With noodles for arms and a frame that carries a little extra padding, you can instantly tell I’m not an athlete just by looking at me.
Like a lot of others, I have dabbled in personal fitness - typically around early January - but time and I again drop off for one reason or another (leaving a trail of like-new trainers in my wake). Be it laziness or illness, I fall off the wagon and never have a desire to get back into the routine.
I’ve tried tech-based solutions to get around this. I bought a FitBit to track my steps and keep fitness on my mind, and I thought I’d give Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure a go to appeal to my gamer side. However, these and other tactics prove fruitless - my FitBit is now a fashion accessory more than a fitness tool and I couldn’t tell you where my Ring Fit kit has ended up.
So, it’s safe to say I was a little skeptical that FightCamp would be any different. I thought I’d probably try it out for a few weeks, write up the review then return to the well-defined groove in my couch.
I was wrong.
The competitive element FightCamp introduced alongside its supportive trainers meant its workouts left me feeling not like the unfit slob I am, but a champion in the making - and I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Stepping into the ring
FightCamp is like Peloton but for boxing instead of cycling. Using a mix of traditional equipment (gloves and a punching bag), plus some technological upgrades (a Bluetooth punch tracker for each glove) expert trainers guide you through pre-recorded workouts that involve you throwing jabs, hooks, and uppercuts.
The punch trackers do what they say on the tin - they monitor the speed and frequency of your punches. These are also the tool through which FightCamp’s competitive nature shines.
Unlike a traditional boxing match between two people, boxing against a bag is a fairly one-sided affair. So to introduce an adversarial aspect to the workouts FightCamp’s trackers allow you to get real-time data on how you compare to the average user.
When I saw that I was just behind the average person’s pace, I felt invigorated to work harder; I’m not about to lose to this ephemeral competitor. On the rare occasions I was blazing ahead, that same competitive nature kicked into overdrive; I didn’t just want to win, I wanted to demolish my rivals.
Plus, you can use the trackers to compare your own scores. When you return to a workout that you first attempted earlier in your FightCamp career you can see just how much you’ve improved by blowing past your previous best scores.
The coaches in my corner
A boxing match isn’t won alone, though. Sure, when the punches are getting thrown in the ring it boils down to a battle of you versus them, but even then you need someone in your corner cheering you on.
As you take on FightCamp’s workouts and its Paths - multi-stage programs that teach you basic and next-level boxing skills - you’re guided by an eclectic cast of trainers that are there to support you from day one.
The coaches are obviously experts in their craft, but their approach to teaching never left me feeling inadequate because of my low skill level. While taking me through the most basic boxing fundamentals, the coaches actively encouraged me to rewatch the videos as often as I needed. They understand that perfection takes time, and only comes with practice.
On top of that, even though the workouts are all pre-recorded, the coaching had a personal nature to it - leading me to sometimes forget I’m not working out with them live. This more human approach to training is also echoed in aspects of the app’s Paths.
Between workouts, the Paths include videos narrated by the instructors. These clips give you an insight into their personal lives and how boxing has played a positive part in them.
While only short - the clips are around five to 10 minutes long - these videos transformed the typically impersonal nature of workout videos. Whenever I wanted to stay in bed for another 30 minutes instead of hitting the home gym I didn’t just feel like I was letting myself down, but that I was letting down Tommy Duquette, Coach PJ or Shanie Smash, too.
Getting back up again
FightCamp is about beating what you achieved the day before, forever striving to push harder. The only negative is that workouts left me feeling like I was beating myself a bit too literally at times.
On several occasions in the early days, I forgot to add a warm-up to my routine and I could feel the regret echoing throughout my joints and muscles in the days after. While there are some basic warmups included in some routines - and the app offers a simple way to include a warm-up before the main event kicks off - I wish there was a way to automate the process like you can with the post-workout abs session.
Over time you develop these good habits, but for an utter beginner like I was - where proper workout etiquette still had to be nurtured - I think a more hand-holding approach could have made my experience better (and less sore).
However, these brief stints of having to let my shoulders recover - where I had to step away from the bag for and rest a few days - showed me how different FightCamp has been for me. Rather than indulging in my time not working out like I normally would, I was instead desperate to return.
I’m still a long way from becoming a champion boxer, or from achieving my fitness goals, but I think FightCamp could finally be what helps me go the distance.
- Want a different workout? Check out the best Quest 2 fitness games
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.