Your favourite spinning class is cancelled due to the pandemic, you can’t visit the gym, it’s too polluted to run outside. Where do you go and what do you do to retain those well-earned abs or just to get fit during the pandemic? Unlike YouTube videos that offer no motivation, there’s something that might pique your interest – a fitness app designed with the Indian body in mind, with real-time classes, and an instructor you can interact with, who motivates you and pushes you towards your dream body. We speak to Rishi Baveja, Co-Founder of the just-launched app, BoxFit At Home (part of health and fitness brand BoxFit), about how it works, and why it’s got the kind of adrenaline-pumping tech to get your heart racing, all from the comfort of your home.
How did the idea of BoxFit At Home come about?
The struggle to find a fitness studio which made the entire regime enjoyable was real. In fact during my first two years in India I had struggled to find a single place that had the same energy, vibe and comfort (for both men and women) that I was used to having in the UK. I then stumbled across, having been told by a friend, a studio called BoxFit in GK1, Delhi. As I walked into the studio, I felt shoreditch vibes sneaking their way into my zone. Before long, I realized this is what I had been looking for, a kick-ass workout set to commercial bangers with charismatic trainers. I sat down with Rahul who is the Co-Founder of BoxFit, and we discussed our mutual passion for fitness. With similar analytical backgrounds (both of us worked in finance before), using Rahul's knowledge over years of research in South America and globally on Boxing coupled with my passion for fitness, we began the journey together in growing BoxFit as a brand to what it is today. We opened the second studio; planning to open our third one at breakneck speed before COVID-19 whilst also accelerating the digital product.
Are you a fitness enthusiast yourself? What are some of your favourite workouts?
Absolutely, both Rahul and I are! I have played badminton at the county state level when I was young and have also coached state level juniors. I am a sports enthusiast and love all sports, be it rugby, football/soccer, squash, tennis – anything I can get my hands on!
I was new to boxing, but when I tried it, I absolutely loved it. On the other hand, Rahul has even done fights before! When it comes to workouts, I like having a variety. Given my age, I need to start doing more yoga/mobility, but I love a good heavy weights session and some high-intensity cardio. Letting out a few rounds of fury on the bag is a great way to de-stress.Rishi Baveja, the Co-Founder of BoxFit
Why launch BoxFit now – during the pandemic?
We had always had this vision of an omnichannel company. The pandemic encouraged us to accelerate our digital offering and product development that we otherwise would have probably done early next year after opening studios 3 and 4. Furthermore, we had a duty to our clients to provide them with the same level of experience we give in studios, when they were at home.
There's a huge shift going on in terms of consumer behaviour across all industries. We've probably leaped ahead three years in consumer shifts in a matter of months ranging from grocery delivery, news/content consumption, e-commerce, and ed tech – and fitness is no different.
What is it that people are getting wrong, with fitness apps, and how does BoxFit change things?
We have a very clear roadmap of what we want to provide to our consumers today, tomorrow, and 12 months down the line. Today we're only scratching the surface of the experience we want to offer. It's in that word that I think a lot of the answer to this question lies – experience. A lot of apps can provide you the base level movements or a way to get sweaty, however, very few spend enough time on experience which is really what BoxFit offers. Initially with our studios we had to convince people who were used to working out at home with a trainer that it was better to get in their car and work out at our studio because we were able to provide a superior experience. Now, with the online offering, we are giving people back the convenience, but maintaining the experience element as far as possible.
The biggest issue with staying fit is adherence, and this is one of the reasons we at BoxFit At Home focus on making fitness fun! It is important to find something you enjoy, whether that's a trainer, a type of exercise or simply a playlist that gets you going, it will be infinitely easier to be consistent, and in this game consistency is key. We try to give people the ‘in studio’ experience from the comfort of their home. The other reason is accountability. Working out live with other people tends to keep people accountable and our trainers motivate them to give 100 percent in their workouts! Working out in real time with our trainers definitely improves that accountability.
So this is a REAL TIME app – with a live trainer to motivate you – am I right?
That's correct. We offer on-demand video content as well, so you can work out anytime, but we also do live and interactive classes every single day!BoxFit At Home - the app
How exactly does it work?
You can use the BoxFit app and cast to your TV or our website, and see our live schedule and on-demand sessions. You jump into a live class and work out in real time with a community of others. We also run special custom live classes where viewers can vote and influence the workout in real time (such as music and area of focus). This is just phase one and we have a lot of cool stuff planned for phases two and three. Phase two involves a more advanced leaderboard and community interaction, and phase three will see us launching our connected fitness products where one can get a bag at home from us, connect it to the app and see things like punches thrown, and heaps more cool stats!
Can the trainer see you as well? How does he or she guide you towards your goals? Is it like a Zoom class?
The trainers can't see the clients/participants, but the participants can comment and message the trainer during the live class to interact with him/her. The trainer-client relationship is a very special bond. We allow people to interact with the trainers in and out of the classes and form as close to an offline connection as you can. This is about supporting the individual through their entire fitness journey and frankly all parts of life, that's what fitness and coaching is all about. It's not just jumping up and down; it's about giving guidance on everything from nutrition to meditation. We develop curated programmes depending on goals (or you can just see which trainers/classes you like) for you to follow and provide support even outside of the app.
What are the various workouts one can choose from – a few examples would be helpful!
Everything from BoxFlow (BoxFit's take on yoga and mobility), fire and fury (heavy HIIT and core focus), 1000Kcal classes (the class doesn't stop till the trainer burns 1,000 calories) and even a special programme like "movie star body" – there's something for everyone. We are also going to be adding more horizontal content in the very near future – we have some cool things up our sleeves.
Once you sign up, as a member, you have access to a 100 classes? Is that for the whole month?
It's unlimited! We run multiple live classes a day and also have the whole on-demand library and recaps of live classes in case you miss them, there's no shortage of workout material!
Is this geared towards fitness enthusiasts or even beginners can use the app?
Our aim is to make fitness fun. As I mentioned earlier, the biggest issue is adherence. Whether you want to just start out your fitness journey or you want to shed that last 2 percent body fat so the sun reflects off your abs – we’ve got you covered! The team has experience training everyone from beginners to celebrities and even the Indian army. Our trainers are all accomplished athletes in their own right too – from national boxers to taekwondo gold medalists.
Are the trainers guiding you from home – do you need any special equipment?
We have a studio set up for our classes to stream to you. No equipment is required, but basic weights and bands can add an extra layer to certain workouts. Once we launch the connected fitness products that will be an option people can use.BoxFit Workout session
What are the various levels for the classes?
Everyone from beginner to expert. It's you against you, and we provide variations of intensity and exercise at various stages so the individual can see how they are progressing.
Is there any recommendation for nutrition too?
I have studied a lot on that passionately and we provide diet support for those who ask. We are planning to release a special BoxFit cookbook next year (working with a chef who has trained under Michelin-star chefs). But meanwhile, we provide meal plans as an additional service however, basic plans are free and we are always here to answer the most technical questions or even the most basic. Every client is important to us and we want to provide them all the support they need.
Who is a prime customer for BoxFit – can it be global too?
So a lot of what we do can be global and one day we can expand that way, however now we want to start with India. A lot of what we do in terms of the culture and exact workouts is designed to cater to an Indian audience. The Indian body is unique and biomechanically different, and our workouts are specifically designed for it. Our ideal customer is anyone that wants a unique fitness experience, and this can range from a beginner wanting to start a journey all the way to an advanced athlete looking to add at the margins. However most people fall in the beginner to intermediate category. Our typical audience is 18-45, but we welcome all ages and do have older clients all the way to 70+. We are also women-centric and have made a space comfortable for all genders. Our clientele offline was 60 percent female, and Rahul and I both have female advisors as part of our team. Our key markets currently are Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
How many members would you have now – and how many do you want in a month?
We have over 2,000 downloads already and about 150+ subscribers – we want to be at 500-1000 subscribers by the end of January/Mid-February 2021. At BoxFit, we have ambitious growth targets and want to offer the community the ways and means to achieve their fitness goals.
(Consumers can now purchase the BoxFit At Home experience through the app on Google play, iOS and the website at special introductory prices. The starter pack for 1-month access is available for INR 2,499. You can also avail other packs: 3-months access for INR 6,499, 6 months for INR 9,999, and 12-month access for INR 14,999 at INR 1,250 per month.)
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