Hundreds of classes available • Punch trackers are a great motivational tool • Easy to use • Compact • but can be stored away
Expensive • Subscription fee required • No Android app support
FightCamp not only transforms your space into a boxing ring, but its punch tracking technology is a genius way to keep you from giving up during those tough workouts.
Work(out) From Home is a weekly column where we review smart fitness machines in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to technology, there are still plenty of ways to exercise if your gym is closed.
It’s been almost a month since I’ve been home and self-isolating. The stress that coronavirus currently adds to everyday life, and the anxiety that it causes about the future, is enough to make me want to scream. Or even punch a hole in the wall (just kidding, please don’t do that).
However, in the interest of health and fitness, I opted for FightCamp—an at-home boxing gym that turns your space into a makeshift ring complete with a free-standing bag, boxing gloves, punch trackers, and an app with hundreds of classes to train with.
While you’re throwing combos, the punch trackers inside your quick wraps, which protect your hands from injury when hitting the bag, are counting each punch. So in addition to completing the workout, you’re also encouraged to complete or exceed the punch goal for each round.
With a starting price of $1,219, it’s certainly not cheap. But in a sea of smart stationary bikes and treadmills, and fitness apps with floor workouts, FightCamp is a nice change of pace.
There are classes for all levels. Those who have never picked up a pair of boxing gloves can train with beginner classes while more skilled boxers can work on perfecting their jabs.
But the punch trackers are certainly a game changer. Especially now, when we’re all working out by ourselves and there is no one there to yell at us for scrolling through our phones instead of doing those sit-ups. These little sensors help to keep you working harder than you’ve probably ever worked out at the gym.
Choose your FightCamp
There are a few different FightCamp packages to choose from and all the options come with free shipping. If you don’t want to drop all the money at once, you can finance each one for 24 months. There’s an additional fee of $39 per month for the companion app in order to access all of the classes.
Since almost everyone’s working out from home now, FightCamp is currently free to download, and the company has temporarily waived the monthly fee. You’ll be able to access all the content, but you won’t be able to track your punches or participate in the leaderboard. If you don’t have boxing equipment, you can shadowbox, which is still a good cardio workout.
Now, let’s get to your different options.
If you’re the only one planning on working out with FightCamp, you’ll want to opt for FightCamp Personal for $1,219 ($51 per month). This comes with a set of punch trackers, free-standing bag, workout mat, quick wraps, and boxing gloves.
Those of you who plan on sharing the bag with family members should go for the FightCamp Tribe for $1,349 ($56 per month). You’ll get one set of punch trackers, free-standing bag, a workout mat, two sets of boxing gloves, two sets of quick wraps, and one set of kids boxing gloves. The punch trackers are removable, so you can easily share them with one another.
If you already own a punching bag and gloves, then you can go for FightCamp Connect for $439 ($34 per month), which only includes the punch trackers and quick wraps.
While I would love to tell you the reason the company sent me only FightCamp Connect is because I am a skilled boxer with an already intense gym setup, it’s not because of that at all. It’s actually because of Covid-19. Shocking. Typically, for journalists, FightCamp sends a team to assemble the free-standing bag. But to maintain a contact-free delivery process, we went with a different setup.
Since I already have a heavy bag in my garage, the company sent me a pair of gloves in addition to the punch trackers and wraps that you get in FightCamp Connect. If you opt for that package and want to add on FightCamp branded gloves (which are available in small or large), you can purchase them from their site for $149.
For regular customers, the bags and accessories are all delivered to your doorstep. Before you get jealous of the fact that media don’t have to assemble their own units, I’ve seen the process before and it’s very easy to do on your own.
Transform your space into a full on boxing ring
Like the Peloton Bike, FightCamp’s setup doesn’t take up all that much space. The bag stands at five feet five inches tall while the base measures two feet in diameter.
You’ll have to assemble the bag yourself: You can fill the base with either sand (not included), water, or a combination of both. Then, secure the top part of the bag onto the base and fasten it using the velcro hooks and latches.
If you want to store it somewhere like the closet or in the corner of a room when it’s not being used, simply tip it over a bit and roll it to your desired location.
But if you do plan on rolling this bad boy out of sight, then I recommend filling it with water, which makes it a lot lighter than sand. FightCamp, however, does recommend sand for stability when you’re punching the bag.
You can also purchase the FightCamp bag ring for an additional $109, which is placed under the bag and makes it easier to move when need be, although, at time of writing, it was sold out. I assume that means it’s probably a very useful thing to have, even though it’s pretty expensive on top of what you’re already paying.
Then, there’s the mat (which is mainly what you’ll have to make room for). It consists of eight interlocking tiles that measure two by two feet each— like one of those children’s play mats.
You can take some of the tiles off to modify it to your space, but you want to make sure the it’s big enough that you can do things like planks and burpees without being painful. Or you might be able to do away with the mat completely if the bag is on particularly soft carpet.
I also highly recommend that you place it in front of a TV, because it makes it a lot easier to follow along with the workouts. Since my heavy bag is in the garage, I placed an iPad in front of it which works, but I would’ve very much preferred a larger screen.
If you have Apple TV, you can use Airplay to stream it from your iPhone. If not, then an HDMI cable works too. Since there’s no Android app, those without an iOS device will have to go for the latter.
The easiest part of all this is setting up the punch trackers, which come with the quick wraps. They should be fully charged out of the box, but you still have to put them into the charging cradle for a few seconds to wake them up.
FightCamp says they last about 10 hours on a single charge, so unless you’re somehow using the bag for that long, you won’t have to charge them after every use.
To connect them to your device, give each tracker two light taps until you see the LED lights blinking. From there, a pop-up window should appear asking you if you want to pair them via Bluetooth. Then, insert the trackers into the small little pockets on the quick wraps and you’re all set to put your gloves on.
An improved app experience
All of your classes are located in the FightCamp app, which can be downloaded through the App Store. Having reviewed FightCamp for PCMag when it first came out last year, I can say the app has been vastly improved. In addition to more sleek and modern design, it’s also a lot more intuitive to use.
When you open the app, you’re greeted by the Home tab, which includes things like featured workouts, recently added classes, workouts of the day, quick workouts, and more.
The Activity tab shows your total amount of workouts, rounds, and punches for the week. But you can also use the calendar to see a history of your metrics. Meanwhile, the Progressions tab shows your punch totals and output by day and compared to the month before.
The More tab is where you’ll find your profile information, a user manual, and the Getting Started section for tutorials on how to use FightCamp. There’s also a Music Stations tab, where you can choose your preferred genre of music to play during each class.
Unlike Peloton, whose instructors curate playlists to guide the audience through workouts, FightCamp’s music just exists in the background to sometimes give you an extra boost throughout.
When choosing a class, I prefer to filter mine based on combo level (open, intermediate, and advanced), rounds (four, six, eight, and 10) and trainer. Depending on the number of rounds you choose, the classes last anywhere between fifteen and 40 minutes.
Punch by number
Since I was used to working out with FightCamp, I was already familiar with the combos used in the classes—one is jab, two is cross, three is the lead-hook, four is the rear-hook, and so on—I went for the open rounds.
Whenever an instructor is demonstrating a specific combo, they use the numbers to describe them. So, for example, one of the combos might be something like “one, two, two, one” and you’ll need to be able to quickly recognize what they mean to keep up.
So it’s very important to start with the Prospect Path if you’re new. Otherwise, you’ll be totally lost. It’s basically a beginner’s guide to all the important things you need to know. In addition to combos, there’s also proper form and technique that’s essential to know while punching the bag.
When you start a class, there are a few important numbers that appear on the display: Punch Count (punches you’ve thrown throughout the workout), Punch Rate (punches you’ve thrown per minute), Punch Output (how much effort you’re putting into the punching intervals), and Punch Goal (the number of punches to reach for that round).
The classes start with a warmup (like jumping jacks or arms circles). Then, there’s a one-minute rest period where the instructor demonstrates the combo for that specific round. What follows are three-minute rounds of each combo.
If you forget what the hell you’re supposed to be doing, the combos are all written at the bottom of the display, which certainly comes in handy for me when I space out.
Sometimes, for fun I guess, the instructors like to make things a little tougher by throwing in some floor workouts like planks or lunges. Truly the cherry on top when you’ve already been hitting the bag so hard you don’t expect it can get any more difficult.
As you punch the bag, your punches are tracked in real time to help you see how many more you have left to reach the goal. It really helps give you that extra boost to keep going, especially when you’re getting tired.
At the same time, you should also be paying attention to your output, which is based on how hard you punch and your technique. Also known as: how hard you’re working. In addition to reaching the punch goal, you should also be trying to maximize your output.
That’s also what will help get you a higher spot on the leaderboard. Since the classes aren’t live, you can’t see how high you ranked until the class is over. But if you’re really trying to beat the competition, you can check the board before the class starts to see how high you have to score.
While I’m definitely competitive, I’m more focused on beating the punch goal and my own output than I am with other people who took the classes before me.
It’s also a great way to get your mind off the workout in general. Sometimes, I’d be so focused on reaching that goal that I’d forget I was out of breath and dying for a drink of water. And, weirdly enough, those floor workouts provided respite during the more grueling combos.
I will admit though, if I didn’t reach a goal during a round, I was … sad. Very sad.
These punch trackers are tiny, but the psychology behind having to beat a punch goal is powerful. Especially without a live leaderboard or an actual live person to keep you accountable.
A unique change from other fitness equipment
I’ve said this about the Peloton Bike, but it applies to FightCamp as well: it’s completely understandable if you don’t want to drop thousands of dollars at the moment. But hey, we’re all angry and anxious and it’s okay to invest in something that will let you work through said emotions in a healthy way.
Of course, there are cheaper alternatives. You can find a free-standing back for around $70 these days and a mat for around $30. Meanwhile, gloves will cost about $30 or more. The quality of FightCamp’s equipment alone, however, is worth the price. Especially if you’re planning on taking the workouts seriously and getting a lot of use out of it. It not only looks super sleek, but it all feels very durable. And while my heavy bag was fine, I definitely missed not having the mat and the freestanding bag. Regardless, if there’s anything that I can confidently say is really worth spending the money on, it’s the punch trackers and the FightCamp app.
The classes are updated on a daily basis, so you’ll never run out of boxing sessions, and the instructors are super motivational and informative. Meanwhile, the punch trackers are a great tool to help you track your progress both in real-time and over time. And those tiny sensors also give you that extra push when you really need it.
Oh, and can I feel my abs forming after each round? Perhaps.