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A Fitbit is the perfect companion for weight management. Not only is it useful for those who intend to gain mass, but it’s also great for those shedding a few pounds. If you purchased a Fitbit specifically for weight loss, and have no idea where to start your journey, don’t fret. Below, we detail a few tips and tricks that’ll help you in your Fitbit weight loss journey.
Should you buy a Fitbit for weight loss?
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Any fitness tracker is great for adding context to your weight loss journey, but we like how easy Fitbit devices are to use. The Fitbit app is smartly laid-out and allows users to monitor calorie burn, calorie intake, set weight goals, and more.
If you’re wondering which Fitbit tracker to purchase for weight loss, there isn’t really a correct answer. Grab the Fitbit Sense if you want to monitor your heart health and stress figures, or purchase the Inspire 2 or Charge 4 if you’re seeking a no-nonsense, affordable pair of trackers.
See also: How much is a Fitbit?
Tips for losing weight using a Fitbit
Monitor your daily calorie burn
See also: How to start a workout on your Fitbit
Track your food intake
Although it’s not an exact science, the Fitbit app also lets you log food and drink, allowing you to calculate your calorie intake. The Food section on the Fitbit app’s Today tab packs a nifty graph that juxtaposes your calorie burn with your calorie intake. It also shows a breakdown of carbohydrates, protein, and fat from your meals.
Of course, weight gain might not be as simple as “energy intake exceeds energy expenditure.” According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine, there may be a more complex cocktail of genetics, behavioral, and environmental factors at play affecting your weight. So it’s not always as easy as “eat less, lose weight.” However, monitoring your food intake does give you some idea of how much energy you put into your body.How to log food on Fitbit’s app
Open the Log Food page by tapping the + icon alongside the Food section on the Today tab. Here, you can add a new foodstuff from a list of frequent items. Of course, if this is your first time using the log food feature, you’ll need to add a foodstuff by using the barcode scanner or inputting details manually. You can also quickly log calories by tapping on the 123 icon at the top right of the screen.
It’s a bit of work, but logging calories will give you a great starting point to contrast your calorie requirements and your actual calorie intake.
See also: The best diet and nutrition apps for AndroidEdit Daily Activity Goals
You can edit your Daily Activity goals by tapping on the Steps icon on the Fitbit app’s Today tab, then tapping the gear icon at the top right of the screen. Here, you can adjust daily goals for:
Active Zone Minutes
Hourly Activity Goal
Weekly Active Zone MinutesEdit Weight Goals
To adjust weight goals, tap on the Weight section on the Fitbit app’s Today tab, then tap the gear icon in the top right of the screen. You can adjust specific goals, including:
Your Goal (Lose or Gain weight)
Body Fat %
Use Fitbit’s guided exercises and challenges
Open the Fitbit app, tap the Discover tab, and scroll down to Workouts. Tap See All. Here, you’ll find several free workouts that you can do at home, spanning five to 35 minutes. This is a great place to start if you want to start working out in the comfort of your own home.Fitbit Premium
If you’ve already been through these exercises, consider purchasing a Fitbit Premium subscription. Granted, it’s pricey at $79 per year, but it offers additional programs that address muscle groups, focus on flexibility, and more. If you’ve purchased a Fitbit Sense, Charge 5, or Luxe, you have access to a six-month Fitbit Premium trial. The Inspire 2 comes with a year-long trial, too.Fitbit challenges
Fitbit also encourages its users by offering several unlockable challenges. Tap the Discover tab once more but select See All in the Challenges & Adventures section. Here, you can compete with friends, participate in virtual races with other Fitbit users, or take these on yourself. This section of the Fitbit experience is among the most disappointing and lean, so here’s hoping that Fitbit adds additional challenges in the future.Purchase a smart scale
See also: The best smart scales you can buy
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Yoga is one of the best-known and most popular types of physical activity worldwide. Yoga is done for many different reasons, such as to relax, clear the mind, get in shape, and grow spiritually. People do yoga for all of these and more explanations. But you probably didn’t know that yoga can help you reach your weight-loss goal.
Let’s talk about three important ways that doing yoga can help you reach your weight loss goals. We will also talk about the different kinds of yoga that can help you lose weight, the benefits of doing yoga to lose weight, and some tips for starting a regular yoga practice. So let’s get started!1. More freedom to move around
One of the best things about yoga for weight loss is that it makes you more flexible. As you do yoga, your muscles will stretch and get stronger, making it easier for you to move around and work out better. This makes it easier to stay in the right position, and burn calories.
Also, being more flexible can make it easier to do certain exercises that you might only be able to do if you were more relaxed. It can help you lose fat and move closer to your weight loss goal.2. Improved Sleep
Yoga helps you sleep better, which is another way it can help you lose weight. Many people have trouble getting enough sleep, which can cause health problems like weight gain. It can make it easier to fall asleep and help you stay asleep longer. Getting enough good sleep can help you keep your hormones in balance, which can help you lose weight.3. Stress Relief
Last, yoga can help you lose weight by making you less stressed. Stress can make people do things that aren’t good for them, like overeating or eating for the wrong reasons. By releasing endorphins and calming the mind, yoga can help reduce stress. It can help you feel less hungry and stay on track with your weight loss goals.What kind of yoga helps you lose weight the most?
Because there are many different styles of yoga, it might be difficult to choose the one that is most effective for weight loss. Hatha and Vinyasa yoga are generally considered to be the most effective forms of yoga for weight loss.
Hatha yoga is a more moderate form of the practise that places an emphasis on breathing exercises, stretching, and meditation. People who are just getting started with yoga can benefit greatly from this style of yoga since it helps them get stronger and more flexible without being overly strenuous.
Vinyasa yoga is a more dynamic form of yoga that focuses on synchronising the breath with a series of flowing moves. This type of yoga is fantastic for increasing your heart rate and helping you burn calories. Combining Hatha and Vinyasa yoga will help you reach your weight loss goals more rapidly.How can yoga help you lose weight?
Now that we’ve discussed what kind of yoga is best for losing weight, let’s look at other ways yoga can help you lose weight.
First of all, yoga can speed up your metabolism. Even when you aren’t doing yoga, your body will burn more calories because you are doing it. It can help you burn more calories and move closer to losing weight.
Second, yoga can help you to stand up straighter. If you don’t stand up straight, your blood flow might be bad, which makes it harder to lose weight. Yoga can help you have better posture and blood flow, making it easier to lose weight.
Third, yoga can help make you handle stress effectively. As we’ve already discussed, stress can make people do bad things, like overeating or eating at wrong time. Yoga can help you feel less stressed and less hungry, which can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Yoga can also help you feel better about yourself. As you do yoga, you’ll start to feel better about yourself and your body, making it easier for you to stay motivated and on track with your weight loss goals.Tips for Getting Started with Yoga
Now that we’ve discussed how yoga can help you lose weight, let’s look at some ways to start a yoga routine.
First, you need to find a kind of yoga that you like. There are many kinds of yoga, so you need to find one you feel comfortable with. Try out different kinds of yoga until you find one you like.
Second, make doable goals. Don’t take on too much too quickly. Start slowly and build up your practice as you become more robust and flexible.
Third, keep practicing. It’s important to include yoga in your daily life. If you want to get better, try to practice at least three times a week.
Fourth, drink plenty of water. Yoga can be hard, so drinking water before and after your practice is essential.
In the end, be patient. It might take a while before you start to see progress, but if you keep at it, you will.Conclusion
Yoga is a great way to help you reach your weight loss goals more quickly. As a result of doing it, you can become more flexible, sleep better, feel less stressed, and feel better about yourself. If you want to get the most out of your yoga practice, you must find a style you like and stick with it. Yoga can help you lose weight if you do it with the dedication and patience it needs.
If you want to learn more about yoga and are looking or a way to start, you can download a yoga app or go to a class at a yoga studio near you. Don’t be afraid to try yoga. Many people find that it helps them get in better shape and lose weight. In every season, it is easy to work out and get fit.
The Fitbit Blaze is the least expensive of the colourful Fitbit trackers, especially for people looking for a fitness watch smarter than the average timepiece. Like all the Fitbits it’s a great activity tracker, supported by a fantastic app and desktop dashboard, as well as an eco-system of competition with friends, collaborative challenges, badges and rewards to keep you motivated.Best Prices Today: Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit’s range of activity trackers includes the Fitbit Blaze, which sits in the watch market with stylish, colourful looks and more swipeable functions than its more minimalist siblings. Recently it has been joined in the Fitbit family by the Ionic smartwatch, which shares the Blaze’s good looks with even more smart features.
The Fitbit Blaze is an attractive watch, but at its heart it’s a sophisticated activity tracker that boasts not just multisport options but smartphone Caller ID, calendar and text display functions.Fitbit Blaze: Pricing and availability
The Fitbit Blaze, with choice of Classic strap size (S, L, XL) and colour, costs £159.99/US$199.95/€239.95, and was released in March 2023.
Additional Classic straps are priced at £19.99 each. Leather straps cost £59.99 each, and the Metal Link bracelet will set you back £89.99. These straps are interchangeable, so you can dress up the tracker as you desire.
The Blaze is no longer available from Fitbit but you can get it from Amazon and Scan. It might not be around for long so grab it while you can.
For more detailed reviews of each Fitbit activity tracker go to our dedicated review pages, listed below. We also compare the Blaze to the other Fitbits towards the end of this review.
Fitbit Ionic reviewFitbit Blaze: Design and build
The Fitbit Blaze tracker itself is a small black square featuring a touchscreen, and is slotted into an octagonal frame and strap of your choosing. Fitbit has made most of its trackers this way since the launch of the Blaze, so that they can have their straps and bands swapped out and accessorised as the user desires.
You order the Blaze with a standard Black, Blue or Plum “Classic Band”, but you can add either Metal or Leather wriststraps in various colours. There’s not the varied range you get with the Apple Watch, but there’s enough choice to distinguish you from the usual tracker crowd. See also: Fitbit vs Apple Watch
There are also two special-edition Blaze models: the £179.99 Gunmetal Blaze and the £189.99 Slim Pink Blaze.
There’s a small gap between the body of the watch and the frame at the top and bottom – and while it’s unusual looking, we like how it looks on the wrist. It’s fairly lightweight, and the classic strap is particularly soft to touch.
The Fitbit Blaze features three physical buttons; one on the left of the watch, and two on the right. The left button is essentially a Back button, and the remaining two buttons are contextual, performing different actions depending on what app you’ve got open. You don’t have to use the buttons very much though, as the Blaze is touch and swipe enabled. We would have preferred the option to swipe back from the stats screen to the clock, but the Back button works just fine.
The Blaze weighs 43g, which is lighter than the Fitbit Ionic (46g) but heavier than the simpler Charge 2 (37g).
Read next: 20 best fitness trackers of 2023Fitbit Blaze: Fitness features
What sets the Fitbit Blaze apart from the rest of the Fitbit collection (except the Ionic) is its colourful screen and strap collection, but it shares most of the functions enjoyed by the other Fitbits.
All Fitbits have a MEMS 3-axis accelerometer that measures motion patterns to determine your steps taken, distance travelled, active minutes, and calories burned. Steps is the measure most people find motivating (and it’s how you measure your activity versus friends in the leaderboard), but you can also set yourself goals for the other metrics if you wish.
Its altimeter measures the number of floors climbed; every 10 feet of elevation counts as one “floor”. This altimeter is a sensor that calculates altitude based on atmospheric pressure. We have noted rather erratic altitude performance on other Fitbits, and strange results can becaused by other environmental factors.Fitbit Blaze: Heart Rate
The Fitbit Blaze features Fitbit’s proprietary PurePulse optical heart-rate technology, which uses safe LED lights on the underside of the wristband to detect blood volume and capillary-size changes under pressure. When your heart beats, your capillaries expand and contract based on blood volume changes. PurePulse LED lights on the Blaze reflect onto the skin to detect blood volume changes.
You can see your heart rate right on your wrist, which is better than having to refer to the app as you have to with other trackers, and there’s no need to strap on a heart monitor to your chest.
Heart rate measurement is great for the more active fitness enthusiast, as it will help you plan how to burn energy/calories quicker by maximising training, and maintain intensity during workouts. It is also helpful for everyone as a way to analyse all-day and resting heart rate trends.
Cardio Fitness Level provides a snapshot of your cardiovascular fitness. Based on estimated VO2 Max – calculated by your user profile, heart rate and exercise data – this lets you see how your fitness level relates to others of the same age and gender, and get guidance on how to improve over time.Fitbit Blaze: Sleep measurement
As well as these activity records the Blaze measures and monitors your sleep patterns, and can distinguish between the different Sleep Stages: Deep Sleep, Light Sleep, and REM Sleep.
Doctors warn that a good night’s sleep has as much effect on your overall health as an active lifestyle, so keeping an eye on your sleep patterns is another key to staying fit and healthy, both physically and mentally.
While we like the look of the Metal Links bracelet for the Blaze, we do wonder whether you’d want to sleep with it on. You could easily swap to the Classic strap (included with all Blaze purchases) at night.
You can also set “silent” alarms that buzz you awake at set times, supposedly without waking your bed partner. In truth that buzz does make a small sound, but it’s certainly more considerate than a ringing or buzzing alarm clock.
You can choose between four different clock faces, none as whimsical as those offered by the quirkier Apple Watch, but a varied enough selection for most.Fitbit Blaze: Smart notifications and Music Control
The Fitbit Blaze also features push notifications from your Bluetooth-connected device (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone). The Blaze offers Call, text and calendar notifications. This doesn’t make it a “smartwatch” as it lacks all the apps those watches can access, and Fitbit is keen to stress that it’s a “Fitness Watch” rather than a “Smartwatch”. It’s smarter than your average watch, however, and matches the best of the trackers with an attractive timepiece. The Fitbit Ionic is smarter, but is still not as smart as a proper smartwatch such as the Apple Watch or Gear; see our Best Smartwatch roundup for more details on our recommendations.
All notifications are automatically removed each day and individual notifications can be deleted by swiping right when displayed.
You can control the Blaze’s music playlist (including apps like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and podcasts) using Music Control, even during workouts. You press and hold the upper right button for Music Control, and use the lower right button to see notifications. A step up from this is the Fitbit Ionic, which offers 2.5Gb of onboard music storage (up to 300 songs) so you can leave your phone or portablke CD player (!) at home.
Fitbit Blaze: SmartTrack, Multisport and FitStar
SmartTrack automatically recognizes and records select exercises (Walking, Running, Outdoor biking, Elliptical) to ensure you get credit for your most active moments of the day. Whenever you wear your tracker and participate in any continuous, high-movement activity of 15 minutes or more, your tracker will recognize and identify your activity and automatically record it for you. To check your stats, look at your exercise history after syncing your tracker.
SmartTrack also recognizes two general categories. High-movement sports like tennis, basketball, football are automatically recognised, but sports without continuous movement (eg. golf) won’t be. Aerobic workouts with continuous movement, such as Zumba, cardio-kickboxing, and other dance classes, are also recognised.
By default, SmartTrack recognizes an exercise that lasts at least 15 minutes. You can lower this setting to 10 minutes, or increase it as high as 90 minutes.
SmartTrack is perfect for those times when you go for a long run or a walk and forget to activate the tracking software. That being said, if you manually select your type of exercise you get a much more accurate reading than if it was automatically detected. Of course, you don’t need to set anything to get your normal, everyday walking tracked. SmartTrack is for longer bursts of activity you want more detail on.
Automatic exercise monitoring shows you the key health stats during that period of activity, including three heart-rate zone (moderate Fat Burn; high-intensity Cardio; and push-to-max Peak).
SmartTrack doesn’t record GPS data, provide real-time stats on your wrist, or provide distance and pace information in your exercise history. For those features use the Multisport mode. If you want to track precise exercise stats you can tell your tracker when exercise starts and stops. Depending on the tracker you’ll see real-time stats on your wrist, a workout summary when exercise stops,
The FitStar menu on Fitbit Blaze provides three guided workouts right on your wrist: Warm It Up (8 minutes); 7-Minute Workout; 10-Minute Abs. At the end of the session, you’ll see a review of your workout that includes calories burned, average heart rate, max heart rate, and workout duration. Each workout is free and can be accessed at any time with no app or smartphone required. This will soon be relabelled as the improved Fitbit Coach subscription service.
Fitbit’s Relax Guided Breathing mode can help calm your body and mind through either two- and five-minute sessions personalised to your breathing rate. This is supposed to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure.
Unlike the Fitbit Ionic, the Fitbit Blaze doesn’t have a built-in GPS, so you need your mobile phone nearby to use the Connected Exercise feature to properly measure distance and speed/pace.
Blaze uses your smartphone’s GPS to map your routes and deliver real-time activity stats such as distance and pace during your walks, runs, and bike rides.After each workout, stats sync wirelessly to the Fitbit dashboard to let you review your route, speed and elevation in more detail.
Fitbit Blaze: battery life and charger
Depending on how many times you access the display the Blaze can last as long as five days on a single charge. If you keep looking at the display, swiping through the faces, using the stopwatch, and so on, then the battery while not keep going as long. FitStar workouts, for example, are battery intensive. Rest assured, however, that it will last longer than the Apple Watch!
We’d love Fitbit to move to a universal charger. There’s few worse fears for a Fitbit user than a dead battery, and if your charger is at home, the office or wherever you are not then you risk losing step count while uncharged.
The Blaze doesn’t do anything that other Fitbits can’t, but can do more than some depending on what you’re after from a fitness tracker. Like the Fitbit Charge 2, Alta HR and Ionic it measures heart rate. It shares its Caller ID and text notifications with the Charge 2, Alta, Alta HR and Ionic. Only the Blaze and Ionic feature a Music Control feature.
So why pick the Blaze? Like the Ionic it offers more of a standalone “watch” design, although you could easily use the Alta, Alta HR or Charge 2 as a watch in its own right.
Like the Ionic, the Blaze is aimed at more serious fitness through its multisport features, although auto-exercise recognition is also available on the Alta HR and Charge 2.
We think people will choose the Blaze over other Fitbits because of its attractive watch-like design, colour display, strap choices, and extra fitness features. If you want GPS built in you need the Ionic, but most of us exercise quite happily with our phones on us for music or keeping in touch with the rest of the lazy world, so the Blaze can be connected to your mobile’s GPS instead. If you want to be free of your phone and wallet choose the Ionic with its onboard music and GPS.
Its real rival in the Fitbit family is the Ionic, which offers everything the Blaze does and some more (built-in GPS, onboard music storage, contactless payments, and smart apps) but at a higher cost: the Blaze starts at £159/$199, the Ionic at £299/$299.
Find out which Fitbit is best.
Fitbit Blaze: App
As with all the Fitbits, you can monitor your stats on your wrist via the Blaze’s touch screen, and also on the great mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone), and Fitbit’s desktop Dashboard. The graphs and charts, plus historical data are great to monitor your progress.
You can also challenge (and be challenged) on various daily or weekly battles with your Fitbit friends. All of this, of course, is entirely voluntary. You can maintain a solitary regime, but it’s more fun to do it with like-minded friends.
As you progress and pass various step and climb milestones Fitbit rewards you with fun virtual badges. You also gain badges during each week as you hit targets and surpass them.Fitbit Blaze: Straps, sizes and styles
The Blaze is hugely customisable, with a variety of straps available in a number of colours; the Luxe collection consists of either a silver metal link bracelet, or a premium leather band, and the Classic collection features three standard Blaze straps in Black, Blue and Plum.
The Metal Link bracelet is only available in Silver, whereas you can purchase Black, Camel or Mist Grey leather straps and black, blue and purple classic straps.
The choice of design allows users to wear the Blaze wherever they go, instead of just at the gym. It’s easy to switch between the straps too, as you just pop out the body and slot it into a different frame.
When buying the Blaze you need to choose the colour of the Classic Band you desite, even if you are buying a Leather or Metal strap as well.
You also need to choose from three sizes. Small fits wrists 140 – 170mm (5.5 – 6.7 inches); Large fits wrists 170 – 206mm (6.7 – 8.1 inches); and X-Large fits wrists 206 – 236mm (8.1 – 9.3 inches). See New Fitbit trackers rumours and release date.Specs Fitbit Blaze: Specs
PurePulse heart rate monitor
Limited notification support
Five-day battery life
Exercise and sleep tracking
Automatic exercise recognition and tracking
GDF15: Monkeys and Mice gift humans with Stressful Weight Loss
Mice, Monkeys, and also Rats have given their lab-tested time and stress to a set of researchers searching for weight loss. What they found was a protein by the name of Growth Differentiation Factor-15, AKA GDF15 (also known as MIC-1). This protein was discovered by researchers from three different pharmaceutical companies and published in three papers, each independent of the other – that doesn’t sound suspicious to you, does it?
The first person to note the potential for GDF15’s potential for weight-loss was Samuel Breit, an physician and immunologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Breit was part of a group of researchers to publish a paper about GDF15 in the year 2011. That paper went by the name “The TGF-β superfamily cytokine, MIC-1/GDF15: A pleotrophic cytokine with roles in inflammation, cancer and metabolism” and can be found at T&FOnline.
Stanford researchers cure diabetes (in mice)
In that paper, Breit (et. all) suggest the connection between appetite suppression and GDF15. “Furthermore, in late-stage cancer, large amounts of MIC-1/GDF15 in the circulation suppress appetite and mediate cancer anorexia/cachexia, which can be reversed by monoclonal antibodies in animals.” Breit’s research showed how GDF15 more than likely acted through the brain.
In August, a paper was published by Linda Yang et. all in Nature with the title “GFRAL is the receptor for GDF15 and is required for the anti-obesity effects of the ligand.” In the paper, Linda and crew suggest the following: “given that GDF15 did not increase energy expenditure in treated mice with obesity, the anti-obesity actions of the cytokine are likely driven primarily by a reduction in food intake.”
Once researchers had a target, they found this “GFRAL” in two regions of a mouse brain. The mouse had its GFRAL gene turned on, and GFRAL appeared in the postrema and the nucleus of the solitary tract. The first of these two regions is the vomit-inducing center, while the other is home to neurons that associate with appetite regulation (amongst others).
Both of these areas where GFRAL appeared were outside of the brain’s blood-brain barrier. This means they’ve got real potential as targets for drugs – and not drugs that’d need to be jammed in to a person’s skull with a monster needle. The only negative effect so far MIGHT be nausea – and since this is all closely related to stress-induced behavior, that’s another real danger to the end user.
But apparently rats and mice and monkeys aren’t all that good at telling researchers when they feel like throwing up or when they feel super stressed. So there’s not really a good way to know how that bit will go down until human trials begin. It is quite likely that human trials will begin with a modified version of what’s been tested on mice, rats, and monkeys – one slightly more targeted, and likely longer lasting.
For more information on this futuristic bit of research, have a peek at the paper “Non-homeostatic body weight regulation through a brainstem-restricted receptor for GDF15” in Nature as of this week. This paper is one of several (others linked above) that’ve come to similar conclusions about GDF15 in recent months. This paper was written by Jer-Yuan Hsu et al, and can be found under code doi:10.1038/nature24042 right this minute.
Also available on this subject is the paper “Obesity: Receptors identified for a weight regulator”, also available in Nature as of this week. This bit of research was authored by Mart Saarma and Adrian Goldman and can be found with code doi:10.1038/nature24143 at the time this article is scheduled to be published.
Boxer Danny Green’s punt on UBX is paying off as the franchise goes global.
Boxer Danny Green’s father would always tell the four-time world champ, “Mate, set things up for life after boxing before you finish boxing.”
So, towards the end of his career, in 2014, Green was busy setting up a couple of big-box gyms in his hometown of Perth, when he was approached by Tim West, an entrepreneur with a background in both gyms and tech start-ups. West had an idea.
“Tim said, ‘What do you think about the concept of mixing boxing and functional training? Boxing gives you your cardio, we’ll add some strength work, and we’ll use boxing as a skill so people can learn the art without getting hit.’” It would be done in a circuit, with each exercise a three-minute round, lasting 12 rounds like a championship fight. There’d be instructional videos, a centralised computer feeding in the customer’s heartrate. It would scale.
His idea had come from the question of why boxing, despite being so prevalent in exercise culture, had not scaled compared to boutique gym franchises like F45, Orange Theory and CrossFit, or the specialised stationary bikes of CycleBar.
“I came down to the conclusion that boxing is intimidating and that the focus of boxing gyms is to get you in the ring in some way,” says West.
“Having a sports science background, I wanted to bring authentic boxing training, the kind a professional boxer would do, but without the expectation of getting hit. It was then that I was introduced to Danny, the most prominent boxer in the country.”
West only intended to consult with the champ. Green told him what he thought. And he told him he wanted in, as an investor.
“I said to Tim, ‘If we do this, it has to be authentic,’” recalls Green. “It’s exactly the same training I did preparing for world title fights and also in my off-peak training to keep my conditioning.”
They put the first conceptualisation inside Green’s gym, Green Zone, at Warwick, in Perth. “And it took off,” recalls Green. “People absolutely loved it. We realised, ‘Hey we’re onto something here.’”
West opened a pilot gym in his hometown of Brisbane in 2023, and in 2023 their first UBX (pronounced You Box) franchise opened. There are now 88 UBX gyms in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with another 17 licences sold. West, 41, is co-founder and managing director while Green, 49, is co-founder and director of boxing.
UBX’s move overseas follows other Australian-founded franchises F45, with 1745 gyms globally, and BFT, with 192. They’re all seeking a slice of the boutique fitness pie which is reported to be worth $49 billion globally.
West has a theory about why Australian gyms do so well: he likens the local business environment to altitude training for athletes.
“It’s got a very big spaces. It’s got a very small population, and it’s got very expensive staff. So if you’re creating a business in Australia that scales, it has to be efficient, effective and lean to survive. So that when you go to countries where the economics are different like, say, the US where staff costs – which are 50% of our operating expenses – are suddenly lower. These businesses just flourish, and they explode because they’re operating in an oxygen-rich environment.”
Danny Green on the heavy bag
“We’ve got arguably the most efficient fitness business in the world, in terms of number of members per square metre.”
– Tim West
West doesn’t take credit for that idea. It was used by Curves, the female-only gym that became the biggest in the world with 10,000 franchises early this century before the company was split.
So why Japan?
West says that consumer behaviour follows sports success, and Japan has produced a lot of top fighters in recent decades.
“So Japan has an incredibly strong and proud boxing history and a combat-sport history. But the interesting thing is when we profiled Japan, it’s also very viable from an economics point of view because it’s got one of the largest fitness markets in the world and yet only 3% to 4% of the population have a gym membership.
“When you look at the history of exercise in Japan, it’s not about getting sweaty and throwing weights around. It’s about practicing a skill, a movement. And they get fit by doing and practicing the skill which is very similar to the UBX ethos.”
Japan has the third most expensive gym memberships in the world, according to West, and part of that is the huge cost of floor space. So the UBX model, which doesn’t require large racks of weights and rows of cardio machines – just 12 stations on a circuit – requires little space. “We’ve got arguably the most efficient fitness business in the world, in terms of number of members per square metre because of the rolling start times,” says West.
The largest boxing franchise in the world, Title Boxing Club, has 144 gyms open. Green and West intend to topple that number soon. But the business has been entirely funded internally. They’re now looking at options for raising capital to fund upcoming expansions into the US, Europe and Asia.
“We’ve taken a punt,” says Green. “We’ve invested back into the business ourselves because we know what we’ve got is the real deal. We’ve worked very hard to make what is the most authentic boxing-for-fitness business there is, and it’s the real deal. So we’re very, very particular about what we do in the future. We’re not going to jump into something and potentially make a mistake.”
Fitness apps should do more than show your step count
A lot goes into making a fitness product that’s worth people’s time. You need a good, comfortable design, accurate sensors, and you need to nail the price point. Those are all things we expect from fitness products. The smartphone app is oftentimes an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be.
A fitness tracker can be as accurate as ever with its data collection, but what good is it if you can’t do anything with that information? The device on your wrist collects data, which is obviously important, but fitness tracker and smartwatch screens are so small that they can’t display much information. Most of the time they’ll display your daily stats and maybe some activity history, but not much more than that. You need an “overflow” product that’s able to display the stats that the wearable can’t.
Social features help more than you know
While simple activity insights are becoming standard across most of the major fitness apps, social features are still few and far between. Fitbit’s app has an entire social network built into it, allowing like-minded users to chat with each other and post about things they’re going through. For example, I’m part of the running community in the Fitbit app. If I ran (ha) into any issues, I could post about it. All the people in that community would see my post, and I’d likely get some responses from people who might know more than me. If you’re looking to improve your fitness, this is a great way to do so.
Unfortunately, not many other “default” fitness apps have these features. Strava is another app that does social really well, but Garmin Connect could improve in this area, and Google Fit’s social features are nonexistent.
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Don’t get me wrong, all of these extra fitness features aren’t a necessity. You don’t need custom training programs to improve your health. And many people buy fitness trackers simply to keep a better eye on their activity. That’s great! But companies that spend the time and resources on fitness apps are showing users that they’re invested in the platform. That’s why I’m happy to recommend fitness products from Garmin and Fitbit over, say, a fitness-focused Wear OS watch. I just can’t be as confident in Google’s focus on Google Fit as I am with another company that’s proven they’re in it for the long haul.
If you’re looking to invest in your next fitness product and want to make sure you’re getting a solid software experience, I’d personally recommend a Garmin, Fitbit, or Samsung device (accuracy issues aside). More specialized products from companies like Suunto and Polar will obviously be suited for more serious athletes. In my opinion, Wear OS watches are entirely saved by the fact that Wear OS is compatible with so many third-party fitness apps. It really makes up for Google Fit’s simplicity.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and buy that Xiaomi Mi Band 4 or HUAWEI Band 3 Pro — if these products work for you and fit your budget, you should absolutely consider them. Just keep in mind that there are other devices out there with apps that can tell you more than how many steps you’ve taken.
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