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As a former group fitness instructor, I know first-hand the impact that community can have on an individual both in and outside of the gym. Aside from its obvious function of providing a workout, a group fitness class can take on the role of therapist, social mixer, meditation session, and so much more. Tack on the motivation that comes from being in a room surrounded by individuals who are giving it their all, and it's no wonder why group fitness has become such a beloved way to workout. 

But as we’re all too familiar, access to group fitness came to a screeching halt in early spring of 2020. Gyms were forced to close their doors and we were forced to figure out a way to continue with our workouts, now from the comfort of our home. Not the easiest of tasks if you’re one of the millions who were suddenly tasked with figuring out how to make their home both a gym, office, and place of relaxation. Needless to say, it wasn’t long until fitness brands began to offer at-home versions of the workouts many have come to cherish. It didn’t take long for many to realize, yes, you can in fact get that workout you crave, within a small space and very little equipment. I, like many, made the quick pivot to at-home workouts, trying to hold on to some sense of normalcy. It has served me well over the past 20 months and while I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to once again have the opportunity to surround myself with the energy that is a group fitness class, working out from home will forever be a part of my personal fitness practice. So, when I had the opportunity to punch it out with at-home smart fitness system FightCamp, I said “Yes” before I could even blink. 

Jab, cross, hook, uppercut– the terms one must master when learning how to box. And as someone who has never touched a pair of boxing gloves, let alone spent time in a ring, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated when I first started setting up my bag, putting on my hand wraps, and sliding my gloves into place. But that intimidation quickly faded as soon as I tuned into my first class with Founding Coach, Aaron Swenson

Our mission is to inspire the fighter within. Everybody is fighting in a different way. Our goal is to inspire people to bring that out. I think that fighter, it’s inherent in us. Every human being needs that outlet to feel balanced.

And if you’re looking for a reason to try your hand at boxing and kickboxing, Aaron notes:

Learning how to box is going to teach you discipline and focus and it’s going to be very empowering because you learn how to defend yourself. And that translates to every area of your life. That confidence is so necessary but it’s not inherent–you’ve got to work for it. It’s also a great form of self-expression. You’ll start to learn about your body in a new way, find your own style, your own swagger. For me, I never danced or anything so boxing has been my outlet to express myself.

The music.

When I’m creating a playlist for a spin class, it’s a more personal experience than one would expect. Most often, I’m considering the riders in the room and the kind of experience they’re hoping to have. One where they can disconnect from the outside world for 45-uninterrupted minutes and focus all of their energy onto themselves. One where that next beat drop provides them with that extra kick of energy they need to get through a grueling sprint. One where they feel encouraged and inspired. And that, that is what I found to be true during my workouts with FightCamp. The music does not miss a beat...literally. The music bumping for the various classes perfectly synchronizes with the coaching to motivate and spark that fire often needed to get through a workout. For me, music can make or break a fitness class, and FightCamp checks that box effortlessly.

The coaching.

One thing that I’ve found to be true through coaching fitness is that oftentimes, the words of encouragement and motivation, the class story line, the personal narratives, all the words we as coaches are spewing out in class, are the very same words and stories we need to hear ourselves. I believe there’s a certain superpower that comes from taking one’s personal triumphs and tribulations and turning them into something that can be used to generate impact, outside of oneself. And the FightCamp coaches once again, checked this box. When asked how he design his classes, Aaron noted:

We have 9 different types of classes for example, full body conditioning, combo build-ups, switch stance. I’ll sit down and choose the type of class and the theme. For example, if I’m designing a combo build up class, I’ll work up to building a long combination to fit the theme. And those are my favorite because it really challenges you mentally and physically, which puts you in that flow state. So, it starts by checking in with myself and seeing what kind of workout I might need. Then, I sit down and I ask myself, what’s going on with me emotionally? And I’m able to use that as the theme for class when I’m doing my talking points. It’s all about bringing it together so it’s more than just a workout.

During one of my first classes, Coach Aaron noted the importance of his daily morning routine and the impact creating one can have for all of us. He then gave some insight into his day before class and truthfully, how he had felt frustrated and defeated. This isn’t to say that I necessarily needed to hear those stories at that exact moment, but I can almost guarantee that someone else did and I can almost guarantee that there will be a time when something he says during class will land exactly how I need it to–and that to me, is an aspect of group (or group virtual) fitness that you can’t find anywhere else. The impact of just a few words during a class can change the course of your entire day, week, even your year in the outside world.

Sometimes, the personal stories are what you need to hear and other times, you want to completely zone out the world and zone in on your workout. The coaching at FightCamp can meet you wherever you are. Were there times I wanted to stop a round or cut a workout short altogether? I’ll admit it–yes there were. A lifelong athlete and perfectionist, I’m still a work-in-progress when it comes to trying new things and as I find myself being a below-average boxer, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t already wanted to throw in the gloves. And yet, throughout the classes I’ve taken, there have been small snippets of encouragement and motivation to give me that swift kick I needed to stay with it. It’s clear that these coaches are not only extremely talented and knowledgeable, but they want you to succeed. They understand when and where they might need to add in a little extra energy. They understand you could be a veteran or an amateur and as the latter, I felt personally encouraged to keep going.

The workout.

Out of breath, achy shoulders, a tired core, sweat dripping, and adrenaline pumping. FightCamp workouts are made up of anywhere from four to ten rounds, consisting of 3-minute working rounds, followed by a 1-minute recovery. During the workout, the coach will give you a rundown of what’s coming, with a quick demonstration, plus your screen has the combinations labeled to help ensure you know where to throw your punches. Then, it’s off to the races. 

We’ve learned that people don’t know that they want to learn how to box until they start doing it and then they realize, I actually want to get good at this,” says Aaron. “We put a lot of effort and thought into creating the boxing and the kickboxing paths. The paths are unique to FightCamp because we teach you from square one and then we curate the whole process. So, you do a tutorial, then you do a class, then you do the same programming again to refine the technique, then you do a drill and then you learn a new tutorial and so on.

Expect to master the “1-2 combination,” which is a quick weak hand jab into a strong hand cross and expect to feel powerful when you do. As you progress, you’ll continue to test your hand-eye coordination and mind-body connection with trickier and longer combinations and a coach will be there to guide you through. Unlike a group fitness class where there’s one class regardless of your ability level, FightCamp is not only taught by real-life fighters with endless experience, but, according to Aaron, “because we film these workouts, we can have different levels of classes. Beginner, intermediate, soon to be advanced. That allows for someone to start to progress and advance. That progression is taken from traditional martial arts. You start as a white belt, you learn the curriculum, you move on to the next belt, learn that curriculum and so forth–so there’s progression, you’re actually learning a system.”

During your workout, you’ll have your instructor in the ring, working through each round right beside you. You’ll also have a countdown clock, round counter, total punch counter, a punch rate (how many punches you’re throwing in one minute), and a total output score. What’s an output score? It’s a combination of your total punches, speed of those punches and technique. What I like most about this aspect is that it gives you something to gauge each workout off of and it allows for you to progress. Not to mention, with over 1,000 classes, I truly can’t see anyone ever getting bored. 

More than a workout.

Like fitness is for so many, FightCamp offers more than just a workout.

Our mission is to inspire the fighter within."

"Everybody is fighting in a different way. Our goal is to inspire people to bring that out. I think that fighter, it’s inherent in us. Every human being needs that outlet to feel balanced,” says Aaron. He even quoted FightCamp investor Mike Tyson as saying, 

Some people are fighting intellectually, some people are fighting emotionally, some people are fighting physically, but we’re all fighters.

When we really think about it, how true is that? We really are all fighting something and FightCamp has the ability to encourage and empower you to find more strength than you knew you had to fight those battles, both inside and outside of the ring.

If at this point, you’re interested in testing your skills at throwing a few punches but more so, starting to dig a little deeper and recognize the strength you really have, FightCamp just might be your answer. Did I mention their app has free content? 

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