, if any?

Erick Wilson: I currently take pre-workout, creatine monohydrate and RAW Nutrition protein powder. After teaching a handful of classes, I enjoy the caffeine boost from my pre-workout or a can of NOCCO. Creatine monohydrate is one of the most studied supplements out there and has been shown to improve performance and increase muscle growth. Protein powder is convenient and portable, which makes it easy to hit my protein goals throughout the day.

Personally, I don’t like taking anything that my body will become dependent on. I feel like the more supplements you take, the more your body (or your mind) will depend on them for performance. 

ATN: What’s your take on wearables?

Erick Wilson: I don’t use any wearables at the moment, but I’ve tried them in the past. Wearables can be a great tool when used regularly, but the metrics accuracy can vary, so it’s important to not rely on them too heavily.

ATN: Why do you think Barry’s approach to training is unique?

Erick Wilson: Barry’s pioneered the boutique fitness landscape by pairing the two fundamentals of fitness: strength training and cardio. Each of our 50-minute classes are designed to maximize caloric output, build lean muscle mass, and increase metabolic rate. You can also do Barry’s every day of the week as each day has a different muscle focus – allowing for a balanced workout and proper muscle recovery.

The workout aside, we have an incredible roster of instructors who bring their individual “wow” factor to each class by way of programming, music, and personality. Most iconic to Barry’s is our signature Red Room, a dimly lit room with a red glow that really sets the tone for class, and allows our clients to focus on instructor cues and get lost in the energy of those surrounding them.

ATN: What do you believe is the best ratio of cardio to strength training each week?

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Erick Wilson: This is a great question, but the answer will depend on your goals. Do you want to get stronger? Focus on strength training. Are you looking to improve your endurance? Run more. Fitness is simple at its core, but it’s not one size fits all!

ATN: Do you have a coach or trainer?

Erick Wilson: I do not have a coach or trainer at the moment. Lucky for me, I have my father, Chuck Wilson – a former Olympic lifter and bodybuilder – who taught my brother and I how to lift at a very young age. I’ve also wrestled and played football my entire life, so weight training and running have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

ATN: What apparel or fitness accessory brands are on your radar these days?

Erick Wilson: I’m a big fan of Ten Thousand and Lululemon which are both available on Barry’s SHOP.

ATN: How do you prevent injury?

Erick Wilson: There are plenty of ways to prevent injury, but the most effective are stretching and perfecting your technique/form. It’s also important to warm up your muscle groups prior to running/lifting and fueling your body with proper nutrition.

Edit: The intro paragraph has been updated to say Barry’s has more than 84 studios, instead of 70, across 14 countries.

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