By Nicholas Jason Lopez
In these “quarantined” times we live in, it can be hard for anybody to want to work out and stay fit amidst a deadly global pandemic.
Jogging and yoga will always have its own cult following via social media, but they just don’t burn calories and nurture mental health in the way that punching bag boxing can. A recent study by Forza Supplements discovered that boxing burns 800 calories per hour, 26.2 percent more than gym training does and 27.5 more than treadmill running does – depending on the style of workout, breaks and one’s weight.
Based in Tallinn, Estonia, Marius Rebane knew this and that’s what inspired him to launch a new boxing app – Heavy Bag Pro, which makes at-home boxing workouts for all experience levels accessible, no matter where one may be. Regarded as the “must-have app for fighters,” it is now available for download for both iOS and Android.
The app comes with both a free and premium version and features professionally-crafted workouts, hundreds of combinations, a round timer and more, with new workouts added weekly. It can be done with either a punching bag or even shadow boxing.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Rebane about the app and more.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise and what would you recommend as “workout music” for beginners?
Marius Rebane – I mostly listen to 70s or 90s rock. Of course, there are new amazing bands appearing every day, but every time I discover something new I like, it actually sounds like the 70s. Let’s take Greta Van Fleet, for example. What an amazing 70s band?! – and they’ve got great music to listen to when training too. If you add Greta Van Fleet to your workout list, why not add “Immigrant Song,” “Kashmire” or “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin there, as well? Maybe some AC/DC! Alice Cooper! Yeah, that would make a powerful and motivating workout music list for a punching bag training.
Music Bugle – What advice would you have for those who are suffering from “cabin fever” or feeling down about their appearance from not exercising like they used to?
Marius Rebane – The “cabin fever” or “feeling down” can only exist in one’s head. If you are upset that you cannot do the things you used to anymore, you should find new activities. I personally have switched training at a gym to home training. Because of no outside distractions, I can spend a lot more time with my family, which I really appreciate. Times will eventually change and until then, you’ve got to take the most of what you’ve got. I recently met an owner of a quite large Muay Thai gym. All his gyms are closed, instructors don’t have a job, so I asked him how he’s hanging on in such a bad sutuation. He said, “Great! I finally was able to take a rest and relax, which I haven’t done for years.” I really liked his attitude. Take the most of what you’ve got!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Marius Rebane – Well, personally, the beginning was a bit difficult when my wife and I were at the home office with our 4 and 6-year-old sons, but I got used to that and I actually got a lot done. As there’s not much point going out from the house, I can spend more time working and also with my family, so not complaining at all.
Music Bugle – Where did you get the idea to launch the app?
Marius Rebane – I’ve practiced combat sports for more than 20 years and I got myself a heavy bag. Two years later, I discovered that I had used it only twice and not too effectively. I started looking for videos or products that could help me with my heavy bag training, but I didn’t find any that would suit my needs. I wanted long training sessions with lots of variety. The only option was to combine these workouts myself, but it takes time. When you are already working on the punching bag, you really cannot think and plan. The preparation should be done beforehand, so I figured there’s an opportunity. I started Heavy Bag Pro as a hobby project, but soon found out that this was a full-time job that needed developers and designers and my 100 percent devotion. When I introduced the first demo to my training partners, I got the confirmation that I was on the right track. I only got positive feedback and every combat sports enthusiast I talked to told me that this is a product that would gladly use.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you are from?
Marius Rebane – I’m from a tiny country in Europe called Estonia, that is currently covered with deep snow. Estonia was part of the Soviet Union and when we became free in 1991, everything had to be started from zero. Times were tough and most of the people were living very poorly, but Estonians have a hard-working nature and we’ve become a nation that is very well-known for the successful startups in the technology sector. That’s quite a proud feeling, especially having seen all the progress from the start.
Music Bugle – How have you been working to improve the app lately?
Marius Rebane – I listen to users. Not only listen, I try to ask as many users as possible if they are happy or if they need anything else. A positive problem that I have is that most of the users say that the app is already perfect and no changes are needed, but there’s always something to add. Currently, I want to integrate HIIT workouts with various exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees, etc., to the boxing combinations.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Marius Rebane – I find very motivating what Muhammad Ali once said – “I don’t count the sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” I think you can put it to every situation – to training, business, even relationships.
Music Bugle – What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Marius Rebane – Many people I meet are surprised that I practice boxing and Thai boxing. I am not a very stereotypic fighter – no scars, no tattoos and I always avoid conflicts – both verbal and physical.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need to escape?
Marius Rebane – I have a country house, where there is a garage that has everything I need to get away from everyday thoughts – a heavy bag, boat and fishing equipment, kitesurfing gear. I think there’s no need to explain further.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for in 2021?
Marius Rebane – There are a lot of positive shifts in people’s minds because of COVID-19, too. Hope these stay there after we get back to our normal lives and I also hope people who have discovered home training will continue this good habit afterwards too. If you are on a busy schedule, it saves so much of your time if you train from home and it is possible to get a really good workout at home too.