In partnership with FightCamp
There’s a running joke online that home fitness machines are really just thousand-dollar drying racks. Bowflex, Peloton, whatever the hell the “Ab Lounge” was…in the end, the second their existence outlasts your excitement, they’re all just another place to hang damp jeans.
But when given a chance — and, critically, a chance that lasts longer than a month or two — you’d be surprised at how much better these toys are at getting you in shape than getting the moisture out of your clothing.
Delece’s free-standing FightCamp bag has been clothes-free for a while now. She purchased the connected fitness system two years ago, and has punched and kicked with it on a consistent basis ever since. This sort of regimen was once unthinkable for the mother of six, who works in electrical design.
“I’ve never been fit in my life,” she says. “I hardly worked out before I got FightCamp. I had chronic pain, felt weak, ran out of breath just from walking. But during a ‘good month’ I’ll use FightCamp three to five times a week.”
Delece now eagerly looks forward to her boxing and shadow-boxing sessions, despite the fact that before she brought home FightCamp, she’d never trained in martial arts in her life. “Childhood dreams starting in my 30s,” she says.
Nicole, meanwhile, “always wanted to try” martial arts but felt too intimidated. “I never felt I could do it,” she says. FightCamp flipped that script. The mother of two, who remembers “never knowing what to do at gyms,” now works out six days a week with FightCamp.
“It’s more than an app,” Nicole says. “ It’s convenient, it’s fun, it’s a way of life. I feel so bad when I have to miss a workout.” Once utterly lost with fitness, Nicole estimates she’s now at her physical peak — at the age of 40.
FightCamp’s superfans tend to praise the enthusiastic trainers, the clever punch-trackers and the sense of competitiveness within the community. One acolyte, a 30-year-old entrepreneur named Alex, says the app “made him fall in love with pure punching workouts.” According to his FightCamp app stats, he has thrown a quarter of a million punches since March 2021.
In some cases, though, FightCamp functions as a launching pad for devotees to branch out into even more martial arts training in local gyms — proving that home fitness doesn’t necessarily need to be at odds with the recent return of class culture.
Amanda, for instance, started Muay Thai classes nine months into working out with the FightCamp program. “There is absolutely no way I would’ve had the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and go into an environment where I’m the only female [before FightCamp].”
While FightCamp’s biggest proponents point to how important the program was for them to stay active during COVID (Alex is one user who remembers hitting his physical “rock bottom” during quarantine, and gaining 30 pounds before he started working out with FightCamp trainers), the service has a knack for ameliorating mental health woes, too.
Consider: Delece has suffered from OCD, bipolar disorder and PTSD for over 20 years. Amanda’s son needed a bone marrow transplant two years ago. Nicole received a cancer diagnosis in 2018. Alex has battled anxiety for a decade. But even with these real world struggles, these trainees have found salvation in regular workouts a true salvation.
Delece sums it up best: “Everyone always says exercise is important for your mental health, but I just couldn’t find anything I could consistently stick to. FightCamp has become a necessity. It’s helped me with routine, structure, accountability, you name it. That’s not to mention how empowering learning how to box as a domestic abuse survivor. I am a fighter now!”
Kickboxing can’t make these struggles disappear, of course. But as a powerful, distractive and exhilarating outlet, perhaps it can make them more manageable, and relieve some of the stress and pressure of life’s more unjust surprises along the way. That’s more valuable in the end than washboard abs, anyway. And it’s certainly more valuable than a thousand-dollar drying rack.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.